Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Rickey's Film Corral: Rounding up Movies You Were Too Damned Lazy to See

Pineapple Express. Roughly 15 minutes into watching this movie, Rickey noticed a rather peculiar sensation: Rickey could literally feel his brain cells packing their suitcases and exiting his skull one by one, as if to say: “Hey, you can stick around for this, but we’re certainly not. We’ll see you in an hour and a half.” Overall, this movie is a train wreck, a big dumb schizophrenic mess that’s one part lousy comedy and one part lousy action movie. The story revolves around two pot–head slackers who get unwittingly drawn into a drug war and spent the majority of the film meandering through the ensuing zaniness by cursing, smoking weed, and getting into brutal, seemingly endless fights. If watching every cast member in a movie (even Rosie Perez) getting kicked in the nether region is your idea of quality entertainment, then yes, you will most definitely get your $10 worth. Being suckers for the comedic stylings of Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow, we really had high hopes for this stoner comedy and were anticipating something along the lines of a “Big Lebowski” sort of film. This was apparently not to be. The movie is all over the place, consisting of pointless vignettes, unfunny gay jokes, and stale physical comedy. There are occasional flashes of humor in the movie, most notably when a hilariously enraged Ed Begley Jr. threatens to take Seth Rogen out into the street and "fuck [him] like an animal" but these moments are few and far between. “Pineapple Express” is a spectacularly loud and dumb entry in the genre of stoner comedy films. Especially grating is how the movie oddly concludes with the main characters sitting in a diner booth recounting the entire plot of this incoherent movie. What in the hell were they getting at? Rickey just sat through the same atrocious movie too, are you trying to rub Rickey’s nose in it? Overall, an incredibly half baked movie.

Step Brothers. Now this Judd Apatow-produced flick, also featuring unrepentant slackers in a state of arrested development, is actually fairly funny and deserves mention. This R-rated comedy starring Will Ferrell John C. Reilly focuses on two forty year old man-children each living at home with their parents. Each is jobless and lives modern day Peter Pan style lives, consisting of hording toys, playing videogames, wearing Chewbacca costumes, and throwing tantrums (or as Rickey likes to call it, “a productive weekend”). Their respective parents meet, get married, Ferrell and Reilly become begrudging step brothers, and hijinks ensue. Much like “Pineapple Express,” this is an exceedingly dumb movie, but at least it’s a coherent one. Unlike “Pineapple Express” you won’t find yourself wondering what in the hell the writers/directors were getting at. The chemistry between Ferrell and Reilly is great—think “Superbad” but with sibling rivalry. And it’s nice to see Will Ferrell take a break from his “silly athlete” shtick to return to what he does best: “silly man-child.” And yes, we mean that as a compliment. This movie features Will Ferrell at his funniest since “Anchorman” and garners the nod for Rickey’s pick of the week. It’s strictly disposable entertainment that doesn’t break new ground, but those looking for a good laugh could do a lot worse than this (see above).

The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Back in high school, Rickey was a total nutball for this groundbreaking show. Rickey, being a bit of a geek (an X-Phile, if you will) even possessed an X-Files t-shirt emblazoned with the motto: “I Want to Believe.” Even today, Rickey still wants to believe in a lot of things: UFOs, science gone awry, government conspiracies, the paranormal, and in general, things that go bump in the night. But one of the primary things Rickey wants to believe is that a movie studio is capable of delivering a decent X-Files movie. You’d think that a show created to channel post-Watergate anxieties would have no problem whatsoever tapping into the widespread societal paranoia and mistrust inflicted by eight years of lies and deception on the part of the Bush Administration. And incredibly enough, you’d be wrong—sorry fans, but this is not the X-Files movie you’ve been waiting for. It isn’t even close. At first, Rickey was heartened to see that this movie casts aside the show’s UFO mythology (some of the show’s finest episodes were stand alone gothic tales—Rickey’s looking at you Season 5, Episode 12: “Our Town”) and starts on a promising note by seemingly focusing on a beastie wreaking havoc in the woods of West Virginia. But things quickly deteriorate amidst a tattered plot consisting of gruesome “Saw” inspired organ theft, villainous Russians, and a defrocked pedophile priest with psychic powers. And fans of the original show will notice that the whole skepticism vs. faith motif that made the Mulder/Scully dynamic from the tv show so great in the first place is completely missing. There are just so many items this movie drops the ball on that we have to wonder why the creators even bothered to make it in the first place. Believe it or not, the most compelling performance in the movie comes from the star of MTV’s “Pimp My Ride” Xzibit, whose exasperation with tramping around in the cold West Virginia snow after two has-been UFO chasers closely mirrored Rickey’s exasperation with the movie overall. A major letdown for Rickey and for fans of the show in general.

[Posted at Humor-Blogs]

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Alex L said...

I still have to see Pineapple Express I think I'll probably enjoy it as long as I go into it with the right mind set.

As for Will Ferrel, I cant help but think he plays the same character in all his movies, sure they have different accents, but still its just Ron Burgundy in a different costume. Apart from of course "Stranger than Fiction", which showed Ferrel can actually act. But you get the feeling it will be forgotten amongst all his other comedies like "Punch Drunk Love" was for Adam Sandler. But it should have some laughs!

X-files, while a fan of the series all that conspiracy stuff bored me, I really rathered the silly episodes. And Billy Connilly in a serious role, dont quite know if my brain will accept that.

Mike said...

I love when Reilly does comedy. Good to hear you liked this one.

Toasty Joe said...

Damn, I was all excited to see PI, and then I read this. Rickey, are you saying that even if I loved Freaks & Geeks, Undeclared, Anchorman, 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked up and even if I liked Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I STILL won't like this entry? Damn.

Rickey Henderson said...

Toasty/Alex: Rickey has enjoyed every single Apatow offering until now. While there are occasional funny moments (Franco's goofy stoner is decent) overall, the movie really isn't a comedy as much as a zany chase movie. They went for a very different kind of funny than the sort we all enjoyed in "Superbad," "40 Year Old Virgin," and "Anchorman." It's not an offbeat funny as much as a vulgar and crude funny. Honestly, "Step Brothers" feels like much more of a legitimate Apatow comedy than this did.

Haley said...

Xzibit is an largely underestimated talent. That kid's going places!

General Kang said...

Keep these reviews coming Rickey, you're saving General Kang money!

Smitty said...

It seemed to me that the funniest parts of Pineapple Express were in the trailer and everything else is a variation on a theme.

It's funny though...watching the trailers, I would have transposed PE and Step Brothers, going purely off the trailers. I would have buessed Step Brothers to be just another vehicle for Wil Farrel to act like a man-child and PE to be a decently constructed movie.

I had not planned to see the X-Files movie. Loved the show to death. A second movie inexplicably released a decade after the original show's cancellation smacks of some actors running low on money.

Harris said...

hey rickey,

so, am i to assume that they showed the worst parts of Step Brothers in the trailer?

Cause man, based on that, it looks horrible

rock on,


The Common Man said...

Well, it's not like David Duchovony and Gillian Anderson (and Chris Carter, for that matter) have been especially busy lately. Did it feel a little like you were watching the Senior League of Professional Baseball, with a 50 year old Ferguson Jenkins getting lit up?

I appreciate you taking one for the team, Rickey, and triaging the current releases for us. I can safely wait for the DVDs and not feel like I'm missing much.

LOBO said...

What General Kang said!!

I swear I don't know what's going on in Hollywood anymore ... "Here's a good title/franchise and a hundred million dollars. Make me a movie, but be sure the script doesn't go over $6.99 or three bottles of Boonesfarm. Whichever costs less ..."

The Acorn King said...

I agree with you on "Pineapple Express." Although it wasn't as bad as some comedies I've seen this year, but it wasn't great either. Worth maybe a rental, but I was def expecting much more from this one. I had to go home and watch my "Freaks & Geeks" box set to cleanse my Judd Apatow/Seth Rogen palate.

I still need to see "Step Brothers" I was apprehensive on this one, just getting sick of the formula of Ferrel. I think you nailed it when you said that you were glad Ferrel dropped the “silly athlete” shtick to return to what he does best: “silly man-child.”

Rickey Henderson said...

Smitty: you think that, but trust Rickey, it's totally the other way around. "Step Brothers" is pretty funny. At the very least, Will Ferrell's rendition of "Con Te Partiro" is better than anythiung you'll see in "MAMMA-MIA" this summer.

Kang/Lobo/Common Man: Rickey's all too happy to jump on these cinematic grenades for you. Not to render ourselves obsolete or anything, but you too have the power to spare yourselves having to pay for crappy movies. Check out Surf the Channel sometime.

Anonymous said...

Rickey: Speaking of John C. Reilly, did you see him in Walk Hard? What did you think, if you did?