Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Rumor Has It: Time for Kevin Costner to go away.


If you like all the folks who star in this movie you might want to close your browser right now. I have to explain my motivation in seeing this movie. Observant readers might recognize that chick flicks are not my favorite genre. But I went to see it at as a birthday event for a friend of mine, and Memoirs of a Geisha wasn't playing. We have the coolest movie theater around here. It's called Smitty's Cinema Pub and you can order drinks and dinner while watching a film. The good food and company couldn't erase what was going on before my eyes although I wish I could erase it from my memory.

Rumor Has It is a fictional real-life take on The Graduate, as if it were based on the true lives of the characters in this movie. Jennifer Aniston plays the grandaughter of "Mrs. Robinson", artfully played by Shirley MacLaine. Jennifer is a woman in crisis - she's heading home for her little sister's wedding, she doesn't know if she's in love with her fiancee, she's in a dead-end job writing obituaries for a NYC newspaper and she doesn't feel a true member of her family. This is a hard place for a 39 year old woman to be in, and I almost wept for her.

Kevin plays the graduate, but all grown up and incredibly wealthy. Jennifer wants to meet him because she's got this crazy idea that he's her real father. She thinks her mom somehow picked up Grandma's sloppy seconds the week before her wedding. Using her reporters credentials she sneaks in to a conference where he's giving a speech. I swear, I was sitting there in the theater trying to understand the kind of BS he was spouting about Internet search engines. Jennifer is dazzled, of course, and it made me want to puke.

The true insult occurs in how the two get together. In an anticlimatic scene Jennifer learns he's not her father, that it's not possible. O.k., so now she's depressed and he takes her out to get drunk. In a sick and incestuous twist, she's turned on by him and they end up fooling around.

Compared to Shirley MacLaine Kevin was a big dud. O.k., he's a big dud all on his own. Maybe it's his softspoken manner or that he never seems to get mad. But I simply could not buy the relationship between Kevin and Jennifer. I found myself growing more and more annoyed every minute I watched this movie. Definitely not my happy place.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The 40 Year Old Virgin: The chick flick for guys

I think I've discovered a new genre for movies. It's the reverse chick flick. According to Hollywood guys want to go to the movies to see hot chicks, and watch things get blown up. Chicks want to watch love stories with hot guys where everyone hooks up at the end. "Cue the wedding montage!" So how do you have a chick flick for guys? Enter Steve Carrell as the 40 Year Old Virgin. Storyline: Nice guy practices extreme clean living, acts a bit eccentric and has no woman. Well meaning coworkers want to help him break out of his colossal rut and have sex with a woman. Nice guy resists transformation but is ultimately convinced - "Yes! It could be me!"

This movie is hysterical. I watched the unrated version which is extremely dirty, rude, improbable, and, at times, bizarre. Andy, our protagonist, is a seriously introverted geek who manages the storeroom at an electronics store. His apartment is stuffed with unopened (collectible) toys and one is sure that he is/was a Dungeon and Dragons master. He spends his evenings doing various hobbies or watching tv with the old couple upstairs. He seems to have forgotten his sexual self, evidenced by completely ignoring his morning wood early on in the film. One quickly learns that this movie will cut no corners.

Andy's friends vow to help him out and provide all sorts of misguided advice. It's really cute though, how their friendship is genuine. They're not just trying to make him the butt of a joke. In an early scene they ask if Andy is gay. During his protests Cal, played by Seth Rogan, delivers the line that cracked me up, "I once touched a guy's balls in Hebrew school." This revelation gets no response from the others during their rapid exchange.

I want to warn folks that the unrated version is LONG. With all those filthy dirty deleted scenes stuck back in the film seems to go on forever. But its all pretty funny and proceeds to surprising end. I mean, we all know how its going to end but it's cute nonetheless.

If you're not in the mood to watch stuff blow up but do want to watch a "guy" movie then I recommend The 40 Year Old Virgin. It's got some knee slappers that are worth watching.