Thursday, August 4, 2011

What the Smurf?

My initial reaction when I found out that there was actually going to be a live-action Smurfs movie set in New York City was: "Like that will ever work." And you know what? I wasn't wrong.

Now I will admit that, when I was a kid, I liked the Smurfs. They appeared as a rerun in my Saturday morning line-up (along with the original Transformers). However Hollywood does not seem to care that they are slowly, but surely, ruining my childhood. 

The ever-so-talented Neil Patrick Harris gives an Oscar-worthy performance as Patrick, an New Yorker advertising agent who is on the brink of a new promotion and fatherhood. As luck would have it, a small band of blue people find their way into Patrick's life after barely escaping with their own lives from an evil sorcerer known as Gargamel.

How would you like that? Everything in your life is finally going your way and then, all of a sudden, the Smurfs show up, bringing all kinds of magical mischief with them. That'd be pretty annoying wouldn't it? Well "annoying" is the perfect word to describe this joyless setback .

Why is it so annoying and joyless? Well for one thing the jokes throughout The Smurfs are so pointed and painfully obvious that the only time I laughed was from embarassment for the actors; Like when Smurette (Voiced by Katy Perry, mind you) says "I kissed a smurf and I liked it." On top of that we have to endure an onslaught of endless "blue" jokes and a barrage of "Smurf" innuendos.

Another thing that I found to be quite annoying was this film's excessive attempts to be hip and relevant- not just by bringing the Smurfs into real life New York, but by getting the biggest names to voice the smurfs, no matter how untalented or awkward the voices are for the bodies. Also by using awesome songs where they don't fit (like AC/DC's Back In Black) and even going as far as putting sunglasses on Papa Smurf on the cover of the soundtrack.

As for the live action characters, they are just as unreal as their CGI co-stars. The performances are boring and lackluster; it's even irritating how believable the characters are.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Review: Crazy, Stupid Love

If you've ever thought that love was crazy or stupid, don't worry you're not the only one.

At times Crazy, Stupid Love shows blips of indie drama greatness; however, it is never able to maintain the same level throughout.

The first half hour shows great promise as Emily (Julianne Moore) tells her husband Cal (Steve Carell) that she wants a divorce. Heartbroken and hopelessly lost, Cal tries to work the singles scene with help from a professional womanizer (Ryan Gosling).

There is obviously more here than meets the eye: Cal has to try to move on from the divorce while still trying to maintain a healthy relationship with his kids, namely his thirteen-year-old son (Jonah Bobo) who is struggling with his own matters of the heart in perhaps one of the creepiest subplots about a babysitter ever put to screen.

And in trying to move on, Call sleeps with a number of different women including his thirteen-year-old son's eigth grade English teacher (Marisa Tomei), who could easily be diagnosed as clinically insane. As you can imagine this doesn't go over well with the ex-wife when she finds out during parent-teacher conference.

Emily, however, was already having an affair herself with one David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon). For reasons unbenounced to us it wasn't, or isn't, working (that part is never really cleared up by Emily). The movie obviously doesn't want you to like the guy because he split up Cal and Emily's marriage, but why then does he appear to be the nicest and most sincere guy in the movie?

Remember the professional womanizer I told you about? Well his name is Jacob and he is used to surveying the same bar and going home with a different girl every night. So we're supposed to believe that this bar has an endless supply of horny babes just waiting to score, who never seem to come back looking for Jacob?

Anyway, during a sad, routine... You know what? I can't get over it. This movie has horrible views on women; making them appear skanky, dimwitted, and ready to go home with the next cute guy they meet in a bar. I digress...

During a sad, routine round about the bar, Jacob meets Hannah (Emma Stone). Now Hannah has problems with her own relationship and just to spite her boyfriend (Josh Groban), goes home with Jacob and tries to have sex with him.

It turns out he's a pretty nice guy (who'd a guessed?) and they talk about everything under the sun, with the exception of a couple of key elements that are left out just so that the film can have its big surprise towards the end.

Writer Dan Fogelman's (Fred Claus, Cars, Bolt, and Tangled) script is lazy in its explanations or just doesn't explain things at all. e.g. "You miss a lot of work?". "I have a lot of sick days, okay?".

However, through all its problems, I cannot deny how much I laughed and cried at this movie. There is so much likeable talent on screen that it is hard to not be pulled into the story by the performances.