There’s a lot to get to this week so let’s just dive right in. We’ve got Navy SEALs fighting terrorists, Tyler Perry fighting to make a good movie (not likely), Amanda Seyfried fighting for her life and Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston fighting the corporate rat race.
Just remember, I'm not reviewing these movies, but rather predicting where they'll end up on the Tomatometer. Let's take a look at what This Rotten Week has to offer.
Act of Valor
I’m going to have to be careful with what I say about this flick considering the “actors” are actual Navy SEALs who’d probably like nothing more than to track my liberal hippy ass down and kill me seventeen times before I hit the ground. And believe me, I’m in no way trying to denigrate or trivialize the service the men and women of the Armed Forces put in on a daily basis. But now that I’ve got all my disclaimers out of the way I can say this movie looks ridiculous.
Beginning with this line: “The story is fictional, but the weapons and tactics are real...” and effectively devolving from that already low point, the trailer is equal parts military recruitment video, cheesy action flick and contrived love story full of slow motion walk-aways, and “deep” inner turmoil along with a crap load of explosions, sky-diving, shootouts and good old terrorist hunting in all the usual bad guy places (yachts, the jungle, probably the Middle East). It’s a Red State Republican’s wet dream.
New-ish directors Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh tackle this “realistic” look at the life of a SEAL and while I’m sure the sentiment is accurate, it appears it might be a bit heavy handed. Some reviews floating around the interweb confirm this feeling, with many folks praising the entertaining action sequences, but scoffing at the cheesy storylines, manufactured relationships and cinematic military cliches. I think this movie turns off most critics (don’t come get me SEALs, I’m a good guy, I swear.) The Rotten Watch for Act of Valor is 29%. .
Considering the United States is quickly becoming a modern day dystopia, highlighted by failing political, financial and educational systems, with more and more Americans entering the urban and suburban rat race to effectively spin like hamsters on a wheel in place of living actual lives, all of a sudden moving to a hippy commune with deep in the heart of East Bumblef@#k doesn’t sound all that bad. In fact, I’m thinking about packing the wife and kid in car right now and finding somewhere we can all run around naked and play guitar.
Wanderlust has Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston forced out of the Big Apple when Rudd loses his job. In their travels they happen up a co-op inhabited by your stereotypical group of good looking/ hilarious societal malcontents who’ll eventually make Rudd and Aniston see “there’s so much more to life.” The premise is predictable, if not a little sappy, but I’m willing to look past that considering the cast and director.
David Wain (Role Models-77%) helms this flick that’s not short on talent with Ken Marino, Kerri Kenney-Silver, Jordan Peele, and Joe Lo Truglio all flittering around the comedic margins. And considering Rudd and Aniston have comedic chops of their own, there’s a decent chance this flick does well with critics. Comedies are tough sells on the Tomatometer because they typically need to add strong stories along with the laughs. I think this movie has a chance to do just that. The Rotten Watch for Wanderlust is 67%. .
Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds
Having already expounded, in detail on the critical “success” of Tyler Perry here, and here and finally here, I’m not sure how many other ways there are to make fun of this dude. What can I say? He’s made a mint directing typically poorly reviewed movies. This newest work will be no different; in fact, this might be his most ludicrous premise yet (and that factors in all the movies where he cross-dresses as a foul-mouthed grandmother).
Here is why this movie is so ill-conceived. How is it possible anyone identifies even a little bit with Perry’s character? He’s a millionaire who’s unhappy with his life. Cry me f#$%ing river. He’s so dissatisfied with his huge company (that he owns) and wants so much more than his luxury penthouse apartment and gorgeous wife (see what I’m saying?) And then, out of the blue he meets another ultra-hot homeless woman with a super cute kid (there are tons of them in New York right?) and learns a whole host of lessons like this little gem presumably written by Perry, but possibly written by a sappy fifth grader, “Life isn’t about how much we get. It’s about how much we share.” Give me a f@#$ing break.
Tyler Perry’s movies typically fall in the same critical range with Madea’s Big Happy Family (41%), Why Did I Get Married Too (27%), For Colored Girls (33%) and quasi-outlier I Can Do Bad All By Myself (62%) making for a fairly easy guess on this one. I’ll go right in his crappy range. The Rotten Watch for Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds is 31%. .
And the hits just keep on coming. I don’t know if this is the case, but after watching the trailer for Gone I wouldn’t necessarily be surprised if someone at a studio lost a bet and had to pay out by getting this flick made. That’s how bad it looks. Like, I barely made it through the two and half minute teaser and those are supposed to be some of the best parts of the movie. What does the rest of the hour and a half have in store? Probably nothing good. Acting? Horrible. Dialogue? Horrendous. Premise? Laughable. Production value? Apparently low. This is like a perfect storm.
Factor in Amanda Seyfried’s movie resume and we can almost definitely say Gone will be panned. Seyfried’s acting chops have been on display in movies like In Time (37%), Red Riding Hood (11%), Dear John (29%), Chloe (51%). Do I really need to keep going? It’s a grisly list. In fact, Seyfried’s average Tomatometer score is 46% and that’s being generous by putting in Mean Girls and Nine Lives where she was barely a factor. Her recent work is atrocious.
Gone, directed by Heitor Dhalia (Adrift-64%), tells the story of Seyfried trying to track down her kidnapped sister who nobody believes is taken but is at the bottom of a hole in the woods somewhere and Seyfried knows the kidnapper’s secret and the police think she’s crazy. Got all that? Told you it sounds stupid. The Rotten Watch for Gone is 18%. .
Recapping last week
I just missed with Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (Predicted: 27% Actual: 16%), but here’s to hoping some critic will come out of the woodwork and give this thing one more positive review (unlikely as that may be). That alone would get my prediction within the ten percent range. Let’s make it happen someone out there! Do me a solid.
Meanwhile, This Means War (Predicted: 48% Actual: 24%), was a big error. I got a heads up that critics were going to crush this film. Thankfully I listened because I brought my prediction down significantly from my original, but it wasn’t nearly enough with many critics making it an early nomination for “Worst Movie of the Year.” That’s saying something considering all the junk coming out.
Next week, the Lorax speaks for the trees and we go to the party of the century. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!