July 1, 2011, - 5:01 pm
No big whoop at the box office this weekend:
* “ Transformers: Dark of the Moon“: Messy, cockamamie story but with great special effects in the last scenes. Way too long and too much overt sexuality and four-letter words for kids. Read my complete review.
HALF A REAGAN
* “Larry Crowne“: This is a lame chick flick. And the chick is Tom Hanks. The guy–the miserable, overly assertive figure–is Julia Roberts. Clearly, she doesn’t have to act, as this is her personality in real life. (She once said, “Republican falls between Reptile and Repugnant in the dictionary.” And whaddya know, Roberts is in the dictionary between Roach and Rodent. . . and Rotten.) And who wants to pay ten bucks to see it? Not me. The movie was supposed to be a comedy, but I barely laughed . . . at all. It was like a bad romantic comedy from the ‘8os, with apologies to the ’80s. This flick ripped off some elements of the far superior ’80s movie, “Summer School,” starring Kirstey Alley and Mark Harmon. And it added the dark, anti-corporate specter to the mix. Four words I saw at the beginning warned me this was a full-blown IED: “Written by Nia Vardalos.” (It’s co-written by Tom Hanks, but Vardalos’ movies are just awful.)
The story isn’t even the slightest bit believable. Tom Hanks, an employee at UMart (which is supposed to be Walmart) loses his job after years of service because he doesn’t have a college education. Um, how many Walmart employees get fired because they don’t have a college degree? Just doesn’t happen. So, it’s preposterous to try to make us think these stores are “big, bad corporations” who do this.
Hanks has trouble finding another job and needs to make ends meet to pay for his home, which is about to go into foreclosure. And he rides a scooter to save gas money. He decides to go to school and attends a community college, where his professors are Roberts and George Takei (“Star Trek’s” Sulu). Roberts is insufferable, lazy, and mean to her students. Her husband is an internet writer and blogger who is addicted to online porn while she is at work. One night, when she is drunk, she has a fight with her husband and Tom Hanks gives her a ride home. Predictably, there’s eventually romance there.
This movie is also hypocritical in its double standards for men and women. Moviegoers are supposed to saw “aw, that’s so cute” about Roberts behavior toward Hanks, but if Roberts’ character were a male professor hitting on a male student, we would attack all of the behavior we’re supposed to applaud here as male chauvinist. Roberts is a married professor trying to get in her student’s (Hanks) pants and sleep with him. He gives a terrible speech for his final exam (it’s a speech class). And, yet, because she wants to “date” (euphemism) him, she gives him an A+ for the semester, far higher than more superior students. That’s sleazy, not laudable.
The only thing likeable in this movie is Hanks’ Navy veteran character, Larry Crowne. He’s amiable, somewhat naive, and we feel for him. But it’s not enough to make this dopey, hokey, predictable lame excuse for a comedy worth your ten bucks. Sorry.
HALF A MARX
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Monte Carlo“: This is one of those cheesy kids movies aimed at Tween girls who love actress Selena Gomez. For them, it’s fine. For adults, it’s mildly amusing only if you must take your young girls to the movies (don’t go see it on your own). For boys, skip it.
The story: Gomez is a recent Texas high school grad, who has dreamed of going to Paris for a week with her best friend, a haggard and old-looking Katie Cassidy, a cheesy fellow waitress at a local restaurant. But Gomez’ s mother and stepfather force her to take her new, stick-in-the-mud, goody-goody stepsister (Leighton Meester) with.
Soon, the girls find themselves on a miserable tour of Paris and are staying at a seedy hotel. But a case of mistaken identity has people confusing Gomez for her doppelganger, a wealthy British heiress. She and her two Texas companions are whisked away to Monte Carlo, where Gomez impersonates the heiress.
This isn’t a great movie, but it’s cute and fine for its target audience–Tween girls. There isn’t any sex or violence or four-letter words. And, as I noted, parents will be very mildly amused as they accompany their kids to this predictable fluff. It does teach you that charity is important and so is honesty, so a pretty good lesson for girls growing up in a vapid, sleazy Kardashian world.
ONE REAGAN (for young girls, not you–so, don’t send me complaints if you are over 16 and don’t have a daughter who is under 16)
Watch the trailer . . .
Tags: Julia Roberts, Katie Cassidy, Larry Crowne, Leighton Meester, Monte Carlo, movie, movie review, Movie Reviews, Nia Vardalos, Selena Gomez, Tom Hanks, Transformers: Dark of the Moon