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Green Repo Men Hunt Wimpy Bounties

All of this weekend’s releases involve people searching for something.  Some focus on very specific objects, such as bail-jumping ex-wives (Bounty Hunter) or artificial organs purchased on credit (Repo Men).  On the other hand, introspective protagonists search for social acceptance (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) or personal satisfaction after a life full of missed opportunities (Greenburg).  Patrons seeking new 3D options (will have to wait two weeks for Clash of the Titans), but Hollywood hopes audiences will find these options worth watching as well. We begin with a movie named after a profession of searchers: Bounty Hunter (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

“It’s slim pickings for discerning movie lovers and is never smart enough, sexy enough or funny enough to be memorable.” Louise Keller Urban Cinefile

Is it predictable enough?

“In The Bounty Hunter, the couple that foils a bunch of tiresome grade-C thriller goons together stays together. Whether or not that’s a recipe for love, it’s certainly not a formula for romantic-comedy magic.” Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

Assuming ‘romantic-comedy magic’ could be achieved by following a formula, it sounds like this movie had trouble following the directions.

“Aniston doesn’t bring her old A-game to this. But at least she’s not quiet and reserved and no-energy, her approach to too many roles of late. Butler makes the most of his Neanderthal rut.” Orlando Sentinel Roger Moore

Aniston’s old A-game has become her new B-game, and even though she only has to outrun grade-C thriller goons, she’s upstaged by a caveman.  Did I get that right?

“A stark example of misbegotten chemistry and its resultant pitfalls.” Nick Schager Slant Magazine

Another pitfall of misbegotten chemistry

“I stared with glazed eyes at The Bounty Hunter. Here is a film with no need to exist.” Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

That could be an existential question.  What reason do any of us have to exist?  What if our purpose is to watch and review movies, which means that if movies like this didn’t exist, neither would we…uh…shit…perhaps that hypothetical should apply to books like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

“It’s nimble, bright and funny. It doesn’t dumb down. It doesn’t patronize. It knows something about human nature.  It isn’t as good as A Christmas Story, as few movies are, but it deserves a place in the same sentence. ” Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

For example, both A Christmas Story and Diary Of A Wimpy Kid explore human nature and reveal that humans are both bright and dumb at the same time.

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid is sweet and funny at either end, but in between, it sags with endless repetition of gross bodily functions and Greg’s torment at the hands of larger, angrier, or more popular kids — in that order.” Ella Taylor Village Voice

It’s good news when gross bodily functions don’t happen at either end.  We rarely describe the bodily functions of the stomach, but we’re all familiar with burps and farts.  Also, large, angry, then popular could be the developmental trajectory for most high school football players.  If that sounds too harsh, forgive me for sympathizing with a wimpy kid.

Wimpy kids wait their whole lives for the perfect moment to strike back.

“Crass, gross and juvenile in all the best (and worst) ways, Diary is aimed squarely at a tween “don’t touch the cheese” demographic. And if you don’t get it, maybe you’re just too old for a good booger joke.” Orlando Sentinel Roger Moore

I admit, it’s a been a while since I heard a good booger joke.  I already added them to my Murtaugh list.

“The kiddie audience will laugh a few times, but it would take an electron microscope to find an original idea or joke in this entire cartoonish movie.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch Joe Williams

Calling it a cartoon seems redundant since it's based on one.

“Does a great job of being in two places at once: In the head and gangly bodies of kids, and in the hearts of those of us who have survived grades 6-8.” Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

I don’t want to be in the mind of a 7th grader, that could be scarier than the premise of Repo Men (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

“If you aren’t too repulsed by the general ultra-violence and horror aspects, you’re in for some treats of the gross out variety that could send you reeling to the lobby.” Jules Brenner Cinema Signals

The good stuff will make me flee to the lobby?

“”Repo Men” is a joyless experiment in stupefaction. Like pornography, you know it when you see it, and you’ve seen all before.” Cole Smithey ColeSmithey.com

I both take issue and embrace the new linguistic flexibility of the word ‘porn.’  Nowadays, a person can add hyphen-porn to just about anything and imply a shameless and exploitive meaning.  For example, there is gun-porn, torture-porn, and even interior design porn.  To illustrate my point, let’s simplify the next couple reviews with this approach.

“Another wholesale dystopian future, just like the last one.” Nick Pinkerton Village Voice

Predictable, trite, cliche, aka: Stale-porn.

“The movie shares this premise with 2008’s “Repo!: The Genetic Opera.” It would be worth researching who ripped off whom if both weren’t ghastly.” Village Voice Nick Pinkerton

Plagiarism-porn.

“I don’t know if the makers of this film intended it as a comedy. A preview audience regarded it with polite silence, and left the theater in an orderly fashion.” Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

Based on the premise and the reaction, it sounds like lobotomy-porn.  And if you want to get into someone’s head this weekend, your best bet is to get to know Greenburg (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

“Nothing good happens during the course of the movie — and Baumbach seems to be saying, Take it or leave it. I, for one, take it.” Lisa Schwarzbaum Entertainment Weekly

Nothing good = worth taking.  That mentality works for yard sales, but convincing people to seek out the best reviewed movie of the weekend needs more specific praise.

“While winning no points for originality, Baumbach and his co-conspirator in the script, Jennifer Jason Leigh — have created an all-too-convincing portrait of a 40-year-old man in emotional freefall.” The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

I hope someone equipped him with a pathos parachute.

I feel for this guy.

“Greenberg is a perceptive look at coming to terms with, if not entirely embracing, the life you weren’t expecting and by no means wanted.” David Germain Associated Press

Isn’t that true for everyone?  Human nature shows that even if a person got everything they expected out of life, they’d eventually want something other than what they have.

“Baumbach’s movies are addictive dispatches from a genteel jungle of white privilege, where highly educated people behave badly. I can’t take my eyes off the exotic wildlife.” Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

In the genteel jungle of white privilege, trying to feed the animals leads to uncomfortable questions like “Is this organic?”

“Noah Baumbach’s newest serio-comedy is many things, but the word that I keep coming back to is brave.” Joanna Langfield The Movie Minute

Bravery and liberalism don’t often go together, but perhaps they should.  After all, John F Kennedy once said “War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.

“Mr. Baumbach has a knack for capturing real-life dialogue–particularly and hilariously how people tend not to listen to the person on the other side of the conversation.” New York Observer Sara Vilkomerson

PDJ wonders if you just said something.

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2 Responses

  1. I feel for that guy too. How’d that happen anyway? Is it some crazy new skydiving technique?

  2. Had something good to say, but…ah, f##k it.

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