So, I’ve gotten a little behind on putting up my thoughts on the movies I’ve watched. Happens when I get busy. Since I last check in I’ve seen, in order, The Hangover (unrated edition), Sherlock Holmes, and World’s Greatest Dad.
The Hangover (absurd) – I had heard from many people that this was an extremely, gut-bustingly funny movie. I’m always leary of that claim, because my humor doesn’t always jibe with others. (I hated Old School, and refuse to watch Borat) However, I found this movie quite chuckle (and outright laugh) worthy. I can imagine it would have been even more fun to watch in a crowded theater with lots of other folks laughing. The plot is simple. Four friends go to Las Vegas for a last bash bachelor party, one of them puts a drug in their drinks, and they all wake up the next morning with a tiger in the bathroom, a baby in the closet, a trashed hotel room, and one of their quartet missing. The rest of the time they spend (hilariously) finding out exactly what happened to them and where their missing friend is.
Zach Galifinakis is the stand out of the four, as a dim-witted, perverted lout who nonetheless has a Rain Man like ability with counting cards (which comes in handy when they have to come us with some quick money) Another standout (in a minor but important role) is Ken Jeong as a gay (I’m pretty sure he was gay) Asian gangster who our heroes run afoul of. His introduction scene had me almost falling off the couch.
The only real problem I had was that the missing friend’s location would have easily been figured out by the hotel staff long before our heroes did, but that’s a minor problem when you’re having this much fun. It’s a crude movie, full of some raunchy humor, and definitely not for the kids, but it was a good time.
Sherlock Holmes (light) – This is the Robert Downey film directed by British action director Guy Ritchie. The plot is convoluted (more than it needed to be) but involves a Lord Blackwell’s attempt to essentially take over Britain on his way to ruling the world, all by using “magic,” which turns out to have a little more logical explanation.
This is a light-hearted film, despite the somewhat grim, perpetually cloudy look of Victorian London. Much of this is due to the whimsical nature of the relationship between Downey’s Holmes and Jude Law’s Watson. I just wish these enjoyable characters could have been in a better movie. It’s not bad, it’s just over-produced and over-plotted. By overproduced, I mean they seem to have scenes in there just because they had lots of money to spend, the most notable being a fight between Downey and a huge man with a sledgehammer that ends with an under construction ship being unmoored from its drydock and sunk. Guy Ritchie can do action, but he’s better with edgy, independent fare, and he had to play this one safe. To make up for it, he took the action to 11. It’s loud and busy, but not necessarily effective. Overall, this movie was a noisy, not all that intelligent summer blockbuster masquerading as an above average Christmas film. I wish I would have deduced that before I went to see it.
World’s Greatest Dad (dark) – When you have Robin Williams in a film directed by Bobcat Goldthwait, you know you’re in for something unusual, and this movie didn’t disappoint. Williams plays a poetry teacher and aspiring (but failing) writer who has a perverted, foul-mouthed, completely hateful 15-year-old son. The father’s life is miserable, his classes are poorly attended, and his sometime girlfriend may be cheating on him. He’s a pushover who hates his life and his son.
But then something happens (a major plot point that I’m not going to give away. And if you rent it from Netflix, don’t read the synopsis. It’s a major spoiler.) which completely changes everyone’s life, mostly for the better. The rest of the film deals with the characters’ reaction to what happened.
I really enjoyed this film. It’s definitely a dark kind of movie, with biting humor and a few not very likable characters, but it was always intriguing. It wouldn’t be for everyone (you have to be willing to accept the idea of a porn-watching, chronically masturbating 15-year-old, for starters) but if you can handle the subject matter, you might find it worth a watch. Bobcat called it a “comedy of the awkward” and I think that works. The few problem I had were that I would have liked a little backstory as to why the character of the son (played with evil perfection by Darryl Sabara) was so hateful. And, as much as I love Robin Williams, I had a little trouble accepting him as this character, since many of the lines came out like they could have been delivered in one of his stand-up routines. He was calm in this one though, and I like calm Robin Williams better than manic Robin Williams.
That’s it for now. See you next time I watch something.