April 3, 2009, - 1:02 am

Weekend Box Office: “Fast/Furious” Has Cool Chase Scenes, Little Else; Charming But Slightly Raunchy “Adventureland”

By Debbie Schlussel
Two new flicks at the box office. Neither is that bad. Both are very adult movies.
* “Fast and Furious“: Wow, the creators of the original “The Fast and the Furious” were really inventive with the title of their third sequel in dropping the two “The”s. I liked this one far better than the other two sequels, but that’s not saying much. The benchmark was low. And the movie was better than I expected. Again, the benchmark was low.
You needn’t see any of the sequels and only the original to understand what’s going on here. This incarnation was written to begin where the original left off and works as if the sequels had never occurred. All of the lead actors in the original (none of whom became a huge mega A-list star)–Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, and Michelle Rodriguez–are back.
Walker is now an FBI agent, and car thief Diesel is in Mexico with girlfriend Rodriguez. Both of them have fled there to avoid being caught by the feds for running their auto theft ring. Soon Diesel learns that his girlfriend has been murdered by a vicious, brutal Mexican drug lord after she returned Stateside, and he and Walker team up to find him and bring him to justice.

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This movie had great car chases and very cool, death defying stunts, but little else . . . unless you’re a red-blooded woman like me admiring the extreme hotness of Paul Walker, who looks slightly more haggard in this latest incarnation but just as hot as the original. That wasn’t enough to save this movie, though.
The plot was a mess, the story weak, but what else did you expect from the fourth in a series of fast car movies, the original of which wasn’t all that? Not that anyone goes to this movie to see a plot of any sort. People go to movies like this to see fast cars, big stunts, and hot chicks. And they got the first two out of the three. The cars in this movie are pretty sweet.
Mildly entertaining if you like to watch fast cars with loud engines. But, overall, I was bored. When there was action, the action was great. But when there wasn’t, it was sleep-inducing and slow. Only the eye candy of Walker kept me awake and alert between cool car stunts.
Bloody, violent, and full of four-letter expression. Not for your kid. But not too bad.
HALF REAGAN
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* “Adventureland“: Although I had mixed feelings about this movie, overall I enjoyed it very much. Though it’s made by the “Superbad” team, it’s not nearly as raunchy, tasteless, or obscene. But it’s got more than enough. And it’s well done, with a far more decent storyline. Definitely not for prudes, though. Despite all that, it’s got a certain charm to it.
If you grew up in the ’80s–in which this movie is set–you’ll probably enjoy it, as I did. The target audience is quite apparently the Gen-X crowd.
I laughed like crazy and I thought it was sweet and entertaining. On the other hand, there were a lot of drugs, which bothered me more than the lewd references and innuendoes. This movie is very adult. The R-rating is there for a reason. It’s not for your kids.
Up-and-coming, very talented actor Jesse Eisenberg plays James, Brennan, a somewhat geeky college grad on his way to New York for journalism school. But, soon, he learns that his father has been “downsized” and he has to work for the summer. But the only thing a person who majored in English literature can get is a job at the local amusement park, “Adventureworld.”
Brennan finds himself falling for Em (Kristen Stewart), an aloof girl at Adventureworld and interacts with fellow geeks, girls, and others at the amusement park, all set to an ’80s soundtrack and complete with ’80s hair and clothes. We watch Brennan try to get the girl but also come to terms with his collapsing future.
The one part I didn’t like is the continuing theme of pot use as a social mechanism. Brennan’s wealthy best friend gives him a bag of super potent marijuana before leaving for Europe for the summer. The pot makes Brennan instantly popular at the theme park.
Best line in the movie: When a geeky Jewish co-worker is rejected by his girlfriend because her Catholic parents don’t want her to date a Jewish guy, Brennan’s love interest Em, goes to tell the girl off and call her “anti-Semitic,” to which the Jewish guy responds, “The Jews have been through worse.” No kidding.
Like I said, this movie is absolutely not for kids and not teens below 17 either. It’s an adult flick, and it’s rife with four-letter salutes and suggestive situations. If you’re a prude, it’s not for you.
TWO REAGANS
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