Year Released: 2009
Directed by: Robert Luketic
Starring: Gerard Butler, Katherine Heigl, Cheryl Hines, other people who are usually comedy fodder.
Production Company: Sony Pictures Entertainment
Release Date: July 24, 2009
For a romantic comedy, The Ugly Truth is more comedy, than romance and squanders itself on focusing on a non-existent chemistry between the two main characters. Gerard Butler is a man’s man, so what’s this guy doing screwing around in another ROMCOM? Seriously? I thought he was just testing the waters with “P.S. I Love You”, but he just keeps getting sucked into this genre. At least he’s still doing some testosterone heavy movies like Gamer, even the mediocre reviewed Law Abiding Citizen doesn’t manage to emasculate him. The only person that’s fallen head first into the chick flick fodder cannon without a hope is Matthew McConaughey: and he’s so past the point of return that his balls are small enough to fit into a tic-tac container. Hey, you star with Kate Hudson in enough drippy girly flicks, you lose credibility, just face it.
|Man, wasn’t 300 awesome?|
Katherine Heigl is uptight, control freak Abby Richter. Abby can’t find a suitable date in L.A mainly because she’s the uptight, control freak type. Abby is the producer of a dying television talk show sorely in need of new blood, which comes in the form of a dirty minded, foul mouthed, yet truthful local cable personality, Mike Chadaway. Gerard Butler is Mike Chadaway, the anti control freak, the woman reader, the guy that knows what makes the sexes tick and uses them for his sexual ends (so we’re to assume). As you’d expect, sparks fly and the two are at ends with each other’s differing personalities. Abby as you know is the control freak, who just wants a man to love for who she is. Mike, knowing that men work by the tips of their southern heads, convinces Abby that he can help her bag the man of her dreams if she listens to his advice. If the deal doesn’t land Abby a man, he’ll resign from her show. This plot introduces us to Mike as more than a one dimensional character, his motivation being his nephew without a father-figure, and bombards us with more Katherine Heigl screen time.
As you would expect, Abby manages to get the man she’s always dreamed of, some comedic situations are thrown her way, and as Mike is giving directions he somehow falls in love with Abby. It’s predictable comedy fodder that we’ll forget in a few months time. That’s a good thing, because I felt like wincing through most of the film. The last 20 minutes for example takes the bickering couple up a romantic balloon ride while still broadcasting live, they pronounce their love for each other and the all’s well that ends well. This thing was written with more concentration on the material and getting girls to go gooey over Gerard Butler than actually focusing on the main relationship at hand.
The love/hate relationship between Mike and Abby was more convincing than the love/love relationship for one main reason: It was believable. I had more fun when they were at each other’s throats, rather than seeing Mike awkwardly gazing at Abby’s direction while she fawns over her new boyfriend on the phone.
|I should have listened to my agent and stayed on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’.|
I’m not sure what the draw is behind Heigl, is she the cute girl-next-door-type, or the stable-funny-type that gets audiences to pay up? What demographic does she play to? As far as I can tell, it’s the hopeless romantics in the world, or those guys who get roped into seeing another one of her movies. I don’t see it, I’m missing the point entirely about what draws people to her, and this is the second Heigl movie I’ve reviewed that I really didn’t like. She’s apparently quit her full time gig on Gray’s Anatomy to do more movies. Can the world really take more of this girl, who has Moxie, or whatever you want to call it filling up more screen time?
Just my two cents.
2.0 out of 10
Year Released: 2009
Directed by: John Hamburg
Starring: Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, Lou Ferrigno
Production Company: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: March 20, 2009
Should the movie rental aisle decide to start getting more specific about categories, you will be seeing “I Love You, Man” in the newly minted ‘Bromantic Comedy’ aisle. This genre of course speaks to the daily bombardment of new words created by slamming together existing words in the hope that Internet blabbermouths and entertainment shows will repeat to no end. That being said, it’s with no shame that this movie blatantly slams together genres in a non-sexual manner bearing about the relationship that only two men can share with brutal honesty and awkwardness of new feelings. Okay, I’ll admit that last sentence sounded kind of weird, but really was a good movie.
|Blue never goes out of style|
Remember back in the 1980’s when cool tough guys with loads of testosterone, big guns and zany one liner’s were the big box office draw? There’s been a paradigm shift as of late, in the way that buddy comedies are becoming much more sophisticated. Not to say that “I Love You, Man” was in any way high brow, there’s a good deal of toilet humour, but it’s all done from such an honest and straightforward standpoint; all delivered by the incredibly confident Jason Segel it transcended regular comedy fodder. That was a huge draw for me: the honesty; other comedies of late are more concerned about shoving so many E! Headline news down your throat so fast it gets very old, very quickly. It was refreshing to see someone take the material and turn it into something worth hearing and thinking about.
Peter (Paul Rudd) has a little problem: he’s getting married in a few weeks and has no best man. In fact, he has no meaningful male relationships to which he can tie himself to, and sets out find the perfect man-friend to which he can ask to be his said best man. After numerous man dates set up by online profiles and Peter’s parents, they all turn out to be failures. Enter Sydney Fife (Jason Segel), the Zen master of truth with all the right justifications. Just the perfect man crush for Peter or any man really. His casual strut and self assurance winning over lasses and fella’s all around. Peter finds himself in man-love with Jason, as their relationship builds on likenesses (the 80’s band Rush) and moves from awkwardness to truly hilarious, the questions start about relationships. Not the relationship between the guys, but Peter’s impending wedding; namely things such as ‘why did you choose to marry this one?’. Without any close male buddies, Peter is sent reeling and the cracks in his long relationship with his fiancée Zooey (Rashida Jones) begin to surface. Or do they? Following closely to the Romantic Comedy formula: boy meets boy, boy has platonic man love for other boy, struggle ensues with real relationship, and both overcome to give the movie title over some sappy music. That about sums it up. Aside from the obvious gay jokes that ensue about a man-love, “I Love You Man” the plot hits all the right notes. A Commendable performance by Rashida Jones as Zooey, Peter’s fiancé who has to be the cutest co-star available with laughs to spare (take THAT Katherine Heigl!). This girl certainly has that je ne se quois about her that I can’t seem to get enough of. I always look forward to any guest appearances she makes on her stomping ground “The Office”.
|“Y’see Seth Rogen over there? His career is your goal bro|
Above all else, Paul Rudd finally gets his own movie after toiling away in small roles. I’m glad the producers finally took a chance on this guy; because he steals scenes away from every big star he’s played opposites. Heck, even Seth Rogen’s rising star quality was powerless to stop Rudd in “40 Year Old Virgin”. Jason Segel has a similar quality about him, television simply contain his raw talent: he’s got that natural courageousness that’s self sure and bold. Plus, you got to give props to a guy that exposes his junk multiple times in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”.
Let’s hope Rudd is given the reins to more flicks where he’s headlining. If another comedy comes out that’s willing to take a subject like Bromance to the masses, make it funny and enjoyable, then sign me up for another.
8.0 out of 10
“Star Trek”, the titular science fiction/space opera known by all, watched by many, and appreciated by the few has been re-imagined in J.J. Abrams super summer blockbuster. This certainly isn’t your father’s Star Trek, filled with action, bright lights, lens flares and space; the final frontier.
2009’s Star Trek heads back to it’s roots introducing young versions of Kirk, Spock and company. A titanic task? Not quite, considering major back stories have been traded in for a time travel plot that lends to much needed explosions (Hey, I love my eye candy too). The plot plays it safe, not getting into any new ground and treats science with a ‘suspend your belief’ attitude. It’s seeing the characters assemble onscreen, and Abram’s deft use of scenery and characterization that really shine.
|Folded Arms are the new thing in the future|
Follow me now: Nero, a Romulan from 129 years in the future has come back to ‘the beginning’ (of the Trek universe) because future Spock couldn’t save Romulus from collapsing. The black hole formed from the collapse sucks in Nero and Future Spock, plunging Nero into ‘the beginning’, he destroys the U.S.S Kelvin where commanding officer Kirk Sr., has assumed control, his son is about to be born and he must pilot the ship on a collision course after evacuating the entire crew with busted warp drives. Nero sits around for about 25 years waiting for future Spock to arrive so he can get revenge by destroying Vulcan with the very technology the Vulcan Science Academy created (known as red matter). So it’s up to our very handsome/great looking crew of the U.S.S Enterprise to go in, destroy the ship, save the day and create a Star Trek for the masses. The Roddenberry-verse physics aside, as long as you know that black holes equal time travel, and class M planets exist with scary looking monsters, and total and complete coincidences happen, you should be absolutely fine. Just suspend your damn belief already.
|“Did you seriously sign on for the sequel?”|
Chris Pine does an admirable job as James T. Kirk, successive captain of the Starship Enterprise. His energy and natural leadership slightly showing, although his douche bag like character is still lovable and enduring. Zachary Quinto was definitely born to play Spock, his cold demeanor picked up from his time as Sylar on TV’s Hero’s, he dons the Vulcan ears and detached voice with ease, simmering emotion under the surface as the half Vulcan/Human hybrid and Kirk’s best friend. The rest of the ensemble cast play their parts magnificently, no one seems to miss a beat and the slight nods to the original series are deft in execution. Even Leonard Nimoy shows up in Spock attire, his first outing in nearly a decade, proudly handing the touch from one generation to the next; although it seem like he was in this version a little longer than necessary. I’m sure all the fan boys were wetting themselves in excitement when the pointy eared one entered from stage right.
There’s only a few moments of disbelief, and it’s all in the science of show; consider that against the numerous times Scotty has outright bent the laws of physics in the original television show and movies. It’s all in good nature however, once you realize you’ve been beamed aboard another reality, one with much better looking people and alien races with humanoid bodies and slightly larger/smaller eyes or different skin color. Bridging the continuities was an immense task, keeping with the newer, sexier generation just got a whole lot easier.
|No caption, just a green skinned Orion Girl in her bra and panties|
If you haven’t witnessed the rebirth of Star Trek yet, I highly suggest you do so. Reading up on the pre-reviews of supposed mega-blockbusters as Transformers and Terminator: Salvation, I can already see a pattern emerging: All these franchises are getting slammed for lack of care, they’re not lovingly crafted as they should be, and are getting shoehorned with last minute rewrites and CGI over actual plot or any good character emotion. These movies aren’t meant to be overly cerebral, but it’s pretty clear the movie going public wants more substance than the flash and bang approach. Star Trek thankfully is light hearted enough to take all this in stride and put together a fun, exhilarating thrill ride that won’t disappoint.
9.5 out of 10
Year Released: 2009
Directed by: Kyle Newman
Starring: Sam Huntington, Jay Baruchel, Dan Fogler, Kristen Bell
Production Company: Weinstein Company
Release Date: February 6, 2009
“Fanboys”, as the namesake would imply doesn’t quite live up to it’s own title. That being said, there’s certainly a trying effort at work here to make a decent comedy, but it fails due to only chuckle worthy jokes. Director Kyle Newman never embraces the full on Star Wars geek within all of us, and would rather film the surface level knowledge only inherited from the original trilogy. Like any true geek director (Tarantino, even Robert Rodriquez’s Sin City) he talks the talk, but never delves any deeper into what makes the series so popular, or why it’s been such an enduring piece of American history. Hey, I’m sure Chewbecca jokes and salivation over slave Leia pics are worthy, but there’s certainly a father-son dynamic and the maxim that absolute power corrupts. But I’m not here to tell Newman how to make a film, I’m reviewing why I didn’t like it.
|THIS MOVIE SUCKS!|
Hey, if you’re a geek (which I proudly proclaim), and you love Star Wars (which I do) there should be a homage movie that takes in those elements and churns out a comedy right? Well, Fanboys doesn’t quite hit all the right marks, but it earns a few points for trying.
There was an Internet debacle around the release of Fanboys. Blog comment boards were lighting up over some last minute edits. The edits were intended to give the film more appeal to the masses, as a result the entire crux of the plot was taken out. The original plot was about a group of buddies planning to steal a copy of Episode: I for a dying friend. The sympathy and motivation is certainly there, and it sounds like it’s got real heart. I don’t know why anyone would go screwing with that…but money talks. Of course, the version I viewed still had the original plot, but numerous reviews cite many in-jokes were cut out and the final product is a watered down fan-shtick cobbled together by money hungry producers. So to say the least, my expectations were fairly high.
|“Look, just give me the bluebook value of a mint PoTF maskless vader”|
So I was a little disappointed with the final product. It’s certainly no Star Wars, but it has it’s heart in the right place. This by no means equates this movie to absolute crap. However, it does leave a bit to be desired. A dying friend doesn’t equal comedy, but the friendly in-fighting, the banter between friends even, a poorly executed Chewbacca is comedy. Fanboys serves up more under cooked jokes and silliness in the name of silliness than is necessary. Even the final 20 minutes of the film, the resolution feels more of a let down after the beginning acts.
4.0 out of 10
More time should have been spent on plot and the impact of a friends impending death; doing the right thing for the right reasons. The impact ultimately is wasted on low lying jokes and not fully embracing it’s namesake as Fanboy material.