Saturday, May 10, 2008

Movie Wrap-Up

Smart People
It should be called Smartass People since no one really talks like this. Or else they do, but I’m not smart enough to be around them. Someone gets called a “misanthrope” in all seriousness, and people say “But, I digress” with straight faces. You know you’re watching characatures of smart people, or smart people that are created by not-as-smart people.

I was hoping to see a Woody Allen-like movie, or maybe something like the excellent Wonder Boys, but not even close. Dennis Quaid, one of the most likable actors around, severely overplays his underplaying and never sounds like he’s living in his role. Thomas Haden Church is a scene stealer, but never acts or reacts like normal people do. But, then again, these are Smart People, not Normal People. SJP is fine, as she’s the only one that seems the least bit natural.

Which brings us to Ellen Page, who is on the cusp of becoming the next Kevin Spacey. She’s recycling that Juno snarky sarcasm and comes dangerously close to self-parody. Everyone loved Kevin, until they realized the guy does the same arrogant prick in every movie and now he can barely get a job. Ellen needs to seriously change things up or else she’ll find herself in the same boat.

Score: 4

Drillbit Taylor
I’ve become a sucker for the Apatow name accompanying a movie, which seems to happen every other weekend these days. Most of them are a lot of fun. He’s pretty much outdoing Cameron Crowe these days. So, I hoped Drillbit Taylor would be mildly entertaining and that’s about as good as it got, mildly.

Honestly, the film is a nonsensical mess. Too bad it was written by Seth Rogan from a supposed scrapped idea by John Hughes. You’d think it would be a can’t miss. But, it doesn’t make much sense and is only occasionally funny. He’s homeless and duping some kids to make enough money to take off to Mexico or something. Does it matter? Not really.

For some reason, I give Owen Wilson a long leash. He doesn’t make very many good movies, but I still go and enjoy his attitude and screen presence. So, admittedly, I have a soft spot for junk like this, even if I hold out hope that it’s going to be better, knowing full well it never will be.

Score: 4

Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Another Apatow film, this one is way better than Drillbit, but still a far cry from Knocked Up or 40-Year Old Virgin. The premise is so unoriginal, but what the movie accomplishes is making a star of Mila Kunis, the chick who makes forgetting Sarah easier. I’ve never watched That 70s Show before, so she was new to me, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she becomes a star after this. I went in with a fat crush on Kristen Bell, but came out loving Mila.

So, the film pretty much follows the Apatow template. It’s inconsistently hilarious, overly long, full of heart, saggy in the middle, and totally enjoyable. Pound for pound, that’s still a better formula than 90% of what else is out there.

Score: 7

Baby Mama
30 Rock is the best sitcom on television and Tina Fey is on the cusp of major stardom, all of which shows there remains some glimpses of hope for this country. Unfortunately, Tina did not write Baby Mama and that’s a huge fact because the vehicle is beneath her. She should write her own movies.

Maybe it was the audience I saw it with, but there were several awkward silences, where you knew a moment of silence was included in the film so as to allow for the outburst of laughter. When they don’t happen, movies tend to sink fast. The editing should have been snappier, the tone more consistent, and the story more fleshed out. Tina plays a professional who, you know, would never bond with someone like Amy Poehler’s character, so that’s the first mistake. Then, there is the whole sneaky plot about whether or not the baby will actually belong to Tina. There’s even an unnecessary courtroom scene to determine it. Plus, they commit my cardinal sin but basing a whole subplot on something that could be cleared up if someone just told someone else something instead of keeping it a secret.

Everyone’s so likable that you forgive a lot, but it isn’t honestly that good.

Score: 5

Speed Racer
The one and only reason to see this is the one and only reason I went in the first place, to see amazing visuals on the big screen. It’s the most vibrant and colorful film I’ve ever seen, almost cartoonish. Actually not almost, more like flat out. But, there is nothing else to recommend. Even the visuals get old after a while. It should have been in 3D or something. Think of this as a modern day TRON. Beyond being cool to look at, was TRON any good? Not really.

Speaking of which, everyone’s skin looks flawless, certainly a preemptive strike against HD, which is what this movie was ultimately created for, no doubt.

There’s a whole subplot around corporate corruption that will be lost on the kids that see this. Be warned, this is almost entirely a kid’s movie. I was amazed the Wochawski (sp) brothers were even capable of writing such a thing, especially considering one of them is now a tranny.

I have to say, poor John Goodman. He appears to may have lost a couple pounds, but I still worry that he’s going to explode at any second. You can hear him breathing, he just doesn’t look well. Someone just get him on a treadmill, we don’t want to lose him.

Score: 3


Farrah said...

Boy, you clearly have a lot of personal time on your hands with me and Georgia gone -- I think this has been quite a prolific past few days of blog posting!

Jennifer said...

I agree with Farrah...maybe too much personal time?

I just got back from the Alicia Keys concert at Arco. I have to say she was a pretty good time.

Lindsey said...

Are you a professional movie critic? Maybe you should look into that.