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Apocalypse cancelled

Submitted by MBergeron on June 29, 2011 – 4:49 pmNo Comment
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A friend of mine who’s watched too many episodes of Ancient Aliens: Season Two was trying to illustrate to anyone who’d listen that the apocalypse is nigh; flooding in the Dakotas, flood waters breech Nebraska nuclear plant, drought in Texas, wildfires in the Southwest. No folks there’s no apocalypse, it’s business as usual. In fact, the apocalypse has been cancelled because this week Hollywood has movies coming out that appeal to each and every American capable of going to the movies on Independence Day weekend.

I’m not talking about cool indie films under the radar (no advertising budget) like Submarine (a Welsh Rushmore) or movies that know how to use 3D like Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams. I’m gabbing about the movie studio powered one, two, three -punch of Transformers Dark of the Moon, Monte Carlo and Larry Crowne. A film for every demographic that goes to movies: teenage girls, people over 50, and everyone else who doesn’t fit into those two categories.

Trannies 3 unwinds like a roller coaster while Monte Carlo is charming and nothing more. Monte Carlo starts in Texas and then zooms to Europe. Just as Midnight in Paris is a fantasy for adults, Monte Carlo is a fantasy for ballerinas who’ve moved into their princess phase. Toss in a plot twist from Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper and loads of production value and MC is a genre piece par excellence. They actually shot a sequence on the Eiffel Tower rather than, say, build a set. MC is a film for people (and they’re young) who know the difference between The Gilmore Girls and Gossip Girl. If you have to ask who Leighton Meester is (Is it a girl, is it a boy, is it an outlaw country band?) you’re not the target of Monte Carlo.

Meanwhile Larry Crowne looks like a movie (due to the fine cinematography of Phillippe Rousselot) but plays like a television pilot for people who religiously watch antique roadshow television and liken a dose of Geritol to an Appletini.

Larry Crowne starts off promising enough as we’re introduced to a plethora of characters both middle-class broke and community college hip. There’s even a magnificently lensed montage of motor scooter riders that promises more than it delivers. One wants LC to develop into a complicated adult drama/crowd pleaser with some arcs and turns but all the second and third plot points are of a television sitcom mentality. Bad waste of Julia Roberts, bad porn jokes, and incredibly lame depiction of garage sales. Someone asked me if Larry Crowne was a film where Tom Hanks is retarded. No, I told them, that was Forrest Gump, in Larry Crowne it’s the plot that’s retarded.

- Michael Bergeron

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