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I Love You, Beth Cooper (2009)
Don't save the cheerleader, save your money!
I can usually find -something- to enjoy in nearly every movie in the "high schooler hijinks" genre and its "nerd pursues and gets the popular girl" sub-genre, but not even a brief flash of almost- nudity on Hayden Panettiere's part made this movie remotely worth the price of admission or the time I spent watching it.
Putting Alan Ruck in your high school movie and having him reference other great high school movies does not add credibility points to it. It just makes me want to go home to watch those great high school movies to get the taste of this one out of my mouth. Laughs were few and far between (mostly spoiled in the trailer and commercials), and far outnumbered by awkward and just plain uncomfortable-to-watch moments. There was a pointless filler scene that in my opinion was meant to evoke Wayne's World, and another scene had a horribly obvious dialogue edit that was clearly made just to bump the movie down from R to PG-13. It also sends some horrible messages to young, impressionable viewers-- I sound like my parents here, but I'm not kidding. Don't be surprised if you hear about some kids getting killed doing something they saw in this movie.
Verdict: This movie couldn't decide if it wanted to be raunchy or sweet, and tried to alternate between the two every so often. Judd Apatow seems to be the only guy in Hollywood these days who has the touch to pull that move off, because the people responsible for this train wreck certainly didn't.
Wait for unrated DVD rental, or cable.
13 Going on 30 (2004)
A very pleasant surprise.
I caught a sneak preview of this movie on April 10, basically expecting to see a loose remake of "Big" with Jennifer Garner in the Tom Hanks role. Instead, the movie retained some elements of that film but went off in a different, and satisfying, direction of its own.
Where "Big" put a young boy into his adult body in the present time, this movie fast- forwards unhappy 13 year-old Jenna Rink (Shanna Dowdeswell) 17 years into her own future life, after she makes a birthday wish to be 30 years old. The "adult" Jenna (Garner) quickly tracks down her childhood friend Matt (Mark Ruffalo) in her quest to learn what happened to her in the 17 years she skipped over. The first half is nothing but laugh after laugh as the Jenna tries to cope with the culture shock, and as everyone her adult self knows tries to make sense of the completely different person she has literally become overnight. Things then begin to turn serious when she starts to find out about the life she's lead, and they get downright complicated when she finds herself starting to fall for engaged-to-someone-else Matt.
In the end, just as in "Big," Jenna finds herself longing for the life she wished away and searching for a way to return to it. I'm not going to spoil it for you, but let's just say that when it was over I heard quite a few sniffles in the theater.
Garner was very believable as a 13 year-old trapped in a woman's body, and her chemistry with Ruffalo was perfect. Kudos to the casting director for finding very close matches for the "young [character]" roles. Overall, it was a very entertaining story, and would be a perfect date movie.
The Girl Next Door (2004)
Somewhat predictable, but entertaining nonetheless.
I jumped at the chance to see this during its special "Sneak Preview" on Saturday, March 20th. It follows the "Risky Business" formula: Purely by chance, straight-laced, uptight boy meets sweet girl with troubled past. Girl teaches boy to let loose and have some fun, with disastrous (to him) results. Boy rescues girl from her past. Girl enlists help of friends to rescue boy's future. Along the way, they fall in love. Oh, and there's an oft- repeated catch phrase, as well. Despite the parallels to Risky Business, though, in my opinion there are enough differences here for the movie to stand on its own.
Emile Hirsch was convincing as an awkward high-schooler, and Elisha Cuthbert (who looked amazing) was great as she switched back and forth between sex kitten and sweet next-door neighbor-- it was a very refreshing change from her character on "24," who (this season) is so annoying and lacking in common sense that it makes me cringe every time she appears on the screen. Timothy Olyphant was very good in a "Guido, the Killer Pimp"-ish role, playing the antagonist that you couldn't help liking even as he was trying to impede Hirsch and Cuthbert's developing relationship for his own selfish reasons.
This is one I'm thinking about seeing again when it opens nationwide in a couple weeks.
SciFi has spent this week running episodes of Sliders from the early seasons, and man, did I forget how good they were.
The early episodes of the show, particularly the pilot, were fantastic-- the alternate worlds were well thought out, and I'd think about the plausibility of them as I lay in bed at night before drifting off to sleep.
Too bad they had to dumb it down and start ripping off movie plots in later seasons. I mourned the loss of John Rhys-Davies, his character was great. And to replace him with boobs-on-patrol Kari Wuhrer was pathetic. It was a completely obvious attempt to boost ratings by grabbing the eyeballs of the geek-horndog set that also lusted after Scully and Seven of Nine and religiously watched their respective shows.
To sum up, don't waste your time watching any episodes from the later seasons.
Planet of the Apes (2001)
Great flick, confusing ending.
I just got home from seeing this movie. I went in not expecting much, but boy did I get a surprise. This movie very definitely does the original justice, and then some. Though the movie was at times predictable, the story was rather original and very entertaining. Throw in Estella Warren in a loincloth, and we have a winner. :-) I enjoyed it right up until the end, then they lost me. I didn't get it. I'll probably spend the rest of the day trying to reconcile how the story got from point A to point B.