Kevin Carr’s Weekly Report Card for 07.24.09

FSR's Weekly Report Card


Studio: Disney

Rated: PG for some mild action and rude humor.

Starring: Bill Nighy, Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Nicolas Cage and Sam Rockwell

Directed by: Hoyt Yeatman Jr.

What it’s about: Secret agent guinea pigs. In 3D. What else do you need to know?

What I liked: I’m going to catch holy hell for becoming a cheerleader for this movie because it is pretty much getting crushed by reviewers and fanboys alike. However, like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, it has a very specific audience, and it delivers perfectly to that audience (very few of which include reviewers and fanboys).

If you saw Bolt and enjoyed that first ten minutes, you will pee yourself with this movie because it’s 90 minutes of that stuff. I saw it with my two kids and they freaking loved it. With Jerry Bruckheimer behind the film as a producer, we get a high-octane action film for anyone’s whose age is in the single digits.

The 3D is quite awesome, and the action is pretty unbelievable. It’s Jerry Bruckheimer, after all. And if high-brow humor to you is a farting rodent with a flock of seagulls hairstyle, then this film is for you (and me).

What I didn’t: Yeah, it’s silly. Yeah, the movie makes no sense. I could spend hours going on about the silliness of G-Force, but it really doesn’t matter when you have farting guinea pigs.

Who is gonna like this movie: Kids and immature fathers like myself.

Grade: A-


Studio: Columbia Pictures

Rated: R for sexual content and language.

Starring: Gerard Butler, Katherine Heigl, Cheryl Hines, Bonnie Somerville and Bree Turner

Directed by: Robert Luketic

What it’s about: A stuck-up newswoman named Abby (Heigl) is up in arms because due to sinking ratings, her bosses force her to take on a chauvinistic yet charming commentator named Mike (Butler). The two are quickly at odds, both at the station and in their personal life. Mike soon offers to use his skills to help Abby land a dude, kinda like a misogynistic, gender-flipped Hitch.

What I liked: I had a love-hate relationship with this film. There is plenty to dislike (see below), but there are also some bits of awesomeness. Most of that awesomeness comes from the hands of Gerard Butler, and this is good considering he seems to be a bigger draw for chicks with this film than Katherine Heigl. For every time she stumbles, Butler is there to make things funny again.

The supporting cast can also be quite funny in this film. John Michael Higgins and Cheryl Hines are hilarious as dueling anchors at the news station, and Bree Turner has some funny moments as Abby’s assistant (although not nearly as awesome as her debut role in Deuce Bigelow’s fish tank girl).

Heigl looks pretty scrumptious in this film, complete with newly aligned teeth and a slimmed down figure (although I wouldn’t be surprised if she had some digital help in some scenes). She has some moments in the film, and I can’t say that I didn’t laugh for her.

What I didn’t: This film is a conflicted movie, and that tears it apart at times. Even though Butler is awesome, Heigl is woefully miscast in the up-front lead. She might be able to do drama on TV, but her slapstick comedy is pretty awful (although her When Harry Met Sally moment is pretty funny).

The Ugly Truth also tries to be a two different movies: a sweet rom-com and a raunchy comedy. It has a certain strength as a raunchy R-rated comedy, but it often pulls its punches. When it finally reaches the third act and tries to get the rails on a formulaic rom-com script, it just unravels.

Who is gonna like this movie: Chicks and Neil Miller’s mom.

Grade: C+


Studio: Warner Bros.

Rated: R for disturbing violent content, some sexuality and language.

Starring: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman, CCH Pounder and Jimmy Bennett

Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra

What it’s about: A couple (Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard) that suffered a stillbirth tries to patch up their emotions by adopting a nine-year-old Russian orphan named Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman). However, when they bring her home, Esther soon begins to terrorize the other kids in the family and pit the parents against each other.

What I liked: I hate creepy kids in real life, but I like creepy kids in movies. To be honest, there are things in this film that I may have seen before but don’t see coming. To really understand what I mean by this, you’d have to see the movie, although I don’t recommend this.

FSR’s own Rob Hunter says that he laughed at the film’s climax, and I would have too if the film hadn’t already sucked the energy from my soul with its merciless two-hour-plus running time.

What I didn’t: Orphan pissed me off. Not just because it was poorly written and poorly constructed. It had no idea what it was doing. There were so many scenes that made me stand up and say, “What the fuck?” that I can’t even count. And the director seemed to relish in non-scare moments. Seriously, after building the suspenseful music to show someone not around the corner, not in the mirror behind you or not ready to jump out, you can only use the trick once. But it was done at least six or seven times.

The characters are overwritten, forced to be totally moronic, even for the horror genre that relies on moronic characters who don’t act like normal people would.

After seeing the film, I looked up the director and realized he was responsible for giving us the cinematic turd that was 2005’s House of Wax. Figures.

Who is gonna like this movie: No one. Not even the director’s mom.

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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