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The Weekend Marquee: Not much ‘Works’ in ‘One’-Dimensional Comedies

year-one

The two major releases this weekend are lame-brained, juvenile comedies that rely on gags as old as the stone age, literally.

Year One, starring Jack Black and one-note wonder Michael Cera, has gotten dismal reviews. In the Chicago Sun Times, Roger Ebert writes that the movie “is a dreary experience, and all the ending accomplishes is to bring it to a close. Even in the credit cookies, you don’t sense the actors having much fun.” Ty Burr, of the Boston Globe, also takes issue with the actors: “Cera’s dreamy geekboy sex appeal is still working for him – barely – but Black is way past his expiration date. The actor’s unvarying comic shtick – blubbery egotism and over-enunciated dude catchphrases – has never seemed feebler.” What a shocker! Another lazily constructed caveman-themed project is panned! Maybe if nobody goes to see Year One, then Hollywood will stop making stupid, cheapie, plot-less adventure comedies (remember how Land of the Lost flopped two weeks ago?!).
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The other big opener is The Proposal, a rom-com starring Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds and the always-wonderful Betty White. Its tired plot involving an exorbitant lie that leads to wacky situations left most critics unexcited. AP movie reviewer Christy Lemire noted that “all the romantic comedy conventions are shamelessly on parade in The Proposal, trampling on our brains and turning them into mush.” Other critics, however, did find some entertainment in the performances. Kevin Lally, of the Hollywood Reporter, wrote that the movie “is sparked by the bright chemistry and comic timing of Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds.” I guess if you have a date to go on and have nothing else to do, then The Proposal could be an option. Plus, it might be worth it to see White, who is still as wry a Golden Girl as ever. Just listen to the way she delivers her cheeky lines in the trailer:

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Opening in limited release is Woody Allen‘s perennial summer flick, Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Movie, er, I mean, Whatever Works. This Mighty Aphrodite-esque intellectual buddy comedy stars Larry David and Evan Rachel Wood. It has arrived with luke warm reviews. Ronnie Scheib of Variety commented that “though stuffed with witty one-liners and wondrously convoluted tirades, this far-fetched, deliberately artificial game of musical chairs… feels forced, often losing itself in excess verbiage.” What Allen film isn’t? The problem seems to be that he’s just been doing it too often since the 70s.  The novelty has worn off.  Only with fresher fare such as Vicky Cristina Barcelona does he find his stride. And with the right actors. David Edelstein of New York Magazine, for one, was not impressed with David’s performance: “In small doses, he turns the narcissistic jerk into a hipster. But as an actor he has no equipment for suggesting a conflicted inner life: it’s all just straight to the camera, uninflected bombast”. That’s too bad. I was actually excited to see Allen and David team up for the first time. You’d think it’d be a win-win situation. The trailer certainly has some funny moments:

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Other movies opening this weekend are Food, Inc., a documentary exposé on the commercial food industry; Dead Snow, a Norwegian Zombie flick that looks like something right out of Grindhouse; and $9.99 a fun stop-motion animation feature based on the stories of Etgar Keret. Trailers posted below.

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