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FRIDAY FILM FORECAST FOR MAY 13, 2005

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by Alarcon, for outsideleft.com
originally published: May, 2005
Fonda comes out of a 15-year retirement for this by-the-numbers slapstick monstrosity?
by Alarcon, for outsideleft.com
originally published: May, 2005
Fonda comes out of a 15-year retirement for this by-the-numbers slapstick monstrosity?

MOTHEr-In-LAW
Director: Robert Luketic
Starring: Jane Fonda, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Vartan, Wanda Sykes
Plot: Charlie (Lopez - don't you hate it when Hollywood gives women "cute and quirky" names?—blah) is a workaholic single gal looking for a guy. He arrives in the form of Kevin (Vartan), a doctor who instantly falls in love with - ugh, Charlie. Naturally, the two fall in love and decide to get married. Eventually, the bride-to-be has to meet the guy's mother, former television talk show host Viola (Hanoi Jane) and guess what? Viola hates Charlie and does everything in her power to keep the bland, generic couple apart.
I Say: What a fucking stinker. Fonda comes out of a 15-year retirement for this by-the-numbers slapstick monstrosity? She must have gotten a whopper of a payday for this one. But to her credit, her brief screen time with Wanda Sykes (who plays her personal assistant) is engaging - possibly even humorous. They're pros though and that's why they work so well together. Lopez on the other hand is a rank amateur and her hackneyed, ham-fisted acting is made that much more obvious when she shares screen time with Fonda or Skyes.
Grade: D

KICKING & SCREAMING
Director: Jesse Dylan
Starring: Will Ferrell, Robert Duvall, Mike Ditka, Kate Walsh
Plot: This is the well-worn tale of a frustrated, milktoast father, Phil Weston (Ferrell), the owner of a vitamin store, who decides to coach a soccer team so his untalented son, Sam (Dylan McLaughlin) can log in some playing time. It's the kind of nepotism that only Hollywood knows.
I Say: I'm going to put this to you as simple as possible: this movie is a bad cross between Rodney Dangerfield's Ladybugs and the now-defunct Home Improvement. Lots of cheap gags fueled with machismo (thanks to Duvall and his regurgitation of his roles in The Great Santini and Apocalypse Now. It's another one of those cutesy movies for lazy parents and their chubby kids. This one isn't even worth making the effort of trying to think of synonyms for the word "shitty."
Grade: D

MINDHUNTERS
Director: Renny Harlin
Starring: Val Kilmer, LL Cool J, Johnny Lee Miller, Christian Slater
Plot: A group of potential psychological profilers (Eion Bailey, Clifton Collins Jr., Jonny Lee Miller, Christian Slater and a couple chicks) have entered their final stage of training. Under the guidance of their teacher (Kilmer) and the supervision of a government official (LL), the team is sent to a temporarily abandoned military island for a weekend of sleuthing and testing. Once on the island, it soon becomes clear another person has joined them, and has the desire to kill them all off, one by one. Hasn't this plot been used before? The one where humans are the prey for rich, bored hunters? I know Gilligan's Island used this one once, but there was a movie too - which one was it?
I Say: So I was at a friend's house who had a studio preview copy of Mindhunters - the copy didn't even have cover or credits - it just read Mindhunters scribbled on the cover. So I went into it with absolutely no preconceived notions and you know what? It wasn't that bad - it wasn't that great either, but it kept me on the couch for an entire 106 minutes. Of course, I really like Kilmer and since he did all the heavy lifting, I didn't mind the rest of the straight-to-cable bullshit that made up the rest of the film. Should you see it? Sure, but wait for it on DVD - this one is not worth sitting in a theater full of mouth breathers.
Grade: C

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Alarcon

Alarcon co-founded outsideleft with lamontpaul in 2004. His work for o/l has attracted the attention of hundreds of thousands of readers, oh and probably the fbi too.

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