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Three comedies premiere, two suck, and one critic reviews them all

We are lucky enough this week to have one critic who saw everything.  He will be our reviewer benchmark and we’re even luckier that it’s legendary reviewer Roger Ebert.

The man himself

The man himself

Now, I have an old relationship with Ebert that goes all the way back to the days with Gene Siskel.  I remember on one episode of ‘that thumbs show’ they reviewed The Neverending Story and The Last Starfighter, both of which I thought had been made from 100% pure glowing awesomeness.  However, they managed to give both a split decision and I realized that critics could be full of crap.  Since that time, I’ve taken a small measure of glee whenever their reviews were completely off base.  For example, they gave Speed 2: Cruise Control two thumbs up (mostly because Sandra Bullock was in a bikini).  However, the army of critics has a general for the time being so: to the trenches!  First up, Will Farrell’s comedic remake of a 1970’s Saturday morning serial: Land of the Lost (RT: 18% M: 32%).  Mr. Ebert, would you please do the honors?
land-of-the-lost-poster_517x765“Confronted with such effects, the actors make not the slightest effort to appear terrified, amazed or sometimes even mildly concerned. Some might consider that a weakness. I suspect it is more of a deliberate choice, and I say I enjoyed it…. I guess you have to be in the mood for a goofball picture like this. I guess I was.” Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

General Ebert had the nerve/balls/chutzpah to say he liked it, what about the grunts?

“Modernizing a 1970s children’s TV show known for its cheap special effects offered certain possibilities, but the filmmakers have traded in any kid-friendly elements for bathroom humor of dinosaur-sized proportions.” Brian Lowry Variety

But dinosaur turds are comedy gold for kids.  Besides, if Jurassic Park can do poo, LOL can too.

"What do you mean, you don't have any hand sanitizer?"

"What do you mean, you don't have any hand sanitizer?"

“Land of the Lost is halfway toward amusing, which means it’s just as close to awful.” Nick Schager Slant Magazine

Does it have to be an idiomatic question of the movie being half awful or half amusing rather than merely adequate?

“Boasts a lewd monkey man fond of fondling human private parts without permission, apparently not a felony in prehistoric times, boob sign language chuckles, Tyrannosaurus tongue baths, and moments of humor that seem to arrive centuries apart.” Prairie Miller NewsBlaze

Centuries apart?  How long is this movie?

“Would that a time machine actually existed that could somehow restore the 106 minutes spent watching Land of the Lost.” Peter Keough Boston Phoenix

Hell, if time machines existed, I doubt that refunding your time in the theater would be a priority.  Wouldn’t you rather play the stock market, make some sports bets, or visit Dallas in November 1963, stand on the grassy knoll, and yell “duck!”  (mildly offensive joke courtesy of Red Dwarf).

“Dull, unfunny, and completely unsuitable for viewing by anyone who isn’t a charter member of the Will Farrell fan club.” James Berardinelli ReelViews

Will Ferrell’s fan club currently has 1501 fans (I’ve never heard of Will Farrell).  However, I doubt the fans will be willing to see LOL enough times to cover the $100 million budget.  All right, it’s a hatefest despite Ebert’s enjoyment.  Let’s unleash the angriest critic in America on this one and see what’s left after he shreds it to itty-bitty pieces.

Angriest critic in America or Roger Ebert fan club member?

Angriest critic in America or Roger Ebert fan club member?

“Land of the Lost sheds its TV-formula origins as a 1970s network series and becomes glib fun.” Armond White New York Press

Seriously?  Armond liked it?  While I’m reeling from the fact that Ebert and Armond agree, let’s take a look at a the next film from My Big Fat Greek Wedding star/writer Nia Vardalos: My Life In Ruins (RT: 9% – M: 35%).
my_life_in_ruins“Ruins is sometimes as sunny as its locations but as familiar and predictable as a Greek diner.” The Hollywood Reporter Doris Toumarkine

I can’t tell if that’s a positive or negative review.

“Feels like warmed-over souvlaki.” Variety Lael Loewenstein

Still confused.  Ebert, do you want to help out?

“Rarely has a film centered on a character so superficial and unconvincing, played with such unrelenting sameness. I didn’t hate it so much as feel sorry for it.” Chicago Sun-Times  Roger Ebert

Ouch.  Anyone else?

“Embarrassingly bad. Will kill Greece tourism. A torturous bore.” Victoria Alexander FilmsInReview.com

Wow.  A movie can single-handedly end tourism to an entire country?  Let’s hope that Vegas doesn’t share a similar fate thanks to the bachelor party gone wrong comedy: The Hangover (RT: 83% – M: 79%).  Mr. Ebert, how did part 3 of your weekend entertainment options fare?
“Now this is what I’m talkin’ about. The Hangover is a funny movie, flat out, all the way through. Its setup is funny. Every situation is funny.” Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

All right.  That’s what he’s talkin’ about.  Let’s hear from the critics who lined up to agree with him.

“This surefire summer hit might even get Vegas back on a winning streak.” Rex Roberts Film Journal International

“…I think I can safely predict that “The Hangover” will join March’s “I Love You Man” as one of the funniest films of the year.” Michael A. Smith Nolan’s Pop Culture Review

“The Hangover instantly has the feel of one for the ages.” Austin Chronicle  Kimberley Jones

“… Just might be the funniest movie of the decade.” Greg Maki Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)

Hangover be damned.  Let’s party.  Enjoy your weekend.

PDJ has equal chances of having a hangover and seeing Land of the Lost this weekend

PDJ has equal chances of enjoying a hangover and Land of the Lost this weekend

One Response

  1. I don’t know if it’s “what I’m talkin’ about,” but The Hangover is pretty good. I’d rank it just below I Love You Man and just above Role Models for silly-comedies of the past 12 months.

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