Home Movies: Adam Sandler's Regressive Foray into Adulthood, Michael Cera's Bruising Video-Game Romance
Based on an original story by Adam Sandler and former Saturday Night Live writer Fred Wolf, Grown Ups contains not a single imaginative minute. It is as lazily conceived as anything Sandler has done.
But it must have been a blast to make. Judging by the fact that Sandler and his fellow SNL alum, with King of Queens star Kevin James gamely filling in for the late Chris Farley, spend so much time laughing at their own jokes, we might reasonably suspect something funny is afoot. Just try and find it.
Edgar Wright, the English director of the exuberant romantic comedy Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, cites 2007’s Hot Fuzz, his Point Break-inspired follow-up to the 2004 zombie satire Shaun of the Dead, as the movie that afforded him the chance to film in his hometown of Wells, and to pay tribute to influences ranging from Agatha Christie to Michael Bay’s Bad Boys II.
At 40, Simon Pegg is too old to play Scott Pilgrim, the painfully ordinary 22-year-old bassist of the fledgling garage-rock trio Sex Bob-omb. Still rebounding from a painful breakup – he’s the dumpee – Scott finds an effusive “Scottaholic” in high-schooler Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), who soothes his tattered ego but otherwise fails to engage him. For all his affectations, he’s an aimless schlub.
Anna Kendrick doesn’t expect to win an Oscar for her ferociously perky supporting turn as a corporate terminator in Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air. That, she says, is an honor earmarked for another actress, though she coyly declines to reveal the mystery winner’s identity.
Even if Kendrick, 24, is right, it would take nothing away from her remarkable breakthrough starring opposite George Clooney in Reitman’s meditation on the value of human contact in an age of digital communication. Nor would it diminish the impact of her scene-stealing performance as a vapid, shopping-obsessed teen in one of the year’s biggest blockbusters, New Moon.
I feel Michael Cera's pain.
Michael Cera has established himself as the sensitive, self-effacing symbol of geek chic, whose trademark monotone seems at once unassuming and laden with irony. In Miguel Arteta’s Youth in Revolt, he cuts loose. Nobody will confuse Francois, his chain-smoking, mustachioed wild-man, with the sort of characters played by Jack Black, a master at embodying the untamed id. But it’s a refreshing change of pace.
Cera plays two roles here: Nick, a shy, retiring teen, and Francois, his rascal of an alter ego. Nick is polite, virginal and far too timid to land the girl of his dreams. That would be the lovely Sheeni (Portia Doubleday), who has a boyfriend but seems open to collecting another.
After an open weekend highlighted by the regional premieres of Lone Scherfig’s An Education and Katherine Dieckmann’s Motherhood, which helped earn star Uma Thurman a festival award, Mill Valley’s annual celebration of cinema from all corners of the globe continues through next weekend. (Tickets for individual screenings are available, and can be purchased here.) The highlights include:
Thanks to Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, the vicious political satire In the Loop and provocative documentaries like The Cove and Food, Inc., it's already been a terrific year for dedicated moviegoers. Based on the impressively strong selection of films on display at the 34th annual Toronto Film Festival, which drew to a close Sept. 19, there's plenty to look forward to in the months to come.
Charlyne Yi (Knocked Up) does not believe in love, or so she says. At the very least, she doesn’t believe in fairy-tale love or the Hollywood mythology of romance, and her own experiences have turned her into yet a skeptic. Paper Heart, the new comedy from first-time feature director Nicholas Jasenovec, follows Yi as she embarks on a quest across America to make a documentary about the one subject she doesn’t fully understand.
With Oscar nominee David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) reportedly in “advanced talks” to direct, and at least two of Hollywood’s hottest young actors – Superbad’s Michael Cera and the ubiquitous Shia LaBeouf – rumored as contenders to star, the upcoming movie about the creation of Facebook (working title: The Social Network) seems closer to becoming a reality.