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It’s been a fairly strong start to the year for the Rotten Watch and it’s time to keep the critical prediction train rolling. This week we’ve got Carrell, Buscemi and Carrey going magician and Halle Berry getting on the horn.
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.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
I consider myself something an amateur magician. I’ll pull coins out from behind your ear all day long. I can make my thumb look like its detaching from my hand. Give me a towel and it’ll appear as if I only have one leg. Hand me a twenty dollar bill and you’ll never see that thing again. It disappeared, magic! So Burt Wonderstone and crew would seem like its right up my alley.
Combine the cheesy, jokes-on-them cornball veneer of David Copperfield-like magic with a Steve Carell/ Steve Buscemi/ Jim Carrey comedy trio and you’re thinking some comedy gold potential. Add in the long flowing wigs, suede suits and seemingly endless Las Vegas entertainer jokes, and that seems like a recipe for serious laughs. Except based on the trailers, they may have missed the mark. What would have once been considered something of a comedic dream team, now comes off as a bit over-the-hill, with jokes coming off tired and forced.
Carell’s comedic chops often come from playing the every-man, sappy doofus. And to some degree he might be playing that character, when out of the magician suit-- a washed up dude looking for a “magical” spark. Except that what’s happening around him doesn’t line up with the “reality” Carrell needs for his comedic wheelhouse. Think why Crazy, Stupid, Love (78%) and The 40 Year Old Virgin (86%) klled while Evan Almighty (23%) and Dinner for Schmucks (43%) came up short. Carell’s subtle cadence needs an understated environment to operate. This isn’t it, especially with a guy like Carrey on board.
So I’m not surprised Don Scardino’s (significant television resume with shows like 30 Rock and 2 Broke Girls) film has critics fairly underwhelmed. Some of the hate might stem from raised expectations considering the cast, but it’s also worth considering that throwing comedians on screen together doesn’t necessarily mean greater laughs. The whole is less than the sum of the names on the marquee. Critics are voicing this. No magic happening here. The Rotten Watch for The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is
I like the tact the filmmakers took in this thing. They said to themselves, “Okay, here’s the deal, we’ve got Halle Berry on board. She’s going to the play the 911 operator at the center of a serial killer investigation. And while that’s an implausible, almost laughable premise, we’ve got bigger problems. Is there anyone out there who’ll believe someone who looks like Halle Berry actually works as a 911 operator and not, say, as a professional model? No, no there isn’t. Something must be done.”
So they got to work de-hotting Berry, giving her a weird, up curly do, and dolling her down in the drab blues and grays of the public service sector. It’s like they also thought, “Hey look at Monster’s Ball, they made her plain Jane in that thing and she won a [email protected]#$ing Oscar.”
Anyway, this reconfiguring of Berry’s looks only serves to distract from that fact that this flick looks ridiculous and critics will hate it. Look no further than The Guardian’s break down of Berry’s facial expressions to know what you’re getting into here.
Directed by Brad Anderson (Transsiberian-91%, The Machinist-76%), The Call looks far removed from his earlier, critically acclaimed work. It appears a formulaic, serial killer, kidnapping, nick-of-time, manhunt through Hollywood cliches. Don’t expect much. The Rotten Watch for The Call is
Which Rotten movie will have the highest final Tomatometer score?
Recapping last week:
Let’s start off with the positive, Oz the Great and Powerful (Predicted: 62% Actual: 60%). Almost an on-the-money prediction. I just didn’t think this thing had the legs or the universal appeal to garner universal praise, but couldn’t imagine with Raimi and the star power that it’d finish under fifty percent. With a little time this could land right on the button.
Meanwhile, Dead Man Down (Predicted: 68% Actual: 38%) wasn’t so great. What I took for a slightly artistic bloodbath turned out to be just kind of a mess that had critics completely underwhelmed. Too bad, I always root for Colin Farrell. Kind of just seems like a fun dude to party alongside. Leading man? Jury is probably still out.
Next time around we get admitted to college, watch Olympus fall and catch up with the Croods. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!