November 10, 2006, - 12:07 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Slim pickins at the movies, this weekend:
* “Harsh Times“: All hail the loser punks and thugs of America’s killing fields. That’s this flick’s message. Plus, this long, awful, disturbing, and bloody movie defames Homeland Security agents and military veterans of Afghanistan and the Gulf War. Very skip-worthy.
Fighting in special forces in Afghanistan (referred “Trashcanistan”) and the Gulf War and killing Arabs makes you a pot-smoking, gun-toting, thuggish punk who terrorizes neighborhoods and rival thugs. And then you get recruited to be an agent for the Department of Homeland Security. That’s the life of Jim Davis (Christian Bale), a White guy who grew up in a Hispanic ghetto of Los Angeles and is trying to get a job in law enforcement.
He tries to evade a DHS drug screening (he’s been recruited to become a DHS agent) by drinking vinegar and inserting a dropper up his penis. And that’s the good part of this horrid pic.
Despite detecting drugs, DHS hires him anyway, in order to fight drugs and kill people in Colombia. For most of the movie, he hangs out with his Hispanic friend who is married to a lawyer played by Eva Longoria. They go on drug and drinking binges and engage in illegal gun and drug sales. Both are unemployed losers looking for a job.
Don’t waste your time.
* “Stranger Than Fiction“: A dull, predictable IRS agent (Will Ferrell) suddenly hears a voice in his head predicting his every next move. The voice is that of an author (Emma Thompson) who kills her characters and is writing a book about the IRS agent. The IRS agent also falls in love with a left-wing, tax-revolting baker (played by uber-homely, “America deserved 9/11” actress Maggie Gyllenhaal). Also stars Dustin Hoffman as English Lit Prof trying to help Ferrell find out who is writing the story in his head and Queen Latifah as the publishing employee hired to help Thompson finish her book.
While the inside your head plot starts out as different and new, it’s not even close to as good as a similar “inside-the-character’s-head” film, “Being John Malkovich.”
Entertaining enough and overall okay, but not a great movie. Not even a great Will Ferrell movie. The ending of this long, contrived, non-sensical plot is mushy and stupid, exposing this movie as the chick flick it pretends it isn’t, in order to hold on to Will Ferrell fans.
* “A Good Year“: Another long, boring chick flick. Russell Crowe tries to repair his public image by playing this cut-throat London stock trader who softens up once he goes to France to sell his uncle’s French winemaking estate. He meets his uncle’s illegitimate, American daughter (Abbie Cornish–hard to believe Ryan Phillippe cheated on Reese Witherspoon for that) and a Frenchwoman, with whom he falls in love. Together, they all live happily ever after in French wine country. The end.
Almost fell asleep, several times.
* “Babel“: This movie was a limited release, last weekend, and opens nationwide, today. Hopefully, it closes nationwide, not long after. Read my complete review.
The message is basically this: Americans and Westerners are spoiled, whiny, inconsiderate cretins. Muslims and Mid-Easterners are lovely, peaceful nice people who never engage in terrorism, but who are accused of it and have their idyllic lives turned upside down by the Westerners. Illegal Aliens are the best–they raise the selfish, rich Americans’ kids and then get deported by the evil ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and Border Patrol agents. And, oh yeah, young, deaf Japanese girls watch their moms commit suicide and constantly expose their naked crotches to onlookers in a desperate search for love.
Again, read my full review. And skip this long, boring waste of time.
Tags: A Good Year, Abbie Cornish, actress, Afghanistan, America, author, Babel, Being John Malkovich, Christian Bale, Colombia, Department of Homeland Security, desperate search, drug screening, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Eva Longoria, France, Harsh Times, head and Queen, Internal Revenue Service, Jim Davis, John Malkovich, Latifah, law enforcement, lawyer, London, Los Angeles, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Russell Crowe, Ryan Phillippe, stock trader, Stranger Than Fiction, Will Ferrell