By Robin E. Simmons
What’s one to say about the mediocre reboot of a three decades old mediocre romantic comedy? In a gender reversing twist, the new version focuses on Leo (Eugnio Derbez), a selfish, spoiled, playboy from Mexico’s richest family and Kate (Anna Faris), a working class single mom of three hired to clean Leonardo’s luxury yacht. Leo unjustly fires Kate, refuses to pay her, and then falls overboard when partying too hard. He wakes up on the Oregon coast with amnesia. Kate shows up at the hospital and, to get even, convinces Leo he is her husband and puts him to work – for the first time in his life.
At first miserable and inept, Leo slowly earns the respect of his new “family” and co-workers. Leo’s billionaire family is soon hot on their trail and there’s the looming possibility of his memory returning. The only question in this alleged comic drama is: will their new family last or will Leo finally put the clues together and leave them for good?
I love the always charming Anna Faris – but the notion of rebooting such questionable source material – fails to lift the very low bar set by the original. Caveat Emptor.
NEW BLU FOR THE HOME THEATER:
THE MAZE 3D (1953)
The always reliable Richard Carlson stars as Scotsman Gerald MacTeam who abruptly breaks off his engagement to pretty Kitty Murray (Veronica Hurst) after receiving word of his uncle’s death and inheriting a mysterious castle in the Scottish Highlands. Kitty refuses to accept the broken engagement and travels with her aunt to the remote castle. Upon their arrival and to their utter dismay, they see that Gerald has aged significantly and his behavior has radically changed as well. Soon a series of strange and mysterious events occur in both the castle and the intimidating hedge maze outside. They invite a group of friends including a doctor to the castle hoping they can help Gerald with whatever malady ails him.
Directed by the great art director Cameron Menzies (“Invaders from Mars”), the movie’s got a great gothic look and feel echoing the de rigueur decaying mansions of past haunted house epics. The secret of the ancient lord of the manor is essentially Lovecraftian, but Dan Ullman’s screenplay is not finessed with convincing effects, which are even more noticeable in black and white 3D.
The other problem is the pacing. Scenes bump into each other but there’s little inertia or momentum. And the few scenes that do work come to an end with little or no emotional or visceral payoff.
I KILL GIANTS
Teen Barbara (Madison Wolfe) is the only thing that stands between terrible giants and the destruction of her small town. But as she boldly confronts her fears in increasingly dangerous ways, her new school counselor (Zoe Saldana) leads her to question everything she’s always believed to be true.
Anders Walter’s great looking and memorable coming-of-age movie, based on the critically acclaimed “Man of Action” graphic novel by Kelly and Ken Niimura blends magical realism with a poignant and satisfying drama. The novel, about a brave girl trying to save her dying mother, won many awards including IGN’s Best Indy Book of 2008, New York Magazine’s Top 10 Comics of 2009 and the Gold Award of the International Manga Awards. The New York Times said the movie is “subtle, sensitive and touching.”
The timeless, final words of the giant to our teen hero Barbara struck a nerve with me: “Little warrior, you fight with honor… But I did not come for her [your mother], I came for you. All things that live in the world die. This is why you must find joy in the living, while the time is yours. And not fear the end. To deny this is to deny life. Can you embrace it? You are stronger than you think.”
Cool bonus features include “The Making of I Kill Giants,” Anatomy of a scene, I kill Giants Graphic Novel: Chapter 1 and a Photo Gallery. RLJE Films. Blu-ray.