October 9, 2009, - 6:15 pm

Weekend Box Office: A Trio of Mostly Bad Choices

By Debbie Schlussel

I did not particularly like anything new at the movies, this weekend.  Here are my reviews:


*  “Couples Retreat“:  Should have been sub-titled, “Don’t Go There.”  The ’80s called and they want their really bad “The Love Boat” episodes (which means all “Love Boat” episodes) back.  This movies was absolutely awful.  It’s the worst chick-flick/comedy I’ve seen in longer than I can remember.  Guys, do whatever it takes to avoid being dragged by your chick to see this.  You’ll thank me . . . or be stuck wishing you committed suicide because you didn’t listen to me.  Vince Vaughn has a couple of funny lines, but it’s not enough to save this giant bomb.

A couple having marital difficulties rooks their best couple friends into going to a tropical island resort for a week of fun and pleasure.  Instead, it’s a week of new age marital counseling by weirdoes.  And not a lot of fun.  The jokes are dumb and vulgar.  And definitely not funny.  A cheesy Latino male aerobics instructor in a Speedo bikini simulating sex on women and couples–haha funny.  Not.  Groanworthy, definitely.  Plus, did I really need to see a guy with a giant “arousal” and a morbidly obese Black man’s giant, lump-laden, naked butt and giant bare stomach?  Eeuuww, it’s a sight I’ll never forget.  And, no, it’s not about race–I’m sure an obese naked White guy would be just as grotesque and, um, impactful.

The people who made this piece of crap should be banned from Hollywood forever.  Not just disgusting, but a complete waste of time you’ll never get back (plus the ten bucks you wasted).


*  “Paranormal Activity“:  This movie is a great example of the saying, “Don’t believe the hype.”  The low-budget flick is getting a lot of buzz all over the Net and movie critics are raving over it, calling it the next “Blair Witch Project.”  But, like I said, don’t believe the hype.  It’s boring as hell.  And, though it’s supposed to be a horror flick, it wasn’t scary in the least, except for the last 30 seconds of this 99 minute waste of time.  What it, indeed, was:  laughable.

Not only is it low budget, it shows.  The whole movie takes place in a house.  The actors are terrible and extremely dull.  And they’re not much to look at.  The woman won’t stop yapping, and these people were so annoying, I was thinking throughout the movie, “Just die already.”  The herky-jerky camera method is old and gave me a headache.  We get it–you’re trying to look all independent and stuff.  Who cares.

The “story”:  A young couple has weird things happen in their house at night.    Stuff is moved, doors open and shut, and weird noises are made.  Even scarier, though, is that this annoying woman and her guy don’t seem to do anything for a living other than whine, videotape themselves, and never shutting the heck up.  The couple decide to videotape themselves while they’re asleep at night to find out what’s going on.  And, even though I couldn’t care less either way, they never do, nor do we.  The movie ends within 30 seconds of something exciting actually happening.

Big whoop.  A complete waste of time.  I wanted scary, not sleepy and insipid.



*  “The Boys Are Back“:  An Australian sportswriter (Clive Owen) has his beautiful wife die suddenly of cancer, with himself and his young son to fend for themselves.  At first, we’re manipulated into feeling sorry for him.  But then, we learn that he actually has a first family, he left for this one.  He cheated on his first wife and left her and his son for the second family.  Haven’t we seen enough crummy fathers from Hollywood?

Now, he explores single fatherhood and how to put the pieces back together with the son he neglected.  This movie was mostly slow and boring, not to mention melodrama galore.  But eventually–after he’s lived a good deal of his life as a slob and a jerk–we see a father become the man and loving father he should have been.  This was the best of this week’s new offerings, but that’s relative.  And, at least, it was beautifully shot, mostly in Australia.


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11 Responses

Haven’t I seen all these movies before?

Couples Retreat. Sounds like the dreadful East of Eden.

Paranormal Activity. As you said, Blair Witch Project.

The Boys are Back. A million other chick flicks…blecch!

Jeff W. on October 9, 2009 at 9:38 pm

I don’t watch to many movies, however one actor I like is Jason Bateman. He always seems to be the sane guy in a screwed up world, especially in the sitcom Arrested Development. That was one of the few on TV I could watch. It was great sitcom to show how screwed up and neurotic we are. Did he play a major role? What do you think of him as an actor?

CaliforniaScreaming on October 9, 2009 at 11:19 pm

Paranormal seems like a movie in which you cheer on the poltergeist.

Sorrow01 on October 10, 2009 at 3:17 am

I love when u review movies!! any chick flick these days are bound to in poor taste or really vulgar.

that whole blair witch project was a huge scene in the 90’s b/c any pot smoking teen listening to pearl jam would have loved the fake surrealism it brought. but the bottom line to us who live in “adult land”, is it sucked then, it sucks now and I wont be seeing this train wreck eitther! blair witch-ers; grow up!

lindapolver on October 10, 2009 at 8:40 am

Debbie, do you think you might consider making an alphabetical list of your movie reviews available on the site? I’ve found that to be helpful on other review sites. I’d be interested in your thoughts about some of the classic movies such as “The Seventh Seal” or “The Philadelphia Story”. Thanks, and keep up the great work.

DQ: That’s in the works. Not sure how soon, but it’s in the plans. Thanks for the suggestion. DS

Douglas Q on October 10, 2009 at 6:25 pm

High budget films are not necesarily the best ones. Horror films depend upon too much blood and gore to pad them. The plots are very formulaic and the death and destruction scenes are unitentionally laughable quite often. I would compare such productions with a film such as “Bad Seed”(1956). You did not see blood and gore, or even any explicit violence. Rather, one came to the conclusion, as did the mother,that Rhoda Penmark was a sociopathic killer in a little girl’s body. As the title of the film explictly states, some people are born bad. More modern horror films do not really have such a build up, and just get right to the action, rather like a porno flick.

sorrow01 on October 11, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Thanks, Debbie. I rarely go out to a movie and was planning on seeing Paranormal Activity. I’ll wait for Netflix now.

Jill on October 12, 2009 at 7:42 am

Thanks for the “review”, but actually, anyone with a brain and good taste merely has to watch the ads for this “horror show”
to stay away fro “Couples Retreat”

Marty Perry on October 12, 2009 at 3:55 pm

I saw “paranormal activity” and thought it was OK. Meaning for the amount of $10,000 that is a fairly good job by this Israeli guy. It could have used more terror and less talking to make it much more effective. Plus some of their actions just defied logic.

spaceship22 on October 12, 2009 at 5:21 pm

PA: overrated crap. Dont believe the hype.

Flixer on November 4, 2009 at 7:38 am

Thanks for the warnings.

MPCpiano on November 9, 2009 at 1:54 pm

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