Welcome to a special, extra packed, Memorial Day version of This Rotten Week. This week contains a bevy of flicks coming out as the summer movie season starts picking up steam. In this week our disbelief is put to the test with Ashton Kutcher as a spy, Adrien Brody as a scientist, Jonah Hill as a record company executive and Owen Wilson as a big, ugly, talking dog. It wouldn't be the summer unless we could go to the movies and see things we never would think of on our own.
Let's take a look at what this week has to offer.
The cloned human is kind of out of the bag already with Splice as Rotten Tomatoes has an early critical consensus in on the flick (85% after 13 reviews). That's a promising start for a movie that looks like a nice “These are the reasons we don't f#$% around with human DNA”-guidebook. What a shame. I really want to get human cloning up and running. Frankly, I could use the help around the house.
Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley are scientists who want to make some kind of DNA-driven human-like thing, but need to keep it secret because the practice is illegal. Nothing going to go wrong with that scenario, right? What they end up creating is something that looks like DNA mix up of Dakota Fanning and The Brain from Pinky and the Brain.
Splice is director Vincent Natali's first big budget movie and by all accounts it looks like he got it right. For movies like Splice to really work, they need to combine the horror/ sci-fi aspect with some other theme (should we be cloning?) to give the whole picture some substance. Smart people like us need to ponder the bigger questions while we watch big foreheaded genetic freak, humans running around killing things. The RottenWatch for Splice is 72%.
Get Him to the Greek
Mr. Aldous Snow. Lead singer of Infant Sorrow. Recovering alcoholic. Ladies man. World class shagger. No character in recent memory has so thoroughly stolen scene after scene in an already very funny movie, than Snow in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Russell Brand hit the big screen in a big way mostly because he was completely and totally believable as a self-obsessed rockstar. In fact, he was probably just playing himself. He caught lightening in a bottle once. Get Him to the Greek will be a test of just how much Aldous Snow can hold a movie on his own.
Television shows do this kind of thing all the time. Take popular characters and give them their own vehicle. But in the movies, this is a relatively rare occurrence. In fact, I had trouble thinking of another time it had happened. I'm sure some commenter can come up with an example, and if so, I'd love to hear it.
In Get Him to the Greek we get an intimate look into Aldous Snow's life, and what Forgetting Sarah Marshall watcher didn't want to see what this guy does on a day-to-day basis? From the trailer it looks like he bangs models, drinks absinthe, does drugs, and rides around in small cars while wearing a top hat. So, it's exactly what we pictured.
I don't think Get Him to the Greek hits quite the homerun Sarah Marshall and company did a few years ago, but how bad could an Aldous Snow quasi-biopic really be? The Rotten Watch for Get Him to the Greek is an Aldous Snow-inspired 69%.
Killers is a classic example of why a trailer can totally fool the viewer into thinking a movie might good. I am no fan of Ashton Kutcher (Michael Kelso aside) and don't particularly care for Katherine Heigl (can't understand why people love her). Yet I still watched the Killers trailer thinking, “Wow, this movie might not be too terrible. Might have some cool action scenes, has a little Mr. and Mrs. Smith vibe and the supporting cast doesn't look too shabby. I might even like it!” It's why we need to take a moment, step back and really evaluate the likelihood of this movie being anything close to good (almost 0% chance).
Let's start with director Robert Luketic whose last three movies were critical masterpieces Ugly Truth (14%), 21 (35%), and Monster in Law (16%). So the director has difficulty making movies people like. Then we have Heigl who outside of her role in Knocked Up (a gift from Judd Apatow) has been in some real stinkers including 27 Dresses. So the lead actress has difficulty starring in movies people like. And finally we have Mr. Kutcher, whose theatrical resume reads like a Stephanie Myers book (awful). Kutcher has never once, in ten years and fourteen plus movies, been in something that's scored over 50%. You have to try to be that bad. It's like he keeps getting Punk'd with scripts, or gasp, he can't act at all! So the lead actor just can't star in a movie people like.
Which brings us back to Killers as a whole. When you look at the sum of its parts, there just doesn't seem to be a way for the film to be any good. Maybe it will surprise (doubtful), but all signs point to another stinker. Don't let the trailer fool you. The Rotten Watch for Killers is 22%.
I was sorely tempted to just write “SKIP” underneath this trailer and call it a day. Maramaduke's place in the world should be self-evident. It's based on a one pane comic strip that has never in its 55 year run ever been anything close to remotely funny. That's a nice start for an Owen Wilson- voiced animal comedy that looks so stupid I don't know if I can get more than a paragraph out about it. Let's give it whirl.
Movies with voiceovers are the perfect cash grab for famous people. Where's the downside? A guy like Owen Wilson lends his, “Hey, I know that voice,” to Marmaduke. If the movie blows (which it definitely will), who cares? No one would ever blame Wilson for it. He won't even be associated with the movie's sucktitude. George Lopez, Kiefer Sutherland, Emma Stone and Marlon Wayans join in on the fun lending their pipes to the fiasco. What perfect roles. Unfortunately, the true victims here are Lee Pace and Judy Greer who actually have to show their faces on screen.
So, yeah Marmaduke will be terrible, but kids will probably love it. But I'd like to offer you a little challenge. See if you can watch the trailer and make it past the first time someone yells, “Marmaduke!!!” That's as far as I got. The Rotten Watch for Marmaduke is 27%.
Which Rotten movie will have the highest final Tomatometer score?
Recapping last week. Raise your hand if you are happy Sex and the City 2: The Search for Sarah Jessica Parker's Looks was a total critical disaster (Predicted 41%, Actual 15%). Have you put your hands up? Have you put two hands up? I had to take a break from typing just so I could get both those arms up above my head. This movie looked like such a train wreck, yet I still didn't have the guts to go super low with the score. But then I nailed Prince of Persia: The Story of Jake Gyllenhaal's Long Hair (Predicted 44%, Actual 39%). I think they should have just combined the movies and Gyllenhaal's character could have run around the desert taking out the Sex and the City ladies one by one. That's something I'd pay to watch.
Next week, we get a nice little 80's reunion when the The A-Team and The Karate Kid make triumphant returns. It's going to be a Rotten Week!