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A mystery, wrapped in an enigma, told as a riddle, resulting in confusion

As I look at this week’s opening movies I feel a strange link, almost as if there was a message buried in their plots and premises.   You see, this weekend marks my first wedding anniversary and the whimsical side of my brain ponders the connections and patterns that bind my world together.  I don’t mean to imply that three seemingly random pieces of summer entertainment are part of some personal DiVinci Code, but there could be some significance in a RomCom about the differences between men and women (The Ugly Truth) and a horror film about adopting a devil child (Orphan).  However, let’s hope that the associations are only in my head.  Oh yeah, and there’s also some super-intelligent Bondesque guinea pigs (G-Force).  Maybe it’s time my wife and I got a pet…


We begin with the story of a borderline misogynist and the uptight hottie who falls for him in The Ugly Truth (Rotten Tomatoes – 16% / Metacritic – 27%).  Both actors are in that stage of their film careers where they are still trying to prove that they can carry a movie.  Heigl tasted success with Knocked Up, but was it her or Rogen/Apatow that put people in the seats?  And Butler got upstaged by his abs in 300.  We’ll start at the bottom and work our way up.

“This Butler-Heigl mismatch drop-kicks romcom from the RocknRolla sublime to the Apatow depths. “ Armond White New York Press

To the uninitiated, it may be unclear whether Armond liked it or not.  For regular readers, it’s the same as always – he hated it.

Here's the poster shot through the mysogotron 6900

Here's the poster as seen through the misogytron 6900

“The Ugly Truth is an arch, contrived, entirely predictable romantic comedy assembled with sufficient audience-friendly elements to put it over as both a good girls’ night attraction and a date-night lure raunchy enough to leave couples in the right mood afterward.” Variety Todd McCarthy

So, this movie will either put you in the mood for sex or put you in the mood to talk about it?

“Taken as a whole, The Ugly Truth is much like its orgasms: phony and unsatisfying.” Austin Chronicle Marjorie Baumgarten

Is it really fair to expect real orgasms from Hollywood actors?  After all Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, and Steve Buscemi do sex scenes too.

“Laugh out loud funny; every guy should drag his girlfriend to this movie. Women may laugh at what Butler says, but they should take notes. “ Tony Medley Tolucan Times

Okay, before we assume that this movie is completely gendered, let’s hear from a disagreeing male.

“A misogynistic, hateful, profane comedy that gives charm the heave-ho, punts away any viable dramatic hold within the first five minutes, and reduces the age-old battle of the sexes, big screen spitfire to an ear-bleeding spasm of shrillness. “ Brian Orndorf BrianOrndorf.com

The enjoyability spectrum goes from laugh out loud to ear-bleeding shrillness?  I recommend erring on the side of caution because I can live without a laugh, but I’m not sure I’d live through ear bleeding.


“It’s tempting to make a joke based on the title of The Ugly Truth. But that would require investing this review with more actual wit than the entire film contains. “ Marshall Fine Hollywood & Fine

I’m sure someone’s up to the challenge.

“The Ugly Truth? That’s half right. “ Bill Goodykoontz Arizona Republic

Thanks Mr. Goodykoontz.  Next up, the thriller that makes people afraid to adopt: The Orphan (Rotten Tomatoes – 45%/ Metacritic – 43%).

Maybe all that's wrong with her is the fact that she's wearing a choke collar

Maybe all that's wrong with her is the fact that she's wearing a choke collar

“Teasingly enjoyable rubbish through the first hour, Orphan becomes genuine trash during its protracted second half. “ Todd McCarthy Variety

The transition from rubbish (thumbs up) to trash (thumbs down) needs some clarification.

“Pristine horror fodder had the script maintained some gumption and cheerfully waltzed into a wonderland of sleaze. Instead, it pulls every last punch…a seriously tasteless motion picture, but it’s equally as spineless.” Brian Orndorf BrianOrndorf.com

Whoa, did the devil child rip the spine out?

“You want a good horror film about a child from hell, you got one. Do not, under any circumstances, take children to see it. Take my word on this.” Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

Why?  Will it make that weird choke collar look fashionable?

“Orphan works because it’s a film that knows exactly what it wants to be — creepy as all get out — and does everything possible to achieve that goal. “ Bill Goodykoontz Arizona Republic

Thanks again Mr. Goodykoontz.  It’s a shame you can’t bring us home with some perspective on super spy guinea pigs: G-Force (Rotten Tomatoes – 21%/ Metacritic – 44%).


“Just about the only folks likely to find this humdrum hybrid of “Mission: Impossible” and “The Wind in the Willows” worthy for consideration are non-discriminating pip-squeaks.” Philadelphia Inquirer Steven Rea

Pip squeak – informal noun: a contemptibly small or unimportant person; a twerp.

“It’s more fun than it should be.” Linda Winer Newsday

Hey Linda, that other guy just called you a twerp.

Are they actually Presidential protection pets?

It's not a good sign when you need to remind kids that they can't see your movie on TV.

“There’s seldom a dull moment — but nor are there any that allow viewers young or old to invest in its elite team of furry characters to any satisfying or lasting degree despite the presence of an energetic voice cast.” The Hollywood Reporter Michael Rechtshaffen

And what a cast it is – produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and featuring the voices of Bill Nighy, Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Sam Rockwell, Jon Favreau, Penelope Cruz, Steve Buscemi (thankfully not in a sex scene), Tracy Morgan, and Nicolas Cage.

Is this Richard Gere's nightmare or fantasy?

Is this Richard Gere's nightmare or fantasy?

“A better action movie than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, but that’s like raving that sandwiches taste better than the bottom of your shoe.” Matt Pais Metromix.com

This is what happens when the bottom of your shoe is a sandwich

Clearly he wasn’t aware of the infamous Burger Shoe.

PDJ also likes sandwiches more than Transformers 2

PDJ also likes sandwiches more than Transformers 2


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