About Me

Warning you about crappy movies since 2008.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Hangover

By now, you surely know the premise. Three friends (well, two friends and a slightly slow future brother-in-law) take Doug to Vegas for a bachelor party. The three wake up in their luxury suite the morning after to discover blow-up dolls in the tub, a still-smoldering cigar burning a leather chair, a live chicken, an equally live tiger in the bathroom and a baby in the closet. Oh, and the groom is missing.

No one has any recollection of the previous night. They've got to find their friend but will need to do a bit of (bumbling) detective work to retrace their steps.

If the summary sounds hysterical, wait until you see these hapless guys in action. The fellas may be stereotypes, but they're still HI-larious. Ed Helms (Dwight Shrute's rival for Angela on The Office) plays the hen-pecked professional who is fearful of his battle ax of a live-in girlfriend. Bradley Cooper plays the hot stud who's unhappily married and complains about the old ball and chain at every turn. He's also a teacher, and he complains about that, too.

The dimwitted brother, though, is a complete original. He gets the best lines, and his helpless longing to just be one of the guys provides the raunchy proceedings with a bit of heart.

While many of the plot devices used (mistaken identity, for one) are a bit worn, they're made to seem fresh here. The old you-got-my-suitcase-and-I-got-yours-since-they-are-identical gag (from What's Up, Doc?) is updated here to involve a man purse.

The ending will not come as a surprise to anyone, but there are plenty of surprises to be had in Vegas to keep the movie laugh out-loud funny from start through the final credits. See it.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Shall We Kiss?

This French (with subtitles) movie provides a cinematic retort to "A Kiss is Just a Kiss."

A kiss is never just a kiss, this movie seems to be saying. One kiss can alter the entire course of a life. For better or for worse.

Shall We Kiss? starts with a typical "meet cute," which sets up the premise. A lovely woman is in town on business and can't find a taxi. She asked a handsome passerby where to hail a cab, and he offers to take her to her hotel. He invites her to dinner and, since she has nothing else to do, she accepts. When he drops her back at the hotel, he asks politely for a kiss. She tells him she cannot allow it, given what she knows about how there's really no such thing as an innocent kiss. With that, he's so intrigued that he insists on hearing the story.

From there, we see the story in flashbacks involving another couple -- seemingly happily married -- and the wife's (male) best friend. Their story takes a number of unpredictable and, at times, hysterical turns. At one point, we're treated to the most clinical, least passionate movie love scene in recent memory. It's intentionally funny.

If all this sounds like standard rom-com fare, it's not. There are funny parts, but this movie is much more melancholy than your average romantic comedy. On one level, it's a rumination on how hard it is for couples to stay together and remain faithful -- even in the happiest of marriages.

The story told in flashbacks is so engaging, it's easy to forget that our storyteller is back in a hotel bar with a man she's just met who is hanging on her every word. Hers is a cautionary tale, alright, but will both protagonists be able to resist a little liplock after all the time they've spent together and all the vin rouge they've drunk? Find out for yourself. See it.