Bride Wars with Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway is Cute but Predictable

I did not go to this movie voluntarily. My girlfriend had been asking me for weeks. I finally succumbed on Friday night by using two free Fandango movie passes to get us tickets for a ‘date-night,’ not something we get many opportunities to do. We met for dinner, got popcorn and candy (though I wasn’t too keen on sharing my candy) and then settled in to watch Bride Wars. Good old Friday night date style…ish. Other than a gay couple – or two chummy male friends? – I was among very few men, all of whom were there with their ladies, presumably by force, coercion or bribery.

It was certainly better than I’d expected but, a. that’s not saying much and b. movies for which I have low expectations are almost certainly better than they would have been if I were expecting the cinematic experience of a life-time.

There were some hardy laughs, and jokes of differing style and laugh potential, depending on what makes you chuckle. So, there, I have to give Bride Wars credit. But is that enough? It was far from hysterical all the way through. The antics and shenanigans (can there be both at once?) were mildly amusing but they hardly elicited bouts of guffaws throughout. It was, to say the least from the perspective of a man who actually does enjoy romantic comedies but prefers for them to have a little something more (do they ever?), tolerable. I was not unhappy or uncomfortable being there. It wasn’t too long and I didn’t look at my watch. It kept moving quickly enough, but that brings me to my final problem.

It was predictable.

Now, I think most women, though their powers of prediction generally surpass mine, consciously ignore the inclination to predict when watching romantic comedies for fear of realizing that the vast majority of the genre is silly and not worth blue-lighting. However, I can’t turn that switch off and found the entire thing mesmerizingly predictable. Part of that is, no doubt, due to the commercials which leave little to our imaginations, and the rest is a result of the number of possible outcomes there could be (very few, in case that was unclear) and then picking up on the none-too-subtle hints that the director drops (but I don’t think means to!).

But what of it? Is it a crime to work within an inflexible genre? No. Is it my fault for going to see this movie that I had to know the end to before it happened? Partly.

So at the end of the day I’ll give this flick 5 Chocolate Salty Balls.

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Get Smart: Savvy, Sophisticated and Good Old Fashioned Fun

I’m pleased to say that I really enjoyed Get Smart. I didn’t expect to. As a fan of the old television show, I expected them to butcher the concept and not really make me laugh. Not only did they manage to pay tribute (tastefully, I might add) to the original show, but they made me laugh pretty consistently throughout. Paricularly enjoyable was the spin they put on Maxwell, who was not the usual lucky dufus of the show but actually savvy and capable while a bit clumsy.

Steve Carell was, as usual, excellent. By combining his ability for excellent scene staging and awkwardness from The Office with his usual wit and charm (an odd combination for a man like him but qualities I’ve always found that he possessed) Carell delivered a great performance. Anne Hathaway provided a surprisingly consistent leading female role (unexpected); Alan Arkin was spectacular (probably had my favorite line: “were you thinking…”) and Dwayne Johnson (no longer The Rock) did a nice job too.

The cameos were also good – not necessarily The Incredible Hulk good, but pretty good. Bill Murray made an appearance as well as the original bad guy from the tv series (man in car who talks about getting run over). Also, as you may recall, the original show was by Mel Brooks and he produced this as well – hence a great Yiddish joke about Nudnick Shpilkes.

The action was quality. The plot was reasonable. The humor was consistent – the dance scene being one of my favorites – and I never had to look at my watch. What’s more is that this movie is for all (or a lot of) ages. I know many 50+ year olds who have thoroughly enjoyed themselves and a number of my friends – all mid twenties – had a great time too.

I’m going to award Get Smart 8 Chocolate Salty Balls.

Did you see it? What did you think?

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