Former Disney TV moviemaker turn goofy moviemaker.
Bring It On (2000) -- Seemingly the most accurate movie about cheerleading to date, if that counts for anything. The movie's not as fun as the opening dream sequence would imply. It's more or less straightforward except for the weird black cheerleaders vs. white cheerleaders plot that they seem to have pulled from the 1970s. My girlfriend Kirsten Dunst is cute in the movie. (See Damon Santostefano for the sequel, Bring It On Again.)
The Break-Up (2006) -- A lot of funny people got together to make this movie, and at certain moments (especially near the beginning) it seemed like the movie wanted to be an all-out comedy and then changed its mind, forgetting to rewrite the script to allow for the new, more realistic elements to take over. So leftover from version one is John Michael Higgins character -- Jennifer Anniston's gay brother in an a capella group called The Tone Rangers -- who would have fit in A Mighty Wind, but not here, especially when he sings at the dinner table or punches Vince Vaughn in the trachea--two pointless scenes. Fortunately, version two of the script takes up most of the movie, and what we have is a fairly realistic break-up. Unfortunately, the things they're squabbling about is the usual stuff: males are sloppy and don't help around the house, while females have their own ways of doing things "right" and demand too much attention. These things are fine to fight about, but in real life this is never what the fights are really about, at least not the ones that lead to break-ups. Underneath complaints about the guy playing video games too much or the girl caring too much about table centerpieces are deeper, more real problems: things that would ultimately cause incompatibility, or at least things to really work through once they're finally out. But, in this movie, we never get too much of a sense of what those things really are. And what we do get are even small things: Vince Vaughn is the type of person who likes to always be in charge while Jennifer Anniston is herself self-centered and a little bit of a snob. The real problem is that these two haven't, apparently, been in a real, live-in relationship before (a problem with people in their early 20s more than their mid-thirties) and are having the same problems that one would have with a roommate of any sort combined with the usual romantic stuff. Ultimately, they need to grow up. But here's why the movie is good. Because you can tell that the script began as a light comedy about a break-up, to be filled out with goofy characters and funny fights, and a more serious movie took over. So, though it doesn't succeed as a serious movie about a real relationship, it does go above and beyond what it originally intended to do as a fluffy comedy and becomes this new genre of a romantic comedy in reverse. And it is remains funny and is certainly entertaining throughout. Oh, and extra props to go John Favreau, Vincent D'Onofrio, and Jason Bateman.
Copyright (c) Apr 2005 - Nov 2006 by Rusty Likes Movies