Tuesday, December 9, 2008

DVD Roundup: The Good, The Innocent, and the Ugly

It's time again for a really random group of DVDs I've watched recently. All the movies came out this past year, to mixed reviews, but since they all starred people I like, I rented them through Netflix. I'll review them in the order I saw them: Get Smart, Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, and Over Her Dead Body.

Get Smart, based on the 1960s TV show, starred The Office star Steve Carrell and Anne Hathaway. The supporting cast wasn't bad either, with Supporting Actor Oscar winner Alan Arkin, Dwanye Johnson, and Masi Oka. Carrell longs to be a field agent, his agency gets destroyed and only he and Anne Hathaway can inconspicuously infiltrate the bad guys group and save the world. That's about all I understood of the main storyline, but it didn't really matter. The action is only slightly better than a TV series would put together, kind of like a funny Alias. Mostly it's about silly jokes and Carrell hurting himself with weapons. Decent entertainment, but nothing ground-breaking. 3.5 LAMBS/stars

I rented Kit Kittredge because I like Abigail Breslin (see Nim's Island and Little Miss Sunshine) and I'm kind of a sucker for kids movies, and it got decent reviews in the theaters. Based on a doll (The American girl series, which I had when I was a kid) and the books written about her character, Kit lives in Cincinnati during the Great Depression. She wants to be a writer when she grows up and keeps submitting her stories to the newspaper (edited by Wallace Shawn!) and keeps trying to write stories they might publish. Her father (Chris O'Donnell) loses his job and moves to Chicago to find work and Kit and her mom (Julia Ormond) open their house to borders to help make the mortgage. A mix of people move in, helping create fun stories, quirky characters and a good mystery. It was a strangely pertinent story as our own economy struggles that our society's view of poverty might not have changed much since the Depression. They treat "hobos" as criminals, and since few weren't susceptible to unemployment, anyone could become a hobo. I'll admit while watching it I got kinda nervous as they were echoing things that have been appearing in the papers lately. But since it's a kid's movie, it all worked out in the end and Kit solves the mystery and saves the day. It's still fun entertainment. 4 LAMBS/stars.

And finally, the ugly. Over Her Dead Body is a bad redo of Just Like Heaven (with Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo) which wasn't a good enough movie to do again. Basically, a woman dies, can't accept it, haunts someone, and there's a love story. Lake Bell is the main character and isn't interesting enough to carry a movie. That's my first problem with it. The second was that someone convinced Eva Longoria Parker (who I love in Desperate Housewives) that she should both tan extensively and dye her hair blond so she's the same color all over. Plus, half the story is about how Paul Rudd can't get over the death of his fiancee and thus won't smile anymore. Most of Paul Rudd's appeal is his humor and his smile. So basically this movie stinks. The reviews weren't good, but they were kind. It's worse. 1 LAMB/Star. Don't watch this movie.

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