OK, so I’m not really in 3D. But, everyone else was doing it and I was feeling left out.
It is amazing to me how many national releases there are this week. But, what is more amazing to me is how little I wish to see any of them. You would think with this number of choices something would manage to stand head and shoulders above the others and look appealing.
So, I apologize ahead of time for the mediocre nature of this week’s MovieDruid. But, in my defense, I don’t make up the release schedules.
(As a side note, I have looked over the list five or six times now, and I can’t bring myself to put a Pick of the Week moniker on any of these films. My conscience would bother me too much to even tacitly endorse one of these train wrecks.)
Synopsis: Kevin Carson is a young man living in the projects, is just an ordinary guy — until he wins $370 million in the Mondo Millions Lottery. That’s the good news. The bad news is, the lottery claim office is closed for the long Fourth of July weekend, so, before he can collect his prize, Kevin is going to have to figure out how to keep a lid on his good fortune and survive the next three days. As news of his windfall spreads through the community like a grass fire, Kevin quickly discovers the good, the bad and the ugly in his closest friends and neighbors. Girls who could never be bothered before start chasing him down. Everyone wants a piece of him. On edge and on the run, he even begins to question the intentions of his best friend.
MovieDruid’s Comments: Hollywood really needs to get some new material. How many times are we going to play the huge lottery win and/or inheritance story for laughs? This is beyond well-trod territory, we are officially in a ditch. Of course, every director and every cast to try this thinks they have a new angle on the story, but it comes down to the same jokes, the same physical humor, and the same tired resolutions. Hollywood has the capability to make comedies that are actually funny on their own merit. Every once in a while we even see one get released. So why fall back on the same tired concepts which have got to be creating diminishing returns after so many years? I guess I’ll never truly get it.
“Nanny McPhee Returns”
Synopsis: In the latest installment, Nanny McPhee appears at the door of a harried young mother, Mrs. Isabel Green, who is trying to run the family farm while her husband is away at war. But, once she’s arrived, Nanny McPhee discovers that Mrs. Green’s children are fighting a war of their own against two spoiled city cousins who have just moved in and refuse to leave. Relying on everything from a flying motorcycle and a statue that comes to life to a tree-climbing piglet and a baby elephant who turns up in the oddest places, Nanny McPhee uses her magic to teach her mischievous charges five new lessons.
MovieDruid’s Comments: As far as family friendly fare I suppose this second installment in the “Nanny McPhee” franchise looks serviceable. It appears to have plenty of laughs that can be shared by child and adult alike. More importantly, it does not appear to talk down to kids or treat them like they are not intelligent enough to get the more sophisticated stories and humor. But, again, I have to wonder if we are just retreading here. The “Nanny McPhee” character is intriguing in a way, but much of that fascination is because she is so familiar. Granted, she has a slightly darker side and is a bit more confrontational than Mary Poppins or Maria from “The Sound of Music,” but the character is fulfilling essentially the same role is essentially similar manners. Perhaps this is good entertainment for the young family on a hot summer weekend, but I can see little other use for it. Then again, that’s probably their target demographic so I guess I should say “Well done.”
Synopsis: When a tremor in Lake Havasu, Ariz., cracks the lake floor open, a prehistoric strain of fish are set loose and people begin to disappear.
MovieDruid’s Comments: Ah, here it is. This week’s required 3D film. Oh, and look! Not only do we get another 3D movie, but it’s a time machine. It’s going to take us all the way back to 1978. Woot! That, of course, was the year the original “Piranha” was released. Of course, back then it was the time of the disaster and monster movie. But, now we have CGI and 3D to make this the best damn killer-fish movie ever! Does that sound as ridiculous to everyone else as it does to me? This one might actually be worth seeing just to see if Ving Rhames (“Pulp Fiction” & “Mission: Impossible”), Christopher Lloyd (“Back to the Future” & “The Addams Family”), Elisabeth Shue (“Leaving Las Vegas” & “Hollow Man”), and even the great Richard Dreyfuss (“Jaws” & “Mr. Holland’s Opus”) can save this from being the train wreck it seems bound to be. But, far be it from me to doubt the director of “The Hills Have Eyes.”
Synopsis: “The Switch,” is an offbeat comedy about Kassie, a smart, fun-loving single woman who, despite her slightly neurotic best friend Wally’s objections, decides it’s time to have a baby-even if it means doing it by herself… with a little help from a charming sperm donor. But, unbeknownst to her, Kassie’s plans go awry because of a last-minute switch that isn’t discovered until seven years later when Wally finally gets acquainted with Kassie’s precocious-though slightly neurotic-son. From the people behind “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Juno” comes “The Switch,” due in theaters this summer.
MovieDruid’s Comments: And now, judges, we give you the rom-com entry for this week’s pageant. It was bound to happen with this many releases, after all. One thing that irritates me about this one is they are touting it as ‘from the creators of ‘Juno’ and ‘Little Miss Sunshine.'” Decent pedigree, huh? Well, I looked into it. The only connection I can find with Juno is Jason Bateman and the only connection with “Little Miss Sunshine” is a producer. No directors in common. No writers in common. Really well-connected there, eh? They at least made a decent selection with their female lead. Jennifer Aniston is an actress built for this sort of role. She is one of those actresses that truly helps define a generation in the romantic comedy genre. Jason Bateman is an interesting choice. He has chops, but I have to wonder if he can create the chemistry necessary to pull one like this off. The saving grace here may be Jeff Goldblum (“The Fly” & “Jurassic Park”). His dry wit can often act as a paste that holds things together. But, I wouldn’t get my hopes up.
Synopsis: “Vampires Suck” is a comedy about contemporary teen angst and romance movies. Becca, an anxious, non-vampire teen, is torn between two boys. Before she can choose, Becca must get around her controlling father, who embarrasses Becca by treating her like a child. Meanwhile, Becca’s friends contend with their own romantic issues — all of which collide at the prom.
MovieDruid’s Comments: Open letter to 20th Century Fox. I have weathered the entire “Scary Movie ” franchise. I have refrained from much deserved protests as you release one new spin-off from it after another. I flinched, but I swallowed them one after another. I told myself you were providing a service. You were giving fans of extremely stupid comedy a place to go. I dealt with your spoofs on Superheroes, Disasters, even Dance. But, you may have pushed me too far. It’s not that you are making fun of the glut of vampire movies. I have done that myself. But, do you really need to pollute our pristine cinemas with this garbage again and again? If this sort of thing continues, we can’t be held responsible for the raging wildfires that will consume the 20th Century Fox backlots. Consider yourself warned.