|One of these things is not like the other....|
2) One of the many flaws with this film lies in the popular belief that humor has to be gross and low. The reason this film is going to disappear into the pop culture aether in a few years while The Princess Bride continues to be remembered is because the former is so filled with severed cocks, masturbation and uses of the word 'fuck' that I wondered if David Mamet wrote the script, whereas the later's humor is so universal everyone can relate to it.
3) It's obvious that this is Danny McBride's vanity production--in addition to starring in it, McBride wrote the script. While he has been funny as a supporting player, he doesn't have the charisma to carry a major release like this.
4) That being said, I give McBride props for actually creating a logical character arc for his Thadeous. Yes, Thadeous is motivated for a long time by selfish desires, he does slowly learn to do things selflessly--and McBride has the confidence in the resolution of Thadeus' arc that he does not give him the center stage when it comes to the final act's resolution.
|In this scene, Franco shows McBride and Deschanel where|
he got the stuff he was on during the Oscars....
5) There's this weird imbalance in the acting. While you never get the sense that Thadeus is nothing but McBride playing dress-up, the other four main characters--particularly James Franco's Fabious--work hard to give his character veracity and depth. I actually got the sense that Fabious, Natalie Portman's Isabella and Rasmus Hardiker's Courtney had lives before and after the period of time covered by the movie.
6) Some of the other actors--particularly Justin Theroux as the evil wizard Leezer and Toby Jones as Fabius' squire Julie--try real, real hard to breathe life into their characters. But it's so hard to take them seriously when the modern day coarseness comes through. Hell, while Theroux has some of the best lines in the film, his character comes apart everytime he starts burbling on about 'The Fuckening.'
7) And then there are the gags that leave you scratching your head. A number of them are so strange that you have to wonder why no one spoke up and said, 'Having a character be revealed as having no penis is just weird, not funny.'
|Be honest...this is the only shot most of you care about from|
8) Natalie Portman, to her credit, really gets into this film (Some of the few bright spots rest in seeing her, Franco, Deschanel and others actively enjoying themselves). It strikes me that maybe her prickly, icy beauty could be very, very effective if she decided to pursue a career as an action heroine.
9) This is unapologetically a comedy...and yet, there is a level of gore that really sort of kills many of the gags. This isn't like an earlier film McBride was in, Tropic Thunder, where the humor was meant to be black and allowed for the sometimes extreme gore. Having all this viscera and (CGI-rific) blood flying around in between jokes about dicks and farts disrupts the film's already iffy flow.
10) Admittedly, McBride sometimes allows for the jokes to be set up with a great deal of subtlety--the final sting at the end of the film in particular is very nicely constructed. But for every one of those moments, there's scenes where McBride and Franco are put into weird homosexual-esque situations, or where a weird Yoda-type insists on getting a handjob as payment for his sage advice that stops the story cold.
In short...a very mediocre movie that was justifiably hidden in the dead zone between Christmas and the summer. I found it very telling that throughout the film's running time, I didn't hear a single laugh.
No, really. Not a one.
Went back to the Atlas for this, more because I was way too tired from my previous night of carousing to go into the city. I continue to be dismayed by the sheer drop in service from the Regal chain, as we got no visual during the pre-show Firstlook (which wouldn't bother me usually if it wasn't for the fact that there was a promo for the next season of Doctor Who between the segments). There were a lot fewer trailers this time...and sadly, the only one I remember clearly was the one for Scream 4, and that only because I got to see The Beautiful One intone 'There's something really scary about a guy with a knife who just...snaps,' which seems to be one of the punchlines for the trailer.