Friday, May 23, 2008

What, no Monster-in-Law 2 in the works?

So there won't be any zingers of the week today. No one is paying any attention to anything besides the new Indiana Jones movie, apparently. (In fact, hardly anything else seems even to have been released this weekend - are the studios combining forces to make sure they get at least one uber-blockbuster weekend opener, to prove the talkies still have what it takes? Huh.)

Anyhow, with no new chick flicks to heap love (or hate) on, we'll have to settle for this: Rotten Tomatoes' list of the Top 20 Sequels We're Still Waiting For.

It's in honour of the return of Indy, of course. And guess what? It's all man-tastic action movies (or comedy-action spoofs), all the time. What, no one's holding their breath for Bring It On Again Again? And am I the only one holding a torch for a Dirty Dancing three-quel?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Coming Soon: Not A Whole Lot?

Aside from the Sex and the City movie (coming very soon!) and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (yeah, I'm way excited for it, and only a little embarrassed by that fact), it's actually looking like kind of a bleak summer for new chick flick releases.

I've just been perusing the listings, and I honestly didn't see a whole heck of a lot. (Of course, I mostly just read the titles, many of which I'm not familiar with - chick flick titles are usually pretty obvious, though! Wedding references, or the word 'love', are both dead give-aways.)

Anyhow, the one thing I'm kind of excited about (besides S&C and Sisterhood 2) is The Accidental Husband, starring Uma Thurman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Colin Firth. The main reason I'm intrigued (besides being a big Jeffrey Dean fan) is the presence of Colin Firth as the guy who should - according to the formula - lose the girl. But I ask you: in the whole history of chick flicks, has Colin Firth ever not gotten the girl? Is he branching out into second-fiddle roles? Or is there a plot twist to be had?

Here's the trailer:

Zingers of the Week

Up for ridicule this week: What Happens in Vegas.

We'll start with a one-liner that I came across courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes, from Mike McGranaghan in The Aisle Seat: "Ultimately, What Happens in Vegas resembles a drunken night in Sin City; when it's over, you don't really remember what happened except that it wasn't good."

Next up, some chick flick wisdom from the AP: "Come on, now. You already know What Happens in Vegas. You've undoubtedly seen the ubiquitous television commercials in which Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher bicker and beat each other black and blue but, secretly, seethe with lust. And you already know that they'll end up softening their stances and falling for each other in the end — it's pretty standard stuff by now. One does not go to a romantic comedy for the Shyamalan-style plot twists." Touche.

Back to Rotten Tomatoes again for a line that gets bonus points for dissing several chick flicks at once. Thanks, Creative Loafing! Here goes: What Happens in Vegas is "less obnoxious than Fool's Gold, less forced than Made of Honor and less formulaic (well, by a sliver, anyway) than 27 Dresses."

Screening Log - Made of Honor

Anyone who's been following along knows that my powers of suspension of disbelief are enormous. (We are talking, after all, about someone who adored Sweet Home Alabama, gaping plot holes and all!) But even my credulity isn't unlimited, and Made of Honor was just too forced, too awkwardly constructed, too false.

Even if the movie had been put together a little more smoothly, it would still have been a formulaic and not-terribly-funny chick flick outing. But as it is, the creators felt the need to beat the audience over the head with every vital symbolic moment ("Look! He can say 'I Love You' to dogs, but not to humans! He's emotionally stilted, see?!") and, perhaps most absurdly, to create a bizarre caricature and call him the competition. When Patrick Dempsey's rival is a cartoonish Scottish lord who lives in a grim medieval castle, hunts his own venison, and tosses trees for fun, is the outcome really ever in question?

I'd honestly be curious to know if this movie was released in the UK. I could picture it touching off riots in Glasgow - or at least, cementing British folks' already firm opinions that your average American (and certainly your average Hollywood producer) is utterly ignorant about the world outside her own borders.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Zingers of the Week

As I may have mentioned before, I'm nearly as big a sucker for vitriolic witticisms directed at chick flicks as I am for the flicks themselves. Hence, a new feature for the site: Zingers of the Week, courtesy of new (or recent) chick flick releases and the reviewers who dislike them.

First up, the Globe and Mail's Jason McBride, who asks of Canadian pseudo-ironic indie comedy Prom Wars: "If it's lame, derivative, and doesn't make you laugh, is it really a comedy?"

Next is Robert Wilonsky, writing for the Village Voice. He notes the similarities between Baby Mama and a January 2007 episode of 30 Roc, and concludes: "Baby Mama extends the joke, then softens it, then smothers it in its crib—an unpleasant picture perhaps, but not any more disagreeable than the phrase 'Produced by Lorne Michaels'." Ouchie!

Made of Honor gets not one but two mentions - incidentally, both imply that the answer to the question I asked yesterday is: My Best Friend's Wedding.

After some hilariously vicious commentary on McDreamy's career, Robert Wilonsky comes down with a verdict: "Director Paul Weiland and the three (!) screenwriters it took to boil down thousands of bad movies into 101 minutes haven't provided this one with a single original thought; it should only entertain those still getting adjusted to the idea of talkies."

And finally, after some digression (be sure to read her full anecdote about I Liked It Better Guy!) Katrina Onstad decides that bride-to-be Kathleen Monaghan is the best thing about the movie:

"If I knew how, I’d make a Youtube mashup of Made of Honor and My Best Friend’s Wedding in which Monaghan ends up with Dermot Mulroney, leaving Cameron Diaz for Patrick Dempsey, and Julia Roberts alone — I liked that best the first time."

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Made of Honor: I'm In Suspense

Is it wrong to seriously contemplate seeing this movie for one reason only?

(Okay, two reasons, counting Dr. McDreamy.)

Seriously. All I want to know is: In between the vaguely homophobic jokes about boys having to do girly things like picking out centerpieces, will they opt for the When Harry Met Sally ending to the well-worn co-ed friendship rom-com template, or the My Best Friend's Wedding version?

The suspense is killing me... It might even be twelve bucks worth of suspense. Maybe.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Screening Log - Riding in Cars with Boys


The credits rolled 45 minutes ago, and I'm still struggling to decide how I felt about this movie. My initial instinct was dislike - Drew Barrymore's teen mother, Beverly, was too angry and childish and thoughtlessly cruel for me to feel much sympathy, and too many of the crucial scenes (you know, the ones where the characters talk about just exactly how much they're traumatizing one another) felt overdone. I was mixed up between the humor and the drama, too - were we supposed to laugh when the young mother starts to bawl hysterically after her child is born? Or cry along with her?

On the other hand, maybe the point is that Beverly is angry and thoughtlessly cruel, and yes, childish - because she is a child. I thought the scenes where nearly-grown son Jason is carrying the story were done with subtlety and skill; unlike the other characters, he doesn't have to announce that we've just shared a memory that scarred him deeply. And then there's the fantastic cast: whenever I'm not wild about a movie with a cast I greatly respect - not just for their acting abilities but for most of their script choices - I start to question my own instincts. Maggie Gyllenhaal, making a bad call? Say it ain't so!

Steve Zahn is impossible to dislike, Drew Barrymore makes me pull for Beverly even if she is a selfish bitch a lot of the time, and of course, Adam Garcia is delicious.

Worth a rental? Yeah. Brace yourself, though. After some reasonably dark build-up, the ending comes across as a bit too quick and tidy.