REVIEW: Rio

2 04 2012

2011 will likely go down in the comedy record books as a year where raunch ruled the roost.  Yet it is possible that “Rio,” a G-rated animated comedy from BlueSky, packed the most laughs of them all (save perhaps “Bridesmaids“).  Without ever uttering a curse word or resorting to the profane, the animals take the day in a wholly unexpected and delightful way.

While it may not be able to boast the complex emotions or deep storyline of a Pixar film, “Rio” is just like a beach ball, meant for fun and little else.  And I’m totally fine with that.  Its clean, innocent humor charms anyone willing to resume the persona of a child.

The movie boasts some hilarious characters thanks to very clever voice casting.  Neurotic Jesse Eisenberg plays opposite the sassy Anne Hathaway as a macaw returning to the Brazilian wild after years living in a Minnesota bookstore.  It’s a journey done many times before, but when you take it alongside Tracy Morgan as a drooling bulldog, it can still be fun.  Add in a few toe-tapping musical numbers that are not necessarily well incorporated (but still enjoyable nonetheless) and a setting against the backdrop of the Brazilian Carnaval, and you just might want to book your ticket to Rio for 2016.  Or maybe just watch it repeatedly on TV.  A-

Advertisements




REVIEW: Marmaduke

13 06 2010

You don’t have to read my whole review as long as you take this away from it: “Marmaduke” is one of the worst movies I have ever seen, and you are truly stupid if you choose to waste a perfectly good 90 minutes of your life watching it.

Now that I have that very strong statement out of the way, you can either spend your time listening to me malign every big name involved in this movie or simply take my word for it.  I will be brutal and unsparing; this is the movie that will really bring out the critic in me.  I’ve been waiting to unleash my wrath on something terrible enough to deserve it.  So here it goes.

I have to admire the boldness of Lee Pace, Judy Greer, and William H. Macy who had the guts to show their faces in this movie.  They didn’t hide in the recording studio or inside the potentially lovable body of an animal.  They actually dared to be the human face of the movie, risking association with the movie for the rest of their careers.  These three ought to be sending the marketing people at Fox some very large gift baskets for not advertising “Marmaduke” very much, because the fact that it was such a low-key campaign may save their reputations from being forever tarnished.

You would think that Owen Wilson has enough sense to choose a movie that has some kind of substance.  But even if you don’t have much respect for Owen Wilson, you might think Keifer Sutherland does.  Or Emma Stone (Jules from “Superbad”).  Or George Lopez.  Or Christopher Mintz-Plasse (McLovin).  Or Steve Coogan.  Or Fergie.  Or Marlon Wayans.  Or Sam Elliott.

Like this cavalcade of stars?  Guess what, each and every one of them chose a movie that doesn’t deserve to take a poop in their yards.  Honestly, if any of these big names had shown their faces in “Marmaduke,” they would be firing their agents and calling their real estate agent to find the coziest cave in Beverly Hills.  It’s always a shame to see actors take on material that doesn’t deserve them, and “Marmaduke” is like a tragedy for each of these stars.  None of them put any effort into making this giant heap of poop any better, as if the subtext of every line is, “We feel you; we know this movie sucks.”

And don’t even get me started on the non-existent plot.  My theory is that the director scrounged a bargain bin of kids movies and came to shooting with the idea to rip off any one of them that might have worked.  So for every groan and eye roll you get in “Marmaduke,” you get to say to yourself, “Oh, I liked that better when I saw it in (INSERT ANY KIDS MOVIE TITLE HERE).”  So, by all means, if you want to feel immeasurable frustration with the endless banality Hollywood feeds to children, go right ahead and waste your life watching “Marmaduke.”  As the late Gene Siskel used to say, “It’s your life, and you can’t get that time back.”  D- /