Sunday, June 25, 2006

Click (**)

With Click, Adam Sandler finds himself in this awkward middle ground somewhere between the career of his former self and that of Tim Allen. Two-thirds of the movie are devoted to high-concept comedy that falls flat. And when the filmmakers are in doubt, they resort to dog humping and fart jokes. I really hate these high-concept comedies (like here: man uses universal remote to control his universe) because they focus too much on making the concept work and not on making things funny. It may be overly saccherine, but I found the latter third of the movie to be the more interesting part. I think that's because I really love A Christmas Carol-type stories, which Click is clearly derivative of. The film is almost moving at times in this latter third, though there's always a dumb joke inserted inappropriately in the middle of a scene. If you thought the previews for this one looked bad, you're definitely onto something. Give Adam Sandler a little credit though: he is trying to stretch himself, if only slightly.

The Omen (*1/2)

I laughed loud and often at this remake of the horror classic. Having never seen Richard Donner's original, I didn't have any preconceptions, which I guess is good because this movie supposedly follows the original very closely. It's not quite Gus Van Sant's Psycho remake, but it's close enough. Anyway, the kid in this movie provides a lot of campy fun. Maybe it's just the plot of The Omen--Satan takes the form of a child and does evil deeds--but the whole thing is just silly. I mean, the kid is basically the devil and he is supposed to be pure evil, but the child actor makes these frowny faces the whole time. The movie takes itself way too seriously and has little, if any, scares. It just has the usual jump cuts and loud music cues that are meant to startle you out of your seat. It didn't work. Plus the director, John Moore, loves the color red. Everytime something evil is afoot, there is a bright color red somewhere in the frame. Subtle. The best thing about this flick was the release date: 6/6/06. You know the suits at Fox saw that date, and said, hell, let's greenlight a remake of The Omen. Kudos to the marketing folk.

Cars (**1/2)

Pixar's latest, and perhaps least worthy effort thus far, is technically impressive but some of the magic's missing. The first third feels a bit too hyper-caffeineted, much like Disney's recent CGI-film Chicken Little. The "jokes" fly fast and furious but they're not all that funny or clever. When the film's plot finally kicks in, a sort-of Doc Hollywood fish-out-of-water scenario, the movie slows down and focuses on characters, which is what Pixar does best. I think that the filmmakers were a bit too enamored with their characters, none of whom rival Woody or Buzz or Mr. Incredible, that there comes a point where the movie slows to a crawl and doesn't really go anywhere. To add insult to injury, there is a really cheesy song by Randy Newman that stops the movie dead in its tracks. And is it just me or does Owen Wilson, who's cultivated a real laid-back persona on screen of late, seem an ill match for a fast-talking, egocentric race car. I don't know if it's because my expectations are sky high for Pixar films, especially after the truly incredible The Incredibles, but I was disappointed with Cars. It felt a little too childish to me.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Break-Up (**1/2)

The Break-Up is a well-intentioned, if ultimately unsuccessful "romantic comedy." I'm not quite sure who's labeling it that, since it's not all that funny and definitely not romantic. Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn are likeable actors, but here, their characters' relationship is a little too one-sided. Vaughn plays an annoying jerk of a character and for all the arguments on screen, you can't help siding with Aniston's character for almost all of them. That's poor writing if you ask me. The movie is a tad too concerned with formulaic arguments, and less with either striving for authenticity or comedy. The beginning starts off well enough with a very funny John Michael Higgins doing his darndest to make this movie more than what it is. The only other real highlight is the re-pairing of Vaughn and his Swingers co-star Jon Favreau. The two are great together, and I would have liked to have seen more of them together. The movie is entertaining enough. It's more of a missed opportunity than anything else. An ending that feels tacked-on and fake doesn't help matters any.