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Skippy Prejudges The Movies!: “Joyful Noise” January 1, 2012

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Fig. 1: The Worst Movie of 2012.

I’ve been seeing commercials for this cinematic abomination for nigh unto three weeks now and have either changed the channel with extreme alacrity or have had to take an insulin shot to prevent going into a diabetic coma. I generally loathe “feel good” movies that are this shallow, this poorly written and this nakedly manipulative.

Clearly, this movie is an attempt to capitalize on America’s love affair with Glee—which would mean that this movie should have been released two years ago (and probably not even then). Anyway, this movie appears to feature Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah as parental figures in a “small town” who are in contention for the directorship of a church choir. You have to love movies like this; they are always set in “small towns,” most likely in Alabamanianatuckyssippiennessee. And the church that both Parton and Latifah attend has a “council”—I’d bet good money that this church is as non-descript as the small town in which this celluloidal putrefaction is set.

Apparently, the “plot” of this movie revolves around Parton (looking freshly Botoxed, pulled, and shellacked) and Latifah’s rivalry. Latifah is staid and old fashioned, which means that the choir never wins the Joyful Noise choir competition of WTF? Enter Parton’s grandson, some Taylor Lautner-adjacent boy who can sing and Latifah’s daughter, some poor child who really wants to break into Hollywood. They’re supposed to be Romeo and Juliet, bringing fresh ideas to church choirs…like shaking your ass for Jesus.


Fig. 2: Jesus don’t like ugly. And this movie is U-G-L-Y.

Blah, blah, blah, you’re supposed to plunk down upwards of $11 plus the cost of refreshments to watch Parton and Latifah trade stupid barbs and you’re supposed to go “Oooh” and “Awww” as two totally non-descript younglings have a love affair so boring, even Edward and Bella look interesting by comparison. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to speculate that Latifah learns the error of her staid and boring ways and allows the non-descript church choir to sing some stupid ass-shaking song and then the choir wins and the non-descript younglings go off to Who Gives A Fuckistan to pursue their dreams of having sex.

Skippy’s Pre-Judgment: Kill it with fire.

It’s A Conspiracy! In 3D! November 15, 2011

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Children, I have a few words about 3D movies and the apparent conspiracy to make me pay more to see a lot less. This weekend, I was all geeked to go see “Immortals.” As always, I’m a sucker for special effects-laden movies featuring ridiculously hot guys, so I fired up the Intarwebz and went to Fandango to find out what time this movie would be showing.

Here’s what I got:


Fig. 1: Huh, what?

Only two times for this blockbuster to be seen as a regular movie? Um, okay. And basically, the 2:30 time is open only to people who either a) have no job and lots of free time and money or b) really don’t give a flying fuck about their jobs so that they will blow off a day to see this movie, but not in 3D. Ah, well, I thought. Perhaps I’ll go see this movie in 3D, annoying 3D glasses over my glasses be damned. So I clicked on a matinee time—how much more expensive can a movie at four in the afternoon be?


Fig. 2: THE FUCK?!?

Movie theaters are basically strong-arming people into paying more. Again, I know that movie theaters have to compete with Netflix, Dish, DirecTV, and a generally FUBAR’d economy, but this is not the way to go about making more money. And don’t give me a bunch of bollocks about “choice”—there is virtually no choice in this scenario. If I have a 9-5, M-F job, I have to wait till Saturday or Sunday to see this movie at non-crazy prices. However, I can only see one matinee of this movie at non-crazy prices, and if I’m on a date…well, fuck all that. I’m probably going to be stuck with the 3D—and nothing I’ve read about this movie suggests that I must see this in 3D. Add in the Milk Duds I’m going to sneak in, plus the bottled water I’m going to buy, and I’m paying damn near $20 to watch a movie one damn time, when I can wait a couple of months and buy that fucker on Blu-Ray and watch it over and over again without the aggravation of a malfunctioning ticket kiosk, long lines at the concession stand, and idiots in the theater who won’t shut off their damn bright phone or their damn fool mouths. If this is the way movie theaters are going, I expect them to be extinct within a few years—and deservedly so.

First Look: Henry Cavill as Superman August 4, 2011

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Are you ready for some awesomeness? Of course you are!

(Image: www.joblo.com)
Fig. 1: Yes!!

I’d write more, but I’m busy having a nerdgasm.

Ok, I can write more now. What I find interesting about this suit is—if it is indeed the suit we’ll see on-screen—that it borrows from an older interpretation of the “S” shield. I like the metallic/leathery look of the suit; it retains the familiar elements of the uniform (thank Spock that they didn’t follow the color palette of the “Superman Returns” uniform), while adding some touches that make it look distinctly “alien.” It will be fascinating to see more shots of Cavill in the suit—if I have any nitpicks (and honestly, what kind of nerd would I be if I didn’t), it’s in the form of a question. Where’s Superman’s trademark spit curl?

Skippy Goes To The Movies!: “Horrible Bosses” July 8, 2011

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Verdict: Raunchy, raucous, irreverent…FUCKING HILARIOUS.

Usually, commercials and trailers for comedies show you all the funniest parts of the movie, and if you go to the movie, you are disappointed by a middle act that is boring and a conclusion that is far less than satisfying. “Horrible Bosses” is decidedly not one of those movies. Directed by Seth Gordon and packed with established movie stars like Jennifer Anniston, Colin Farrell and even a cameo by Donald Sutherland, one might expect the television veterans Jason Bateman, Jason Sudekis and Charlie Day to be overshadowed. The writing is tight, effective, and not ashamed to “go there.”

The plot of the movie is fairly simple: three workaday guys hate their bosses. Nick (Jason Bateman) works for an antichrist of a boss (Kevin Spacey) who lies to him about a promotion he thought he was to receive. Dale works for a dentist (Jennifer Anniston) who is sexually harassing him. Kurt is an accountant for a small chemical company that is taken over by a cocaine-addicted douchebag (Colin Farrell). Their bosses are plainly insufferable and the three guys decide that they must die. Not knowing how to do such a thing, they chance upon a “murder consultant” named Motherfucker Jones (Jamie Foxx). I refuse to say anymore as that would give a bunch of hilarious plot points and spoilers away. Suffice it to say that things do not go according to plan. Also, the commercials only give the barest of hints as to how funny this movie is.

As I noted above, this movie is raunchy, raucous and irreverent. There is a scene where the three men find themselves in a “bad” part of town—however, that part of town is occupied solely by African Americans. I tensed up, thinking, “Oh, hell. Here we go.” Fortunately, the writers did not go down familiar roads of racial stereotype; rather, they took what could have been a potentially offensive moment and made it funny. I expect some Internet ink to be spilled on a couple of these scenes in the movie as examples of white privilege run amok. It’s also very interesting that the obvious choice of these men finding other jobs is contextualized in light of our crapped out economy. As a comedy that is set in our current economic reality, I find that it projects a little darkness and absurdity. Not to get too “deep” about this movie, but I think it could stand alongside “9 to 5” as a comedy that exposes some of the anxieties of the time in which these respective movies appear. That’s a whole ‘nother essay, I suppose.

Anyway, all of the actors acquit themselves very well. The chemistry and comic timing between the leads is excellent—you can tell that Jason Sudekis was having a very good time making this movie. It didn’t hurt that his character was a bit of a lothario. Bateman is pretty much the same character he was in “Arrested Development”—a critic might say that this is a bad thing, but I don’t care. He’s at his best when he’s playing straight to other characters. In this case, he plays straight man to Sudekis and Day.

In sum, I would say that this movie is funnier than “Bridesmaids.” It eschews any kind of sentimentality, choosing instead to go full-bore raunchy—it earns its R-rating not through gross out humor, but through a lot of sexual humor and profanity. This isn’t a movie to take your kids to (as I saw at least one idiot family do today). Rather, get the kids a sitter, go have a nice dinner and go see this movie and laugh your ass off for two hours.

Why Did I Watch “Why Did I Get Married, Too”? June 20, 2011

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SPOILER ALERT: The below missive will have many spoilers. If you do not wish to know major “plot” points of this movie, discontinue reading.

The “joy” of watching a Tyler Perry movie is knowing that I will not get anything other than a treacly, self-indulgent, badly written and directed two-hour tour de force of misogynistic tripe. So, Perry’s thoroughly unnecessary follow up to 2007’s “Why Did I Get Married?” completely fulfilled me. And by “fulfilled,” I mean “It enraged me to the point of apoplexy.” How his movies haven’t been brought before the Hague on charges of human rights violations is beyond me.

Anyway, so we return to the stupidly sordid world of four self-absorbed bourgeois African American couples and watch as they spout platitude-laden dialogue that could have been written by Oprah Winfrey or Deepak Chopra. This time, the stupid, self-absorbed bourgeois Buppies are jetting off to the Caribbean for their annual marriage retreat. Must be nice to go to the fucking Caribbean for a marriage retreat. Mind you, the first one was pretty fucking disastrous, so nothing says “smart” like doing the same damn thing again, right?


Fig. 1: Yeah, because these retreats are nothing but success!

You’d also think that these fools wouldn’t have much to be all angsty about after the first movie, right? Well, in order for there to be a second movie, Perry has to completely wipe away any character development that occurred in the first one. Angela (Tasha Smith), the Loud, Angry Black Woman has returned—if you remember, she supposedly had calmed the fuck down and had quit drinking. Well, not this time! She’s back, and louder and angrier than before. Her husband Marcus (Michael Jai White) is still cowed by her—the only difference is that now he has a job as an on-air personality (a job that Angela nearly gets him fired from). Gavin (Malik Yoba) and Pat (Janet Jackson) are still the picture-perfectly fucked up couple…and the death of their kid that you thought they had worked through in the first movie is still tearing them up. I guess Gavin wasn’t strong enough for the both of them. Terry (Tyler Perry) and Dianne (Sharon Leal) appear to be the picture of happiness…until we find out that Dianne is “emotionally cheating” on Terry. And finally, we have Sheila (Jill Scott) and Troy (Lamman Rucker), whose marriage is floundering because, at Sheila’s insistence, the couple has moved to Atlanta and Troy can’t find a job. Oh, and Snidely Blacklash (or, Mike, as he’s played by Richard T. Jones) returns, because he has a timeshare in the Caribbean and just happens to be there at the same time as the four buppie couples.

After yet another disastrous bit of sharing during which Pat announces to the group that she and Gavin are getting divorced, everyone abruptly returns to their fucked up lives. I won’t even bother with the tedious details of their stupid storylines, because they can all be summed up thusly: the marriages are all fucked up because these Black women are evil and will do evil shit. Let’s examine this, shall we?

Angela: Loud, obnoxious, abrasive, emasculating. Doesn’t trust “her man.” As of the first movie, she had been “domesticated” so that she had even quit drinking. Now, she’s back on the sauce and is always yelling at Marcus, driving him further and further away. A Good Black Woman would trust her man and not drink, for drinking is the sure sign of an Evil Black Woman.

Sheila: Selfish. Wanted to move to Atlanta, uprooting Troy from his job as a sheriff. His joblessness is all her fault. A Good Black Woman would have let Troy be the Only Black Sheriff in Colorado and not dragged him to the apparently jobless wilderness of Atlanta.

Dianne: Slut. In the first movie, she gets her tubes tied without telling Terry, knowing full well that Terry wanted a boy. Now, she got them untied and the couple has a boy and a girl. Only now, she’s having “an emotional affair” with some dude at work. And because women are more emotional than men, this is worse than having gotten some sweet, sweet lovin’—this wisdom is from the mouth of Terry. What an unbelievable slut. A Good Black Woman would shoot Dianne and then marry Terry and provide him with all the babies he wants.

Patricia: Evil Harpy from Hell. Her emotional disconnect from the death of their cross-eyed kid plus her selfishness leads to her declaring a divorce from Gavin. Further, she tries to hide assets from Gavin, leading to an acrimonious divorce, which ends…in Gavin dying in a fucking car wreck. A Good Black Woman would have taken care to properly strap their cross-eyed kid into the car and would have shared the profits from her book with her deserving husband.

This time around, nobody actually deals with their issues—after Gavin dies, all that happens is Patricia bellowing that everyone should get over their issues. And voila! Everybody does.

What?

Oh, and to add insult to (fatal) injury, a year after Gavin gets pancaked by a rental van, Patricia is introduced to a “wealthy donor”…played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The grin on Patricia’s face was all “Fuck mourning! Helloooooo, Mr. Hottness!”

Y’all, I don’t even.

Skippy Goes To The Movies!: “Green Lantern” June 18, 2011

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Verdict: A minimally passable superhero movie with far too many plot holes.

Clearly, Hollywood is banking on the success of superhero movies in order to sustain box office receipts during the summer blockbuster season. This summer alone, we’ve had three superhero movies with at least one more on the way. So, now we have “Green Lantern.” What is there to say about this movie?

Well, it is not as bad as some reviewers have made it out to be. However, it is not as good as I had hoped it would be. The story is fairly simple: wiseass Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) receives a ring from a dying member of an intergalactic police corps and must overcome his own self-doubt (and fear) in order to save the Earth from a powerful threat. Actually, he must save the Earth from two threats–Parallax and Hector Hammond. As with most superhero movies, the chief concern for the comic book fan is how closely the movie hews to the source material. This movie borrows largely from Geoff Johns’s revival of Green Lantern in “Green Lantern: Rebirth.” It was Johns’s narrative that introduced the villain Parallax (and, in that story, served as the rationale behind Hal Jordan’s prior bad acts…it’s a long, long story). It should also serve as little surprise that Johns also was a co-producer. Marc Guggenheim, who has some experience with the genre, was one of a handful of writers.

As a DC Comics partisan, I went in to this movie hoping that it would be suitably epic—after all, all the elements of a space epic are there: a relatively ordinary person receives a call to extraordinary adventure and is thrust into events that are far outside his/her normal experience. However, despite the epic possibilities, the movie seems rather…flat. Reynolds’s portrayal of Hal Jordan has the requisite charm. The story attempts to afford Reynolds some “character development” in that he (spoiler alert!) overcomes his fear in order to fight Parallax and its pseudo-henchman Hector Hammond. The viewer is also supposed to believe that Jordan is in a romance with Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), but the romance as we see it on the screen appears fairly juvenile.

Of course, I didn’t go to this movie looking for a well-crafted romance. I went to see action…and we got that. Any superhero movie must have the Big Save—the scene wherein the hero is revealed to the world. Green Lantern’s revelation to the world seems oddly anticlimactic. It’s played almost as an afterthought. Even the climactic battle with Parallax seems, well, not to overuse the word, but it seems fairly flat. Perhaps it’s because Parallax doesn’t feel like a credible villain. I would put Parallax on par with the movie version of Galactus in the Fantastic Four. I don’t understand the recent trend of turning galactic villains into amorphous clouds (Galactus, Parallax, Darkseid). There is a maxim in superhero movies: the movie is only as good as its villain. How good can a superhero movie be if the main villain is a giant tornadic cloud of evil? To try to combat that, the writers (of which there were many) felt it necessary to make Hector Hammond a minion of Parallax (which he isn’t in the comic books). The problem there is that there are now two too many villains.

I mentioned plot holes. Here’s one. After the third time that Hal decides to quit being a Green Lantern (not once do the GL Corps come and get their ring), he decides to go all the way to Oa…to tell the Guardians that he’s going to fight Parallax. That’s it. He just shows up and gives this ridiculously boring speech about how humans are worth saving. Well, allllllrighty then.

Here’s another one. When Hal first gets the ring, he’s whisked off to Oa for training. He’s there for what seems to be like an hour or two, gets his ass kicked by Kilowog and Sinestro (who, sadly, gets very little character development), is told that he and the human race suck ass, and then comes back to Earth, having quit the Corps (but he’s allowed to keep the ring?). Nevertheless, after Carol and the forgettable sidekick/best friend tell Hal to get his head out of his ass and save the world, he acts like he’s a fully trained Jedi Knight. What the frak?

Frankly, if you don’t go see this in the theater, you’re not missing anything. It might be a good idea to wait for this to come out on DVD (it’ll probably look far better on Blu-Ray at home than in a theater). They tried to make an epic sci-fi superhero movie, the ingredients were mostly there, but sadly, “Green Lantern” missed the mark.

Perhaps the sequel will get it right.

Skippy Goes To The Movies!: “X-Men: First Class” June 11, 2011

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Verdict: An excellent superhero movie that surpasses its predecessors.

I have to admit that when I saw the trailers for “X-Men: First Class,” I put this movie on my “wait for Netflix” mental list. After the abominations that were “X-Men 3: The Last Stand” and “Wolverine,” I was ready to write off the X-Men movie franchise. Further, this movie was sandwiched between “Thor” and “Green Lantern,” two movies for which I was/am infinitely more excited, primarily because both movies have not hesitated to play up the beefcake factor. And for that, my shallow ass is eternally grateful.

However, I am pleased to report that “X-Men: First Class” is far and away one of the best superhero “origin” movies in recent years. It deftly balances weightier, philosophical issues with action pieces. At a running length of just over two hours, it doesn’t feel like it drags. Some critics have claimed that this movie is “too talky”—to that I say, balderdash. Do not pay those reviewers any mind. While I think it would have fared better at the box office had it been a late summer/early fall release, it is not so ponderous as to leave the viewer wanting more action and less talk (e.g., 2006’s “Superman Returns”).

One reason this movie works so well is that, even though it is a movie that revolves around a team, we focus only on two characters, Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender). Picking up from the first scenes in the first X-Men movie, we see young Erik Lensherr, the future “villain” Magneto, come into contact with this movie’s antagonist, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). Shaw is a sadist who is working for the Nazis; he wants to unlock Erik’s power, so he tortures young Erik. Meanwhile, in the United States, Charles Xavier meets another mutant, the future Mystique. Charles takes Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) under his wing, and they grow up together, but Charles appears rather oblivious to the fact that Raven loves him. This movie presents Charles as a brash, arrogant figure—and if you had his ability to read people’s minds and influence them to do what you wanted, wouldn’t you? We see that Xavier’s views about human-mutant coexistence emerge from his youthful naivete and arrogance; he does not take into account that he is able to “pass,” a point that both Raven and Erik point out to him. Erik especially functions as a counterpoint to Charles’s views about human-mutant coexistence. A survivor of the Holocaust, Erik has seen the worst of humanity and knows that humans would and could not tolerate this evolutionary leap. This is a nice nod to the way in which the X-Men comics have functioned as an allegory for, first, the Civil Rights movement and the tension between Martin Luther King’s arguments about integration and Malcolm X’s arguments about separation and self determination and second, the emerging gay and lesbian movement, the problem of “passing” as a heterosexual, and the question of “nature vs. nurture.”

Eventually, Charles and Erik meet (Erik has become a Nazi hunter in pursuit of Shaw, Charles is working for the government). They learn that Shaw and his band of mutants are trying to incite World War III in an effort to eradicate the world of the sub-optimal homo sapien. So Charles and Erik attempt to recruit more mutants—leading to a cameo that is hilarious and ten kinds of awesome. Again, there are some critics of this movie who say that it is short on humor. And again, I think they’re dead wrong. This movie has more of a James Bond feel than a strictly comic book movie feel—and that works in this movie’s favor. Thus, the humor in this movie has a decidedly dry wit to it. However, that humor doesn’t overwhelm the seriousness of the situation. Indeed, we see how Xavier is injured so that he is confined to a wheelchair—and it is appropriately tragic. Director Matthew Vaughn and the bevy of screenwriters (Bryan Singer being one of them) have crafted a rare gem: a superb, action-packed superhero movie that doesn’t insult its audience.

Skippy Goes To The Movies!: “Thor” May 12, 2011

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Verdict: The best superhero movie since “Superman: The Movie”

Children, I think I’m on record for not being a big fan of movies based on Marvel Comics superheroes. While I liked “X-Men” and loved “X-Men 2,” I absolutely despised each and every one of the “Spider-Man” movies (especially that third abomination), loathed “X-Men 3,” and found the “Iron Man” movies merely tolerable. The less said about both of the “Hulk” movies, the better. This, of course, is part of my DC Comics partisan fanboyism. A Marvel superhero movie has to be awesome for me to like it (see the aforementioned “X-Men 2”).

That said, “Thor” was absolutely awesome. Director Kenneth Branaugh took a story written by J. Michael Straczynski (I was surprised when I saw his name pop up in the credits) and crafted a thoroughly delightful and visually arresting summer flick. Throughout the movie, I kept thinking, “THIS is what a superhero movie should be!”

The story is fairly simple: Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is a cocky son of god Odin. Because of his arrogance, he nearly starts a war with the Frost Giants; as a result of his arrogant disobedience of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), he is banished to Earth. On Earth, he meets astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and her band of merry scientists; meanwhile, his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is causing all sorts of trouble back in Asgard. Needless to say, Thor’s time on Earth humbles him and he learns how to be a hero just in time to save the day and set up the impending Avengers movie. Unlike other superhero films, this isn’t about a human (or alien who finds out he’s an alien) coming to terms with superpowers. This is a simple story of redemption—Thor has been cast out of a heaven and has to reclaim his rightful place as heir to Asgard’s throne. As such, the movie flows fairly smoothly. There aren’t any spots in the movie where the narrative begins to drag and feel padded, even at an hour and fifty-four minutes. Frankly, the near two-hour running time flew by.

I have to say, I love how Marvel has structured their movies so that each movie (Spider-Man and X-Men excluded) is part of a shared universe. I think a major flaw in DC’s movie-making strategy is separating each movie franchise. For example, the upcoming Green Lantern movie will have nothing to do with Batman which has nothing to do with Superman which has nothing to do with either Batman or Green Lantern. On top of all that, Warner Brothers (the company that owns DC Comics) wants to do a Justice League movie! And as far as I can tell, they want different actors to play Batman and Superman in the JL movie—how stupid is that? Anyway, even though this movie is part of a shared universe, it doesn’t at all require having seen the Iron Man or Hulk movies. Frankly, I am interested to see how the Avengers movie turns out. How will they integrate all these superheroes in one movie without it turning into an incoherent mess? I guess time will tell.

While this movie will not be submitting any Oscar reels, I think that Branaugh got serviceable performances out of the actors. Anthony Hopkins didn’t have much to do, so there were times in which he seemed rather…listless. Natalie Portman shines in this movie; when she’s got a good director, she brings it. So, basically, her performance in the Star Wars prequels? All George Lucas’s no-directing fault. Anyway, she has amazing chemistry with Chris Hemsworth—it was reminiscent of the chemistry between Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder in “Superman.” Portman and Hemsworth’s rather chaste romance was actually believable and not (too) corny.

And can we talk about Chris Hemsworth?

Fig. 1: Well, hellooooooo, Thor!

Ok, let’s talk. While Hemsworth might be something of a putz in interviews, onscreen he has a magnetism that is…wow. He was an inspired–nay, perfect choice to play Thor. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s GORGEOUS. Seriously.

Basically, this movie is going to be the second Blu-Ray DVD I own.

AWESOME. April 2, 2011

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Fig. 1: WHARGLEBLE! FAPRETICKE! NEMTRIPSITEK!

Children, the first footage from the upcoming Green Lantern movie hit Wondercon this weekend and OMGQWERTYAWESOMEPOIURE!!!111!! I cannot post a coherent thought, so powerful is this geeky AWESOMENESS.

Guess where I’m going to be on June 17th?

This Week in Netflix: “Funny People” (2009) March 27, 2011

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Verdict: Goes nowhere…slowly.

Children, I don’t even know why I put this movie in my Netflix queue. I’m going to blame this on my man-crush on Seth Rogen. At any rate, I got this movie, and popped it into the PS3 on a boring Saturday evening…and was promptly rewarded with a movie that inexplicably falls apart into incoherence in the final act.

Adam Sandler plays George Simmons, a self-absorbed comedian who finds out that he has a Plot Contrivance in the form of a fatal illness (of course, it’s not so fatal that it results in any kind of disfigurement or noticeable physical change). Seth Rogen plays Ira Wright, a young comedian who’s trying to get his career off the ground (it might help by actually telling funny jokes, but whatevs). Ira’s such a struggling artiste that he’s living on the couch of a successful sitcom actor (Jason Schwartzman) and his roommate, Leo (Jonah Hill). Simmons and Wright meet at a comedy club and Simmons decides to offer Wright the opportunity to write jokes for him…and act as his personal servant. Along the way, we get to see Sandler try to play serious as his character “confronts” his impending demise from Plot Contrivance. It’s about as convincing as you’d expect.

I thought the premise of this movie was that a comedian finds his humanity in the face of a life-threatening plot contrivance, but about halfway through Judd Apatow (writer and director) seemed to say, “Fuck it, I’m tired of this life-threatening Plot Contrivance.” So, in a few short lines of dialogue, a wonder drug appears and apparently cures George Simmons of his fatal case of Plot Contrivance. In the meantime, George has reconnected with an old flame (played by Leslie Mann) who is kinda-sorta unhappily married to an Australian (Eric Bana) who is always away on business. Well, in another case of Plot Contrivance, the Aussie happens to return home after Laura and George have had sex and she has tacitly declared her marriage over! DRAMA!

As if all this plot wasn’t enough, Ira (remember him? Yeah, don’t worry–Apatow forgot about him too) is pining away after some inexplicably bland comedienne named Daisy (Aubrey Plaza), but is too much of a schmuck to ask her out…and he gets mad at her for sleeping with the sitcom star. Don’t worry, Dying George somehow gets those two crazy kids back together. But since this movie seems to be All About George and Ira’s troubles are as much a plot contrivance as the Not-Quite-So Fatal Plot Contrivance, we don’t really get to know much about Ira, other than that he, like the rest of the world, really thinks that this George Simmons guy is really funny.

Well, after Simmons is cured of his Plot Contrivance, he heads at warp speed back into dickery and douchebaggery. He bitches at Ira and then fires him. Well, I hope Ira enjoyed the benefits of working for an unfunny asshole for the…how long did he work for this fool, anyway? I guess I really wasn’t paying attention, because I have no idea how much time passed between George’s Plot Contrivance diagnosis and the end of the movie. I do know that watching this movie felt like hours.

In sum, this is a tepid movie that doesn’t even have the courage to follow its own premise and kill the main character. It gets so bogged down in various plot twists and too many characters in this movie, that it winds up being an incomprehensible, boring mess with mostly unlikeable characters.

Oh, and another thing: you mean to tell me that any sighted woman would choose this:

Fig. 1: Old and busted

over this?

Fig. 2: New hotness

Yeah, Apatow. Get the fuck outta here with that bullshit.