With everything that happened over the past week, reviews for The Proposal and Year One slipped through the cracks. I blame Michael Jackson.
Also… I wrote these like a week ago, except for My Sister’s Keeper, I didn’t have that one done yet. And I don’t feel like writing a full review… So 3 stars to the movie. Trite and contrived, but a well acted weeper.
I’m not one for the standard fair of romantic comedies. And as far as romantic comedies go, they don’t get much more standard than when they star Sandra Bullock. But add in the smart mouth of Ryan Reynolds, and you get a pretty enjoyable flick.
Sandra Bullock (Speed, Crash) stars as overbearing NYC book editor Margaret Tate who finds out she’s being deported back to Canada for failing to file her visa application on time. Enter Ryan Reynolds (Waiting…, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) as Andrew Paxton her much put-upon assistant. If they get married, she gets to stay in America and keep her job. She bribes him with a promotion to get him to along with it, but in order to fool the INS agent assigned to their case, she must spend the weekend with him and his family in Alaska. It follows a pretty cliched trajectory from start to finish. But adding in Betty White provides some good laughs.
Sandra Bullock gives a passable performance as Tate, but what’s more intriguing is that she’s playing her roles to herself. Rather than being an older actress trying to recapture her youthful glory days, she’s adapting her roles to play to her current strengths. And while there is nothing spectacular about her role or performance, her adaptability to the situation is admirable. But I would like to see her do more non-rom/com flicks. I think that era of her career has passed.
But the saving grace of the film is clearly Ryan Reynolds. Rather than playing the male lead as a nervous, submissive underling to the overbearing female lead, he kept up the pace and fired back at her just as much as she fired at him. He got in his own fair share of quips and barbs, and made sure the bribe wasn’t completely one sided. And he’s just one of those actors I can’tfigure out. He can do action, horror, comedy, romantic comedy and drama, all very well, and all with a knowing smirk on his face.
But when all is said and done, the performances couldn’t outshine the drab, cliche ridden plot. I don’t think it really constitutes a spoiler if I say that they end up falling in love in the end. If you go into the film not expecting that, then clearly you’ve never seen a Sandra Bullock film before. I’m not saying I would have preferred an Shyamalan inspired twist ending. But… I saw it coming a mile away. Take a cue from The Break-Up, sometimes… people don’t fall in love.
Harold Ramis. Jack Black. Michael Cera. Hank Azaria. Paul Rudd. David Cross. Christopher Mintz-Plaase. Oliver Platt. Vinnie Jones. Bill Hader Oliver Platt. HOW the hell could you fail with a line-up like that? By making a disjointed mess of a film, that’s how.
Black (Tropic Thunder, Tenacious D) and Cera (Arrested Development, Superbad) star as Zed and Oh, two hunter/gatherers who are banished from their tribe and must make a life for their own in new villages. After meeting up with Cain and Abel, their former village is pillaged by Romans, and the loves of their lives are sold into slavery. They begin an epic quest to free them from their lives of servitude.
As this is a comedy flick, I tried to overlook the anachronistic mixing of “cave people” and the Roman Empire. Still trying. Still failing. The film is an attempt to harken back to the days of Monty Python’s The Life Of Brian or Mel Brooks’ History of the World: Part I, but it fails miserably. It’s like watching a bunch of comedy sketches strung loosely together by a flimsy overall plot arc.
As a fan of Cross’ days on “Mr. Show” and Black’s on “Tenacious D”, I do in fact find certain scenes funny. But a few funny scenes does not make a funny movie. Or, clearly, a coherent one.
Everybody involved just seemed to phone this one in. No one really tried. Like, someone said “We’ve got these set pieces, and this script, and these costumes. You guys busy?” And everybody else just responded with “Well… I am bored enough.” This was a paycheck film. I can’t think of any other reason for this movie existing.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
You never really go into a Michael Bay flick expecting plot. Hot chicks, big explosions… that’s about it. And when the movie is space robots fighting other space robots, you shouldn’t expect much, regardless of who directs. But still, there was something lacking.
The movie picks up a year after the first one, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is off to college on the east coast, for some reason leaving eye candy girlfriend Mikaela Barnes (Megan Fox)back in LA. Unfortunately for Sam, after coming into contact with a broken piece of the All Spark (source of power for the Transformers), an ancient script detailing the origins of the metallic species gets implanted in his head. Now the Decepticons, led by the recently resurrected Megatron, want Sam so they can reclaim their former glory and take over Earth.
Here’s the thing, Mr. Bay, can I call you Michael? Here’s the thing, Michael… kick ass action scenes can only take you so far. I gave Bad Boys, The Rock, Armageddon, The Island and Transformers a pass because the action was good, and there was just enough plot to not completely suck. And in case you or anyone else out there is wondering, I do realize I left Pearl Harbor off the list. That film was basically Titanic Goes Hawaiian. And to quote Kevin Smith, “Really? Must we go tropical?”
But Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen? It was an alternating cycle of stuff blowing up, Megan Fox wearing something tight, and Megan Fox wearing something tight while running away from stuff blowing up. And I don’t mind that. I’m a 23 year old guy. That stuff is fine. But not for two and a half hours. I like White Castle sliders, but even I think the box of 30 is too much. Put some in the fridge. Heat them up for later.
I felt bored by the film. It was tragic. I didn’t walk away wanting two and a half hours back, but I did wonder why they were charging full price for essentially half a film. They left the plot on the cutting room floor. I took solace in the fact I didn’t pay.