June 25, 2010, - 8:23 pm
Here are my reviews of this week’s new releases at the box office:
* “Knight And Day“: Read my complete review. This secret agent comedy/thriller was part parody, all light, escapist summer flick. Fun and enjoyable, it debuted on Wednesday. Again, read my complete review.
* “Grown Ups“: Don’t let the title fool ya. This was more like, an immature, spoiled, middle-aged actor/comedian who has never grown up–Adam Sandler–deciding he wanted to have a fun vacation on a lake with four of his fellow, middle-aged, spoiled overpaid, immature, unfunny comedian/actor friends–David Spade, Chris Rock, Kevin James, and Rob Schneider–and write it off on his taxes by making a stupid movie at the same time.
This year’s version of “Wild Hogs” (read my review), this movie was long, disgusting, vulgar, and filled with dumb bathroom and sex jokes. Oy vey. Simply awful. Not funny, not entertaining, very bad acting, hated it more than words can say. Gross, dumb, and an utter waste of two hours of your life you’ll never get back.
The “story”–and I really don’t think their was one: five former school basketball champions are grown up when they learn their coach passed away. They all come home, along with their wives and families, for the funeral and to spend a few days in the old lake house, which they’ve rented in town. Sandler is a superagent in Hollywood who lives in a mansion, has spoiled kids, a nanny, and a beautiful wife (Salma Hayek) who is a clothing designer.
The others are mostly losers. Chris Rock is an out-of -work stay-at-home dad/ Mr. Mom with a pregnant wife and a mother-in-law who seems to be a walking racist stereotype of old Black mother-in-laws (yes, liberal Hollywood is extremely racist), who constantly farts. That’s funny? David Spade is still chasing women and lives in a trailer that looks like the White Snake fan club interior decorating project. Kevin James is, well, Kevin James. Who cares? I didn’t. He was slapped into the movie, like everything else. Rob Schneider is a new age hippie who is on his fourth marriage to an old woman.
Together, these jerks and their kids stay at the house on the lake and have fun. The end. Sooo boring, sooooo pointless. Sooooo awful. I just can’t impress upon you in words just how absolutely bad this movie truly is. Skip at all cost. Yuck. Absolutely nothin’ grown up about this movie. It’s an IQ test. If you like it, you’re a moron.
FOUR MARXES PLUS AN ADAM SANDLER ZOHAN
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Solitary Man“: While this movie is the most depressing movie I’ve seen since I can remember, it’s well done, and Michael Douglas is stellar, as usual. This really should have been “Wall Street 2,” because it’s kind of what happens on the other side.
Douglas plays a former car dealership magnate, who is something of a cad, a scammer, a womanizer, and down and out on his luck. He lost everything because he committed car loan fraud, paid a huge fine, and is now trying to make a comeback. But he’s the same old scammer, constantly aiming for ever younger women, borrowing money from his adult daughter and her husband, missing important family events–you know the type. He’s this close to making a comeback–this close–but he blows it all because he can’t become the person he should be, cannot grow up and be in control of his impulses, rather than a mindless slave to them.
Douglas visits his college alma mater, where the library is named for him, after he gave them millions. But now he has nothing. It’s embarrassing. He’s on the cusp of getting it all back–the cusp–but he throws it all away. And even in being forced to live humbly, he still can’t get it right.
This high-styled arthouse film is entertaining, well acted, and keeps your interest throughout. But–like I said–extremely depressing. It’s about a pathetic person who won’t grow up. Not a feel good movie. But one with a good message: Don’t F— it up! Definitely not for kids. This is a very grown up movie, with mature themes of life, love, sex, and–above all–loss.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work“: In 1999, I was on ABC’s “Politically Incorrect” with Joan Rivers. Together, she and I ganged up on and kicked the ass of Alan Dershowitz on topics from the O.J. Simpson trial to the Clinton impeachment, etc. Rivers was funny, smart, nice, friendly, engaging, and quick. I liked her, and she and I talked quite a bit. She was classy and dignified. It was around the time of the Jewish holidays, and we wished each other, “Shanah Tovah” [Happy New Year, a greeting for Rosh HaShanah].
But that was a completely different Joan Rivers–with a completely different face–than the one in this documentary, taped mostly last year. I expected I would like this movie, just as I liked Rivers when I met her. Not the case. Not even close. The Joan Rivers in this flick is mean, disgusting, crass, vulgar, self-centered, selfish, and annoying. She has class, all right. Low class. And it’s not fun to watch.
The most annoying parts of this movie are the constant close-ups of her plastic surgery clown face. It’s awful–a cross between The Joker and a lion face. If ever there was a commercial for growing old gracefully, this is it. Eeuuww. By the end of the movie, I just couldn’t bear looking at her cartoonish visage anymore. Ironically, the poster for this movie bears Rivers’ old facial profile, no longer recognizable or even in existence, replaced by an overly-inflated maxilla region and weirdly flattened, too tiny, reconstructed nose. It’s grotesque, especially close up.
And on top of that were her disgusting, unfunny jokes. This woman is clearly still floating on the air of her name, not talent. Her apartment, which plays a co-starring role in the film, is so gaudy, I thought I was at Saddam Hussein’s Palace, the Manhattan branch. Ugly. And just as ugly is when Rivers starts heckling the father of a deaf kid at her show at a Wisconsin casino. The whole thing is set up with her constant berating of small town America on the way to the show. Talk about tacky and unduly snobby. True, the man shouldn’t have come to a Rivers show. That’s her “humor”–saying she hates kids and the only kind she wants is a deaf and dumb one like Helen Keller, so she won’t have to hear the kid. And her assault on the man and then switch to 9/11 and Osama Bin Laden was tackier yet.
And speaking of deaf and dumb kids, Rivers’ daughter, Melissa, sadly, does not fit into that category. And we have to hear Joan and Melissa Rivers whining, cackling, and otherwise yapping in annoying cadence about their treatment on Donald Trump’s annoying reality show, NBC’s “The Apprentice.” We meet Rivers’ manager, and mid-way through, we’re told she had to fire him. She never says why, and it’s kind of pointless to tease us, then gloss over it, as if we know the inside baseball in a movie that’s supposed to show us the inside baseball of Joan Rivers’ life.
At 75, Rivers constantly reminds us how old she is and is obsessed with her age and that it makes her worthless in show biz. But what she doesn’t seem to get, showbiz aside, is that the most unattractive thing about her isn’t age or wrinkles she’s stretched out and botoxed to death. Monologues filled with c- and p-words–her standard, these days, according to the documentary–don’t make you funny. They don’t make you hip. They don’t make you edgy or “young.” Just unappealing and lame.
I really liked Joan Rivers after meeting her, pre-clown face and pre-atrocious persona. But this new version, this filthy movie and shameless person, lost me entirely. What a turn-off. “A Piece of Work,” indeed. And not in a good way.
Watch the trailer . . .
Tags: Adam Sandler, Cameron Diaz, Chris Rock, David Spade, Documentary, Grown Ups, Joan Rivers, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, Kevin James, Knight and Day, Melissa Rivers, Michael Douglas, Movie Reviews, Rob Schneider, Salma Hayek, Solitary Man, Tom Cruise