This Week's Film Reviews (May 13, 2011)

13 May 2011

Opening this week are PRIEST 3D (no review as there was no press screening) and BRIDESMAIDS.

Francois Ozon''s POTICHE which also opens is pure delight!

BEAT THE WORLD (Canada 2010) **

Directed by Robert Adetuyi

The third instalment of the YOU GOT SERVED movies, BEAT THE WORLD really stands on its own as another dance competition movie.  Perhaps that is the reason the original title YOU GOT SERVED: BEAT THE WORLD was shortened.  Typical with such films, the choreography is out of this world but everything else sucks.

Robert Adetuyi’s (who also wrote the script) film centres on three teams that battle at the international Beat the World competition in Detroit. In the final showdown to become world champions lifelong hopes, dreams and even lives, are at stake.  The first team is based in Detroit and led by Yuson (Tyrone Brown).  He is having issues with his girlfriend Maya (Mishael Morgan) who wants more dedication to her needs.  He hires a Brit named Justin (Chase Armstrong) to train his teammates.  Easy is faced with reluctance but this white man knows how to handle himself.  Another team is based in Brazil in which the leader, Carlos (Shane LoClair) needs the winning money to cover debts.  The third team is the ‘bad’ one headed by a rather womanizing villain and based in Berlin and the winner of competition the year before.

The melodrama associated with each team is more ridiculous than clichéd.  The most annoying is the romance between Maya and Yuson, dragged right from the start to the every end of the film. If that is not enough, Adetuyi adds in another involving a teammate and a girl from the Brazilian group. Adetuyi dishes problems with each team as if there is no tomorrow.  There is only one winner to the $100,000 cash prize and the losing teams are left hanging with their monetary problems.  Also, with Yuson facing monetary problems, how can he afford to hire a Brit to train his team?

The choreography is fast, exciting and loud.  The dance off at the climax should not disappoint dance fans.  So, who really needs to know about the silly made-up baggage associated with each team that pulls this movie way down in entertaining value?  BEAT THE WORLD is the film so far this year to have the best bodies (both male and female) on display on screen.

Directed by Paul Feig

I usually do not look forward to romantic comedies or chick flicks but Paul Feig’s BRIDESMAIDS is pure unadulterated delight and the funniest film to hit the screens this year.

BRIDESMAIDS is goofy and deliberately gross (lots of barf and shit jokes – ladies style) and the type of film in which the ladies go all out dirty crazy but which both sexes (especially the fairer) can enjoy.  Think THE HANGOVER made for the ladies.  It also features a lead character that has totally lost it, in terms of everything, that makes it after all with a good message thrown in for good measure.

Annie (Kristen Wiig), insecure with an irritating lover full of himself (Jon Hamm) and a failed bakery business, is given the role of maid of honour for her best friend Lillian’s (Maya Rudolph) wedding.  But her organizational skills are tested when Lillian’s other best friend and maid of honour wannabe, Helen (Rose Byrne) enters the picture.  All hell breaks lose when Annie gets fired from the prestigious position and Helen takes her place.  She goes mental before getting literally, beaten back to her senses.

Wiig is marvellously funny as Annie and the supporting cast are uniformly excellent.  Best, however is Jill Clayburgh (her last role, having passed away from cancer last November) as Annie’s slightly crazed mother with even crazier advice.

The best joke is also cinematically beautiful.  The scene has the bride in her white wedding dress taking a dump in the middle of the street after a severe case of food poisoning.  The other best scene has Annie losing it having a giant cookie crumble all over herself after she has already made a total fool of herself.  Because of the loose narrative, Feig and Stiig (who partially wrote the script) keep the hilarity going – fast and furious.  The jokes do tie in loosely with the main plot and Feig knows how to keep a running gag going, like the one where Annie tries to get the attention of the Officer Rhodes (Chris O’Dowd).

Most of the jokes work because of both timing and acute observations of marriage and other (American) institutions.  Take the scene in which Helen introduces her kids as “these are my husband’s children,” followed by her asking them if they want a ride back.  “F**k off, Helen,” retorts the eldest.  The segment in which the bridesmaids group get kicked out of the airline en route to Vegas is also laugh-out loud funny.  The uptight flight attendant, the flight rules (including an undercover air marshal passenger) are all present.  Despite the standard storyline of good friends falling apart and reuniting at the end, BRIDESMAIDS still delivers in the gags department.

But Feig’s film also has a sweet component as witnessed in Annie’s romance with a well-meaning cop.

As in all wedding films, the climax is the wedding itself.  Though there is no funniest comedic setup, the performances by the Wilson Phillips Band tie the climax neatly together.  As in the words of Officer Rhodes at one point in the movie when he is having a ‘fun’ time with Annie’ “I am so glad this is happening.” His words definitely echo in the minds of the audience.

POTICHE (France 2010) *****
Directed by Francois Ozon

Trust gay director Francois Ozon to make a French farce that is so delightful and charming that it ends with Catherine Deneuve performing a musical number.

The family in question is the dysfunctional Pujol family.  Set in 1977 where the woman’s place is in the home, Father runs the umbrella factory with an iron fist so that a strike is under way.  When he suffers a heart attack, the trophy housewife, nicknamed the Queen of Kitchen Appliances (Deneuve) takes over and is so successful at it, calming the working and making record profits at the same time.  She employs artistic son, Laurent (Jeremie Reiner) and daughter as well.  But when hubby (Fabrice Luchini) returns to take back control, Mrs Pujol decides to hold her ground.

Ozon’s feel-good film has a gay ring to it all around from the totally winning 70’s atmosphere and look (the wardrobe, talk, cars, everything) to the musical numbers and fabulousness – mais oui, fabulousness. Gerard Depardieu does a welcome turn as Mr’s Pujol’s old fling, the mayor but it is Deneuve who steals the show from start to finish. Whether wearing her furs, work outfit or blur or red track suits, she has never looked so radiant!


Best Film Opening This Week: Potiche and Bridesmaids

Best Film Playing: Hanna

Best Horror: Insidious

Best Family: Hop

Best Documentary: Bill Cunnigham: New York

Best Foreign: Potiche

Avoid: (nothing too awful playing right now)