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186 reviews in total 
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70 out of 112 people found the following review useful:
Scenery is on the menu, and Michael Shannon has a voracious appetite!, 24 August 2012

I'll be honest – when I first saw the trailer for Premium Rush I was a bit skeptical. I scoffed at the idea of a thriller built around the premise of a bike messenger delivering an important envelope on time. But you know what? This is one of those rare late summer releases that comes out of nowhere and entertains you way more than you could have expected.

There's no pretense here. No delusions of grandeur. No misguided Academy aspirations. Premium Rush is a film that recognizes the boundaries of its skin and is completely comfortable in it. It's simply a fun, fast, and intense 90-minute ride that's equal parts tension and comic relief.

Rather than potentially spoil any of the details, I'll let you watch the finer points of the plot unravel on screen. Multiple back-stories are told via time flashbacks, so some of the events might get lost in the translation if you're not paying close attention. What you need to know is that the essence of the film rests in following Joseph Gordon-Levitt's bike journey through the streets of Manhattan as he attempts to deliver his envelope with a scene-stealing Michael Shannon and an I-take-my-job-way-too-seriously bike cop hot on his tail.

You'll recoil and cringe as JGL weaves in and out of traffic, avoiding vehicles and pedestrians alike. You'll laugh as the aforementioned bike cop continually regroups and continues his quest. And you'll love to hate Mr. Shannon as he deftly demonstrates his character's impulse control issues.

I've always heard people say how good of an actor Michael Shannon is, but I've never really seen him in anything. I will definitely seek out more of his work after enjoying his performance in Premium Rush. His hypocritical diatribe on how disgusted he is by the lowering of today's standards had me laughing several minutes after he delivered it. I loved this guy!

I also enjoyed what I am branding the "alternate scenario cam" – whenever JGL finds himself in a tight situation, the camera shows him quickly calculating his possible routes and their potential outcomes, many of which end in hilarity and disaster for either Mr. Gordon-Levitt or an unsuspecting pedestrian.

Premium Rush keeps the pace tight and the audience engaged. The camera work forces us right in the middle of the traffic and the blaring car horns, allowing us to experience the tension both visibly and audibly.

The film's main drawback is its abundance of profanity and crass talk. The worst offenders are one f-bomb and more than 10 uses of G-d**n.

Premium Rush never takes itself too seriously, and neither should you. As long as you check your expectations at the theater door then I'm confident the majority of you will find that this film – much like its bike messenger protagonist- delivers.

Total Recall (2012/I)
6 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Gunfights, shoot outs, and eye candy, oh my!, 3 August 2012

Considering that much of my youth was invested in films starring Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal, and Arnold Schwarzeneggar, I'm surprised at myself that I've never seen Arnie's original Total Recall, nor have I read the Philip K. Dick short story (We Can Remember it for You Wholesale) that both films are based on. Therefore, I have no frame of reference other than this film itself. That's good for the sake of this review because you're getting a completely unbiased perspective. However, if you're a fan of the original and you want to know how this stacks up then I can't help you.

What I can help you with is letting you know that Total Recallsuccessfully follows the formula of a typical popcorn-munchin' Summer blockbuster. The film finds its action comfort zone early and delivers two hours of non-stop fist fights, shoot outs, chase scenes (both on foot and in futuristic landspeeders), and explosions all amidst Quaid's quest to find out who he is and what he's supposed to do. That's pretty much it. It's fast and it's loud. You've got Colin Farrell duking it out with Kate Beckinsale, Kate trading kicks and punches with Jessica Biel, and Colin wrapping up the festivities with a Bryan Cranston smackdown. All the bases are covered here.

Oh, and of course there's the expected eye candy. I don't think it's too hard to figure out how the production meetings went down:

"All right, so guys are gonna want to see Kate and Jessica beat each other up. Got that covered. But we have to convince their girlfriends to come with them. Make sure Colin understands there will be an extended shirtless scene. Oh, and tell him to start practicing his method of flexing while drinking coffee."

The upside is this is a film that brings to surface my dormant teenage movie preferences. Sometimes cool stunts, well-choreographed fights, and lots of things that go boom are enough to satisfy me, and in that regard Total Recall entertains. It's a 2-hour escape from reality that never slows down long enough to be boring. You can argue that some of the action sequences are repetitive or that it's stuff that you've seen before, and I won't argue back. My only response is, "Yeah, maybe, but cotton candy is cotton candy and I enjoy it every time I eat it." Total Recall Kate

Now the downside is that the film never steps out of its comfort zone. The story was fresh to me, and thus kept my interest, but I couldn't help but feel that the plot could've gone deeper. There's some suspense, but mostly the story is a side item that accompanies the action.

As for the acting, Colin obviously doesn't fill Arnold's frame, but that's not what the role calls for. He's believable enough, but the real standout is Ms. Beckinsale. This is her first role as a villain, and it's obvious that she's fully enjoying it. I've always liked Kate in action roles, and she plays this with just the right combination of menace, sass, and sizzle. And all of my readers who love Mr. Cranston will be happy to know that he chews the scenery in his limited screen time as if it's a 3-day old steak.

If you're looking for a movie experience that's completely original and cutting edge then you're likely to be disappointed. But if you can suspend your disbelief and accept the movie for what it is then you'll enjoy a couple of hours of action-packed sci-fi entertainment. At least I did.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The law of creativity trumps the law of gravity, 3 July 2012

As a child growing up in the 80s, I was fortunate that my imagination was not burdened by as many technological trappings that plague kids today. Sure, I had my Atari and Nintendo, but beyond that I had a group of creative friends and a few backyards that became various universes. And while I was blessed to have many real heroes in my life, I still had a fascination for a few superheroes that weren't limited by the laws of gravity and physics. Batman and Spider-Man were always my favorites, and I may or may not have had the footie pajamas to prove it.

That sense of wonder didn't end as a child. The magic of the movies can still create a bond with those memories of old when it's done right. On one hand, Christopher Nolan has found a way to expertly filter the Batman universe through the perspective of my adult mind. On the other hand, my inner child still relates to a character like Spider-Man. Not only did I love the fact that he was just a geeky kid who stood up to bullies, but let's be honest – his mask is awesome.

But, like many, I was skeptical about a new franchise so soon after the Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire incarnation. Those films had their flaws (particularly Kirsten Dunst and the lack of any semblance of chemistry between her and Maguire), but the first two were highly enjoyable. Was a reboot necessary? Was it needed this soon? Then I thought about Maguire's stupid disco dancing in Spider-Man 3 and I began to think, "You know what, why not? Let's give somebody else a shot at this." That thought and a couple of promising trailers later, and I was a little more on board. Now I had to be sold.

Consider the sell complete.

Sure, this is familiar territory. So what? Director Marc Webb has found a way to take a story most of us already know and put a fresh spin on it. I have many friends who will probably call me a traitor for this, but I loved Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. In fact, I think he's even more believable than the aforementioned Maguire. He creates a likable, relatable character who is as awkward with the ladies as most of us guys were in high school, and he gives Spider-Man just enough sense of humor without stepping over the line into cheesiness. The scene where he "cowers" at a small knife demonstrates what I mean.

We also get a better glimpse at just how intelligent he is. For example, we see that Peter's web-shooting ability is his own creation, as it was originally presented in the comics.

Garfield's chemistry with Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy is handled with both believability and subtlety. I couldn't care less about the absence of Mary Jane. In the comics, Gwen was Spidey's first love, and Ms. Stone portrays her with just the right combination of intelligence and sass.

Rhys Ifans is also a stand-out as Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard. He takes a character that isn't as widely beloved as others in the Spider-Man universe, and he creates a villain that is downright menacing at times and sympathetic at others. We get more than just a one-note bad guy with little more than world domination as his goal. Ifans delivers a character struggling with severe inner conflict who has both evil and redemption at his fingertips.

With a budget estimated at more than $200 million, the cinematography and action sequences are as beautiful as you would expect, providing the excitement and wonder that kids and adults alike desire when sitting down to be taken into a different world. And while the film hits all the right adventurous notes; it's the relationships and the actors who develop them that give the film its heart.

Call me sappy, but I couldn't help but feel the film's climax is as heroic as it is thrilling. Not only was I immersed in what was happening on screen, but I was briefly transported to my backyard when burdens were light, stress was low, and imagination was high.

Complain about reboots if you want. Whine about inconsistencies with the original comic if it makes you feel better. As for me, that stuff never bothered me as a child, and it's not something that bothers me now. All I ask for with a movie like this is to be taken to a different world where the laws of gravity and physics matter less than the law of creativity, and The Amazing Spider-Man does just that.

Batman is still my all-time favorite superhero, but Spider-Man is close behind. Even if I don't still have the footie pajamas to prove it.

Honestly, I don't! But I will take the mask...

Brave (2012)
7 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
The "Pixar magic" is, much like Tom Cruise's sanity, lacking., 22 June 2012

Visually stunning, but substantially lacking, Brave checks in near the bottom of my favorite Pixar movies list, right next to Ratatouille. Sure, the cinematography is beautiful and the effects are top-notch. But this is Pixar. I don't expect anything less. There are simply some parts of the job that you should always do well. Don't fix me a beautifully garnished barbecue platter and then expect a pat on the back when it turns out the plate actually has very little barbecue on it. Brave contains several nice elements, but the "Pixar magic" is, much like Tom Cruise's sanity, lacking.

A lot of my disappointment hinges on the film's inability to meet my expectations, and that fault rests on the shoulders of the marketing department. Whoever put together the trailer needs a lesson on "false advertisement." After I initially saw the trailer for Brave I thought, "Cool. Looks like Pixar is taking the concept of Braveheart, animating it, creating a female protagonist, and making it fun for the whole family. I'm on board! They'll never take OUR FREEDOM!"

Unfortunately, the film takes a weird turn about halfway through and puts its own twist on the ol' "mother and daughter trying to repair their relationship" dynamic. Now before you skewer me and throw me on the grill, please keep in mind that I did enjoy the film. I just never could get excited about it. It starts off slowly, delivers a twist I neither expected nor wanted, and fails to deliver the charm we've come to expect from films such as Toy Story, The Incredibles, Cars, etc. It's a prime example of a one-and-doner – once you've seen it, there really isn't much to warrant an encore viewing.

And one warning to parents – there are quite a few moments that will be too scary and intense for the wee ones. If there is a chance that storms, witches, darkness, and bears trying to maul children could frighten your child then you might want to think twice before taking them to see this. At least a couple of kids started crying at the screening I attended, and one other asked her mom to let her leave the theater.

Anyway, I know good and well that reviewing a Pixar film is about as pointless as carving Jell-O with a Ginsu knife. I could tell you it was the movie equivalent of a shirtless Michael Moore and you'd still go see it. So be it. Thus are the limitations of my influence.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
You lost me at "Kristen Stewart is fairer than Charlize Theron", 8 June 2012

Underwhelming. Aimless. Disappointing. All words that I've heard my grandmother use to describe my Uncle Larry's life. But these words also convey the snooze-inducing experience of watching Snow White and the Huntsman.

Centered on the implausible – and downright laughable – premise that Kristen Stewart is fairer than Charlize Theron, Snow White lumbers out of the gate at such a slow pace that my interest was immediately disengaged and I soon found it hard to stay awake. The film is peppered with moments of action and fight scenes, but the pacing remains uneven throughout and viewers ultimately receive nothing more than false hope that the story will eventually come alive.

The main problem with this is that all the trailers I had seen were action-packed and promised a dark and thrilling adventure. As such, they certainly served their purpose – I was convinced to pay to see this on the big screen. Unfortunately, the 2 1/2 minutes of jam-packed action we're treated to in the trailers is spread throughout two hours of runtime, leaving a whole bunch of wandering filler.

It's a shame because I was on board for a re-imagining of the Snow White fairy tale. Unfortunately, the film's lack of imagination caused me to jump ship. The uneven pacing, uninteresting dialogue, and uninspired action all make for one big missed opportunity. Sure, the cinematography is easy on the eyes, and the special effects provide a little fun, but overall the film gives us no real substance, and to be honest, not enough style to compensate.

Theron is great as the Queen. Despite a few moments of some voracious scene-chewing, she takes the role seriously and gives it her all. Stewart, on the other hand, does what she does in every movie I've ever seen her in – act like Kristen Stewart. Therein lies a major problem with the story's narrative – Theron is more convincing as the antagonist than Stewart is as the protagonist. She gives a big speech near the end of the film that's meant to inspire her friends – and I suppose the audience – as she sets to do battle with the Queen, but all it inspired within me were a few giggles. The fact that her pulled back hair and chain mail makes her look like a 10-year-old boy dressed up as a knight for Halloween doesn't exactly make her any more convincing.

Snow White and the Huntsman isn't a terrible movie and it has a few shining moments, but it is terribly unbalanced and the shine quickly fades. You'd be wise to wait for it to hit Redbox or Netflix.

2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
"So awesome." Why be loquacious, when two such honestly efficient words will do?, 4 May 2012

"So awesome." Those were the first two words that came to mind as I scoured my brain in an effort to find a fitting description of what I had just witnessed. Why be loquacious, when two such honestly efficient words will do? Come on, what else do you want me to say? The Avengers hits the ground in overdrive, downs a six-pack of energy drinks, and rarely takes a breath during the course of its purely entertaining 142 minute runtime.

Burdened with a glorious purpose, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) makes his presence known quickly. He comes to earth to rule and leaves Nick Fury (Samuel L. "Snakes on a Plane" Jackson) and his awesome eyepatch with no choice but to revisit the failed Avengers Initiative. The film recognizes that there are a lot of male egos that need clashing and thus wastes no time in delivering exactly what the audience wants to see – 2+ hours of superhero bliss.

As intense and exhilarating as the climactic 40+ minute battle against Loki and his minions is, the hero vs. hero, alpha male vs. alpha male build up is even better. Captain America vs. Thor. Iron Man vs. Thor. Thor vs. Hulk. Hawkeye vs. Black Widow. Come on now. I think I even saw a kitchen sink in there battling it out. Director Joss Whedon clearly thought through the scenarios that fans would want and he flawlessly delivers them with style. A little panache, if you will. Executing the individual battles in a way that does justice to the characters is not an easy task, but the special effects and 7.1 Surround Sound are crafted to perfection.

If you've seen the individual Avenger movies then you know exactly what to expect from the characters. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) cracks wise with his sarcastic humor, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) cracks heads with his magic hammer, Captain America (Chris Evans) cracks nary a smile with his old-school, no-nonsense patriotism, and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), well, he just smashes.

Add Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), the former Russian assassin, and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), a master with the bow and arrow, to the mix and that is a whole lot of superheroes demanding a limited amount of screen time. The good news is Whedon handles this potential problem seamlessly, giving everybody ample time to do their thing and play their part. The biggest surprise, both literally and figuratively, has to be The Hulk. Not only is this the most "realistic" version of the beloved green rage monster that's been delivered to the big screen, but he simply steals every scene he's in.

The Avengers is the kind of roller coaster thrill ride of a movie that takes me back to the magic I felt as a kid every time I walked into the theater and sat down to watch a much-anticipated Summer blockbuster. It's a refreshing blend of humor and action that lets you check out of your reality for a couple of hours and check into an exciting world where good triumphs evil and it does so in marvelously inventive ways.

If you can't enjoy The Avengers then I fear you simply can't enjoy life. Shoot me an email and we'll see if we can't introduce some joy into your world.

137 out of 192 people found the following review useful:
My, what a bad job you've done!, 11 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Dear Warner Brothers, director Hardwicke, and screenwriter David Johnson, What exactly was I just subjected to? I was willing to buy into the potential wrapped within the concept of a dark version of the Little Red Riding Hood story. And when I saw that Gary Oldman was on board as a werewolf hunter I naively thought to myself, "OK, this could work." Then I watched the movie...

Did you blow all the acting budget on Oldman? After rounding up some bigger names who no doubt owed Ms. Hardwicke and/or WB a favor or two, it appears you had to resort to scouting some high school plays with little more than free bologna sandwiches and a credits mention to offer. I'm particularly curious as to what was going on with Billy Burke. Did you agree to give him something stronger than bologna sandwiches? I don't know how else you explain the fact that he spends the entirety of his monotone performance in a complete haze. At least Oldman didn't need the sandwiches as he obviously satiated his appetite with his voracious scene-chewing.

You should be aware that the sub-par acting of the very modern-day looking teenage-ish characters effectively takes the viewer out of the film immediately. It's bad enough that it looks like they shop at The Gap for Medieval Teens and that their hair is perfectly coiffed; was it necessary to give them clunky dialog and awkward "make-out" scenes in addition? It's not all bad though. You might be happy to know that the film did cause a bit of discussion between my wife and me afterward. In the midst of trying to come to an agreement on the most ridiculous scene of the film, we narrowed our choices to the following three:

* The weird 10-15 minute "celebration" scene with the idiotic dancing that obviously served as nothing more than filler.

* The dream sequence featuring all the "my, what big eyes, ears, teeth you have" lines. You did a masterful job at awkwardly forcing this into the film without giving it any real purpose. Kudos.

* The (poorly-rendered CGI) werewolf telepathically speaking to Valerie. If inducing unintentional laughter was your goal then y'all are some goal-achieving sons of guns! I'd be interested in your thoughts on the matter.

In conclusion, I would probably find the film to be quite intense and scary if I were a sheltered 9-year-old girl with no true sense of fear. And the romantic subplot would have hit on all the right angles if... well, if I manage to think of a demographic it would appeal to I'll get back to you.

With the economy as bad as it is, surely you can agree that movie-goers deserve better than this, no? How can you as a business - in good conscious - expect your customers to spend time, gas money, and $10+ a pop on such an inferior product as Red Riding Hood? Have you seen gas prices these days? Come on, the least you can do is offer a "money back guarantee." At one point (correction: it was at about three or four different points), my wife turned to me and said, "This is just stupid." Audience exclamations such as "Well, that was awful!" and "Are you kidding me?" would seem to indicate that you'd be hard-pressed to find many who disagreed with that assessment.

Anyway, back to my original question - what was I subjected to? I said adieu to two hours of my life in order to watch something that doesn't even measure up to a Sy Fy Original! An explanation would be much appreciated.

Sincerely, A frustrated movie-goer

89 out of 138 people found the following review useful:
Smallville + a bigger budget + Twilight = I Am Number Four, 18 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Based on the NY Times best-selling novel by "Pittacus Lore" (an alias for the memoir-fabricating James Frey and Jobie Hughes), I Am Four kicks off the cinematic proceedings with an intense and creepy jungle chase scene and an intriguing - albeit fairly unoriginal - concept.

The planet Lorien (COUGH krypton COUGH) was destroyed, and nine of its alien children were sent to earth. Why earth? Who knows. Perhaps earth's atmosphere is the most similar to Lorien's? A race of 7-foot tall humanoids called the Mogadorians are hunting down the children one at a time. Why? Beats me. Because we wouldn't have a story otherwise, I suppose. All we're really told is "they're a race who chooses to decimate rather than colonize." So be it.

Anyway, due to some sort of spell the Mogadorians are forced to kill the nine remaining Lorien kids in the proper order. Who established the order and how? No idea. Wouldn't you be pretty ticked off if you were Number One and became aware that you were chosen to be killed first? Perhaps the numbering system is completely random. Otherwise, that's a pretty jacked up system. "Hmm, little Billy seems to be a little slow upstairs, and that lisp sure ain't doin' him any favors. Let's make him Number One." Regardless, numbers one to three are now dead, so the story focuses on Number Four.

Number Four's desperate attempts to fit in lead to yet another blown cover, and he and his guardian Henri must once again relocate - this time to the small town of Paradise, OH. Following the film's somewhat promising start, the story takes an ill-advised detour and bogs down in a teenage romance marsh. It's at this point that Number Four (AKA John Smith) falls in love, defends a nerd against bullies, and begins to discover his unique abilities (known as legacies).

This blatant drawing from the well of the Twilight series' formula might giddy up the hearts of teenage girls, but males with an ounce of testosterone will grow increasingly restless as they await the arrival of the action that the film's trailer promised.

That arrival comes in the film's third act in the form of a deus ex machina known as Number Six (Teresa Palmer) who proceeds to kick a satisfying amount of rumpage against the backdrop of CGI and special-effects. The last 20 minutes will most certainly entertain the majority of audiences, but the drive there should've been smoother and more evenly-paced.

Dialogue is weak, character development is practically non-existent, and the underdeveloped backstory creates too many questions that lead to frustration rather than intrigue. Granted, this is an origin story that's specifically designed to kick-start a franchise, but a little more self-containment would have been appreciated.

One of the film's biggest transgressions is the misuse of Timothy Olyphant as Henri. We're told that he's a Lorien warrior, and as such you'd expect him to join in the butt-kickery. Unfortunately, he's only involved in one fight and is inexplicably kidnapped (done off-screen to mask its implausibility) by a couple of out-of-shape alien conspiracy theorists. His role is more of a babysitter for Number Four than a warrior/guardian who dispenses valuable training and wisdom.

The film presents a seed or two of hope that the franchise can improve with each installment, but will its identity crisis allow it to do so? Attempting to be all things to all teenagers could backfire if it fails to create loyalty amongst any one demographic.

Teenage audiences and those who don't consume themselves with the story's many flaws will be more forgiving than I. Perhaps your expectations will be exceeded, but there's a good chance you'll be either underwhelmed or disappointed. Wouldn't you rather risk a dollar at Redbox than $10 a pop at the theater? Don't say I didn't properly inform you.

327 out of 499 people found the following review useful:
Director von Donnersmarck needs to be Donnersmacked, 10 December 2010

Considering the fact that Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie are two of the biggest stars in the world, you may have at one time flippantly claimed, "I'd pay $10 just to watch them read the phone book!" Well, if you decide to ignore my advice then you'll have the chance to put the equivalent of that theory to the test if you lay down your hard-earned dinero to see The Tourist.

Displaying the focus of an attention deficit schizophrenic, The Tourist weaves its way through an odd mixture of romantic, comedic, and mysterious elements. I have no problem with a film that embraces multiple genres, as long as it can do so effectively. The problem with this film is I was never sure what type of reaction the film wanted to evoke. The romantic orchestra soars one moment, we're treated to a few slapstick shenanigans the next, and then comes the brooding minor key to remind us that there's a mysteriously mysterious mystery afoot! I would not have been shocked had Rowan Atkinson made an appearance.

Plus, the "climactic" twist isn't as clever as it thinks. I suppose one might be forgiven if he or she finds it cutesy, but even if you do fall for it, by the time it arrives your interest will be too detached to care.

Eliciting little more than a few chuckles and a whole lot of apathy, The Tourist makes its mark as one of this year's most pointless and useless films. I can't single anything out as being truly awful, but neither can I think of a single reason why you should consider spending $10 a pop on a film that offers absolutely nothing new to the cinematic universe. The Italian backdrop is nice to look at, and Jolie and Depp are adequate, if not dynamic in their chemistry, but it takes more than the visual image of Depp traversing rooftops barefooted and in grandpa's pajamas to be deemed worthy of my time.

Entertain, engage, educate, or humor me. That's all I ask. The Tourist decided to go with "none of the above," therefore I encourage you to think twice before making this your selection.

103 out of 197 people found the following review useful:
The jokes suffer from the "Kate Moss, Heather Mills McCartney, and post-2000 Muhammad Ali Syndrome.", 30 August 2007

Taxi. The Pacifier. Herbie Fully Loaded. Let's Go to Prison. Night at the Museum. If this list of movies is an accurate representation of your DVD collection, then my friends, you either have a young child in the house or a strange fetish for average-to-below average comedies. Or "absolutely dreadful" in the case of Jimmy Fallon's Taxi. *shudders* I'm still trying to erase memories of that steamer from my mind.

Other than being part of the aforementioned pathetically sad DVD collection, do you know what else each of these movies has in common? They're all written by Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon, the duo who wrote, produced, and directed Balls of Fury. Are you trying to decide whether or not this is a film worthy of your time and money? Please let my above revelation stand as "enough said."

In all honesty, what can you expect when you take a poor man's Jack Black and give him the starring role in a poor man's Dodgeball? A little thing I like to refer to as "not much." Dan Fogler gives it the ol' college try, but perhaps the material is to blame for his mostly forgettable performance. He delivers a couple of laugh-out-loud moments, but by the time he's lip-synching to Def Leppard you'll be asking yourself, "So who's this guy, and why is he doing a bad karaoke impersonation of 'Jack Black Meets Sam Kinison'?"

I will give Balls of Fury three credits - 1) Maggie Q is adorable, 2) The film rightfully never takes itself too seriously, and 3) It's nowhere near as filthy as I expected. At the top of my notebook I wrote, "Balls/Genitalia References" and I was set to keep track. I just knew they were going to fly off the screen fast and furious, especially judging by the "a huge comedy with tiny balls" tagline. So I was quite shocked when the grand total was only one, and that one was merely Maggie Q's character disgustedly relaying an example of the comments she was forced to deal with from male players.

What more can I say about a film whose crowning achievement is, "Well, I didn't expect much, and it wasn't the worst movie I've ever seen, so whatever"? That certainly doesn't send you rushing to purchase a ticket, now does it? It'll be on TNT or TBS soon enough so just have patience and watch a few legitimately good comedies in the interim. There'll come a time when you're flipping channels, nothing else is on, and you'll cruise across this. You can decide then whether you want to sit through all of it. The end result will likely be a long email thanking me for saving you $8.

Before I commence, let me once again bring attention to my above "poor man's Dodgeball" quote. I overheard several disappointed people say, "I thought it'd be like Dodgeball." What's that? Yeah, they said it in unison, Wisenheimer. Now shut up. The consensus? It's not even close. So if that was the opinion you formed after watching the trailer then dismiss that notion immediately. It's an interesting concept that probably contains about ten minutes of solid comedic material.

What ultimately happens when you stretch that over an hour and a half? Unfortunately, the jokes suffer from what I like to call the "Kate Moss, Heather Mills McCartney, and post-2000 Muhammad Ali Syndrome." In other words, they're flat, lame, and they pack no punch. Let's see them put THAT on the DVD cover.

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