September 28, 2007, - 2:51 pm

Weekend Box Office: Saudi Propaganda, Cutesy Father/Daughter Movie, Other Time-Wasters

By Debbie Schlussel
Four new releases this weekend, and not much there. If you’re a parent, there’s something semi-okay in “The Game Plan.” Otherwise, I’d recommend “3:10 to Yuma,” “In the Shadow of the Moon,” and “The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters” (if you haven’t yet seen them)–all of them fantastic–instead of this weeks offerings. Otherwise, there are these:
* “The Kingdom“: The plot: FBI agents fictionally get to enter the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to investigate who is behind the bombing of a building populated by Americans. This is nothing more than a Pan-Saudi propaganda action thriller that tells us we’re just like the Saudis and our FBI agents are morally equivalent to terrorists. Yeah, right. Read my complete review.

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* “The Game Plan“: I’m not sure I like the idea of Disney promoting a movie about a kid born out of wedlock, though the circumstances here are different. Still, this corny movie has its redeeming value–like the fact that a father figure becomes a stand up guy who loves his daughter and does his best to protect and raise her. And, surprisingly, the post-steroidal Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson does a stand-up job (he’s shrunk so much that he went from playing a Lineman–Defensive Tackle at the University of Miami–to now playing a QB on the silver screen).
The plot: A conceited, self-centered, Elvis-loving NFL quarterback learns he has an 8-year-old daughter when this cute and sagacious little kid pops up for a visit. After resenting it, he quickly grows up and falls in love with his daughter.
The daughter, Peyton–played by Madison Pettis–is at first so very cute. But she’s so cute, it becomes saccharin-ly so and very annoying. Still, it’s suitable for taking young kids to the movie and, again, shows a great father-daughter relationship, something we see far too little of from Hollywood.
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* “The Darjeeling Limited“: This movie was so bad, I’m considering never drinking Darjeeling Tea again, lest it remind me of this moviegoing experience. Three brothers–Jason Schwartzman, Adrien Brody, and the Wilson that’s in rehab (Owen)–go on a train journey in India a year after their father (Bill Murray) died. The only funny part is at the beginning when you see Bill Murray racing across town in India to catch his train. The rest is just absurd and stupid. This is billed as a comedy, but there were no jokes, there’s no humor, and it’s not funny. So, I don’t get that label. Even though it’s only an hour and a half long, it seemed like forever. And there were five times I thought–I hoped and prayed–it would end, but it kept on going for no apparent reason. A complete, self-absorbed waste of time.
No wonder Owen Wilson is in rehab. If I were in this disaster, I’d be there, too.
(In the screening for critics, we were shown a short film related to the movie, beforehand. That film–whose sole purpose seems to be to show us Natalie Portman’s saggy, cellulite-endowed, naked butt–was equally a waste of time, if not moreso. It’s not being shown in theaters, but instead is available online. But don’t waste your time. It’s an experiment to get moviegoers to watch dumb things online. Make that experiment fail, as well as the movie. Yuck.)
* “Feast of Love“: More Like “Feast of the Lifetime Network on Steroids” filled with unattractive softcore porn of all varieties, including lesbians. Director Robert Benton–the guy who made “Kramer vs. Kramer“–made this after a long hiatus from the movie biz. He should have stayed retired. Instead he gave us “Kramer vs. America’s Moviegoing Public.” Or maybe it’s “Benton vs. America at the Movies.” Either way, here’s a hint: America’s Moviegoing Public loses . . . if you wasted $10 bucks to see this. Absolutely horrid and pointless.
The plot (if you can call it that): A professor on a leave of absence (Morgan Freeman) gives love and relationship advice to various friends from a local coffee shop. The relationships mostly fail, and in the process we’re shown more onscreen close-ups of flat-chested women’s nipples than even a pervert would care to see. Also stars Greg Kinnear as a two-time loser in relationships. Same goes for the lesbian sex scene involving Selma Blair (who was called Blair Beitner when she attended the same private school I went to). Yuck.
Don’t waste your time on this useless chick-flick melodrama (with apologies to “chick-flicks”–this is far worse).

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5 Responses

Am I the only one who gets creeped out by ‘feel good’ movies and commercials? It’s like all the people are part of some cult where they smile a lot, it’s very disturbing.

steve ventry on September 29, 2007 at 1:41 pm

More nipples through shirts than in any other movie from flat chesters…good god.
Anyway I wanna take a little jab at you debbie. You said The Rock was roided even while he was playing college football. I don’t believe that part of it, but I do think he was roided in some way when he was with the WWE. I know that becuase I’ve been watching WWE ever since 1997 (and just in time for the attitude era).
The way you make the daughter sound in the movie…she sounds like a *”chibiusa” . Cute, caring, but annoying. It’s good that the father-daughter relationship is shown in it’s true way…suprisly…in a disney movie.
*Chibiusa is the name of Usagi’s daughter from the 30th century. You gotta watch the anime “Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon” to understand where I get all these references from…or you can use the somewhat reliable wikipedia to look that up.

Squirrel3D on September 29, 2007 at 6:15 pm

I will NEVER see any movie with the obligatory wise black man in it. Can Morgan Freeman ever play someone who is not wise, compassionate yet tough and caring? Yuck, what crap. Blair Beitner? Hmmm.

lexi on October 1, 2007 at 1:06 am

Debbie, I give you full credit again! You brought down “Mighty Heart” and now Saudi-funded propaganda job “The Kingdom” tanks on its opening weekend.
My question: will they show it in the Middle East. Might give some women there the idea that it’s ok to wear a sexy tank top in the streets.
BTW: there was an LA Times piece awhile back by a female reporter who told of the way she was booted out of the main part of Starbucks in a fancy Saudi mall (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-women6jun06,0,5491632,full.story?coll=la-home-center). So, Starbucks is perfectly willing to go along with blatant gender discrimination. Would a Christian in Saudi be allowed into Starbucks. A Hindu? A Sikh? There are plenty working there. Are blacks allowed into Starbucks in Saudi Arabia?

sonomaca on October 1, 2007 at 2:39 am

Sonomaca,
Doesn’t surprise me at all. Despite the propoganda you might hear that they are our “allies” or the fact the Bush’s are dupes of the House of Saud, Saudi Arabia is a medieval, misogynistic, culturally primitive hellhole. I had family working for Shell Oil there and they would have to hold secret bible classes for the kids in their compound so the Taliban-nazis didn’t find out. They would have all sorts of tricks and code words for meetings. Furthermore, outside the compound, women would have to wear that primitive set of rags known as the Hijab (full length gown) in public.

JasonBourne81 on October 1, 2007 at 1:10 pm

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