Kevin Carr’s Weekly Report Card: July 22, 2011

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr goes retro this week and injects himself with strange chemicals in an attempt to become a World War II era super soldier. Hop over to the Fat Guys at the Movies page to see if his physique has reached the pinnacle of that of Chris Evans from Captain America. After recovering from the procedure, Kevin randomly wandering the streets, looking for hot ladies like Mila Kunis who just want to have sex but with no emotional baggage of a relationship. Sadly, this will probably end up as empty and worthless as his similar attempt last January when No Strings Attached came out.

Want to hear what Kevin has to say on the Fat Guys at the Movies podcast? Click here to listen as Mel Valentin from eFilmCritic.com and SFStation.com joins him in the Magical Studio in the Sky.

Studio: Paramount

Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action

Starring: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Tommy Lee Jones, Dominic Cooper and Stanley Tucci

Directed by: Joe Johnston

What it’s about: Chris Evans (or rather a scrawny CGI Chris Evans) plays a 90-pound weakling who enters the Army during World War II. Thanks to some secret serum and a barking drill sergeant in the form of Tommy Lee Jones, he is transformed into a buff, strong super soldier. He uses his newfound abilities to fight the Nazi threat and the evil Hydra force within the Third Reich, going up against the villainous Red Skull.

What I liked: I’m a sucker for superhero movies, so as long as the film isn’t on the level of Batman and Robin or Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, I’m pretty forgiving. Case in point, I really kinda liked Green Lantern earlier this summer. So, I liked Captain America for the good, old fashioned comic-book-turned-movie that it was.

The action was pretty nicely done, and the CGI only fell apart in a few places. It was well constructed and relatively well paced film. Chris Evans delivers as Captain America, even though many people questioned this when he was originally cast a while back. The rest of the cast is quite good, including Hugo Weaving who has almost too much fun as Red Skull, Tommy Lee Jones as the crotchety old Army sergeant and the beautiful Haley Atwell and her fantastic boobs (yeah, you might find that last statement crass, but talk to me after you see her in that red dress).

With a name like Captain America, you’d expect the film to be quite patriotic, and it fulfills that expectation. But that’s kinda nice to see in this day and age of grumbling political films. Sure, it’s always been easy to get behind World War II, but it’s nice to see someone standing up for the country again… even if it is just a character of fiction.

The action is pretty good, with a few exceptions, and the corniness works to a degree with the Rocketeer level of film nostalgia that director Joe Johnston milks from it. As the fourth superhero movie this summer, it’s a nice cap at the end of the summer run.

What I didn’t: While this film embodies everything you’d want from a summer event film, it’s not without its flaws. The nostalgia and corniness gets to be a bit much at times, almost feeling forced, and there are some scenes that really drag, especially in the middle.

Also, as good as the action is in this movie, it gets skimped away mid-way through. There’s a fantastic montage in which Captain America kicks all sorts of Nazi ass, but it’s just a montage. It felt like these action scenes were condensed away, losing vital fun moments of the film.

Finally, the 3D is downright terrible in this movie, and that’s coming from a rare critic that loved 3D. It’s forced and rushed, leading to more eye strain than usual and uninspired shots. I haven’t seen a worse retrofit conversion since My Soul to Take. Think of the shoddy job we saw on Clash of the Titans, and you’ll catch my drift.

Who is gonna like this movie: Superhero movie fans, summer event movie junkies and patriotic Americans.

Grade: B+

Studio: Screen Gems

Rated: R for sexual content and language

Starring: Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Patricia Clarkson, Jenna Elfman and Bryan Greenberg

Directed by: Will Gluck

What it’s about: Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake play hot, young professionals who have had a string of bad relationships. After they become friends, they decide to enter into a sex-only relationship, free from emotional woes and drama. Of course, as they get closer together, keeping this emotional distance becomes a challenge.

What I liked: The best thing I can say about this movie is that it was better than No Strings Attached. Though I routinely have bedfarts that are better than No Strings Attached, so that’s hardly an endorsement of quality.

The movie plays better partly because Kunis and Timberlake are more compatible on screen. Not only are they quite fine to look at (though don’t get your hopes up because that butt shot is clearly a Kunis body double), but they’re also more believable characters.

The film has some funny moments, most of which have a certain level of raunch to them, but I suppose that’s the name of the game this summer.

Aw hell… who am I kidding? It’s easy to watch Mila Kunis in various stages of undress throughout the film. That’s what spoke to me.

What I didn’t: The biggest problem with any of these formula-busting romantic comedies we’ve seen a lot of lately is that about half-way through the film, they end up falling into the same old rom com formula they claim to hate. Friends with Benefits is not immune to this, and in fact that last half was more aligned with a traditional rom com than some of the attempted rom coms I’ve seen lately.

Also, over the years of watching movies and DVD extras, I’ve gotten tired of filmmakers that try to make New York or L.A. a character in their movie. Listen up, Hollywood… everything that’s worth shooting in those cities has been shot, and that character is as cliche as a butler committing a murder in a mystery. The first 20 minutes of this movie plays out like it was scripted by the NYC Division of Travel and Tourism. It gets old fast.

On the technical side, this movie is a bit of a mess. It has some of the worst editing I’ve seen in my years of reviewing films, with characters teleporting from one side of the screen to the other. The blocking is atrocious and awkward, presumably to avoid showing any Kunis nip, per her contract. I call shenanigans!

And finally… after Bad Teacher and this movie, I’m tired of seeing Justin Timberlake’s O-face. Sigh… at least we didn’t see Boo-Boo make that in Yogi Bear.

Who is gonna like this movie: The younger generation who still thinks having a friend with benefits would actually work out.

Grade: B-

Kevin Carr crawled from the primordial ooze in the early 1970s. He grew up watching movies to the point of irritation for his friends and was a font of useless movie knowledge until he decided to put that knowledge to good use. Now, Kevin is a nationally syndicated critic, heard on dozens of radio stations around the country, and his reviews appear in a variety of online outlets. Kevin is also a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA).

Read More from Kevin Carr
Get Film School Rejects in your email. All the cool kids are doing it:
Previous Article
Next Article
Reject Nation
1 Comment
Leave a comment
Comment Policy: No hate speech allowed. If you must argue, please debate intelligently. Comments containing selected keywords or outbound links will be put into moderation to help prevent spam. Film School Rejects reserves the right to delete comments and ban anyone who doesn't follow the rules. We also reserve the right to modify any curse words in your comments and make you look like an idiot. Thank You!