Kevin Carr’s Weekly Report Card: November 5, 2010

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr hits the road with Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis to see if the new Todd Phillips comedy will be as funny as The Hangover. He also faces off with Will Ferrell and Brad Pitt in a very mega way. It’s the first official weekend of the holiday movie season, so Kevin will hand out the mid-term grades and let you know if these films are worth checking out.

Want to hear what Kevin has to say on the Fat Guys at the Movies podcast? Take a listen below as Neil Miller and he meet up in the Magical Studio in the Sky to discuss this week’s new releases.


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Studio: Warner Bros.

Rated: R for language, drug use and sexual content

Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan and Juliette Lewis

Directed by: Todd Phillips

What it’s about: Robert Downey Jr. stars as a man who is trying to get home across the country to see the birth of his first child. When an altercation with an eccentric man (Zach Galifianakis) on the plane puts him on the no-fly list, the two much road trip across this great country.

What I liked: There are some really funny, laugh-out-loud moments in this movie. Many of those moments are in the trailer, which is a bit of a bummer, but that doesn’t stop them from also being funny when they do show up in the film itself. Fortunately, there are a few other moments in the film that really can make you laugh, though it’s not a wall-to-wall hilarious comedy like the ads are making it out to be.

The real strength of this film is with the stars. Robert Downey Jr. continues to prove that he’s one of the better actors of today, and he can handle comedy just as well as he can drama. He has decent chemistry with Zach Galifianakis, who plays a character very similar to what he played in The Hangover last year.

Oh, and the soundtrack is pretty sweet, if you ever want to download a selection of road tunes for your iPod.

What I didn’t: The biggest hurdle that Due Date has to overcome is that the studio is pushing it like a veritable sequel to The Hangover. It’s not. But it’s impossible to see this film without expecting such a thing, especially because there are some pretty obvious comparisons (including the director, its star and the general dynamic of the characters). But unlike The Hangover, which had the Ed Helmes character to balance out the wackiness and the wickedness, this film is much, much darker.

I’m not going to harp too much on the tone of the film being a problem for me because this is really a taste issue. For example, I hated Observe and Report, but I know a lot of people liked that film. And if you did, you’ll enjoy Due Date because it is grounded in the same sort of mean spiritedness. Just don’t expect a light and fluffy movie like Planes, Trains and Automobiles because it has a very similar plot.

Who is gonna like this movie: Anyone who likes a mean-spirited comedy like Observe and Report.

Grade: C

Studio: DreamWorks

Rated: PG for action and some language

Starring: Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill and David Cross

Directed by: Cameron Hood and Kyle Jefferson

What it’s about: Megamind is an alien that was sent to earth from a far-away planet that was self-destructing. Unfortunately for him, Metro Man was a similar, more human-looking alien sent for the same reason. As Metro Man grew to be the Earth’s hero, Megamind became his nemesis. However, when Megamind finds a way to defeat him for good, he’s left feeling empty inside and not knowing who to fight next.

What I liked: It’s no secret that on the whole, I love these computer generated films, and I really like them when they think outside of the box. Like Monsters vs. Aliens, Megamind is not a fairy tale adaptation and actually exists outside of your standard cartoon. It’s a really neat example of a superhero movie without using any of the existing properties.

This lends the film to some fantastic action sequences with built-in effects that would put any of the Spider-Man, Batman and X-Men films to shame. It’s a relatively simple story that draws from very familiar themes, but it’s told cleanly and with its tongue firmly in its cheek.

The voice cast is pretty solid with Will Ferrell leading the pack. Even if you hate Ferrell’s brand of comedy, he plays secondary to the silliness of the animated character, and most of the acting is actually done by technicians at a keyboard. Similarly, Brad Pitt is good as Metro Man and Jonah Hill turns out a typical but still entertaining performance as the would-be hero/villain Titan.

Finally, like many of the animated films we’ve seen lately, this is presented in 3D, and like those other CGI movies, it’s definitely worth checking out in this way if you’re not a 3D hater. And if you can catch it in IMAX, even better because the large format is definitely the way in which you should experience the main action sequences.

What I didn’t: With a short hour-and-a-half running time, you’re in and out of this flick pretty quickly, though there are a couple slow moments. However, that is forgivable if for no other reason to take a bathroom break or catch your breath.

And while this is an original story, it does borrow from some previously existing films. You’ll see paler shades of The Incredibles in some sequences and the retro futuristic design. There’s also an uncanny parallel to Despicable Me, which also featured a super villain with a change of heart.

Who is gonna like this movie: Kids and families and anyone who likes an action-filled but tongue-in-cheek superhero flick.

Grade: B+

Want to see what Kevin had to say about these films on TV? Check out his interview on FOX…

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).

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