From Alison Brie to Zach Randolph, and everything in between.
It’s February, which means Hollywood is once again serving us PBR at Stella Artois prices. Winter movie season is dreary at best, but I’m here to try and make it fun by pitting each weekend’s new releases against each other in a fight to the death. Up February 8th: Identity Thief vs Side Effects (Key note: I haven’t seen either one. But the plan is to learn how to make an educated guess, cause seeing the wrong movie can set you back a few pesos.)
Step 1: Pair uptight, witty business-type (Jason Bateman) with wacky, eccentric budding star from previous year’s hit comedy (Melissa McCarthy). Force them into a situation where they have to spend a long time together. Singing in cars! Wildly improbable car chases! Awkward hotel rooms!
Step 2: Find “crazy” characters for them to encounter on the way. Perhaps a seemingly threatening but sweet country folk? (Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet playing “Big Chuck”) Maybe some ethnic pals who get them out of a sticky situation? (T.I. & John Cho). Don’t forget a “kooky”, unrealistically attractive female that tags along for the ride. (Genesis Rodriguez, Nintendo Gonzalez, Xbox360 Martinez). Sprinkle in a surly antagonist (Jon Favreau) and some B-story fodder (Morris Chestnut as “Detective Reilly”). Hijinx ensue.
Step 3: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Due Date. Tommy Boy. Paul. Dinner for Schmucks. 30 Minutes or Less. I could go on and on. This formula is so tired that a parody of it, Harold & Kumar, spawned an entire trilogy that comes full circle here with the aforementioned John Cho. We haven’t even seen any of these side characters in the trailers because the studio is trying to capitalize so much on Melissa McCarthy’s heat, much like Galifianakis last year. Meanwhile, Soderbergh is running out Ocean’s Four in Mrs. Michael Douglas, Watson, the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Magical Mike himself. Channing Tatum had a huge year last year, and unless the climax features a naked slap fight vs. Jude Law (sorry ladies) it should be interesting seeing him in a purely dramatic role where he can’t rely on his abs as a distraction. Gimme the Fab Four.
Edge: Side Effects
Behind the Camera
Steven Soderbergh’s movies have an excessive too-cool-for-school vibe for my taste, with movies like Contagion, The Informant! and the Ocean’s trilogy under his belt. All style, no substance. Effect‘s writer Josh Gordon also wrote Bourne Ultimatum- he really enjoys amnesia as a plot device. Exciting to see Thief “writer” Craig Mazin still using his computer expertise after copy-pasting the scripts for superfluous sequels Hangover 2, Scary Movie 3 & 4 and Superhero Movie. Edge: Side Effects
Thief’s plot and ending is pretty evident from the poster alone. on the other hand, plays like a next week’s preview of Mad Men (I love it)- just a series of cryptic What are you doing???‘s and I want my life back!’s. In all likelihood the controversial side effect is sleeping with your psychiatrist, causing a rift in your marriage that turns violent in the end, but hey, your guess is as good as mine.
Edge: Side Effects
Rotten Tomatoes reviews:
Identity Thief: 28% on 50 views.
Side Effects: 81% on 70 views.
C-Tates always wins.