November 24, 2010, - 12:29 pm

T-Day Box Office: Tangled, Burlesque, Faster, Love & Other Drugs

By Debbie Schlussel

The best–and only worthwhile–movie debuting on this mid-week Thanksgiving holiday is an animated Disney flick.  So, what else is new?

*  “Tangled“:  Terrific.  Enjoyed this much more than I expected I would.  Charming and great for your whole family, especially if you have young kids.  This is Disney’s animated version of the Rapunzel fairy tale.  It is part musical–lots of singing with Mandy Moore’s surprisingly strong voice (she’s Rapunzel)–and all adventure.  It’s very cute, and although the Rapunzel character will appeal more to girls, there are several characters aimed at boys.  The male hero (voiced by Zachary Levi) is somewhat of an inept smart aleck and kinda metrosexual, but I doubt kids will pick up on it.

You know the story, though it’s been slightly embellished for the movie.  Funny, I don’t remember the part about Rapunzel’s hair glowing and being able to tie people up, but it’s been a long time since my parents read me the fairy tale as a little kid.  Princess Rapunzel is kidnapped as a baby and must spend her life, raised by the woman she thinks is her mother, in a tower.  Only when she lets her hair down can people climb up and down the hair to get into the tower.  But she is stuck there.  She longs to see life outside and encounter the floating lights she sees every year on her birthday.  But her “mother,” Gothel won’t let her go outside into the real world.  Eventually, though, a bandit (Flynn Ryder) brings her out of the tower and into the Kingdom, where her parents, the King and Queen, constantly search for their long-lost baby.

Pleasant, fun, and entertaining.  And, as I said, the singing is very strong.  It’s not an adult film, but perfectly fine for parents who want to enjoy the movie with their whole family and not worry about objectionable stuff.  There’s none of that here.


Watch the trailer . . .

*  “Burlesque“:  Basically, this is “Showgirls” for gay men . . . minus the topless stuff.  It’s got Cher, gay characters sleeping around and not knowing their names when they wake up in the morning and joking about it (Joe Pesci:  Funny how?!), Christina Aguilera, and a whole bunch of other actresses who look like female impersonators but have great bodies and wear skimpy lingerie on them.  The 1930s decade is turning over in its grave.  But, hey, Julianne Hough needs a job post- “Dancing With the Stars.”

Most of this movie is crappy.  But parts of it–like Cher singing two solos–are simply unbearable.  In the ’70s, when she sang with her deep voice, it was shtick.  In the ’80s, it was cheesy.  But in 2010, hearing this 60-something plastic surgery exhibit struggle to warble high notes with her low-octave voice is literally like hearing sheep scream in mid-slaughter.  Painful.

Also painful is the laughable dialogue and silly story, which–as I noted–“advances” little beyond “Showgirls,” except that the nipples are now covered . . . barely.

Aguilera plays a small-town waitress from Iowa who moves to Hollywood to make a better life and succeed as a dancer and singer.  She sees a nightclub, “Burlesque,” owned by Cher.  The gimmick of the club is a song and dance routine featuring Cher and young chicks shimmying around in lingerie to golden oldies a la “The Pussycat Dolls.”  Aguilera maneuvers her way into a waitressing job, trying to convince Cher and her gay assistant, Stanley Tucci, that she should be up on stage with the other girls.  Soon, she’s taken over and replaced the main star (Kristen Bell), who wants revenge.  Oh, and the bar is defaulting on its bank loan, and a handsome (by “Grey’s Anatomy” standards, not mine) real estate developer (Eric Dane) wants to buy Cher and her ex-husband out.  Soon, a love triangle develops between Dane and a gay-looking bartender in eye-liner (oops, I meant GUY-liner), Cam Gigandet.

Guys, trust me.  This is a chick flick worth doing almost anything to get out of.


Watch the trailer . . .

*  “Faster“:  The title is what I’d shout when you walked out of the theater from this mid-movie.  It’s a bloody, violent, killing-porn flick parading as a thriller.  Little thrilling about it.  Even the pretentious, brooding, dark scenes of fancy sports cars in chase scenes aren’t worth watching.  But they are the high point in this movie that seems made to show people shot in the head, stabbed to death, or otherwise brutally murdered.  It tries so hard to be campy.  But replace the letters, “A and M” with “R-A-P” and that’s exactly what you get here.

The story (if you can call it that): Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson gets out of prison after serving time.  He has photos of people in a muscle car kept in some lot near the prison for him.  He starts tracking down the people in the photo and brutally murdering them.  Soon, we learn that he’s a bank robber whose brother was murdered by a rival group  of thugs.  A metrosexual hitman in a Ferrari (or was it a Lamborghini?–I wasn’t paying attention ‘cuz I just didn’t care) is chasing Johnson, trying to kill him before he kills the others.  Also on the case is a drug-addict police detective (Billy Bob Thornton, who must need the paycheck), who is ten days away from retirement.

It was disturbing, but nothing new to hear the audience with whom I saw this, clap and cheer at the last few killings.  Yup, way to cheer on cold-blooded criminals killing other cold-blooded criminals.  That’s America 2010.  Frankly, if all of the characters (and actors) in this wannabe grindhouse crap killed each other on a desert island and never made a movie again, I’d say we were makin’ progress.  Sadly, we aren’t.  Make your own progress and save ten bucks and 1.5 hours of your life.  Just ‘cuz it’s Thanksgiving, doesn’t mean you have to pay for  and sit through this turkey.


Watch the trailer . . .

*  “Love and Other Drugs“:  Epic idiocy.  I wish I’d been on drugs so I could forget this absolutely awful movie, which mixes semi-porn and gratuitous vulgarity with ObamaCare propaganda and attacks on the pharmaceutical industry.  How sad for the late Jill Clayburgh that this was her last movie–quite a nadir.  I couldn’t wait for this mindless waste of time to end, but it kept on going after like ten endings.

Jake Gyllenhaal (a TERRIBLE actor!) plays a Viagra pharmaceutical rep, who has graduated from Zoloft.  When we begin the movie, he’s just a womanizing salesman at an appliance store, who loses that–his latest short-lived gig.  Soon, he gets a job as a pharma rep, selling the new Zoloft, which he’s trying to get doctors to prescribe instead of Prozac.  He succeeds by sleeping with doctors’ employees.  One doctor allows him to impersonate a doctor, when he’s examining a topless patient, Anne Hathaway, who has early-onset Parkinson’s Disease.

Soon, the two are dating, and Gyllenhaal gives  up his womanizing to be the savior of Hathaway . . . and also for the opportunity to compete with her in using the F-word and seeing her topless.  I lost count at six scenes of Hathaways nipples.  Enough already.  It’s not a Got Milk commercial.  Throughout the movie, we’re told how expensive medicine and prescriptions are and we see Hathaway taking busloads of seniors to Canada to get cheap meds.  That’s juxtaposed with the wild spending, boozing, and sexing of pharmaceutical reps and the “sleazy” doctors (all doctors are sleazy in Hollywood’s view) whom they wine and dine.  Did I mention this was an ObamaCare movie with t– shots?

Then, there’s the stupid constant scenes of Gyllenhaal’s fat multi-millionaire brother who sleeps on Gyllenhaal’s couch and masturbates to porn Gyllenhaal and Hathaway made.  Thanks, Hollywood, for raising the bar on class and good taste.

Aside from the multi-nipple shots, F-word dialogue, dumb jokes about a fat masturbating brother, and overwrought melodrama to try to make this movie seem worthy (and I assure you it certainly was not), that’s all there is.

I would advise the Parkinson’s Disease victims throughout America to sue the people who made this movie for malpractice and defamation.  Parkinson’s is a serious illness with no cure.  Instead, it’s used as the cover for a disgusting, sleazy movie with no point . . . other than to transfer your time and money to Anne Hathaway’s latest Hollywood Hills mansion and Jake Gyllenhaal’s next Italian sports car purchase.

Skip at all cost.  A total waste of time, and you need to take a shower after the “experience.”  If I were Osama Bin Laden, I’d add this piece of garbage to my recruitment propaganda repertoire.  On Thanksgiving, give thanks you have the freedom to avoid this movie.


Watch the trailer . . .

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18 Responses

I can’t stand Christina Aguilera. I still think she tries to sound like a black soul singer when she sings, and she just can’t pull it off. Give it up Christina. You are NOT beautiful in every single way!

Oscar on November 24, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Debbie, I feel for you sitting thru the CRAP that oozes out of the Hollywood machine. Too many people with too much money and NO ideas. It’s a shame it’s come to this.

JeffT on November 24, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Thank G-d for youtube.

Not Ovenready on November 24, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Considering its a holiday, you’d think they would come out with their best releases.

This year, you would be wrong on that score.

NormanF on November 24, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Was going to take my grandchildren to see tangled, you just cinched the deal. they thank you!

Jo on November 24, 2010 at 5:49 pm

I have been waiting for DS to review “Love & Other Drugs” because I knew she would hate it and pull no punches.

If murder were legal, at the top of my hit-list would be two Hollywood wastes…Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllanhaal (along with his worse than those two put together sister Maggie).

I have such a visceral hatred for these two uber annoying dweebs. Girly Gyllanhaal is more female than male (and he has loads more estrogen than Manet “Big Sis” Incompetano!) and I have no idea how people see him as handsome. Eric Dane, yes, but not Girly Gyllanhaal!

Anne Hathaway…who does SHE have naked pictures of? I saw her in “Rachel Getting Married” and I wanted to pay someone to kill me with a chainsaw! She ruined “Alice In Wonderland” and I find her so odd looking. She’s also pathetic…she would display desperation on how her weirdo, foppish-looking convict ex-boyfriend (currently in the hoosegow ‘cuz he’s a crook!) would not marry her. Everyone knew he was a grifter but dumbo Anne. Eyes bigger than a Buick, but blind as a bat.

And now a film with both of them together? Oy vey es mere…worse than Chinese torture. I hope this joke of a film makes $20. all weekend. When Girly Gyllanhaal is a love interest in a film with a woman, you know it’s a lesbian film!

Skunky on November 24, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Wow. If you hate someone so much you wish it were legal to murder them, then perhaps you have a problem, my friend. Ya might want to seek help.

    maatkare on November 26, 2010 at 2:22 am

      Go look up sarcasm and dark-humour in a dictionary, dummy. RIF Reading is Fundamental (so is comprehension!)

      Skunky on November 26, 2010 at 10:05 pm

        Wow. If you hate someone so much you wish it were legal to murder them, then perhaps you have a problem, my friend. Ya might want to seek help.

        maatkare on November 26, 2010 at 2:22 am


        Go look up sarcasm and dark-humour in a dictionary, dummy. RIF Reading is Fundamental (so is comprehension!)

        Skunky on November 26, 2010 at 10:05 pm


        The Internet is not always the place for sarcasm or dark humor. There are some VERY serious people out there.

        Miranda Rose Smithj on November 30, 2010 at 7:12 am

Good to hear that “Tangled” is a quality film, I guess I will check it out eventually. But I don’t like what they did to the male lead. In the original story, the male lead wasn’t a narcissistic, metrosexual criminal on the run from the authorities (another subversive movie that glorifies thugs and mocks police, yeah! … I want the rich elitist folk who make this junk to come live in some of the places where I’ve had to – where the thugs outnumbered the cops – and see how they like it) but instead was a mature, intelligent, resourceful, brave and law-abiding prince. But hey, unless it is a Denzel Washington movie, Hollywood avoids masculinity like the plague, and that includes Disney and their endless parade of fairy fancy boys that make Justin Bieber look like Davy Crockett.

G: Amen. That’s why I said I didn’t care for the way he was a bumbling metrosexual in this. Otherwise, though, it’s okay. DS

Gerald on November 24, 2010 at 10:57 pm

hey Debbie,
Do you know if there is a homosexual casting couch? That is the only way I can figure that Jake glickandhaul would ever be cast in a movie. Calling him a really bad actor is an understatement.

Bill on November 25, 2010 at 1:11 am

Debbie as always spot on reviews. I think they’re more entertaining than Kristen Wiig’s SNL “My Aunt Linda” reviews. Priceless!

Tov on November 25, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Thanks for the movies reviews. This is why my wife and I have not been to movies for over 5 or is it 8 years.

Fred on November 25, 2010 at 2:53 pm

I saw three of the four movies you reviewed. Your description of Burlesque was spot on. This is a deliberately campy, vulgarly glitzy, foolish, vapid movie targeted entirely to tasteless women–just as the trailers promised.

I didn’t like Tangled as much as you. You described the lead male, Flynn, as an “inept smart aleck” and “metrosexual” but forgot to add that he was completely clueless, smug and preposterously conceited– in other words, Aladdin (or any number of other past Disney cartoon males) brought back to life. Rapunzel, on the other hand, is unimaginably clever and perky while grounded in good instincts (in other words, a typical Disney cartoon perfect female). The humor was predictable, the plot mechanical, the lyrics trite, at least I thought. The theme of “children’s liberation” and “parents are too restrictive” was woven throughout–as they are in all Disney cartoons, from Little Mermaid on. Not a lot of fun for this viewer.

I did like Faster at least a little more than you. It’s very much a B genre film for guys. (A brief scene in a strip club is even included as if to cover all bases.) There are shootings, stabbings, hot cars, yes,–but also principled characters versus unprincipled ones. The plot I felt was strong, even if not subtle (powerfully driven vengeance evolves into mystery with trick ending). I will admit that the fact that the “hero” has criminal flaws reveals a certain decadence in the culture, but I think this is the closest we’ll get to an old-time Walter Hill action film for guys, so I’m taking it rather than leaving it. Billy Bob Thornton added class to the film, and The Rock is my favorite current action hero when he’s taking a break from his Tooth Fairy roles.

Burke on November 26, 2010 at 1:13 am

I like Jake Gyllenhaal often enough (e.g. Brokeback Mountain, Donnie Darko), but obviously his current movie sucks.

skzion on November 26, 2010 at 10:29 am

There’s a big difference between Faster (which I liked, at least as a guilty pleasure) and Ben Affleck’s recent sloppily romanticized The Town (which I despised). Both make “heroes” of people who rob banks. What’s the difference?

In The Town, Affleck plays a character who robs banks because it’s a way of life in that part of Boston. (That’s not an adequate excuse, I’m sorry. Strike one.) He’s a brooding, Byronesque type forgiven for his lifestyle by the adorable romantic interest who is charmed by him. Strike two. During the course of his robberies, innocents are slain. Strike three. The disturbing payoff at the end of the film has him anonymously donating all the money he robbed to build a new hockey rink in the Boston area. (“It’s for the children!”) Strike four. This act of charity really is intended to absolve him (Affleck the director even changed the book to make this happen)—and Ben wanders off into the sunset scot free. Conclusion: repulsive subtext and instincts, despite the film’s artiness.

In Faster, the “Driver” Dwayne Johnson is involved in a robbery, yes, but not because it’s a way of life for him, but because his brother will die if he does not participate (at least in Driver’s mind). Plus one–at least as extenuation. After the crime, Driver’s brother is cruelly and unnecessarily murdered by a corrupt cabal of characters (including a creepy child molester)—this even though Driver offers up all his money to keep that from happening. Plus two. Driver gets out of prison after serving his time honorably (as even the warden admits— this is plus three), and sets about to kill the members of the cabal in retribution for his brother’s cold blooded murder. This aim is not compromised by sneakiness (he shows his mug to the office cameras) or greed. Plus four. During the course of his retribution, he is merciful at the right moments. Plus five. He doesn’t muck up the film by romancing women who find him glamorous. Plus six. He’s a straightforward antihero who simply goes about exacting justice in—at least within the compass of the film—a moral way. He will probably be soon apprehended, the film suggests, because his goal is not to get away with something, but to exact justice.

Faster reminds me of Harry Brown or Death Wish. After The Town, I felt slimy afterwards, because of the subtext of liberal theology (rob from the rich and give large sacks of money to the poor, and that will make you cool and wonderful). After Faster, I did not (because despite occasional surface roughness, I think it had conservative instincts).

Burke on November 26, 2010 at 1:06 pm

And Cher, in a recent appearance on Jay Leno’s show, proved to be every bit as classless as the movie she’s now appearing in. Irrespective of Debbie’s criticisms of the Tea Party movement which are based on substantive issues (i.e. their welcoming pan-Islamists like Grover Norquist with open arms), Cher used numerous vulgarities to describe them (including “f****** nuts” and a certain slang word popular with the likes of Anderson Cooper), with her “opinions” based on the Left’s own (shallow, superficial-based) utter contempt for the movement.

ConcernedPatriot on November 27, 2010 at 9:27 am

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