Last week, the unbearably generic Made of Honor didn’t have anyone in its ads to recommend the film. It’s a rare occurrence but sometimes a film is just so bad that even the whores smartly disassociate themselves from it. (See ads for: Deception, The Hottie and the Nottie, etc…) More commonly it’s on the films that don’t screen for critics (i.e. Meet the Spartans, The Eye), unless you write for Bloody-Disgusting and happily provide positive thoughts for test screenings of The Ruins and Pathology.
This week though, Paul Fischer has made my job all the more easier when he got his name as the solo voice of unreason on the 13% RT approved, Made of Honor. (“…Deliciously romantic, a wonderfully funny date movie that is both irresistible and charming.”) He’s also one of two, as mentioned last week, on the ads for this week’s romantic comedy disaster, What Happens In Vegas, which is, by and large, the worst film of 2008 not named Prom Night. Fischer calls it “Hilarious!” though. Why does this make my job easier? Well, it just provides a nice little parallel to a demotion we’re giving on Criticwatch.
“Made of Honor is a nice cookie-cutter comedy, no more and no less, but Dempsey, with his relaxed charm, and Monaghan, with her soft and peachy sensual spark, rise to the challenge of making friendship look like the wellspring of true love.”
Those words belong to Entertainment Weekly critic, Owen Gleiberman. So be sure to give a nice, hearty “thank you” to him when your lady drags you to both pieces of crap. Trust me, guys. No promise of repeat viewings of Indiana Jones and The Dark Knight while getting oral homage in the back of the theater is enough to make you enjoy one of these films, let alone both. These are break-up material movies. And recommending them both not only forfeits your man card but grants you a one-way trip from the “trustworthy” to the “caveat emptor” section of our Criticwatch list. You earned this one, Owen, and you’re in the penalty box without parole for a while.
This weekend 20th Century Fox, the creators of Meet the Spartans, Jumper, Shutter and Deception is sneaking the latest film from the writer of The Wedding Date. At 10 PM Saturday night you can choose to catch What Happens In Vegas so you can say that you saw it even before the critics; most of whom haven’t been invited until Tuesday morning. (Chicago is even further behind the times with a Tuesday evening screening.) No matter what city you’re in though, there’s no way you can be the first or even the second one in line for the Cameron Diaz/Ashton Kutcher marriage-off. Sorry, Paul Fischer and Sara Edwards have already beat you to the punch. “Hilarious!” says Fischer, getting only his second quote of the year (after Smart People). Edwards is getting her first quote of the year, whipping out a whore’s greatest hits calling it “Laugh-out-loud funny!” and “Sweet, smart, sexy.” Apparently, it “Works on every level.” Wow, Sara! And, of course, we believe you because in the past you recommended we see Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Unaccompanied Minors, Home of the Brave, Stick It and Monster-In-Law. What Happens In Vegas, Sara, stays shut in your unqualified mouth!
Catching up on something I missed in last week’s Chicago papers was the ads for the Robert Englund/Jenna Jameson breastfest, Zombie Strippers. The film got a one-theater engagement in the Windy City and, much to our most pleasant surprise, was actually screened for critics. A pretty hefty accomplishment considering how many already haven’t been this year including the recent Prom Night and Pathology. It’s actually a better film than either of them. But better does not equal good. Certainly not “so hot, it hurts,” as said by No Good TV’s (NGTV) Carrie Keagan (seen right) who also said that 10,000 B.C. “rocks!!” and 27 Dresses gave us “27 more reasons to love Katherine Heigl!” But despite some really horrible taste in film, I’ll at least give her a pass as being the kind of galpal who may force you to go see chick flicks in January but will gladly get it on for a film called Zombie Strippers.
I’m not going to say the same for one Luke Yelasdi Thompson. The L.A. Weekly critic has gone on record in the ad as saying, now stay with me here, that Zombie Strippers is “Easily the best movie of the year, so far. Really.” He even added the “really” before we had a chance to question him. Granted, the film may be rocking more positive reviews (15) at Rotten Tomatoes than 88 Minutes, Deal (still mired in an 0-for-26 slump) and this week’s Made of Honor combined but I’m afraid it’s come to this. Luke, I know we’re facebook friends and I wish you all the best - but you have to give up your credentials. I’m sorry. It may sound rash, but we can’t have a critic saying this. It’s not helping our argument. That’s officially your last review outside the pages of AVN. Carrie, on the other hand, call me sometime. We can go see Sex and the City and then to make it up to me I’m sure Luke can recommend something juicy from Vivid.
Film Title: Deception
Released by: 20th Century Fox
Tomatometer: 11% (as of Apr. 26, 2008)
Respected Critics Say:
"Can a movie title be so unthinkably bad that it single-handedly ruins the viewing experience? As it turns out, yes.." - Dustin Putman, TheMovieBoy.com
"A would-be erotic thriller with no heat and zero chills, Deception has the kind of glassy, glossy sheen and risible story that mean to suggest Basic Instinct but instead invoke lesser laughers like Jade and Sliver.." - Manohla Dargis
"If the filmmakers were expecting to dupe their audience with Hitchcock-like twists, then they severely underestimated the intelligence of the average moviegoer." - David Kaplan
What I Said:
"Wolverines and Cougars aside, there are more than one strokes responsible for violating their own rules and putting a name on the film that is only an introduction to what’s wrong with it.." – Erik Childress, eFilmCritic.com
While I continued to monitor Rotten Tomatoes to see who would be the first critic to post something positive about the poker film, Deal, currently in an 0-for-25 slump (0% RT rating) I saw that the initial numbers for Fox’s Deception had risen from 6% to 11%. Despite having gone to “the next level” as Howie would say on Deal or No Deal, I didn’t give it much thought. Fox still wasn’t running any positive quotes on the ads and I wasn’t going to trouble myself worrying about some internet whackjob with really bad taste. Saturday morning when a colleague clued me that this wasn’t just any whackjob, the link to his review said it all.
Yep, Pete Hammond, posting reviews for whomever would have him at this point gave a positive review to Deception. In all fairness, Hammond isn’t the only critic to like it. (And he did contributed to Deal’s 0-for-25.) There are six other positive reviews (including Orlando Sentinel’s Roger Moore) at Rotten Tomatoes for Deception – if you can find them buried within the other 55 negative ones. His quote at the site reads:
“THe kind of edge-of-your-seat sexual thriller that grabs you and doesn’t let go.”
The director’s cut extended quote over at Hollywood.com says, “Deception is the kind of state-of-the-art, edge-of-your-seat sexual thriller that grabs you and doesn’t let go. It’s actually the kind of movie Hitchcock might have made.”
That’s true. Hitchcock might have made a film like Deception. Only it wouldn’t have sucked. At least not if he made it in the ‘50s or ‘60s. But that’s the kind of pull quote that grabs you doesn’t it? Like these from Hammond over the years.
Akeelah and the Bee - Grabs you by the heart in unexpected and wonderful ways.
Jet Li’s Fearless - Fearless grabs you with its epic scope and richly human story.
Apocalypto - Once again, Mel Gibson proves why he is one of the best filmmakers around. Clearly a fearless director who knows how to grab an audience and not let go for even a minute.
Fracture - A sleek, surprising and surefire thriller that will grab you by the throat.
Dark Water - The year’s first genuinely frightening edge-of-your-seat chiller. Even Hitchcock could not have done better.
No, only Pete Hammond could not have done better.
Film Title: Jumper
Released by: 20th Century Fox
Tomatometer: 16% (as of 15 Feb 2008
Respected Critics Say:
“A herky-jerky mess of a movie, Jumper leaps about so erratically you get the feeling bent pogo sticks were employed in the editing room.” – Tom Long, Detroit News
“This movie is paced for an audience that grew up multi-tasking and its aesthetic sensibility and depth of story-telling is equivalent to a beer commercial.” – Nell Minow
“Expect critics to make a lot of ‘we wish we could have teleported right out of cinemas showing it’ remarks…” – James O’Ehley, Sci-Fi Movie Page
What I said:
“A lethargic, incomprehensible event picture that is the action film equivalent of Phil Collins’ Take Me Home video.” - Erik Childress, eFilmCritic.com
Seen On Newspaper Ads:
“It’s Bourne meets The Matrix" – Total Film!
“This movie rocks!” – Stephen King
“Like nothing you’ve seen before!” – Anne Craig, Good Day NY
This can’t be the same Stephen King who called No Country for Old Men the best film of 2007, can it? Was he hit by another car?
Actually, we’ve seen a lot of bad films released by Fox over the last few years, so Anne we have seen such crap before. And often.