Saw a lot of movies over the past week. I’ve gotten lax in providing comments, but then, my reviews were never really reviews, so I know you don’t care.
“Run, Fat Boy, Run” was great. I love Simon Pegg (he can do no wrong in my book, what with “Hot Fuzz” and “Shaun of the Dead”). This was definitely the most commercial movie of the three – in fact, I think this one was an American production as opposed to British. Not only is it an American film, but it was directed by David (Ross from “Friends”) Schwimmer! Despite those potential pitfalls, since the movie was written by Simon Pegg and Michael Ian Black, it was still reasonably funny and enjoyable. I’ll admit I was sad that Nick Frost (Pegg’s comedic partner for “Shaun” and “Fuzz”) wasn’t in this one. The movie is about a man who panics and leaves his pregnant fiance at the altar. Five years later he realizes he still loves her but she’s dating Whit, a seemingly perfect man (played by Hank Azaria). Not wanting to be seen as a loser, Dennis decides to run the UK Marathon to prove to his former fiance that he’s ready to commit to something. 4 itches you can’t scratch out of five.
“The Interpreter” was okay. I’m not a huge Nicole Kidman fan, and am even less a fan of Sean Penn. However, this political story was told well enough that it kept me guessing. In the movie, Penn plays a US Secret Service agent who is assigned to investigate an interpreter (Kidman) who overhears an assassination plot while working at the United Nations. Having Sean Penn in the movie was a distraction for me. Everytime he was on screen (which was a lot, obviously), I kept thinking, “I wonder if he was difficult on set,” or “did he make people sit around waiting for the mood to strike to film this scene?” So I didn’t enjoy the movie as much as I could have if someone else had played that role. But it was nice seeing Sydney Pollack, who passed away this year, as director AND actor in this one. 2 1/2 journal entries out of five.
“Rumor Has It” was linked to “The Graduate” in that it was supposedly about the real-life participants. Starring Jennifer Aniston, Mark Ruffalo, Shirley MacLaine and Kevin Costner, the movie’s premise was that “The Graduate” really happened although the names had changed. A woman (Aniston) finds out that her grandmother was the famed Mrs. Robinson and that it’s quite possible that her real father was actually Benjamin Braddock (as played by Dustin Hoffman in the original Graduate movie, but portrayed by Kevin Costner in this movie). Confused yet? Yeah, me too. This movie was kind of meandering, and Aniston will forever be Rachel from Friends because her acting choices haven’t changed one iota since that show premiered on TV. Costner seemed kind of lost and poor Mark Ruffalo, a GREAT actor, had nothing to work with here. Only MacLaine was entertaining in the slightest. I wanted to like this movie – I really did. But it may have been better with different people in it.
“Last Holiday” stars Queen Latifah as a retail clerk who is told she is going to die when a freak accident at work reveals she has a brain tumor. Normally responsible and staid, she closes all her savings and retirement accounts with the goal of blowing all the money before she dies. She flies off to The Czech Republic for the vacation she never took, and ends up charming everyone around her. I love Queen Latifah. I think she’s a charming actress and is slowly growing to become a seasoned professional you can count on (remember her early days? She was NOT good – but she’s getting better with every movie she makes). Co-starring LL Cool J, Timothy Hutton and Giancarlo Esposito, among others, I liked this one even though you knew how it would end. 3 BASE jumps out of five.
Elinor Lipman is one of my favorite writers – I’ve read every book she has written. I was thrilled when I found out that one of my favorites was being made into a movie. And not only that, but director and actress Helen Hunt wisely chose hunky Colin Firth as her leading man. Unfortunately, “Then She Found Me” was a bit clunky and didn’t reflect the brilliant humor that Lipman has in her novel. Better Midler (as Hunt’s mother) was very restrained compared to the book’s lovable-but-flawed character. Hunt is another one of those actresses who always does the same thing in a role – she never changes anything. So whether she was playing a scene against Colin Firth (whom I love) or Matthew Broderick, her reactions were no different than what I would have seen on an episode of “Mad About You.” This is a good one to catch on TV, but that’s about it. 2 all-night phone calls out of five.