Kevin Carr’s Weekly Report Card for 06.19.09

FSR's Weekly Report Card


Studio: Touchstone

Rated: PG-13 for sexual content, nudity and language.

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson and Betty White

Directed by: Anne Fletcher

What it’s about: High-powered book editor Margaret Page (Sandra Bullock) learns that her work visa has expired, and she’s about to be deported to Canada. In order to save her job, she forces her assistant Andrew (Ryan Reynolds) to marry her. Then, to prove it’s not a sham wedding, the two must travel to Alaska so Margaret can meet Andrew’s family and announce their engagement.

What I liked: Unlike many critics out there, I do like a good romantic comedy when it comes along. And this is exactly what you get with The Proposal. It’s a good romantic comedy. It’s not a great romantic comedy, nor is it a great film. However, it works for what it is.

The chemistry between Bullock and Reynolds is pretty good, although it doesn’t quite have the magic spark in other excellent rom-com couples like Julia Roberts and Richard Gere or Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. We’ve seen a lot of the film’s elements before, and some (like the quirky potential in-laws reminiscent from While You Were Sleeping) we’ve seen in other Sandra Bullock movies. But that doesn’t mean they don’t work.

Oh, and a lot of noise has been made on this site about Bullock’s “nude” scene. First, realize that it’s not really a nude scene because she has all her naughty bits covered, a la Demi Moore’s Vanity Fair cover shoot. But damn if she doesn’t look good nearly naked. The girl’s in her 40s, after all!

What I didn’t: Apparently, The Proposal was written by a former mucky-muck from MGM, under an anonymous female pseudonym. This doesn’t surprise me because the film has a very safe feel to it and hits all the points of a formula. It almost seems too perfect at times, like a studio mucky-muck wrote it… which he did.

And, like so many movies out there, this film has what I have come to refer to as a “Jazz Club Scene from Spider-Man 3,” that is to say, a scene which is goofy as hell and really doesn’t belong. In fact, there are a couple of these scene, which really detract from the overall story, as if they were trying to pad out the running time.

Who is gonna like this movie: Chicks who dig chick flicks and (maybe?) the guys they drag with them to the film.

Grade: B-


Studio: Columbia

Rated: PG-13 for crude and sexual content throughout, brief strong language and comic violence.

Starring: Jack Black, Michael Cera, Olivia Wilde, David Cross and Hank Azaria

Directed by: Harold Ramis

What it’s about: Jack Black and Michael Cera play hunter-gatherers who are kicked out of their tribe. They then wander into Biblical times to meet Cain and Abel, and later travel to the city of Sodom. Seriously, it’s not as fun as that sounds.

What I liked: I can’t deny that there were several points in this film that had me laughing out loud. There are some funny, funny jokes in this movie, and if you aren’t totally turned off by either Jack Black or Michael Cera’s shtick, you will find some humor here.

Oh, and Olivia Wilde is just smoking hot beyond belief. Like Megan Fox, I’d strangle a mountain ox to make out with her.

What I didn’t: I think the thing that pissed me off the most about this movie is that it really did have potential. Movies about cavemen and Biblical figures can be downright hilarious. However, even with the aforementioned funny moments, there are long stretches of ten minutes or more that have nothing funny in them at all.

Year One felt like a cinematic adaptation of the mediocre SNL sketch “Lothar of the Hill People.” And like an SNL sketch, there were times that director Harold Ramis just couldn’t figure out how to end the scene. You know what it’s like watching a so-so sketch on Saturday Night Live and having it just end with the camera pulling back and the “Applause” sign flashing? Well, that happens about a dozen times in this film… without the “Applause” sign.

This film tries so hard to be something clever like a Monty Python movie or History of the World: Part I, but it just never quite catches. I felt in watching it that Year One was conceived from the pitch stage and the script was an afterthought.

Who is gonna like this movie: That narrow sect of the society that isn’t annoyed with Jack Black or Michael Cera… and likes shitty movies.

Grade: D

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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