FSR's Weekly Report Card

LAND OF THE LOST

Studio: Universal

Rated: PG-13 for crude and sexual content, and for language including a drug reference.

Starring: Will Ferrell, Danny McBride, Anna Friel, Jorma Taccone and Raymond Ochoa

Directed by: Brad Silberling

What it’s about: Dr. Rick Marshall (Will Farrell) has some pretty wacky theories about the universe, including the idea that a tachyon amplifier can send people through a time warp to a place where the past, present and future collide. One day, with his new research assistant Holly (Anna Friel) and a redneck fireworks salesman named Will (Danny McBride), they accidentally open a portal that sparks the “greatest earthquake ever known” and sends them to the land of the lost. There, they battle dinosaurs and evil space lizards in order to try to make it back home.

What I liked: Anyone who has watched the original series knows that it was a ridiculous and crappy piece of low-budget kids’ show fodder. So, this new movie isn’t exactly trampling on sacred ground. In a strange way, the movie actually retains the spirit of the show… random dinosaur chases, goofy looking creatures, perverted monkey boys and drug tripping we’ve come to expect from Sid and Marty Krofft.

Like Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Land of the Lost relies on one-on-one personal comedy, mostly between Will Ferrell and Danny McBride. Here’s where it deviates from the original show (an unintentional comedy). However, I couldn’t help but laugh at these guys on screen.

This movie is such a ridiculous mess that it actually was a lot of fun. It seems that Will Ferrell was born to play this role, and the shuffling of ages and relations among the main characters served the film. After all, I’d rather watch Anna Friel in short-shorts than some pigtailed eleven-year-old.

What I didn’t: There’s a lot to dislike about Land of the Lost, especially if you’re looking for a serious sci-fi fantasy. The acting is particularly goofy, and the story is often non-existent. The make-up effects look like something out of bad community theater, and even the often slick CGI breaks down at places. However, these all do contribute to honoring the crappiness of the old television show in a strange way.

The only other problem that many will find with this movie is that it has been marketed relatively heavily to a younger audience. However, the film does carry a well-deserved PG-13 rating. There’s quite a few overtly sexual jokes which will make most parents cringe if they’re sitting with their kids. Of course, if the kids actually get any of these jokes, they’ve already been corrupted.

Who is gonna like this movie: Fans of Will Ferrell, Danny McBride or Anna Friel’s bare legs.

Grade: B

THE HANGOVER

Studio: Warner Bros.

Rated: R for pervasive language, sexual content including nudity, and some drug material.

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Heather Graham and Bryan Callen

Directed by: Todd Phillips

What it’s about: Four friends take a road trip from L.A. to Las Vegas for one of their bachelor parties. After getting rip-roaring drunk and passing out, they wake up with the hangover of their lives. Not only have they lost their memories from the night before, they also lost the groom. They spend the next day trying to piece together what happened to them and discovering a load of surprises along the way.

What I liked: The Hangover continues the recent Hollywood tradition of raunchy R-rated comedies. Even though there aren’t any A-list actors filling out the cast, it is extremely well assembled. There’s quite a bit of chemistry among the players. In particular, Zach Galifianakis steals the show in most of his scenes.

The Hangover is at its height when it dives into its own inappropriateness. The real thrill of this movie is to watch things unfold as the story progresses. We begin with a tiger in the bathroom and a baby in the closet, and things just get worse for these guys.

What I didn’t: As funny as the beginning of The Hangover can be, when the film tries to put a story arc to the characters, things stumble a bit. In reality, these characters aren’t the nicest of people. In fact, they are often downright revolting. It’s hard to root for them too much when we delve into their personalities. I’d rather watch them act like idiots for two hours.

As much as this will make me sound like a pig (and when has this stopped me before?), director Todd Phillips could have been a little more generous with the female nudity. Oh, we have plenty of male nudity – from Zach Galifianakis’ bare butt cheeks to full-frontal naked Asian dude – but very little in the female T&A department. Haven’t we learned anything from classics like Bachelor Party?

Who is gonna like this movie: Fans of raunchy comedies.

Grade: B


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