July 1, 2012, - 2:53 pm
Wknd Box Office: Magic Mike, Ted, People Like Us, Your Sister’s Sister, Safety Not Guaranteed, Where Do We Go Now?
Apologies for the late movie reviews, but I wasn’t feeling well Friday afternoon and don’t post on the Jewish Sabbath. Better late than never. None of the new movies is anything I can recommend. A couple of them were depressing, a couple of them gratuitously filthy, and three of them inexplicably feature the very unattractive, nerdy actor Mark Duplass as some sort of hot stud. Please stop lying to us, Hollywood.
* “Magic Mike“: Absolutely awful. It’s basically “Showgirls” with men. And that’s an insult to “Showgirls,” which at least had a tad better plot. In addition, the story in this movie was depressing. And the movie had a huge gay vibe to it. I saw enough close-ups of Channing Tatum’s and Matthew McConaughey’s naked asses to last me five Liberace/Tom Cruise/John Travolta lifetimes. Ick. And the scene of McConaughey writhing his body against another guys in a mock sexual act was not something real heterosexuals wanna watch. Ugh. This is one of those movies that makes me ask myself if maybe I’m getting too old or that it’s weird and unstylish to have class and dignity and not get excited at this gross display. I’m not turned on by seeing a bunch of oiled up, completely waxed guys romp around naked in very gay thongs. And the women who are, well, there is something weird about them, not me. But the female mega-squealing and cheering at this movie is more evidence that in our 50 Shades of Grey/Magic Mike era, the real pigs and chauvinists are women, not men. But women can get away with it. When men react this way, they are “perverts.” Aside from that, the movie is predictable, stupid, and just plain Razzie Award-worthy bad. Since when did the crass and the crude become hot commodities? And why on earth is any woman turned on by some stranger in a thong writhing his junk on her face?
The female lead in this movie is someone I never heard of: dull, one-note actress Cody Horn. But then I looked up her bio, and it explained everything about why she was cast as a star in this Warner Brothers movie: “Cody Horn is the daughter of Warner Bros. President and COO, Alan F. Horn.” I’m sure that had nothing to do with her getting the job, right? (He’s now Chairman of Disney and gone from Warner Brothers, but he ran Warner Brothers when his daughter was cast in this movie. Her mother is Cindy Harrell-Horn, a has-been B-television actress who starred in the “Ghostbusters” music video.) There was probably a quid pro quo: then less-known Tatum was allowed to get his movie made if he agreed to cast the studio chief’s daughter as the female lead. That’s how stuff gets done in Tinseltown. Also, I wonder what the ghost of Elvis thinks about his granddaughter, Riley Keough, playing a druggie slut in this low-class movie.
The story: Channing Tatum is a “Magic Mike,” a stripper (as he was in real life prior to becoming an actor). He longs to become an industrial-style furniture designer and is only stripping so he can make enough money to finance his career. He also works a number of odd jobs, including construction, where he meets Adam (Alex Pettyfer). Adam, like the real-life Tatum, dropped out of a small college where he attended on a football scholarship. And like the real-life Tatum, he’s living in Tampa on his sister’s couch. Mike takes Adam under his wing, showing him how to become a stripper, party, and pick up women. The strip club is owned and run by Matthew McConaughey. Soon Adam is partying too much, doing drugs and selling them. And he gets jammed up. Also, McConaughey and Tatum get into a fight. During all of this, Tatum is trying to pick up Adam’s sister (Cody “my Dad headed Warner Bros.” Horn), a healthcare worker who doesn’t like the whole male stripper lifestyle. And he’s also sleeping around with a woman (Olivia Munn) who wants nothing to do with him beyond sex. Shocker.
If any of this sounds new to you, you haven’t been to the movies in ages, and probably shouldn’t make your return with this low-class, low-budget-looking tripe. It stank. The plot and the acting were sub-par. The naked male butts in my face were unwelcome. This flick is great fodder for “Beavis & Butthead” or “Mystery Theater 3000” commentary. Nothing more. And I wouldn’t be surprised if a big chunk of the audience is the gay crowd, to whom the studio has been heavily marketing this trash.
I felt like I got STDs just watching this. It’s a rancid taste of lowlifery I’d rather not digest. I definitely wasted two hours of my life I’ll never get back, watching “Frankie Goes to Hollywood,” the 2-hour extended remix. The ghost of Betty Friedan and the rest of the ugly feminist crowd got their wish: the men here are the new women–scantily clad bimbos acting like idiots. Great Gitmo torture material here.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Ted“: Mark Wahlberg–a real-life attempted murderer who took out a Vietnamese immigrant’s eye out with a meathook–plays a guy who is in arrested development and can’t grow up. The reason: his boyhood toy bear, Ted. When Wahlberg was a kid, he had no friends, and he wished that his boyhood favorite toy, a teddy bear, would become real. His wish is granted, and Ted becomes a filthy, low-life jerk, 30 years later, when Wahlberg is supposed to be an adult. Instead, Wahlberg is constantly late to work because he’s too busy smoking pot with Ted, and he otherwise goofs off. He’s dating Mila Kunis. He’s been dating her for four years, and when she thinks he’s going to propose, he gives her a pair of cheap earrings from a mall kiosk. She gives him an ultimatum: either he breaks up with Ted and kicks Ted out of the apartment, or she wants nothing to do with him.
While there are some really funny lines and moments in this movie (there is a running “Flash Gordon” movie gag running through it, complete with aged actor Sam Jones), it’s mostly just vile and disgusting. And that’s aside from the fact that the plot is stupid and predictable. If your idea of funny is topless women floating around, gratuitous sex (with a teddy bear, no less), and just vulgar language and imagery (including human feces on an apartment rug), then this movie is for you. For decent Americans, skip this piece of tripe. Gross.
FOUR MARXES PLUS TWO BIN LADENS
Watch the trailer . . .
* “People Like Us“: This movie was just way too much melodrama for me (or anyone paying to see it). People go to the movies to escape, not to see people whining and yelling and screaming like this. Who needs it? None of the characters in this movie were likable.
Chris Pine plays a fast-talking, smooth-operating salesman for a bartering company in New York. When he learns that his father died, he tries to avoid going to Los Angeles for the funeral because he hated his father, and they weren’t close. But his girlfriend (Olivia Wilde) hamstrings him into going, and while he misses the funeral, he is staying in Los Angeles with his ice-cold mother, Michelle Pfeiffer. Soon, he discovers that he has an illegitimate sister (Elizabeth Banks) he never knew. His father leaves him $150,000 cash to give to the sister’s son. He wants to keep the money because he’s heavily in debt, but he goes to find his sister and insinuates himself into her life without telling her who he is. She falls in love with him.
Yes, that’s icky and sick. But the movie is also dumb. He has the same last name as his (and her father), and yet for weeks on end, she lets Pine hang out with her and take care of her son, without asking his last name or knowing anything about him. Would any normal person do that? No, but if she did, it would resolve the whole movie instantly. Also, in a stupid plot “twist,” Pine is instantly investigated and brought up on charges for a deal in which boxes of tomato soup exploded and leaked all over a train. Um, the government doesn’t work that fast, and the Federal Trade Commission couldn’t care less about leaking tomato soup. Whoever wrote this cockamamie script didn’t do the least amount of a reality check. Ditto for the scenes in which nebbishy actor Mark Duplass is some “hot” airline pilot with whom the beautiful Elizabeth Banks has an affair.
If there is anything useful in this movie, it’s what a mess people, who have no father in their life, turn out to be. But then we knew that, and didn’t need this movie to show us. While there is a touching scene at the end of the movie, it isn’t worth sitting through the rest of this dysfunction fest. The people in this movie are NOT like us. And we have zero reason to want to watch them annoy and aggravate us for two hours and ten dollars we’ll never retrieve.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Your Sister’s Sister“: Mark Duplass plays a loser whose brother just died. At the funeral, he delivers a eulogy which is an attack on his brother. His brother’s ex-girlfriend, Emily Blunt, is his best friend and tells him he’s a mess. She sends him to her father’s cabin in the woods for a respite to work out his issues. But when he gets there, he meets her lesbian half-sister (Rosemarie DeWitt), sleeps with her, and might have gotten her pregnant. But he’s in love with Blunt, who apparently has a thing for him. A silly, ridiculous love triangle and brooding is basically what this movie is about. And the ending is a rip-off. Skip-worthy to the max.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Safety Not Guaranteed“: This movie could have been charming, but instead, it was an amateurish small-budget movie that was nothing more than a waste of time. A sleazy Seattle Magazine reporter (Jake M. Johnson) goes to a small town to find out the identity of the person who took out a strange newspaper ad for a companion on a time travel trip. He’s really using the trip to visit an ex-girlfriend from high school. And he takes two interns on the trip, whom he forces to do his work for him. The female intern (Aubrey Plaza) stakes out the geeky, nutty, paranoid man who took out the ad (Mark Duplass), and she falls in love with him. The reporter also corrupts the male intern, a geeky stereotypical Indian (Karan Soni). While the ending is somewhat charming, the rest of the movie isn’t. Don’t waste your time. I’ve seen film school class projects that are better. A lot of them.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Where Do We Go Now?“: Atrocious. This is basically “Hee Haw” for Arabs. And that’s an insult to “Hee Haw.” This movie, which takes place at some fictional city in the rural Lebanese countryside, is about the sudden rivalry and fighting between heretofore “peaceful” Muslim and Christian Arabs in a town. The men suddenly hate each other and are at war, but the women all get along and bake marijuana into the baked goods and spend their money to bring Ukrainian strippers to perform for their husbands, in order to make everything better like it once was. Sound stupid? Believe me, I’m making it sound better than it is. It’s far worse. This long, boring, pointless, horrible, never-ending movie tries to be a million things–comedy, musical, drama, romance, etc.–and fails miserably at each one. The “humor” is so backward and dated to several decades ago, it’s just annoying. Even the late Rodney King’s “Can’t We All Just Get Along?” BS is an improvement on this waste-of-time fraud of a movie. More proof that the Arab world is inept at film-making.
Watch the trailer
Tags: Alan F. Horn, Alex Pettyfer, Aubrey Plaza, Channing Tatum, Chris Pine, Cindy Harrell, Cindy Horn, Cody Horn, Elisabeth Banks, Elizabeth Banks, Elvis, Emily Blunt, Jake M. Johnson, Karan Soni, Magic Mike, male strippers, Mark DuPlass, Mark Wahlberg, Matthew McConaughey, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mila Kunis, movie, movie review, Movie Reviews, Olivia Munn, Olivia Wilde, People Like Us, Riley Keough, Rosemarie DeWitt, Safety Not Guaranteed, Showgirls, Ted, teddy bear, Warner Brothers, Where Do We Go Now?, Your Sister's Sister