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Another big week for the big screen. We've got a couple of monkeys running around f#$%ing everything up and also the new Planet of the Apes movie is coming out. 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.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Here's an admission: When it comes to the Apes and their Planets, I'm a total virgin. Well actually not a total virgin. I know how the original ends and the one with Mark Wahlberg was on mute in the background at a party I was at once. (Great for a laugh or ten thousand) So, I'm not completely pure and innocent. But really, the closest I've gotten to any kind of world-dominating, primate obsession is this little number. (I'd like to think The Simpsons keep me up to date on most of my high culture. That is of course assuming flicks about apes taking over the Earth are considered civilized and mature at their cores).
So maybe an origin story is a good place to start. Get a glimpse into how our ancestors can take over the world and how James Franco is responsible for the collapse of our society as we know it (I always suspected he'd have a hand in it somehow).
The premise of a miracle drug leading to our societal downfall has been done enough on the big screen, but having it turn apes into an advanced species with super human smarts and strength is a nice touch. Even if we have to suspend our already suspended disbelief and assume that for some reason there are a couple million apes residing in the greater California area.
Director Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist - 65%) is in a win-win situation, rebooting a franchise high on name recognition (this is the seventh movie with Planet and Apes in the title) but without a big contingent of fans screaming about “getting the history right” or “staying true to the original.” So now he just has to make apes taking over the world look awesome on screen. I think he does it. The Rotten Watch for Rise of the Planet of the Apes is 70%.
On the surface I'd like to think there isn't a much lazier movie writing venture than the old “We switched bodies! We have to live each other's lives! It's going to be hilarious!!!”-ploy. All that's needed for this kind of fare are two people living over-the-top cliche lives who don't seem to appreciate what they have. Boom, lightning strikes and now they've got to learn a lesson or two about appreciating their own lot by living the life of another. See? I just wrote a body swap movie. It was easy.
There are more than a few conflicting factors running through this film making a prediction a little tough. First, we have Jason Bateman (decent comedic track record, fairly consistently funny) and Ryan Reynolds (much more suited to this type of film. Think Two Guys, a Girl and Pizza Place rather than him in a form fitting green suit and power ring). Of course the flip side to their talent is the inane premise and high probability the Change-Up writers tried to go over the top in search of laughs. ***
***It's worth noting I found it a little confusing, from the trailer, trying to remember Bateman and Reynolds had actually switched bodies and were supposed to the be the other guy. In other body swap flicks, the switch usually happens between two dynamically different folks (father/ son, man/ woman, etc). These guys look like they just go on playing themselves.
Then there's director David Dobkin. The movie trailer folks are happy to remind us that Dave gave us Wedding Crashers (75%). They conveniently omitted any mention of Fred Claus (21%) and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (14%). And finally the writers, John Lucas and Scott Moore, penned The Hangover (78%). But they were also responsible for The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (27%) and Rebound (13%). So the main players all have funny in them, but don't use it all the time.
Can a body swap movie succeed critically? They're tough to find. (Does Prelude to a Kiss count?) This premise doesn't have much of a chance. The Rotten Watch for The Change-Up is 37%.
Recapping last week:
Should have posted this yesterday. If I had, my prediction for The Smurfs (Predicted: 9% Actual 20%) would have been within ten percent. But somehow it ticked up two points overnight. Did one fifth of reviewers actually like this film (term used loosely)? I honestly thought my prediction was going to be too high.
Meanwhile, Crazy, Stupid, Love (Predicted: 79% Actual: 73%) was a win. Carrell keeps on doing his thing.
Finally, Cowboys and Aliens (Predicted: 75% Actual: 44%) was a huge, huge miss. Thanks a lot Favreau. Freaking jerk. I, for some reason, trusted you'd take a movie about old west gunners popping off shots at UFOs and make it good. Wrong. Should have used common sense instead of trusting that big winner Mikey.
Next week banks get robbed, more teenagers cheat death, and Emma Stone needs help. It's going to be a Rotten Week!
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