In lieu of a proper review cause we didn't have time to write it today, here's a little music preview of Kimberly Peirce's newest film, the post-Iraq-war soldiers drama,"Stop-Loss" (it's surprisingly good).
Many have noted and appropriately called us out on our knee-jerk reaction to the use of meathead metal rockers Drowning Pool's "Bodies" in the trailer which we originally thought was a little crass considering soliders and innocents were dying and all, but as you guys so tigerishly pointed out, "Soliders listen to that kind of shit; it's very appropriate, shut the fuck up." Ok, point taken. Consider this our mea culpa and let's never ever speak of it again.
Curated by our music supervisor favorites Randall Poster and Jim Dunbar (the team behind "I'm Not There" and "The Darjeeling Limited"), the music culled in the film is appropriately red state-centric country by the likes of Toby Keith, Ricky Calmbach and Robert Earl Keen, good ol' boy Southern boogie (Marshall Tucker Band, and American swamp rock Creedence Clearwater Revival) and even a little hip-hop (ok, there's none in the credits, but we swear we heard a song in the film). After all, most of the film's action takes place in Texas and small town bars where brawls and southern belles are aplenty. Drowing Pool is cut to footage shot and edited by the soldiers themselves in their downtime on their laptops (which was based on clips shot by actual soldiers).
Composed by John Powell (who also recently tracked "Jumper"), there will be a soundtrack disc of his original score, but it does seem doubtful that these pre-existing songs in the film will come out on disc, but you never know. There's always an ad-hoc ITunes playlist too. The newer, less-aggro trailer features Snow Patrol's "Open Your Eyes," but you won't find it in the film (yeah, it was in the other trailer too, but not as prominent as DPool). The film opens up today (Friday March 28) and it's easily your best bet this weekend considering the other crap that's opening.
Music used in "Stop-Loss"
Toby Keith - "Courtesy Of the Red, White, Blue (The Angry American)"
Neal Saunders - "Matter of Time"
John Phillip Sousa - Stars and Stripes Forever"
Brady Muckelroy - "Street Beat"
Ricky Calmbach - "From Where I Stand"
Ricky Calmbach - "Dance Time In Texas"
Richard Wagner - "Wedding March"
Ricky Calmbach - "I'm Never Gonna Let You Go"
Robert Earl Keen - "I'm Comin' Home"
Marshall Tucker Band - "Can't You See"
Drowning Pool - "Bodies"
Creedence Clearwater Revival - "Born On The Bayou"
Watch: new "Stop-Loss" trailer
In lieu of a proper review cause we didn't have time to write it today, here's a little music preview of Kimberly Peirce's newest film, the post-Iraq-war soldiers drama,"Stop-Loss" (it's surprisingly good).
Someone (Zohan) Finally Capitalizes On The Borat-Like Qualities Of Otherwise Unredeemable M.I.A. Song
Remember the unfunny Judd Apatow/ Adam Sandler trailer for the film, "You Don't Mess With Zohan"? Well, there's a slightly new trailer now and it features M.I.A. song "Jimmy" that was surely meant as culturally deft cross-pollinated mash-up, but actually sounded like a bad Turkish disco song, ala something you would have totally heard in "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan."
It's a pretty worthless song frankly (2, 3, 1, someone vehemently disagreeing with us), but the Sandler crew has put it to pretty excellent use in their trailer proving that even the ugliest of ducklings can find a home somewhere. The Apatow-extended crew seems to be loving M.I.A. these days. Either that or it's just coincidental that the "Pineapple Express" trailer is also featuring one of her multi-culti hip-hop mashes (the very excellent, "Paper Planes").
The new 'Zohan' trailer still looks largely unfunny, but hey, it is an Adam Sandler film. What did you expect? (And don't think this one will have much, if any of the trademark sweet/vulgar and semi-intelligent comedy of the Apatow films; it's a dumb beast unto its own)
Download: M.I.A. - "Jimmy"
Watch: new 'Zohan' trailer
'Boarding Gate' Features Brian Eno, Robert Fripp And Amazingly Absurd Sparks Collab With Giorgio Moroder
Say what you will about French director Oliver Assayas (sometimes, he's grossly overrated), but the filmmaker does know how to make some choice mixes for his films.
2002's "Demonlover" featured original music composed by Sonic Youth and and Chicagoan avante-composer Jim O'Rourke, 1996's cult-fave "Irma Vep" featured more SY and Luna, and 2004's "Clean" featured a shitload of the warm, sonic atmospheric bath that is Brian Eno, plus tracks by the Notwist, and Metric (who made a cameo playing themselves at a gig).
The the recently released pseudo-thriller / sexual psychodrama, "Boarding Gate" (which we thought was his best so far) continues the filmmakers strong predilection for the moody ambient sonics of Eno, plus this time uses a track from the glabrous composer's frequent collaborator, avante-guitarist/ ex-King Crimson guitarist, Robert Fripp (from their 1973 inagural album No Pussyfooting)
The coup de grace though is the 2nd half of Sparks inspired collaboration with '70s disco maestro Giorgio Moroder, "The No. 1 Song In Heaven" (from the 1973 album, No. 1 in Heaven) which is used sublimely (and somewhat absurdly) in the film's credits. At any rate it showcases Assayas' sense of not taking himself too seriously in a film that many might feel is largely pretentious.
Oh, also note the one-sheet poster to the left which slyly displaces a moment in the movie where star Asia Argento plays with her hoo-ha, with a conveniently placed handgun. Three cheers for photoshop!
Music used in "Boarding Gate"
Brian Eno - "Lizard Point"
KLF - "What Time Is Love"
Brian En0 - 2/2
Fripp and Brian Eno - "The Heaven Music Corp"
Lin XI - "Shy Zhou Mo"
Dickey Cheung - "Younger Days"
Ai Jing - "Desire Of Flying"
Bai Kwong - "Waiting 4 U (2003 Remix)"
Sparks - "The No. 1 Song In Heaven"
Download: Brian Eno - "Lizard Point"
Download: Brian Eno - "2/2"
The "coming-of-age-late" roadtrip indie comedy, "Backseat" is set for release this weekend will feature an eclectic group of songs by indie faves Andrew Bird, !!!, Pretty Girls Make Graves and The Sea And Cake guitarist, Archer Prewitt.
Directed by Bruce van Dusen (writer/director of the '80s Sundance fave "Cold Feet"), the film chronicles a prolonged adolescence about two slacker friends (newcomers Josh Alexander, Rob Bogue) and their buddies who forge a cockamamie plan to seek out their favorite actor Donald Sutherland in Montreal and the encounters they meet along the way (unbeknowst to some of them, their car is filled with a trunkload cocaine; one of the duo's cousin works in a restaurant allegedly said to be Sutherland's favorite).
The director conceived of an indie-rock soundtrack from the get-go and tapped his appropriately college-age son to make him a mix CD. Excited by the music he curated, the director soon discovered that many of the bands were ones his son new personally from college. “Yeah, Dad,” he said at one point. “That band lives in my dorm.” Then well known indie label owners and film music supervisors Jonathan Fine and Glen Caplin (supervision for the tastefully curated, "Manic"), were brought on board to fill out the signature sound. B.C Smith, who produced some of the music for the indie-friendly "The United States of Lealand," (score by Jeremy Enigk of Sunny Day Real Estate), also composed the score for "Backseat."
The film also features lesser known acts like Brooklyn-based electro rockers Zigmat, Boston rockers the Downbeat Five, Chicago power-pop singer, Kevin Tihista and freak-folky, Brooklyn act Currituck Co.
Shot at a blistering pace over 17 days on a hand held super-16mm, "Backseat" was very-much an independent affair, but it didn't prevent the filmmakers in attempting to make more than your average indie comedy. "My goal was to bring out all the weird twists and turns that would make it more than [just a comedy]", director van Dusen said. "There is always something tragic in what makes us smile. I thought I could keep both the darker and lighter aspects of the story and characters in full view."
Why Donald Sutherland? Was the actor a huge personal hero of the directors? Yes and no. From a story perspective, I wanted to settle on an actor that was both iconic and yet also oddly specific. I like the fact that audiences immediately wonder “why Donald Sutherland” and I like the fact that [main character's] reasons are actually incredibly personal and have very little to do with Sutherland as a performer and much more to do with the moment in his life."
"Backseat" comes out in limited release tomorrow (Friday March 27). The trailer (below) features Currituck Co.'s "Antichrist" and Kevin Tihista's "Freakshow." Lastly, we're told why there is no soundtrack disc yet, there could be further down the road.
"The Grandmother Wolf" - Pretty Girls Make Graves
"Old Guitar" - Quintus
"Dear Can" - !!!
"Way of the Sun" - Archer Prewitt
"Rabbit" - Goldcard
"Skin" - Andrew Bird
"Light of the Moon" - Zigmat
"When I'm Alone" - Joe Alley
"Let it Go" - De' Storm
"I'm Not Waiting" - The Downbeat Five
"Freight Elevator" - The Rogers Sisters
"Freakshow" - Kevin Tihista
"Antichrist" - Currituck Co.
Original Music - BC Smith
Watch: "Backseat" trailer
In what will surely be naively seen as a check mark for the positive column in the whole alleged Warner Bros.Spike Jonze "Where The Wild Things Are vs " debacle (like WB gives a shit what he thinks), voice actor Forest Whitaker has spoken out about the film and the director's vision.
Or rather to be specific, the actor was asked about the film and he applauded what Jonze was attempting to do. Others will spin it as Whitaker hates WB, or the actor going out of his way to defend the movie, but the man was asked a question and answered it, that simple (the Chinese whispers-like blog reporting on 'Wild Things' has been chalk fun of wild speculation and unsubstantiated rumors - i.e. all of a sudden Dave Eggers was getting replaced? Total speculation perverted into "fact").
Reports claimed that the film was too scary for kids and this is what had allegedly unsettled Warner Bros. and speaking to MTV, Whitaker seemed to tentatively confirm those reports. "My children are 9, 11, and 16,” saying he took his children to one of those early 'Things' screenings. “It was intense. They liked it, though. They enjoyed it.”
But Whitaker is in the dark about the recut rumors and the overall 'Wild Things' imbroglio, but he wants to get to the bottom of it. “I’m going to call Spike and find out what’s going on,” he told MTV. “The thing is, it’s one thing to read [scary stuff] in a book, but when you see an itty-bitty kid running alongside a 10-foot-giant on the side of a cliff, it gets intense. But that’s the point, because we’re representing the things inside of the kid. They represent his struggles, either him being too angry or being confused, or not feeling like he belongs. They’re a gargantuan extension of the way he’s feeling inside.”
Whitaker's comments suggest that the film is challenging, dark and could be too much for some children (or at least some studios attempting to market this film to someone; potentially children).
“[The dark scenes] are the point of the movie, and I hope that they maintain that point, because I think children can identify with a character who is upset,” he said, citing one key scene of destruction as being particularly controversial. “[The main character Max] built this whole city, and nobody likes it, and he tears it all up. He’s like, ‘Well if you don’t like it, I’m just going to tear it up!’ because he wants so badly for someone to like it.”
Whitaker suggest that Eggers and Jonze's script has really tried to dig deep at the psychological underpinnings of the Maurice Sendak-penned classic kid's book that is only 338 pages long. "This kid rolls by himself, no father figure; this is a single family home. His mother ends up having a boyfriend that becomes like a monster to him…people have to build trust with the people their parent starts to date…These are real issues that the character deals with, and I hope that [the filmmakers] continue to explore them, because kids need to see that; they need to see that other kids are dealing with it.”
Whether this interview moves the 'Wild Things' homeland security alert back up to orange or down to a saner blue is undetermined as of this writing.
Random Short Cuts
We apologize for not blogging yesterday, we had a massive project to get out the door. You know, paying gigs and all. But things happened yesterday you should paid attention to. Here's a greatest hits.
George Lucas took a preemptive apologist strike at those nerds who already think "Indiana Jones 4" will suck dogballs yesterday by admitting he knows you'll be disappointed. The director/producer CGI-enthusiast basically said he holds nothing precious and prepared audiences to have your sense of nostalgia destroyed. "It's just a movie. Just like the other movies. You probably have fond memories of the other movies. But if you went back and looked at them, they might not hold up the same way your memory holds up." [USA Today]
Fabulous outsider filmmaker John Waters tries to dig at R.E.M's Michael Stipe for coming out of the closet more than once? (publicity whore) [New York Magazine]
Sir Ian McKellan confirmed that if all goes as planned (i.e. if Peter Jackson and he have his way), he will return as Gandalf in the "Hobbit" film mostly likely to be directed by Guillermo del Toro. [Film Guardian]
Elizabeth Banks got cast as first lady Laura Bush in Oliver Stone's upcoming George W. Bush screed. Josh Brolin is already signed on to play Dubya and as for Connie Rice? We humbly suggest Halle Berry, you know she'd be perfect with her "Storm" like hairdo. James Cromwell will play George Sr. and the great Ellen Burstyn will portray Barbara. [Empire]
Steve Earle played "The Wire" theme song - "Way Down In The Hole" by Tom Waits - on David Letterman. We poured out another 40 for our beloved Bmore crew. [Stereogum] Creator David Simon actually lectured to (or at?) Columbia journalism students last night in New York and we were very tempted to try and sneak in, but the callings of birthdays and beer were more important. Anyone have a report? We're dying to hear.
Someone thinks there's a market out there for $35 movie tickets that come with bells, whistles, questionable massages and the like. [Variety]
Short Cuts: David O. Russell's 'Nailed' Cast Expands, Guy Ritchie's 'RocknRolla' Becomes Threequel; More
How has he not been put in director jail yet? It's a wonder with his reputation as being a ego maniacal, tyrant and difficult prick that David O. Russell still is allowed to make movies, but someone still trusts this notorious nutcase. James Marsden, Catherine Keener and Tracy Morgan are about to join the cast of his political comedy, "Nailed." The film stars Jessica Biel as a socially awkward, uninsured receptionist who accidentally gets shot in the head with a nail. She goes to Washington on a crusade to fight for the rights of the bizarrely injured and meets an immoral congressman played by Jake Gyllenhaal who takes advantage of her sexually and politically. "Nailed" was written with Al Gore's daughter, Kristin. Marsden will play Biel's small-town boyfriend, Keener will play a "self-serving congresswoman," and it's unclear what Morgan's role will be other than presumably bringing the funny.It sounds light and amusing. Let's hope it's better than the overrated disaster that was "I Heart Huckabees." [Hollywood Reporter]
Guy Ritchie's upcoming crime caper "RocknRolla" is going to be turned into a trilogy? According to 'Rolla' star Thandie Newton, that's the plan. “It's one of three films and Guy’s keen to get going on that straight away. [The second and third films in the series] are going to be excellent. I can’t wait," she said, but advised that don't expect to see all of the cast – Gerard Butler, Jermey Piven, Ludacris, Tom Wilkinson, Idris Elba ("The Wire"s Stringer Bell), Toby Kebbell (the breakout star of "Control") – return for the sequels. "Well I managed to get away, but a quite a lot of them died,” Newton laughed of her doomed co-stars. “[The sequel] will follow whoever’s left.” RocknRolla is due later this year in the fall. [MTV]
"Juno" director Jason Reitman has a new script on the way that he hopes to direct later this year. What's it called? What's it about? The Oscar-nominated filmmaker is being coy, but did reveal a few things. “It’s a comedy and a drama [book adaptation],” he said. “Think ‘Thank You for Smoking,’ but instead of political it’s corporate.”Anyone got any guesses? Was this this the script he was working on that he abandoned after he read Diablo Cody's "Juno" script and decided he had to drop everything he was doing and immediately get on board the project? Meanwhile, Reitman also teased Cody's next project, the horror-teen comedy "Jennifer's Body" (which he is producing). “Well, we’ve got Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried getting into a fight in their underwear. That’ll be fun.”[MTV]
Ok, there's still no exact details yet, but the May 6 DVD release of Todd Haynes' abstract and prismic Bob Dylan biopic "I'm Not There," will be a two-disc collector's edition which bodes well for extras for geeks and Zimmy obsessives like us.
Albums made by actors are intrinsically supposed to suck, yes? Well, Scarlett Johansson's upcoming solo album, Anywhere I Lay My Head, produced by TV On The Radio's Dave Sitek and featuring David Bowie, members of the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs and the Celebration is getting good reviews. Or at least a good review. References to the Cocteau Twins keep coming up. Our mini preview mention said the same. Other references include a soundtrack to David Lynch, the theatrical moments of Mercury Rev, The Cure and Marianne Faithful. [Uncut]
Lyle Lovett and Harry Dean Stanton will join Justin Timberlake and Jeff Bridges in the baseball film, "The Open Road." Timberlake plays a young baseball player trying to reconnect with his father — a legendary athlete played by Jeff Bridges. Lovett will play a local bartender, Stanton will play Timberlake's grandfather. [EW]
It's taken Kimberley Peirce nine years to complete the follow-up to her Academy Award winning indie debut, "Boys Don't Cry" (which made a star of horsefaced Hilary Swank and gave Chloë Sevigny a brief brush with the mainstream and afforded her the chance to hang out with those lacking drug-dependency issue).
You could be making a musical about Jesus Christ's apocalyptic war on anti-abortion activists as fought by his legion of transsexual warriors, but the first thing the media will ask you after a prolonged nine-year-absence is, "where the hell have you been for nine years?"
The New York Times wouldn't be above this either (and in this case we can say we don't blame them) and have done a rather splendid job of charting all the stops and start, failed projects that Peirce tried to attach herself to on the road to her upcoming personal Iraq war soldiers film, "Stop-Loss" (which stars Ryan Phillippe, Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Abbie Cornish who acted alongside Heath Ledger in the little-seen 2006 film, "Candy").
"Yes, I should have made a movie sooner. Yes, I should be a lot richer than I am. Mea culpa,” Peirce, now 40-years-old, joked to the Times apparently having earned one directing credit during her almost decade-long absence from filmmaking — an episode of "The L-Word."
Hollywood isn't the easiest place to traverse and the director had a bunch of projects on the go at one time they failed to get off the ground including an adaptation of Dave Eggers' "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” (they met twice it didn't go anywhere), "Memoirs of A Geisha," (she briefly entertained the idea of directing it) “Silent Star,” a screenplay not unlike "Hollywoodland," based on an unsolved murder within Tinseltown (it had Evan Rachel Wood and Annette Bening attached at DreamWorks but fell apart over budget issues) and an adaptation of the Gothic south short-stories book “The Ice at the Bottom of the World,” which also didn't pan out ("I got offered millions of dollars, many different movies. But it’s like starting to run before you’re ready to run. You’re still the same. You’re looking for emotional truth in your directing," she said).
However, she did hit it off with 'World' author Mark Richard and she eventually enlisted him to be her co-writer on "Stop-Loss," a film they did a whopping 65-drafts and edited right up until and during filming.
In the film, Phillipe plays a soldier who returns to his Texas home a golden-boy war hero, but is faced with being sent back to the Middle East under a "stop-loss" order - a controversial and routinely used directive involuntary extending ones military service after it has been officially fulfilled - or a "back-door draft" loophole as it its known.
Peirce came to the story in 2005 when her Iraq-war-enlisted half-brother came back and would tell her about his friends who were "being sent back for third, fourth and fifth tours of duty." His experiences and the text and video messages had already spurned her on to write a script based on American soldiers' experiences, but when she heard all about the, basically illegal, or at least completely unfair, stop-loss measure, her vision for the project changed.
Pierce struggled with the film initially, but the stop-loss order gave her a new conflict to pose. "If we could stay with a soldier who was severely patriotic and then had a change of heart, but was still conflicted, it was much more interesting.It’s a very different debate than the people who don’t want to fight at all.”
In the film, Phillppe's character goes AWOL and on the run with his best friend's (Tatum) fiance (played by Cornish, who he left his wife Reese Witherspoon for).
The Times notes that MTV is marketing the film to teenagers in a hip-fashion, but after the decidedly feeble success of war films in 2007 — In The Valley Of Elah," "Grace Is Gone," "Redacted" all did extremely poorly at the box-office - the director's not mad at that kind of direction.
“This war is a very young experience, and our film speaks absolutely to youth. No one else is giving these guys a voice,” she told the paper. "Stop-Loss" hits theaters this Friday (March 28) and despite ignorantly attacking its trailer with knee-jerk fervor (we just hate the fucking Drowning Pool song), we thought it was a pretty powerful film.
Nine Inch Nails Announce Ghosts Quasi-"Film Festival" For Their
Vacuum Cleaner Sounds Instrumental Albums Release
Despite being "disheartened" by the record buying public in January, earlier this month, Trent Reznor, the czar behind the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails circumvented the normal music industry channels by independently releasing the album Ghosts I-IV – a four-disc collection of 36 tracks closely resembling the monotonous, droning sounds of multiple Hoover vacuum cleaners turned on at once – on the band's website.
Normally inclined to mostly ignoring traditionally recorded music with proper choruses, melodies and lyrics, the public surprised many by shelling out for the album - and its limited fancypants $300 ultra-deluxe edition - in droves racking up Reznor and his co-horts a cool $1.6 million (Reznor publicly disclosed the figures he made almost immediately and then threw Radiohead under the bus for not doing the same).
Then mid-month, Reznor expanded the Ghosts project to a visual domain, partnering with YouTube to create the Ghosts "Film Festival": essentially urging users to take whatever (usually copyrighted) material they could find and creating music videos for the songs. In a YouTube clip (naturally), Reznor explained the "film festivals" intentions:
"We've treated this entire project like it was en experiment. When we started working on the music we would generally start with a visual reference that we would imagine - a place or setting or situation and then attempt to describe that with sound, texture and melody, and treat it in a sense as it were a soundtrack. As we started down that path and it started to yield results that we were pleased with we wanted, we wondered how we could expand the experiment to involve the community."Reznor stressed that the festival wasn't a contest with some "elaborate prize," but rather a place for collaborative online experimentation stating that the band had visual intention from the projects inception last fall and deliberately left the album's track names untitled so they wouldn't "taint" the listeners experience.
Those skeptical of the idea (us) were duly surprised when we checked and found over 450 videos completed just eleven days after the project was announced. This should boost Reznor and company who had some potentially high hopes for the projects expansion.
"We've discussed some interesting ways this could go, " Reznor wrote on his website. "Including multiple installments of the online 'film festivals,' to broadcast TV specials, to a one-time live performance of the entire Ghosts record with your visuals involved. It really depends on how this progresses and develops."
Well, Trent, looks like this things has definitely developed and progressed. Your move. We've done the hard work of looking through all of the clips* and selecting the best ones for your viewing pleasure. [ed.* semi-blatant lies].
Watch: Trent Reznor Announces Ghost Film Festival
James Gandolfini To Help Ruin Remake Of Classic '70s Thriller Aka Tony Scott Might Be The Worst Working Director Today
Man, it's been the sloooowest news days out there in forever.
It's so boring out there, that people (including us) have to make note of James Gandolfini being cast of the mayor of New York in the remake of the classic 1974 crime caper, "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three." Now we could be wrong, cause we haven't seen that film in ages, but doesn't the mayor have the tiniest role in that film? Slow news day indeed.
Oh, everybody will also note that Mr. Soprano did voicework on "Where The Wild Things Are," but what people should note is how bad this movie is going to suck. Why? For one, John Travolta of all wretched actors is starring in the role once held by the amazing Robert Shaw (Quint in "Jaws) "and the director is the godawful over-stylist Tony Scott (see the worst film of this decade - "Domino"). Yeah, yeah, he once directed, "True Romance," and once used to do great work on spy thriller films ("Crimson Tide"), get over that, he's been utter dogshit since "Enemy Of The State."
And yes, Denzel Washington is starring in Walter Matthau's role, but Washington's also been in many of the garbage Scott films, it's not going to help (see the godawful, "Deja Vu").
We're not just hatin' today for the fun of it. If this blog had been in existence for years, it would be littered with contemptuous Tony Scott posts. Well, remember it as it was: a certifiable classic.
Watch: "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three" original trailer
"Drillbit Taylor" couldn't drum up more than $10 million dollars this weekend for a 5th place showing at the box-office ('Horton' won again). Against our conscious better judgement and because we're apparently gluttons for punishment, we went on Saturday evening to a dreadfully empty theater (we were actually shocked to see how empty it was on a Sat eve in Brooklyn).
As you might have assumed by the negative press, and the average trailer, this film - a rehash of the '80s teen flick, "My Bodyguard" - was pretty dismal, tedious and had too few scattered laughs to justify it's extended hour and forty two minutes in laborious length (we were literally clocking it, it was so boring at times).
Danny McBride had a few funny lines, ("you look like you're teaching fagonnometry"), and Leslie Mann was as adorably charming as she usually is (she definitely needs a starring role), but the kids couldn't carry the movie, the jokes were mild and mediocre and the presentation was lazy and dull. Relaxed and carefree lead actor Owen Wilson of course did a fantastic job of playing Owen Wilson with his free-spirited approach and "try your best" attitude when it comes to acting (essentially: if he's not in a Wes Anderson film, stay away)
One can and could chalk this up as another blow to the Judd Apatow line of comedy franchises, but despite having his name as a producer credit and Seth Rogen as one of the writers, the project felt far and removed from the Apatow world (and more akin to an Apatow vehicle to help out a buddy - director Steven Brill - and a "hey, why don't you practice your writing" assignment/exercises for Rogen at Apatow's behest). So yeah, so you could take a shot at them now if you wanted, but we would assume they would just shrug and it's not even worth the effort. Their hearts weren't in it (or even apart of it) and that's clear from the get-go.
Also, let's not forget that this film was PG13 and certainly not aimed at the audience that loved "Superbad" and "Knocked-Up." So that's all the review we can muster. [C]
The film currently stands at a pathetic 23% on Rotten Tomatoes. The New York Times' A.O Scott nicely sums it up. "It makes more sense to think of this dumb little picture...as part of the Apatow discount line. 'You get what you pay for,' the tag line on the advertisement says. I saw it free, and I still feel cheated."
Amen, ok, let's not waste more ink on this one. One parting thought. Would love to see an Apatow comedy from more of a female perspective (though "Knocked Up" had elements of that) and more starring parts for Leslie Mann.