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Animated Soul Models

As of late, the movies that have been coming out have been 1 ‘pretty good’ for every 3 ‘completely awful’. While this week offers something different (2 ‘pretty good’), the coming weeks begins the holiday movie rush (Quantum of Solace followed by Twilight), which makes this week’s releases the holiday movie benchwarmers. That being said, you may find a few happy surprises.

First up, another attempt at the Apatow formula (equal parts gross and sentimental) Role Models (73%). It features actors better known as the characters they’ve played Shawn William Scott (Steve Stiffler from American Pie) and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (better know as McLovin). However the stand out performer this time around is co-writer/star Paul Rudd who’s been an Apatow wingman almost as long as Seth Rogan. It’s the biggest critic pleaser of the week, so enough blah blah, let’s hear some rah rah sis boom bah!

“Filth and sentimentality — the yin- yang combo of current guy comedy — entwine in Role Models with the naughty bits overpowering the funny.” Lisa Kennedy Denver Post

Wait, that’s not a positive review (I think). Try again.

“Role Models proves that a drab and formulaic Hollywood studio comedy can still make you laugh hard enough to choke on your popcorn.” Rene Rodriguez Miami Herald

That’s more like it. The tagline could be: people die from laughing at this film. Or at least: comedies don’t kill people, choking on popcorn does…but only if they’re watching something funny.

“Role Models is about as irresponsible and as irreverent as a movie comedy can be.” Jeff Vice Deseret News, Salt Lake City

I’m glad to hear that those qualities are positives.

“Role Models is like a comfortable, old sweater. It may be somewhat threadbare and out of fashion, but you wear it because it’s familiar and snug and makes you feel cozy.” Brandon Fibbs Colorado Springs Gazette

So, irresponsibility and irreverence will make you feel cozy?

“The equivalent of trying to sneak an issue of Newsweek into the house, rolled up inside a copy of Mad magazine.” Stephanie Zacharek Salon.com

I’m confused. This movie is Newsweek in this situation but the marketing is Mad? In order to understand this metaphor, I offer a counter-metaphor. Role Models is like a Starbucks cookie laced with Meth. Instead of wasting time with explanation, let’s move on.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa also opens this week and does pretty well (59%). My feeling on the original was that the subordinate characters were great (penguins, monkeys, lemurs) but the stars (Ben Stiller, Chris Rock) were lame sauce. So, did Hollywood hear my cry?

“It’s still primarily the supporting cast that’s funny, not the leads — but hey, if Dreamworks were capable of doing everything right it would have to change its name to Pixar.” Eric D. Snider Cinematical

After reading that I want to shout BURN! But in reality, playing second fiddle to Pixar is like being Jordan’s Scotty Pippen – You may not be on top, but you’re still looking down on a lot of people.

“A decent-enough sequel that will satisfy fans without unduly bothering Oscar animation voters.” Glenn Whipp Los Angeles Daily News

Oh, pardon us. I’d hate to unduly bother those exceedingly busy Oscar animation voters. Mr. Whipp’s tone is just snarky enough to get on my nerves. Someone want to help channel my rage?

“The nonsensical title is the least of its problems–how, exactly, are the characters escaping to Africa if the place they begin is technically a part of Africa?” Dustin Putman TheMovieBoy.com

Yeah! What the hell!?!

“All shtick and repetition, something the little ones may find entertaining, but something that will drive parents 2 boredom, 2 another theater, or 2 ask for their money back.” Brian Tallerico Movie Retriever

The only way 2 get you 2 stop replacing words with numbers is 2 move on.


Last up, Bernie Mac’s final movie, the buddy comedy Soul Men (41%). Samuel L. Jackson also stars in the story of two former singing sensations on a grumpy old men reunion road trip. Let’s do a point/counter-point on whether this movie is a fitting final chapter for Bernie Mac or a career footnote.
POINT “In spite of its title, the film has precious little soul, but its real offense is being Mac’s final on screen credit.” Todd Gilchrist IGN Movies

COUNTER-POINT “’Soul Men’ is not only a tribute to Mac and Hayes, but the film is also funny, often outrageously crude, and pleasurable.” Wilson Morales BlackFilm.com

Sounds like a question of taste. What else does Soul Men have to offer?

“Samuel L. Jackson continues his tradition of inventive facial hair in Soul Men. And his tradition of appearing in movies unworthy of his talent.” Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) St. Paul Pioneer Press

“It’s the script and not Floyd that needs a shot of Viagra.” John Beifuss Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Huh? Any mental picture I try to conjure gets confused. Wouldn’t a script on Viagra have really stiff pages? Before I get too confused, let’s hear a final thought.

“Mac was a magnetic performer with a long history of redeeming mediocre movies; unfortunately this is another one.” J. R. Jones Chicago Reader

Huh again? Unless the movie doesn’t deserve redemption, I’d say Mac went out on a high(ish) note. We’ll miss ya Bernie.



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