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Isabelle Huppert goes bonkers in director Neil Jordan’s Greta, a silly, standard psycho-stalker film made somewhat fun by Huppert’s commitment to nuttiness, as well as co-star Chloe Grace Moretz’s excellence at playing freaked out.

Moretz is Frances, a young woman living in New York City with her best friend, Erica (Maika Monroe). Frances, still dealing with the loss of her mother, finds somebody’s handbag on the subway and decides to return it to its owner.

The owner is Greta, a piano-playing, solitary French woman who immediately invites Frances into her life, and they develop a fast mother-daughter-type bond. Greta has a daughter of her own, but she lives in Paris, so Frances fills a void, while Greta provides the motherly friendship Frances craves. Erica cries “Weird!” about the whole relationship, but Frances persists, even helping Greta adopt a dog, and opting to hang with Greta instead of friends her age.

This is a horror-thriller, so it’s fairly obvious going into the theater that the connection isn’t going to work out well. The cards are flipped early in the movie, and Greta reveals herself as a real kook, with her eventually going into full stalker mode. The plotting is similar to that of other stalker films like Single White Female and One Hour Photo. Those films were actually quite entertaining, as is Greta. That’s mainly because Huppert, a great actress, commits 100 percent to becoming a memorable, cringe-inducing psycho nut. There’s little mystery that she’s crazy; the movie is really about revealing just how freaking crazy she is.

Jordan uses a lot of standard scenarios, like Greta taunting Frances through her mobile phone, or Greta standing outside the window of Frances’ workplace, just staring at her. In the hands of a lesser director, this could come off as shlocky, but Jordan (The Crying Game, The Butcher Boy) knows a few things about making movies with solid cinematography and editing. Greta is a solid movie enterprise as far as all the bells and whistles go.

Huppert and Jordan do a serviceable job of making Greta an intimidating, terrifying monster. They also allow the movie to go off the rails in a funny and effective way. Ballet-dancing, hypodermic needles, piano-playing and toy boxes all play a part in the insanity, and Huppert embraces the chance to play bad with glee.

While Huppert takes a journey into crazy villain land, Moretz deserves a lot of credit for keeping her role grounded in a sort of reality, no matter how nutty the proceedings get. The film works as well as it does because Moretz’s Frances is easy to root for, even when her actions are so dumb.

It doesn’t hurt to have Monroe doing her best work since her presence in the instant horror classic It Follows. She brings vigor to the “roommate” role that could easily come off as a stereotype. Erica proves to be a character as memorable as Greta and Frances.

Greta isn’t groundbreaking filmmaking, but it is entertaining and contains enough good scares and creepy moments to make it worthwhile. Huppert’s Greta isn’t the sort of movie monster that will haunt your dreams, but she will make you uncomfortable for a couple of hours.

Greta is now playing at theaters across the valley.

Published in Reviews

Last week, I received a review link to Louis C.K.’s new film, I Love You, Daddy, along with a message saying that Louis C.K. was available for interviews. I also got a form that, among other things, asked about my reaction to the movie.

I was a little peeved that my reaction to the film was needed before granting an interview … but that’s no big deal. A lot of media outlets would be interested in talking to C.K.—and, as a long-standing, rabid Louis C.K. fan, I figured the movie would be great, right?

Wrong. This is easily the worst thing C.K. has done since Pootie Tang. Not only is it a bad movie on a purely technical level; its subject matter is, as you may already know, a bit suspect.

For the past couple of years, I’d read about “rumors” of C.K.’s demented sexual proclivities. Unfortunately, this weird-as-all-fuck movie seems to be a sort of strange confession regarding his messed-up mistreatment of female colleagues and fans.

Even worse, I Love You, Daddy, seems to give the finger to people who take issue with artists who do stupid and arguably criminal things—as if those people taking issue are shallow for not separating art from a person’s bad behavior. The film has a creepy, odd vibe to it … and again, it’s just not very good.

After watching the movie, I sent the distributor a note saying I did not like the film, and I withdrew myself from consideration to interview C.K.

A few hours later, The New York Times story about Louis C.K.’s sexual wrongdoing dropped; that was followed shortly thereafter by C.K.’s half-assed apology. That mistreatment of female colleagues and fans has been confirmed, and now nobody will be interviewing Louis C.K. or seeing this shitty movie anytime soon.

C.K. self-funded and directed the movie, so nobody could tell him what he could and could not put into it. Man, does that show. One of those pesky studios would’ve told him the movie looked like crap and featured questionable subjects. He shot it on black-and-white, 35 mm film, quickly and cheaply. It looks washed out and poorly constructed.

This black-and-white “art” film is, in part, an homage to Woody Allen’s Manhattan, which makes things even more troubling. It features an older director who is notorious for sleeping with underage girls; the character, played by John Malkovich, is clearly modeled after Allen. C.K. plays a famous TV producer who deeply admires the director’s work—but his fandom is called into question when said director takes an interest in his 17-year-old daughter, China, played by Chloe Grace Moretz.

The movie actually features a character (played by Charlie Day) who, at one point, mimics vigorous masturbation while C.K talks to a woman on speaker phone. In other words, this insane movie includes a slapstick depiction of one of the vile things C.K. was accused of doing. That takes balls. Giant, depraved balls.

This was also supposed to be C.K.’s modern statement on feminism, but plays more like straight-up misogyny. It’s sad to see Moretz, Edie Falco and Rose Byrne virtually humiliated. As for Woody Allen, the movie clearly wants people to stop denouncing C.K.’s pervert idol and Blue Jasmine boss.

It was on what was supposed to be the day of the film’s premiere that C.K. wound up issuing a public sort-of apology to the women cited in the Times story. It’s hard to take that apology seriously after seeing the contents of this film, which he was trying to get released up until the moment he issued that statement.

David Bowie made his last album knowing he was going to die, and it was beautiful. C.K. made what might be his last film perhaps knowing he was doomed. Or, horrifyingly, perhaps he made it thinking he was bulletproof. In either case, I Love You, Daddy, is disgusting and stupid, and it will not be playing at a theater near you.

Published in Reviews

The first half of Seth Rogen sequel Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is as funny and snappy as the first movie—but the film loses its way a bit by the time credits roll. Still, if you are looking at laughs per dollar, Rogen and Zac Efron deliver your money’s worth.

The spin this time out has a sorority led by Shelby (Chloë Grace Moretz) moving in next door to the Radners (Rogen and Rose Byrne). Shelby is determined to party like a fraternity does, and this leads to a semi-depressed Teddy (Efron) coming on as the sorority’s mentor. This restarts Teddy’s war with the Radners—which is bad timing, because their house is in escrow. It’s during this stage of the film when it is at its nastiest and its best.

When Teddy joins forces with the Radners to destroy the sorority, things get a little misguided. The film has some of the funniest dialogue of 2016 (“Sometimes you have to suck a bunch of dicks to find out you don’t like sucking dicks”), and I’m always down for Rogen’s humor. Byrne is an undervalued comic actress, and Moretz fits right into the stoner mode. Efron gets the biggest laughs in the movie, even when it starts to get a little too busy.

A gag involving those ever-pesky airbags is killer-funny, as is another visit with the dean (Lisa Kudrow). As sequels go, this isn’t great, but it’s a worthy installment.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is playing at theaters across the valley.

Published in Reviews

I’m going to sound like an old coot right now, but here I go: When I was a young fella, young-adult science fiction had some goddamn backbone.

Some of the stuff was actually really good, especially one science-fiction series in particular: We had this alien invasion book series by John Christopher called The Tripods, which our school required us to read. The books focused on some young kids trying to make it in this world while trying to avoid alien control. It was well-written and kind of exciting. I think it’s actually to blame for a lot of the tween bullshit we have to endure now at the cinemas.

If The Tripods series was the prototype for tween science fiction, The 5th Wave is its absolute bastard abomination, at least in its movie form; they share the “teens try to kick some alien asses while going through their social awakening” theme—and little else.

The 5th Wave is based upon the young-adult novel by Rick Yancey, the first in a trilogy. God willing, the other two books will not receive a movie adaptation. Further cinematic installments may cause me to punch myself in the face and thus hurt my standing at the workplace, in social gatherings, etc.

Chloë Grace Moretz plays Cassie Sullivan, a normal teenage girl who drinks beer at parties and drools over high school football player Ben Parish (Nick Robinson); her dad is the guy from Office Space (Ron Livingston). Things go from routine to wacky for Cassie when a big metal spaceship parks over Ohio and starts messing with the human race in “waves.”

The first wave involves an electromagnetic pulse that knocks out all power and renders the PlayStation 4 useless, while the second wave brings earthquakes and tsunamis. The third wave involves plague, while the fourth includes survivors battling aliens who have taken human hosts. The fifth wave … well, that’s a mystery—a mystery you will solve really quickly if you put forth even the slightest mental effort.

The first three waves are actually kind of interesting, although the subpar special effects and meager budget ($38 million, according to IMDb) don’t allow for much elaboration. The waves are finished relatively quickly, and we are left with Cassie running around the forest. She’s captured by dreamy dude Evan Walker (Alex Roe), a character so lame he’ll make you miss Twilight’s Edward Cullen.

The aliens occupy human hosts by crawling in their heads somehow and wrapping around their brains. We never do get to see this actually happen. Had we seen this process, the film might’ve had a decent scene or two. What we do get is a couple of hilariously bad scenes in which we see the aliens in horribly rendered X-rays that make old ’80s Atari games look state-of-the-art. (Yes, picture me in a rocking chair with some hooch.)

Goetz is an interesting young actress, but she makes a lot of bad movies. I haven’t been blown away by one of her movies since Hugo, which came out five years ago. She looks lost here; her bid for her own Twilight or Divergent series is indeed a sad, sad thing.

Liev Schreiber and Maria Bello chime in as military personnel. One of last year’s “It” girls, Maika Monroe of It Follows, plays young alien-resistance recruit Ringer, a goth girl who takes the time to put on eye makeup for the apocalypse. Hey, one has to keep up appearances, right?

As for The Tripods (wait … let me take a sip of my hooch and puff on my pipe), it was made into a failed TV series back in the ’80s, but there has been some buzz about making a new movie from the books. If they do, please keep Chloë Grace Moretz, the girl from It Follows and Taylor Lautner’s abs far away from the project.

The 5th Wave is playing at theaters across the valley.

Published in Reviews

For the second time within a year or so, a Gillian Flynn novel has been made into a movie. While David Fincher’s Gone Girl was a masterpiece, Dark Places, based on Flynn’s second novel, is bloody awful.

Even though Oscar-winner Charlize Theron is its star, Dark Places never rises above the level of a Lifetime movie. The storytelling is ham-fisted, and the stars, especially Theron, look absolutely lost. It also boasts shoddy production values that give off the vibe of a subpar episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit—and that’s a show I hate this much. (I have stopped typing, and I’m stretching out my arms, palms parallel, as far as possible.)

As with Gone Girl, Flynn’s story is inspired by real news events. Gone Girl was an obvious nod to wife-murderer Scott Peterson, while Dark Places draws its inspiration from ’80s and ’90s cases involving alleged Satan worshippers (including Ricky Kasso, as well as the Robin Hood Hills murders). Fincher took Gone Girl (with a screenplay penned by Flynn herself) and went for something darkly satirical and outrageous; meanwhile, director and screenwriter Gilles Paquet-Brenner plays Dark Places straight, with a far-inferior script.

Theron is Libby Day, a bitter woman who witnessed the murder of her mother and sisters when she was a child in 1985. Her brother, Ben (played by Tye Sheridan of The Tree of Life in 1985, and Corey Stoll of Ant-Man in the present), is sitting in prison for life, based on her testimony. It was suspected the murders were fueled by Ben’s love for all things Satan.

Libby has been living off the spoils of unwanted celebrity, having received money over the years from sympathetic check-senders. The book she wrote, however, did not sell all that well, and the checks are drying up, so she’s a bit desperate. She gets a weird letter from Lyle (Theron’s Mad Max: Fury Road co-star Nicholas Hoult), offering her a few hundred bucks to appear at a weird meeting for some sort of “murder club.”

The “murder club” is a sort of miniature macabre comic-con at which people dress up as murderers (yes, the John Wayne Gacy clown is in attendance), and people involved in infamous cases make appearances. Libby thinks she’s just a guest of honor, but soon discovers the murder club also looks to solve murders—and they believe her brother is innocent: They think Libby lied in her testimony. After being initially pissed off at this accusation, she joins forces with the club to solve her family’s murders.

The film becomes two stories in two different times, with Libby and the murder club investigating the killings in the present, and the actual build-up to the murders in the past. The 1985 cast includes Sheridan; Chloë Grace Moretz as Ben’s Satan-worshipping, cow-slaughtering girlfriend; Christina Hendricks as Libby’s noble mother; and Sterling Jerins as young Libby.

Paquet-Brenner doesn’t navigate between the two periods well, as his film features sloppy editing to go with some bad acting. While Hendricks delivers a decent-enough performance, the normally reliable Moretz goes overboard in her bid to be bad. Sean Bridgers plays Libby’s dad in both periods, and is trying to do his best Charles Manson impersonation. A scene Theron shares with Bridgers—whose character is coughing from progressive arsenic poisoning—is unintentionally hilarious.

As for Theron, she often looks confused and frustrated, as if she regrets taking the role. It’s very difficult to make Theron hard to watch, yet that’s what happens here.

Flynn didn’t have a hand in the screenplay; perhaps that’s one of the reasons Dark Places is so flat and putrid. Or perhaps Flynn only has one great story suitable for the movies in her—because this one is an undercooked dud.

Dark Places is now playing at the Ultrastar Mary Pickford Stadium 14 (36850 Pickfair St., Cathedral City; 760-328-7100) and the Cinémas Palme d’Or (72840 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-779-0430). It’s also available on demand and via online sources including iTunes and Amazon.com.

Published in Reviews

Laggies is a so-so movie made watchable because of its stellar cast. The filmmakers should feel lucky that Keira Knightley, Chloë Grace Moretz and a guy named Sam Rockwell got talked into gracing this one with their presence.

Directed by Lynn Shelton and written by Andrea Seigel, the film tells the story of Megan (Knightley), a woman in her late 20s who is still spinning signs for her dad’s business. When her boyfriend (Mark Webber) proposes, and she sees her dad (Jeff Garlin) cheating on her mom shortly thereafter, it all proves to be a bit much for her—and she splits.

After illegally buying alcohol for young Annika (Moretz), Megan winds up at Annika’s house, where Annika’s dad, Craig (Rockwell), is sulking after his wife left him high and dry. Predictably, Megan becomes a mother figure to Annika while falling in love with Craig.

Rockwell could be star in a remake of Roberto Benigni’s Pinocchio and still make the thing interesting. He’s the sort of dynamic actor who can elevate material like this; his scenes with Knightley have a lot of life. Moretz always does a good job of playing a dazed teenager, as she does here.

I can’t help but think that all of this talent could’ve been off somewhere else making a better movie, but as it stands, Laggies has its charms thanks to their involvement.

Special Features: You get a director’s commentary and some deleted scenes.

Published in DVDs/Home Viewing

Denzel Washington plays Robert McCall, a quiet employee at a Home Depot-type store. Robert likes to drink tea at a local diner and read his book. When a young prostitute (Chloë Grace Moretz) gets into trouble with Russian mobsters, Robert springs into action—and major details of his past are slowly revealed.

Washington is pretty damn great in the role (based on a TV show from the 1980s), playing a sweet, gentle man who can tear your face off in an instant without blinking an eye. The film is directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), and while he resorts to a lot of visual clichés (slow motion, rain), he owns those clichés. Marton Csokas is good and scary as Teddy, the film’s main bad guy. His confrontations with Robert are quite memorable.

The movie doesn’t offer much when it comes to new things, but it does provide solid entertainment throughout. I’m hoping Washington gets a franchise out of this one, because I’d like to see more of Robert McCall.

The Equalizer is playing at theaters across the valley.

Published in Reviews

If you’ve read the 1974 Stephen King novel Carrie, and you’ve seen the 1976 Brian De Palma film, you know that the book and the film are very different.

Well, the new Carrie remake, which stars Chloë Grace Moretz in the role that netted Sissy Spacek an Oscar nomination for the 1976 film, has more in common with De Palma’s film than King’s novel.

King’s novel, about a bullied telekinetic high school girl who endures one prank too many at the senior prom, depicted a series of episodic news reports, flashbacks and interviews, for the most part, to tell the story.

The new film welcomes a few of the novel’s plot points back into the story, although it takes a lot of the same liberties that De Palma took with the novel. In the new version, a few more characters survive the fiery black-prom tragedy—and one character might be pregnant. Otherwise, this feels like a remake of De Palma’s movie rather than a faithful retelling of King’s book. That’s not necessarily a bad thing: De Palma went to the core of that novel, massaged its great ideas, and made something akin to a horror masterpiece, with much thanks given to the brilliant Spacek.

Director Kimberly Pierce (Boys Don’t Cry), unfortunately, doesn’t turn in anything that makes a Carrie remake worthwhile. Yes, the new film takes place in the present, where cellular phones and the Internet have become prevalent bullying weaponry—but much of the plot execution remains the same. In a lot of ways, this version even rips off De Palma.

Moretz (Kick-Ass) was a mere 15 years old during the filming—a little young for a high school senior. While Spacek did an exemplary job playing younger than her then 26 years for the original, Moretz looks like a freshman crashing the senior prom.

Still, the Moretz performance is, in many ways, admirable. She captures the pain and confusion of a young girl tormented by her classmates after receiving no valuable life-coaching from her religious-fanatic mother (played here by Julianne Moore in a role originated by the Oscar-nominated Piper Laurie). Interestingly, Goetz also played a tormented teen in this year’s awful Kick-Ass 2.

Moore goes to a darker place with the role of Margaret White when compared to Laurie’s campy, crazy take. This Margaret is far harder on herself (i.e. intentional cutting) and her daughter; she simmers with a dark, disturbing violence that makes her truly hateful. Goetz and Moore play well off each other during the movie’s major confrontation scenes.

As for supporting performances, Pierce gets it right with the casting of Gabriella Wilde as the virtuous Sue Snell, the popular student who regrets bullying Carrie and asks her boyfriend, Tommy Ross (a charming Ansel Elgort), to escort Carrie to the prom—with deadly results. Judy Greer is OK as the gym teacher who tries to get Carrie through everything in one piece.

On the down side, Portia Doubleday and Alex Russell are mere caricatures as villains Chris Hargensen and Billy Nolan (notoriously played by the wild-eyed Nancy Allen and John Travolta in the ’76 version). Their dull portrayals offer nothing new.

The infamous prom scene, in which Carrie goes nuclear after getting doused with pig’s blood, was an operatic, gloriously torturous, expertly prolonged hell in De Palma’s movie. In the new version, the scene feels hastily edited and glossed over with a CGI polish. It totally misses the mark, and is the final reason that this remake is mediocre, at best.

I suppose if you’ve never seen De Palma’s film, the 2013 version might seem better. While the remake is, at times, skillfully made, its resources could’ve been put to a better cinematic use—like, say, an actual big-screen adaptation of King’s great novel, The Stand. A TV miniseries starring Molly Ringwald just isn't enough!

Carrie is now playing at theaters across the valley.

Published in Reviews

Kick-Ass 2 had barely started when I experienced a serious flashback—a flashback so vivid that it felt like I had traveled through time. (I concede that I was sort of high on Benadryl; at least it stops my nose from running.)

It was 1989, the summer before my final year of college. I was managing a crappy discount movie theater at the time, and I would go up the road to the nice theater for the big, new movies a few weeks before our cheap-ass theater got a print. I was a bright-eyed optimist sitting down for a showing of Ghostbusters 2.

A few short minutes into that sequel, I knew things had gone terribly wrong with a potentially great franchise.

I felt that same, sinking, nauseating feeling as Kick-Ass 2 began by recycling the infamous bit from the original film in which Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) tested the bulletproof vest worn by Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz). This time, Hit-Girl is firing bullets at Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). We are supposed to laugh, because it’s just like the first film, right?

Wrong. The first film had a creative spark, a visual flair and an uncanny ability to walk the line between dark satire and bad taste. It managed to parody superhero movies while actually being a decent superhero movie.

Kick-Ass 2 is a shrill, abrasive, disgusting misfire from a director (Jeff Wadlow) without a clue. The script is terrible. The art direction is unimaginative and flat, and the performances run the gamut from flat and uninspired to screeching. The result is bush-league garbage.

I was tortured watching this thing. Ghostbusters blew it big time within the first 15 minutes of its sequel. Well, Kick-Ass had an even better premise, and some decent graphic novels to back it up—yet its sequel is a loser from the very beginning.

Taylor-Johnson returns as Dave, a high school student who yearns to be a superhero. He puts on a mail-order costume and becomes Kick-Ass, roaming the streets looking to stop crime. While Matthew Vaughn, the original film’s director, managed to pull something charming out of Taylor-Johnson, in this film, he’s an annoying, whiny goofball. He doesn’t have a single shining moment.

Returning as Mindy Macready (Hit-Girl), Moretz suffers simply because she grew up a bit. Having a tiny 11-year-old girl kick major ass is one thing; having a fairly substantial 15-year-old kicking the same ass doesn’t have the same comic wallop or shock value. She looks a little silly in the same getup, and her performance is surprisingly dull.

Making matters worse is a subplot in which Hit-Girl gives up vigilantism and decides to give high school an honest go. This results in a by-the-numbers scenario straight out of Heathers and Mean Girls, except this one culminates in the mean girls experiencing simultaneous vomiting and explosive diarrhea.

While Mindy goes to school, Kick-Ass looks for other superheroes, and hooks up with Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey) and his gang. Carrey has but a few minutes in the film—and unlike everyone else, he seems to know what movie he is supposed to be in. He’s funny, just a little sick—and he looks great in his outfit. Yes, the movie is being faithful to the graphic novels that inspired it, but they should’ve found a way to have Carrey’s character play a bigger part. He’s the only thing worth watching, and makes up a little for the loss of Nicolas Cage.

Christopher Mintz-Plasse, so good in the original, delivers one of the year’s worst performances as wannabe super-villain Chris D’Amico, bent on revenge after Kick-Ass shot his dad with a bazooka. Mintz-Plasse spends the movie screaming, decked out in bondage gear, and embarrassing himself with moments like a rape scene played for laughs. It’s sickening, really.

Carrey has disowned this film, citing its excessive violence. Hey, maybe that was part of it, but I’m thinking he saw a rough cut of Kick-Ass 2, became fully convinced the director had crapped the bed, and decided to stay home rather than put on a fake happy face for the talk-show circuit. He’s the best thing about the movie—but two or three decent scenes do not a good movie make.

It’s a shame to see Taylor-Johnson, Moretz and Mintz-Plasse straining to relive the greatness of their previous effort, in much the same way it was tough watching Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis 24 years ago. Ghostbusters, despite many rumors, never got a third movie. I’m thinking the Kick-Ass franchise will suffer that same fate.

Kick-Ass 2 is playing in theaters across the valley.

Published in Reviews

I didn’t care all that much for Movie 43, a new-millennium attempt at something akin to Kentucky Fried Movie. But I won’t be trashing it, because it crosses many lines, is terribly offensive, and is often screamingly disgusting. I’m a little demented when it comes to comedy, so I say: Bring on the farts, excessive curse words and scrotum necks!

However, if you are going to do a gross sketch comedy, you had better do gross well. Your jokes better have the proper punch lines and kickers, and your sketches have to end strong.

Many of the sketches in Movie 43 end like bad Saturday Night Live sketches. Too many of the sketches, which are directed by various directors, just aren’t funny. They land with a thud.

First, I’ll talk about the good stuff. I must give props to real-life couple Naomi Watts (a current Oscar nominee) and Liev Schreiber for their funny turn as a couple proudly homeschooling their son. They want their kid to get the full high school experience, so they humiliate him, alienate him, nail him with dodge balls and ultimately try to make out with him. Yes, I laughed hard at this. Movie 43 would’ve been better if it had been 90 minutes with these nuts.

I must also praise Terrence Howard as a black basketball coach who gets fed up with his youngsters being afraid of a bullying white team. Yes, this joke has been done to death, but Howard sells it big-time. This is one of the sketches that ended badly, but not before Howard had me laughing out loud.

Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott kidnap a foul-mouthed leprechaun (Gerard Butler)—and excessive violence and obscenity ensue. Real-life couple Anna Faris and Chris Pratt deal with a desire to get pooped upon—yet they somehow make it romantic. Jason Sudeikis gives us a commentary on Kristen Bell's bush. There are some laughs to be had in these uneven segments.

Hugh Jackman (another current Oscar nominee) shows up for a blind date with Kate Winslet sporting testicles on his neck. This would be the first time in movie history where an Oscar nominee, mere weeks away from hearing whether he has won the golden boy, appears onscreen with hairy balls protruding from his neck. I’m thinking that this moment in movie history will cost Mr. Jackman a few votes. It’s also not funny.

Another sketch (directed by Elizabeth Banks) features Chloë Moretz and her Kick-Ass co-star Christopher Mintz-Plasse. It has, not surprisingly, a menstruation theme: Moretz gets her first period after her first kiss, and two brothers spaz out until their dad (Patrick Warburton) comes home—and doesn’t help the situation. Another dud.

Even worse would be Elizabeth Banks starring in a post-credits segment that has her getting peed on by a masturbating/animated cat. And even worse would be a truth-or-dare sketch in which Oscar-winner Halle Berry makes guacamole with surgically enhanced breasts. Far worse would be a skit in which Emma Stone and Kieran Culkin talk dirty at a supermarket, unwittingly broadcasting over the PA system.

Worst of all would be Richard Gere as an executive confused at the notion that young boys are trying to have sex with the iBabe, an MP3 player that looks like a supermodel but has a nasty, member-mangling exhaust fan in its nether regions.

The bad far outweighs the good, and that’s what makes Movie 43 a loser. I dare Hugh Jackman to wear his scrotum neck on the Oscar red carpet.

Movie 43 is playing in theaters across the valley.

Published in Reviews