First a recap of some I didn’t write full reviews of…
Fast & Furious– 2.5 stars – Not terrible… but really… what’s the point?
Monsters vs. Aliens – 3.5 stars – Entertaining little film, definitely worth a look see in 3D
I Love You Man – 4 stars – Not as fall down hilarious as similar flicks, but has a million miles of heart
Adventureland– 3 stars- Didn’t know what genre it wanted to be… coming of age teen drama, or goofy comedy
Duplicity– 3.5 stars- Good old fashioned romp, but ultimately got too smart for its own good.
Race To Witch Mountain – 3 stars – Enjoyable family flick that gets by on the natural charisma of Dwayne Johnson
12 Rounds – 1 star – As Joel put it, Die Hard: With a Vengeance, without the witty banter.
Last House on the Left – 3.5 stars – Brutally intense, keeps the spirit of the original.
AND Now… the meat of it…
Hannah Montana: The Movie
Some of you may be saying “You’re a hard drinkin, hard fightin’, smokin’, drinkin’, tattooed son of a bitch. 3 Stars? Have you gone soft?” I went in expecting the worst. I even took my friend’s fiancee along, so I wouldn’t seem like “Creepy old guy at the Hannah Montana.” But you know what? I wound up enjoying myself with this cute little kids flick, as generally mindless as it maybe.
Miley Cyrus plays Miley Stewart, who leads a double life as pop sensation Hannah Montana. Only a close knit crew of people know of the double life, and Miley must make the difficult choice of keeping Hannah in her life, or reserving herself to a normal life as Miley. Her father/manager Robbie Ray (Billy Ray Cyrus) ships her off to her hometown in Tennessee following celebrity shoe battle with Tyra Banks to get a dose of the real world, and there she learns to love life as not Hannah. Even finds time for a love life as Miley with farm hand Travis. After it comes out that Miley is “good friends” with Hannah, she’s forced into the awkward situation of being with friends and family at the Hannah Montana benefit concert, put on to save her hometown from being bought up by greedy land developers.
This movie combines all the best elements of an 80’s sitcom, throws in the “Superman Complex”, and rounds it all out with, good, wholesome family fun, that last part I can’t, in good conscience, fully decry.
Remember in “Family Ties” when Alex would get a date with one girl for 7pm, and another for 9pm, and then the girl at 9 had to reschedule for 7, so rather than call one off, he tries to manage both dates at the same time? Oh, and at the same restaurant? He’d have to pretend to smoke for one of them, so he could get 9 to sit in the smoking section. Yeah… it was marginally funny then. And got decreasingly funny when Kirk Cameron did it on “Growing Pains,” then Joey Lawrence on “Blossom,” then it got passed around “Family Matters,” “Step by Step,” “Boy Meets World,” and countless other 80’s and 90’s sitcoms. Yeah, that’s pretty much Hannah Montana. And the “Superman Complex?” – No one seems to realize that Superman looks exactly like Clark Kent without glasses. Likewise… no one seems to realize that Hannah Montana is a blonde Miley Stewart.
The thing about Miley Cyrus, is that I’m rooting for her… she’s got some great potential that has yet to be fully realized. I don’t think she’s a brightly burning star that will fizzle in a year when the Hannah Montana black hole collapses. That’s not a slam against Hannah Montana, I just felt like running with the astronomy reference. And she does show a phenomenal screen presence that I would like to see continue on throughout for career. I hope she isn’t hampered by the long arm of the Disney Channel. Think a female Shia Lebouf. Let’s just hope she doesn’t go on to ruin the 80’s.
The thing of it is… It’s not made for people like me. You know, the over 14 crowd. And it’s not made for critics. It’s made for kids. We all had movies that we loved as kids, and looking back, we wonder why? Mighty Ducks? Anyone? That was our kids movie, and sticks with us to this day. I now realize it as a mediocre at best flick, but it holds a special place in my heart. And it will for kids these days (that makes me sound like a fogey). I can’t fault these kids for that. I’m gonna let them have their movie.
Look for fun cameos from Rascal Flatts and the very lovely and talented Taylor Swift. Barry Bostwick pops up in a funny little role. But in all seriousness… what would have made this film… is Billy Ray Cyrus singing his signature song, “Achy Breaky Heart.” You picked up a guitar. You were in front of a mic. You couldn’t do the “Achy Breaky?” Throw us older folks a little something.
P.S. For those of you who don’t know, I’m not as old as I make myself sound. I’m 23. But I am older than the target audience for this flick.
Observe and Report
Alright this is more like it. Seth Rogan in a dark action comedy? I should be all about this. Oh wait… IT SUCKED! This was an exercise in defining WTF?!?! that was all over the place, and too scattered for it’s own good.
Ronnie (Rogan) is a bi-polar mall security guard with dillusions of grandeur. He takes himself way too serious, and that is his own downfall. He’s on the hunt for a serial flasher terrorizing his mall parking lot, and targeting the pretty make-up counter girl Brandi (Anna Faris). He feels some competition from the actual police, especially Det. Harrison (Ray Liotta), so he steps up his game to bring the pervert to justice. Oh, and there’s a rash of robberies at the mall. Oh, and he’s trying to be a real cop. Oh, and there’s an underdeveloped possible love story between Ronnie and Brandi.
It’s significantly darker in tone than the other Mall cop flick to come out this year, Paul Blart. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s the second mall cop flick to come out this year (within 2 months of each other). Really Hollywood? Two? Are you coming out with a Go-Bots flick this year, too?
Hollywood’s desperation for original storylines aside, like I said, it’s a scatter shot flick that never even tries to find it’s proper footing. One minute we’re on the pervert. The next minute we’re on Ronnie’s badge and gun ambitions. The third we’re on the mall store robberies. What is the movie about? Everything, which ultimately leads to nothing. And not in the cool nihilistic way. But in the “What the hell did I just watch?” kinda way.
There was a minor controversy surrounding the implicit date rape scene in the film. I don’t exactly see how it could be strictly considered date rape. Sure Brandi is drunk. But we go from him sneaking a kiss on the front walk, to them doin’ the horizontal tango. We miss the in between. We don’t know went on between the two… And when he does stop to consider that she has fallen asleep, she replies “Why’d you stop, mother******?” So…. we don’t really know what went down. But it is an offputting scene in general.
Rogan (Pineapple Express, Knocked Up) is a tremendous comedic talent and I dig what he does. And I give him props for extending his comedic range into darker territories. But this film was just wrong on so many levels, that I ask the question I do so rarely actually ask… Why the hell was this film even made? But he at least gets props for trying.
Luckily you can never count out the comedic talents of the beautiful Anna Faris (House Bunny, Waiting…). Usually despite how I feel about the film, I’ll almost always enjoy her performance.
Despite a strong performance from Faris, and the interesting turn from Rogan, I can’t recommend this film. Not even to rent. Skip it. You’re not missing a damn thing.