Posts Tagged dvd review

film review: The Back-Up Plan

Opening scene: Zoe is freaking out because she hadn’t gotten a pedi to go to her OB/GYN.
Doctor says: “I’m not looking at your toes. I’m looking at your cervix.”

Of course as there are few original films out, The Back-Up Plan is a remake of 1995’s A Modern Affair with Stanley Tucci and Lisa Eichhorn. Zoe [Jennifer Lopez] has always wanted a baby although she thought she’d do so the “traditional” way with a husband. The day that she is artificially inseminated– and her artificial insemination takes the FIRST go-around. I’d like to know how often that happens– she and Stan [Alex O’Loughlin], an organic farmer, meet-cute in a cab. The pair are smitten but of course the pregnancy *may* complicate things.

It’s that Hollywood Rom-Com theory –once you give up on guys and make your own plan to have a child without a guy involved– you get involved with a guy. But it’s also that fairytale world where everything falls together in the end. All your dreams magically come true.

Mona, her friend with four children, tells her her boobs will look like tube socks and then says she doesn’t even want to tell what it will do to bladder. So supportive. When Zoe shops for baby supplies she’s totally overwhelmed by everything. Zoe skeptically attends a class called Single Mothers. She laments: “Thought I’d have kids by now. Guess it’s time from my back-up plan.” There’s a water birth in the film– great to show it– however it turns into a cliched joke with women beating drums and tons of screaming when I think it’s supposed to be much more peaceful. It’s chaotic and psychotic.

The Back-Up Plan contains plenty of slapstick moments and even a few bathroom humor jokes. Stan goes to kiss Zoe on their first date and spills red wine on her new dress. The table is set on fire. She grabs a hose and gets him soaked and then they have a water fight. Zoe goes to tell her nana that she’s pregnant and of course the lady can’t hear her and then those she’s walking with yell: “She’s pregnant, turn up your hearing aid!” On date two, Stan invites Zoe away for the weekend to see his farm. She drives in and sees him shirtless on tractor and crashes her car. Ugh ugh. Sexist/ body image alert: Zoe struggle to get dressed for a fancy event and can barely squeeze herself into dress and Stan says “Do you have a jacket?” Once at the event, she stands in the mirror looking at herself while sucking in her stomach.

The Back-Up Plan is not surprising at all but very predictable. I also think it’s so unrealistic that they have two dates and are starting to envision a life together. Does that really happen because in all my dating, it has never happened to me. Another sexist moment: When admitting to her friend she’s falling for this guy, she thinks about being a “barefoot” stay-at-home mom. The script is written by Kate Angelo [What About Brian] which appalls me. How can a woman write such a banal script? But then I think about Tina Fey’s insidious Baby Mama.

Jennifer Lopez is charming, laid back and naturally glowing. Lopez and O’Loughlin have a low-key, effortless chemistry. Lopez needs better material like Out of Sight.

, ,

Leave a comment

DVD review: Extract

Title: Extract
Written and directed by: Mike Judge
Starring: Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, J.K. Simmons
Running time: 90 min.
Release date: December 22, 2009
MPAA: rated R for language, sexual references and some drug use
Studio: Miramax
Review source: Click Communications
Rating: B-

If you think Extract is going to be as hilarious and original as the genius gem of a film Office Space, you will be very disappointed. However, Extract offers a fantastic cast including Jason Bateman [Arrested Development], Mila Kunis [That 70s Show], Kristen Wiig [Whip It!] and everyone’s favorite straight man and character actor, J.K. Simmons. The basic premise is that Joel [Jason Bateman in standard uptight executive mode] is planning to sell his extract company until there’s a freak on-the-job-accident [naturally involving testicles] that looks like it just might put a huge kink in Joel’s plans. Soon a con-artist [a beguiling Mila Kunis] is cozying up to the guy who had the accident, threatening all of Joel’s master plans to get out of the extract business for good. A sub-plot is Joel’s sexual frustration with his wife [a cunningly amusing Kristen Wiig] and a male gigolo is thrown in for good measure. Ben Affleck [and so what if I’m biased because I think he’s a fine actor—see State of Play—and director and he’s from Cambridge, Mass. and married to Jennifer Garner who I adore] turns in some hysterical moments as Joel’s earthy bartender, druggy best friend [“Xanax just makes you feel good about everything.”]. Extract will make you laugh and the performances by every actor and actress are on point. With lines such as “Are we still looking into replacing her with a robot?”, Extract is worth adding to your Netflix queue.

, , , , , , ,


DVD Review: The Lookout

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Isla Fisher, Jeff Daniels
Directed by: Scott Frank
Miramax Films

Everyone was saying how you woke up this other guy.
–Luvlee [Fisher] to Chris [Gordon-Levitt] about his coma.

Chris Pratt [Gordon-Levitt] seemed to lead the charmed life: star hockey player, pretty girlfriend, popular, family wealth and a number of prospects ahead of him. Now, he lives by lists. People do not expect much of him. And he seems an easy target and you get uneasy when anyone talks to him. Stuck in a mind he did not choose to be in, nor wants to be can be surprising and is often frustrating for Chris. He’s now treated differently. Sometimes he surprises himself and gets frustrated too by his slow verbalization process or the way he blurts things out at times.

Gordon-Levitt expresses a naivety and just the right expression. On the extras, Gordon-Levitt said he intentionally did not get much slept and was really worn out on the set to get in to the mindset of this character. It’s an impressive character study. Fully aware of his shortcomings, the character knows at times how slow and complicated things are and other times is lucent.

Despite wealthy parents he works cleaning floors at the local bank and lives in a shady part of town with his blind friend. Guilt? Some form of self-punishment? Townies befriend him and convince him to collaborate on a scheme to rob the bank; will he go through with it after all. Especially conniving and convincing is Luvlee [played by the effervescent Fisher]. Chris hasn’t received so much attention in a long time. But will he risk it all for the thrill or for the money or the power that it will provide?

The Lookout is a superior psychological thriller.

STEELE RECOMMENDATION: Top of the netflix queue.

, , ,

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: