May 7, 2012
Weekend In Reviews
The Lucky One - If the best scientists of our time worked together around the clock, with unlimited resources, in the greatest lab in the world to create a man that the vast majority of women between the ages of 16 and 60 found sexually attractive, their creation would pale in comparison to Zac Efron.
The appeal of The Lucky One is that women of just about every age want to see tight closeups of his dreamy blue eyes and impossibly long lashes revealing his damaged soul. We want to see him doing physical labor, playing with dogs and children, helping with the dishes, playing the piano. But mostly we want to see him passionately kissing and making love to a woman that could be us. Let me be clear with you - Zac Efron does all of those things in The Lucky One and when Taylor Scilling's Beth FINALLY gives into her desires and marches over to Logan's artfully dilapidated house with the shower on the porch, he also gets wet and nearly naked. Worth the price of admission.
And if you happen to see it in a nearly empty theater with a smartass friend who'll make vaguely inappropriate commentary with you throughout, so much the better.
New Year's Eve - Like Valentine's Day but worse. If this movie had been entirely about Zac Efron's Paul and Michele Pfeiffer's Ingrid, it would have been a million times more interesting.
Things Zac does in the movie: dances, finds creative ways to make a woman's dreams come true in one day, wears a suit, kisses a woman that could be us. Other things that happen in the movie: Katherine Heigl and Jon Bon Jovi lack chemistry, Halle Berry lacks purpose, Lea Michelle lacks the ability to act, many other people who should have had better things to do with their time show up to collect a paycheck.
This movie is terrible. If you heard it was bad, believe it. It was actually worse than you heard. If you really have to watch a movie with 37 stories running concurrently and uninterestingly together, watch Valentine's Day instead. It's slightly less bad.
Safe - Because sometimes all you really want is to see Jason Statham put on a crisp white shirt and dark jacket and shoot and/or beat the shit out of people. The excuse for him to do so in this movie is that he's an ex-cop, turned ex-cage fighter, turned homeless sad sack whose wife was killed by the Russian mob. He's given a renewed sense of purpose when he sees the Russian thugs menacing an 11 year old Chinese girl causing him to swoop into action to rescue her.
If what you're looking for is Jason Statham being Jason Statham you've come to the right place. Bonus: there is one shot of shirtless Statham and his glorious back muscles. (I'm just here to tell you what's IMPORTANT so you can make your movie viewing decisions accordingly.)
21 Jump Street - With a wink and a nod to the television show, this movie is very funny. It's fun to see a movie that features more than one running gag that manages to stop just short of running any of them into the ground.
I feel a little bad for all of the young people who saw this movie but never saw the television show because that Hanson/Penhall moment was amazing and beautiful and hilarious and, look, I'm just going to say it, I still think Peter DeLuise can get it.
It's weird that Jenko and Schmidt never kissed though. The sexual tension between them was ridiculous.
The Change-Up - This is easily the worst movie I've seen in the last 5 years and that's really saying something since I saw it only hours after I saw New Year's Eve. But while New Year's Eve was merely pointless and stupid, this was actively offensive to all people everywhere.
Two minutes into the movie Jason Bateman's baby projectile shits in his mouth and it's all downhill from there. Yeah, there actually is such a thing as downhill from that. IN HIS MOUTH, you guys. Everyone in the movie is insultingly stupid and a horrible person in general. I hated them all so much that I started to hate myself for not turning it off.
I still kind of hate myself for that.
Wild Child - Emma Roberts as a spoiled bitch who gets sent off to boarding school in England where she continues to be a bitch until making friends and realizing that since her mom went to the same boarding school, she can obviously be happy here. Her love interest is Alex Pettyfer who may be the blandest bit of blandness ever.
Bottom line: this is like an ABC Family original movie but with swearing. Naturally I enjoyed it. Don't judge me.
Abduction - If Zac Efron is the perfect guy to appeal to the largest number of women between 16 and 60, Taylor Lautner is the perfect guy to appeal to the largest number of girls between the ages of 10 and 17.
But wait, before we talk about Taylor Lautner, let's talk about the plot of the movie. Taylor's character, Nathan, is the child of two CIA agents. When his mother is killed because of something his father has that the Russians (isn't it cute how the Russians are still the enemy in this movie? Like it was originally written in '87?) want. Nathan is given to two other CIA agents who pretend to be his parents and keep him safe. But then he sees himself on a missing persons website and shit goes terribly wrong. You know what never happens in the entire movie? No one is abducted. Ever.
Nathan does run away and his neighbor, Lily Collins, runs with him. The two of them either made out or had sex once the summer before 8th grade and then when school started he never asked her out so it's been super awkward for everyone everywhere ever since. But with their lives in peril, they've got a lot of time to talk about stuff and work things out so they make out on a train for a while. This is a good time to talk about Lautner's demographic. Guys, Taylor Lautner can not act. His face does not emote and his voice has one level. He has a nice body and a nonthreatening face so to girls who aren't yet ready to have naughty thoughts about the emotionally damaged guy with the beard and calloused hands, he's swoon-worthy.
This movie seems like the perfect thing to get the middle school contingent interested in what I like to call Arm Porn Action. From here they're ready to graduate to The Transporter series and the action section of Mark Wahlberg's resume.
What's Your Number - I'm not going to lie, this movie was dumb. It wasn't funny and it wasn't interesting and it wasn't easy to stop staring at Anna Faris's lips because WHY DID SHE DO THAT to them? You know what the movie has going for it? Chris Evans spends a lot of it without his shirt of and he's not terrible to look at.
Moneyball - I enjoyed this movie quite a lot. It's kind of a dense slog through a lot of facts that don't make a very interesting movie.
So Brad Pitt is Billy Beane, the General Manager of The Oakland A's who've just lost their two star players to teams who can afford to play star players out the ass. He's got to rebuild a winning team with no money. Working with Yale mathlete Peter Brand, he goes after cheap, mostly useless players who get on base enough that they, mathematically, give them the best chance to win. So getting there is interesting but then they get these guys on the team and for several weeks or months the manager just...doesn't play them. And the team loses. A lot.
So this huge chunk of the movie is about how the manager, Art Howe played by Phillip Seymore Hoffman, is a total dick who won't do what he's told and therefore the team sucks. But Billy finally trades all the players that Art is playing instead leaving him with no choice but to play the team Billy built. And they win. A lot. They win more games in a row than any team in history. But just when you think this will be the triumphant story of how one man used math to win everything against all odds, you remember that it's a true story and the Oakland As didn't win anything. They finished their 2002 season in the exact same place they finished their 2001 season.
Billy got offered an assload of money to be the GM of the Red Sox but he turned them down. Billy Beane doesn't really look like Brad Pitt so in the end I don't think he ended up ahead.