WWW: Weekend Wrental Wreviews 37

Let's see what I saw this week for Weekend Wrental Wreviews in my 37th WWW:

1) The Love Guru:
The Love Guru is to Mike Myers as The Master of Disguise is to Dana Carvey, and sadly that may be all I need to say about a comedian starring in the worst movie he ever made. Sometimes I wish those guys would reunite and do another Wayne's World, but it would be doubly tragic if it turned out as bad as their worst solo efforts. The Love Guru has about 3 or 4 really funny sequences that would have worked better as short sketches than a feature film. The opening narration by Morgan Freeman, which is revealed to be Myer's character speaking through a voiceover machine with a Freeman setting was pretty funny, but it was downhill from there. Myers does have an amusing Bollywood musical fantasy with Jessica Alba, and there was an amusing sight gag with everyone meeting in Verne Troyer's undersized office. The Love Guru is hired by Alba and Troyer to help a hockey player reconcile with his wife and get his head back in the game. Justin Timberlake has an over-the-top role as the rival player who stole the guy's wife. But the film also has things like “stinkmop”, a game seen in a flashback to the Guru's training, in which he ad others battle with mops dipped in urine. There's also an elephant sex scene, and probably some other “classy” moments I've blocked out. Skip it, forget it, and pretend Myers never made it. I'm sure he is, and I'm sure we'll all sleep better with this approach.

2) The Heartbreak Kid:
I have to say I liked this a lot better than others did, but when the film sort of fell apart near the end with multiple non-resolutions and a slightly ambiguous ending, I kind of understood some of the bad reviews. I haven't seen the original yet, but I can guess where Bobby and Peter Farrelly took some liberties in updating the story. I generally like their films, particularly the unexpected heart and emotion at the core of stories with lewd or gross humor. There was definitely a lot to like here, especially seeing real life father and son Ben Stiller and Jerry Stiller portray a father and son. The film plays to the strengths of both men, and they had a great chemistry together. The elder Stiller chides his 40ish son for not yet being married, and for going to an ex-girlfriend's wedding on Valentine's Day. When he finds himself seated at the kiddie table, as the only adult single in attendance, things seem bleak. But then he meets Malin Akerman(Watchmen), a blonde beauty who seems absolutely perfect. He spontaneously proposes when her job threatens to take her away from him, and it is on their honeymoon that he finally sees other sides to her, and learns she might not be as perfect as she first seemed. There's a great driving sequence that begins with the two of them singing along to the radio, and the tone shifts with each new and more annoying song that has Akerman singing while Stiller does some brilliant reacting just with his expressions and gestures. When he meets the more down-to-Earth Michelle Monaghan while on his honeymoon in Cabo, and falls for not only her but her whole family, he has a real dilemma on his hands. It's a tough sell to get the audience to root for a man to cheat on his brand new wife, but the actresses do a great job. You fall for Akerman and then grow to despise her, and Monaghan wins you over. You're pretty much with Ben Stiller until the very last scene, and then you're not sure what to think of his character as the credits roll. On a second viewing with commentary by the Farrelly's, I came to appreciate the non-Hollywood ending, and the fact that Stiller's character had more than a few faults and issues of his own. The Farrellys have done better, but this one is still pretty good and definitely worth renting. If the original ever gets rereleased on DVD, I'll check that one out to compare.

3) My Best Friend's Girl:
You could probably argue that Dane Cook's 15 minutes of fame as a stand-up comedian transitioning to movie star are over. You can certainly argue that Jason Biggs probably peaked with the American Pie series and that beyond teen movies, he's looking at a career of supporting bit parts. So I wasn't expecting much from this comedy that more or less takes a song as old as Biggs and stretches it into a film about these two friends who both fall for the same girl, played by Kate Hudson. While the film does tend to follow more than one romantic comedy formula, it picks and chooses some of the best elements from those formulas and makes an entertaining film with characters you root for. This may not be saying much, but this may be the best acting I've ever seen from Dane Cook, and his character “Tank” isn't as one-dimensional as the trailers made him out to be. In his free time, Tank is a professional a-hole, raising it to an art form as he dates women and behaves as offensively as possible. It's exactly what you'd expect from Cook, but the twist here is that it's all an act. Tank is hired by guys who just got dumped, to make them look better by comparison. It almost always works, and the women run screaming from Tank and back into the arms of their exes. Biggs plays Tank's best friend, the typical nice guy stuck in the friend zone trying to be more with Kate Hudson. And, being that guy myself, I normally would root for him. The problem is, the chemistry between Cook and Hudson was much stronger than the chemistry between Biggs and Hudson, which was actually nonexistent. Tank finds himself in new territory when he actually falls in love, and has to choose between his best friend and his girlfriend. Will he do the right thing, even if that means doing a lot of wrong things? The supporting cast does a great job as well, from Lizzy Caplan as Hudson's delightfully snarky roommate to Alec Baldwin, perfectly cast as Tank's womanizing father and the proverbial tree from which the apple has not fallen far. Or has it? The trailers make it seem like this is a Biggs vehicle, but Cook is definitely the star, one of many pleasant surprises.

More reviews to follow next week after I've spun a few more discs!



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