Volume 3, Number 32
This Week's Reviews: Bully, The Others, Thomas in Love, Time and Tide, The Deep End, Osmosis Jones.
This Week's Omissions: American Pie 2, Jump Tomorrow.
(Dir: Larry Clark, Starring Brad Renfro, Rachel Miner, Nick Stahl, Bijou Philips, Michael Pitt, Daniel Franzese, Kelli Garner, Leo Fitzpatrick, Jeanne Orr, Elizabeth Dimon, and Larry Clark)
BY: DAVID PERRY
Back in 1995, Larry Clark delivered a little film called Kids, which became a huge critical darling. I was in the minority with the film -- it's lurid attempt to shock was too much for this viewer, rather uncertain that the director even had any intention beyond getting knee-jerk reactions from his audience. I supported the film to a point -- I thought that its story was something of importance, even if the end product was inherently flawed. It was the type of film that I marginally recommended simply because I thought the after-movie (though, some might argue, post-coital) conversations would be valuable.
Keeping that in mind (as well as Clark's absolutely horrible follow-up, Another Day in Paradise), I had mixed feelings taking on Bully at first. While its story was intriguing, its director was not. Having read some reviews cornering the film's excessive use of young flesh and simulated sex, it was not hard for me to imagine that I was about to touch on another Kids. But every fear came to a rest by the end of the first act -- Bully, barely into its engrossing story, had already shown more emotional investments and character development than Clark's two previous films combined.
The young people that scantily prance around in Bully are not just barely-legal nymphs in Clark's soft-core porn odyssey; each one develops some emotion or character statement (usually a character flaw) that makes them an interesting attribute up to the end. Clark is not just a 58-year old pervert toying with his little ones, he is a conscious observer watching their listless views of life. He does not engage these characters in sexual throes any more than they would really do without the camera there.
I find it rather unusual that some critics have rallied against Bully because they feel that it is more interested in its kids' sex than in its story -- what they do not seem to understand, at least in my mind, is that the use of their relations are meant as a beacon to their indolence. These are characters who literally sit around their parents' homes, watch music videos during the day, party during the night, and breed in between. They are the middle generation -- too young for X, too old for Y.
The litmus at the middle of Clark's story is a bully, so to speak. His name is Bobby Kent (Stahl), who seems like a good kid in the eyes of many. He's good in school, college-bound, and probably going to spend the rest of his life as a business partner with his father. But the façade that the adults see is that not the same as the actual person that his peers see, a Bobby that takes pleasure in the pain of others, whether it be a sadistic torture of his "best friend" Marty (Renfro; delivering his best performance since Apt Pupil) or the violent rape of girls that barely consider him to be an acquaintance. This Bobby, he's a bad seed, but not in the same niche as your regular schoolyard bully -- his baby face, with just a touch of charm, makes him an unusual threat.
His heathen actions finally catch up with him as many friends, some of whom have never even met Bobby, begin to plan his death. They are so involved in the extreme longing of Marty's girlfriend Lisa (Miner) that they are willing to come along on the homicide. This is something that none of them would really be willing to do if not for the conversations that they get involved in -- of course, they have a great deal of time to converse in each other's homes since no one really seems intent on doing anything productive with their lives -- and the deep hatred that they feel from those who do know Bobby. Marty has his long standing reasons for wanting Bobby dead, but Lisa and her friend Ali (Philips) want to settle the score with their rapist. The others, well, they are the best connections that they main three are able to find: Ali's loopy friend Heather (Garner) and over-drugged lover Donny (Pitt; who is on the road to a great career considering his work here and in Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Lisa's neighbor Derek (Franzese), and a local "hitman" (Fitzpatrick).
This story really happened in 1993 in Hollywood, Florida, a suburb that Clark lived in at one time. Like a Dragnet episode, the ending is short and to the point, but unlike Dragnet, the possible crime is the real interest. The audience is left to wonder if these kids really have it in them to shed blood -- can Larry Clark's little boys and girls really take away someone's life, even if it's someone that probably deserves it. Taking on this subject matter is something that Clark should be noted for, not criticized. He took what was essentially an exploitational true-crime novel and made it into a highly demanding and thought-provoking film. If these young kids have it in them to kill one of their peers, what does this mean for our future society? Like Kids, Clark is quite ready to pose questions that modern parents might not want to encounter -- in everyone's mind, their children are beyond wrongdoing until they finally do something that tarnish that faith.
To me there is one actual line of dialogue that says
everything about Clark's protagonists. When Ali's child is mentioned in passing, she says,
"it's no big deal, my parents take care of him." Greg Araki attempted to make a
few films on these characters, each one with so little insight into their lives that his
films always hit me as useless creations of a possibly bright mind. One of those films was
called The Doom Generation, and Larry Clark's Bully, with its own
destitute characters, could just as easily (and possibly more aptly) take that title.
(Dir: Alejandro Amenábar, Starring Nicole Kidman, Alakina Mann, James Bentley, Fionnula Flanagan, Elaine Cassidy, Eric Sykes, Rene Ascherson, Christopher Eccleston, Renée Asherson, and Michelle Fairley)
BY: DAVID PERRY
Something goes bump in the night and the mother of two kids must look around the house to convince the youngest one that nothing is there to hurt him. Sounds pretty cliché for a horror film, but Alejandro Amenábar is not content with taking on the story like his current stylized peers would (most notably Jan De Bant with The Haunting and William Malone with The Haunting of Hill House). Instead, Amenábar molds his film into a moody little piece that does not persist in having scare tactics beyond the accasional "boo." Most of the scares in The Others are from the utterly spooky mood that Amenábar has created.
Early on in the film, a divine story arch is added and the Amenábar direction and Javier Aguirresarobe cinematography take on the novel idea to great effect. Already a rather murky little film, within the first ten minutes of the movie, the film's matriarch Grace (Kidman) tells her new hired hands that the huge house she and her children live in must be kept in a certain fashion. This is not someone who wants a particular temperature or lack of noise (though, due to her headaches, she forbids use of the piano), but a shading of all light. That's right, in their Jersey home -- England, not America, that is -- the place is already rather dark and dreary, but Grace says that the house must be kept completely dark in certain areas: the places where her children reside. According to her, the two kids, Anne (Mann) and Nicholas (Bentley), are photosensitive, meaning that they can only take so much light before they begin breaking out to the point that it could kill them.
Almost automatically, the two artists behind the camera begin turning the screws and toying with shadows. Their novel little stylistic addition helps to create a visual touch to go with the film's already terrific story -- unlike The Haunting, where the only thing to speak was the splendid art direction, The Others has something to keep the audience going both visually and viscerally.
The film is about the mysterious going-ons found in Grace's old English house circa 1945. She and her kids have recently lost their last servants, who just suddenly left the house with no prior word. Now, the family of three -- the father left for the war a year and a half ago and no word has come from him since the war ended -- must strive to continue their mode of life in the constantly dark house.
When the film opens, three new servents, lead by the mysterious Mrs. Mills (Flanagan) come to the door in search of work. All three of these migrants have worked in this house before and they'd like to resume their prior occupations -- maid Mrs. Mills, cook Lydia (Cassidy), and gardener Mr. Tuttle (Sykes) -- with the new tenants. They are willing to meet the requirements that Graces sets forth and Mrs. Mills is entrusted with the 15 keys that run the house -- in having them, she must make sure that no room with light is open to Grace's children.
Soon after the arrival of these new servants, the kids begin to have encounters with prowlers in the home. Young Anne is the only one that seems to have long contact with them -- she even makes a picture to show what each of the four people (a kid, two parents, and an old lady) to show her mother whom she speaks to when alone in the house -- and Grace is happy to just think of it as one child trying to frighten another one. That is, until she too begins to suspect that there is someone else in the room with her.
Director Alejandro Amenábar is making his English-language debut here and further shows himself as a director to keep a close eye on. His second film, the Spanish masterpiece Open Your Eyes, is about to have an English-language remake by Cameron Crowe renamed Vanilla Sky. If The Others is any indication of what Amenábar's work is like in an Anglo-tongue, then I'm now much more interested in what's going to come about with Crowe's Vanilla Sky then as another run through the remake history that brought us The Vanishing, Diabolique, and Just Visiting.
The film's setting, with expert production design by Benjamín Fernández, serves as an additional character in Amenábar's little ghost story. As I sat in a crowded theatre, with the lights just as dim in there as in the film's household, I was reminded of all the great horror films of yesteryear, back when scary visuals did not necessarily serve as the only mode of scares. Films like the original The Haunting did not merely show gore to get people to squirm. In that particular film, a door bending to the pressure of something unseen on the other side was more frightening than anything found in the countless gore-filled horror films that marred the 1980's. With The Others, the scares are more in the mind than anything else -- this is the type of film that Alfred Hitchcock would have probably liked, it even has the type of ending that he would have relished for on Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
But in that last statement sits the film's only big flaw.
Clocking in at 105 minutes, the film feels excruciatingly overlong. It would have served
as a great episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour or one of the fourth season Twilight
Zone episodes, where the moodiness would have been perfectly paced in a more compact
time span. The film's ending, which also runs a little long -- once beyond the film's main
twist, Amenábar should have called it a day -- seems like one of those perfect finales to
one of those shows or as a great short story in an Alfred Hitchcock book anthology. As it
is now, The Others stands as an incredible way to spend a couple hours at the
multiplex, even if that second hour feels a little unwelcome.
|Thomas in Love
(Dir: Pierre-Paul Renders, Starring Benoît Verhaert, Aylin Yay, Magali Pinglaut, Micheline Hardy, Frédéric Topart, Alexandre von Sivers, and Serge Larivière)
BY: DAVID PERRY
Thomas Thomas (Verhaert) is a 33-year-old agoraphobe who sits in his little Belgian apartment all day, only making contact with people through his Internet-based visiophone. He was once rather out going, but eight years ago an increasing fear of being outside and standing in society left him prone to seizures that are so hard on his heart that any more outside engagements could kill him. In these eight years, he has not set foot outside his apartment and no outsiders have come in either. Even his mother (Hardy) is forced to talk to him through the visiophone.
This, as one might expect, puts a damper on his social life and his regular mood-swings often show his absolute disdain at lacking any human contact, even though the thought of it makes him feel sick. For his sexual urges, he uses a website called Sextoons, where a CGI-created woman has sex with him through a body suit that simulates the actual sex that he sees on the screen. The site even creates many different scenarios to liven up the proceedings.
But over time, this has not fulfilled all his needs. Through his extremely duteous insurance company, he gets two ways to find a bit of pseudosexual intercourse and human interaction through the internet. The first mode is through his appointed psychologist (Topart), who enters Thomas into a high-tech personals. All he has to do is answer some questions about some new wave Rorschach images and the company sticks him with some females that answered similarly. After scaring a few away with his agoraphobia, Thomas finds Melodie (Pinglaut), a baby-faced young woman who's into the nouvelle vague of futuristic Belgian life. She is somehow turned on by Thomas and his affliction and sticks with him as a possible mate.
Meanwhile, Thomas is taking advantage of a small part of his insurance plan: a prostitute agency run simply for the disabled. He goes through all the women that he can choose from, many of whom are rather cute, but finally ends up choosing a depressed girl who wants more than anything to be left alone, even if that means turning down a possible client. After a gallery of smiling girls, it's the crying face of this one, Eva (Yay), which sparks Thomas' interests. Despite her requests for him to leave her alone, he cannot; he is absolutely gripped by the truth found in her emotions.
The only real standout fact behind Thomas in Love is in its filming. Taking on a subjective, or first-person, point-of-view the audience sees everything through eyes of Thomas. The only thing projected on the theatre screen is what is on Thomas' computer screen. People talk to the camera like they are talking to Thomas, at least through a visiophone. Director Pierre-Paul Renders seems content with his little visual toy and never really takes much to push its interests beyond the idea. Watching the screen is like looking at someone's incredibly uninteresting day on the net. Those who complained that watching Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was as bad as watching someone else play a videogame need only turn to Thomas in Love to see how much more listless things can get. Don't get me wrong, the idea is novel (though nothing new, just look at the better employment of this in The Lady in the Lake and the first half of Dark Passage), but the follow through that Renders turns out with is simply uninteresting.
The audience's interest in Thomas in Love stands
on whether or not its ambition holds true throughout. For me, it became tired, redundant,
and unnerving after a while. Considering that its protagonist is an obnoxious and
completely unlikable link between the audience and the film, I could not take much more.
The two main females characters -- Melodie and Eva -- are enough to make some of the story
engaging, but that is about it for the little film. Considering that its screenwriter and
cinematographer both came to this after the far better An Affair of Love, this is
a huge let down. Whenever the film moved away from some of its better facets, I wanted to
walk out. Thankfully the film is only 97 minutes in length, and by the time that I was
completely ready to walk, the film had mercifully come to an end.
|Time and Tide
(Dir: Tsui Hark, Starring Nicholas Tse, Bai Wu, Candy Lo, Cathy Tsui, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, and Couto Remotigue, Jr.)
BY: DAVID PERRY
Rare is the film that dazzles you with the eyes, leaves you in awe of the visual ecstasy, and yet still wondering what went wrong. Tsui Hark's Time and Tide clocks in at a surprising 110 minutes, only 15 minutes of which is actually used on exposition and story. By the film's finale, the audience can only applaud Hark's impressive use of the camera and then ask those around them what actually happened.
It's weird writing of this film with little knowledge as to what I actually saw. Amidst the gaggles of quick edits and gunfire, I have put together a storyline in my mind that could very well be nothing more than one audience member's understanding of the proceedings. Director Hark is so happy to show off his stunning camera work that even he seems without an interest in the underlying story. While all the events in the film are important to the tale he's telling, none of them are really conveyed in a fashion that allows the audience to understand it all -- the only reason that Time and Tide does not ultimately fail because of this is that the audience is so overjoyed with the experience that they momentarily forget the confusion.
Here's what I could understand: Tyler (Tse) is 21-year-old, so disillusioned by his life in Hong Kong that he lives a listless existence around the various bars and clubs at night. One evening, he starts a little bet with a prissy woman in front of the counter he bartends. After the bet leaves the two of them drunk, they wake up next to each other the following morning in Tyler's apartment. He learns that she is Ah Jo (Tsui), a lesbian policewoman -- sometime later, following an attack by her lover, Tyler learns that Ah Jo is pregnant and that he is the only person that could be responsible. He is willing to take responsibility, but she is completely unwilling to allow him into her life -- she scorns him at every chance.
Meanwhile, he takes on a job that might make him a huge payday. Local crime lord Uncle Ji (Wong) uses Tyler as a type of errand boy, driving him around and getting little things for him and his drug cartel. Things are complicated by the addition of Jack (Bai) to the story. He has spent the last few years as a mercenary in South America, an existence that Tyler yearns for, not knowing the horrible memories that Jack has of the place. Jack also has a child on the way through his wife (Lo) and even has a familial connection to Uncle Ji and the cartel, but things are made rather difficult when some of his old mercenary friends decide that they want to make a push on Ji's operations.
The acting is first-rate, a surprise considering that both Nicholas Tse and Wu Bai are rather huge pop singers in their native China. Much of the film's story -- at least what is determinable -- is dependent on the actors, and nearly every performer, especially the always great Anthony Wong, delivers the needed attention to their roles.
But no matter how impressive the cast or the story is, what really takes the cake in Time and Tide is the action. Where John Woo has made a career out of ballet-like action sequences, Tsui Hark's camera seems more interested in moving fast. He and cinematographers Ko Chiu-Lam and Herman Yau capture some absolutely incredible fights with their camera -- this is not quite comparable to John Woo and Peter Pau's work on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but it's pretty close. Editor Marco Mak is put through some impressive edits -- counting the number of edits in this film could bring in a number close to Jay Rabinowitz's Requiem for a Dream editing, though the quality is nowhere near each other. However, one of the best facts behind the film is that Hark and his technicians are able to get so much visual splendor out of a digital camera.
Many people consider Tsui Hark to be the master of Hong
Kong action films. With an incredible 36 films in the last 22 years, Hark has been behind
some of the most beloved Hong actioners (including Once Upon a Time in China and Peking
Opera Blues) and can be credited for beginning the career of Jet Li. This is his
first film since attempting to make movies for Hollywood and Jean-Claude Van Damme. The
first, Double Team, was a disgrace and the second, Knock Off, only
worked for his most devoted fans. But none of that really matters with Time and Tide.
By the end, the history of its talented director is just as forgettable as its story.
|The Deep End
(Dir: Scott McGehee and David Siegel, Starring Tilda Swinton, Goran Visnjic, Jonathan Tucker, Peter Donat, Raymond J. Barry, Josh Lucas, Tamara Hope, Jordon Dorrance, and Margo Krindel)
BY: DAVID PERRY
When choosing the five women to nominate for Best Actress this year at the Academy Awards, voters have been helped with one easy addition: Tilda Swinton. Like Laura Linney, Hilary Swank, and Cate Blanchett in previous years, she gives a performance that begs for Oscar consideration. Hopefully, they won't miss their chance to nominate someone incredibly deserving (and, while we're at it, please don't forget Charlotte Rampling, Lena Endre, Nicole Kidman, and Juliette Binoche - not that this was intentional, but it would be interesting to see all five nominees hailing from outside the United States).
With The Deep End, Tilda Swinton proves for the second time that she can literally carry an entire film on her tiny shoulders. Anyone that saw her in 1993's Orlando, where she follows the same character through 400 years of history, knows that there is a great actress hiding in Swinton's statuesque figure -- even her supporting roles in The War Room and The Beach stand as incredible achievements. However, in all her 29 features, it's the work in The Deep End that stands as her best thus far.
Considering that much of the rest of the cast runs rather poorly, it's not hard to notice just how important Swinton's performance is to the overall success found in the film. Whenever the script takes a turn or a character has a change, the first thought that runs through the mind of the audience members is what this will do to Tilda Swinton's character, even if she's nowhere to be found on the screen.
Mrs. Swinton plays Margaret Hill, a doting and lonely housewife living out her time at the family home in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Her husband is busy as an officer on a naval base in the Pacific and her father-in-law, Jack (Donat), stands as the only patriarch in the household. Inside this seemingly normal home is youngest son Dylan (Dorrance) and daughter Paige (Hope), Margaret's two happy children, and usually roaming Reno is her eldest son, 17-year-old Beau (Tucker).
When the film opens, Margaret barges her way into a gay club in Reno, finds the attractive but slimy Darby Reese (Lucas) and asks him to stay far away from Beau -- the previous night, he and Beau were in a car accident where they were both intoxicated. He, the businessman, says he'll only do it if there's money involved.
After Beau learns of his mother's request and scorns her, the evening sets in and Darby pays him a visit. But when he learns about the ultimatum that Darby proposed, effectively turning Beau into bartered goods, he turns away from Darby's advances and gets in a scuffle with his lover. Moments later, after Beau has returned home, Darby dies in an accidental fall on an anchor.
The next morning, Margaret finds the dead body in her backyard and immediately figures that her son had killed him. She gets rid of the corpse in the lake and takes care of the other small pieces of evidence around the place. But everything does not segue into 'happily ever after' mode -- the investigation looks over her, but some people interested in Darby's affairs automatically make the connection. It's not that they really think that Beau had anything to do with Darby's death, but that they have the piece of evidence that will bring him out of the closet and make him a prime suspect -- they own a amateur porn video that Darby created with himself and Beau.
One of the more interesting turns in The Deep End is in the way it treats its main cad character, a shylark named Alex Spera (Visnjic). The weird emotional touch between the two -- which culminates in one of the year's finest visuals -- makes for an interesting side plot to what is essentially a loving, doting mother story. The film even plays the homosexuality card lightly. In fact, though she is horrified to see the video of her son in the sexual throes of another man, she does not blow this into proportions. Beau can tell that his mother knows, even if he does not want to believe it.
I liked the way that The Deep End never really takes the easy way out. Even more so, I loved the way it never takes a turn that calls for histrionics -- instead co-writers and co-directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel believe enough in their lead to let her convey the emotions needed in her mere facial expressions. They, like the audience, know the competency that Tilda Swinton has and that she is able to pull off what could have otherwise looked like a retooling of Julianne Moore's character in Magnolia (though, a fine performance in its own right).
The Deep End was awarded Best Cinematography at
the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and it was a definitely deserved award to
give to Giles Nuttgens, who sufficiently makes up for the horrendous work he pulled off in
Battlefield Earth -- Lake Tahoe has never looked more beautiful. His camera is
perfectly set to capture Swinton and her cavalcade of inner demons. It is an amazing
sight: to watch someone deconstruct an entire plan in mere seconds. Swinton and the men
that capture her on film pull off more in The Deep End than could ever be
expected -- they show the rawness of the mind in the most beautiful of sceneries.
(Dir: Peter and Bobby Farrelly, Piet Kroon, and Tom Sito, Voices include Chris Rock, David Hyde Pierce, Laurence Fishburne, Brandy Norwood, William Shatner, and Ron Howard, and Starring Bill Murray, Elena Franklin, Chris Elliott, and Molly Shannon)
BY: DAVID PERRY
Anybody who has seen Woody Allen's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask) can remember Allen's exposé into the male body during reproduction. That image forever marked in our brains of Woody Allen in a sperm suit still stands as one of the finest visual jokes of Allen's more slapstick early years. It's hard not to think of this image while watching the new Osmosis Jones -- another unusual little film that takes a look at what's going on in a man's body.
But this time, the look inside is not one interested in the sexuality of things -- in fact, besides some cell-division jokes, the movie is rather chaste in that department. Instead Osmosis Jones attempts to push the limit in gross-out humor, especially considering its more family-friendly medium. Enlisting the Farrelly Brothers for the live-action sequences, the producers were promised that the scatological humor found there would be for the lowest-brow, but little did they know that their animation directors, Piet Kroon and Tom Sito, would deliver gross-out humor in their sections that could possibly put the Farrelly's to shame.
The film is so obsessed with delving deep into the collection bin of unseemly jokes, that by the finale, the audience has been through a film twice as unappealing as the jokes in There's Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber, and Kingpin, with far fewer laughs. The gross-out genre, in my opinion, has far exceeded its welcome. While every once and a while something enjoyable will come out of the genre, most of the films (especially Say It Isn't So and Outside Providence) are absolutely terrible. I'm one of the bigger supporters of There's Something About Mary, but even I must ask that the Farrelly Brothers and their fellow comedy bottom-feeders find something else to do with their time or, better yet, refrain from making another film before they have all the kinks worked out (Me, Myself & Irene would have been helped a great deal by this, though Say It Isn't So was definitely a lost cause).
Bill Murray plays Frank Pepperidge, a lowly zookeeper who takes absolutely no care of his body. His daughter Shane (Franklin), remembering the early death of her mother, pleads with him to clean up his act -- she wants a father who she can happily take to the science fair or a camping trip without being ashamed, even more so, she wants a father that will still be alive when she is an adult. But her knavish speeches sleep on foolish ears -- her father does not take heed of what his daughter asks.
When the film opens, Frank is preparing a hardboiled egg for lunch that is stolen by a nearby monkey, washed in its saliva, and dropped onto the zoo grounds. This is one nasty egg, but that does not stop Frank from eating it, and soon he is paying the price for it. Inside the egg was a virus called Thrax (Fishburne), or the Red Death, who is happy to have someone to infest and kill.
This is where the film becomes a novelty more than anything, for the rest of the film, most scenes are dedicated to the body of Frank and the fight to save him. Inside everybody, according to this film, is a municipality dedicated to keeping the place going. They have a police force (white blood cells), a highway system (the circulatory system), and an airport (the stomach). Everything is run by this place, making the human body and everything that regulates it into a tidy little version of Chicago.
In the City of Frank is Mayor Phelgmming (Shatner), a corrupt official whose work over the past administration is mainly to blame for Frank's current heathen condition. He is preparing for re-election against do-gooder Tom Colonic (Howard) and is literally willing to do anything to get the votes away from the neighborly Colonic, even if that means going against the welfare of Frank.
Meanwhile, Thrax is doing damage around the place and the mayor and police commissioner are oblivious to what's going on. But there are two people on the case, chasing after Thrax: white blood cell cop Osmosis Jones (Rock) and cold pill tablet Drix (Pierce). With little help from anyone else, they begin a hunt for Thrax and hope to stop him before he can shutdown the City of Frank indefinitely.
It would be nice to say that Bill Murray does his best with the material, but even he feels unhappy with the film. Though still the film's finest asset, it's hard not to see Murray taking what could be his biggest paycheck for the least amount of work and the largest amount of displeasure. He is forced through the ringer of bad taste so many times that audiences can only think that Murray is one of the few comedians these days who can pull of such an atrocious character and still remain a bright star in our collective memories.
Osmosis Jones is not bad; it's just so unenjoyable. Despite the rogue's gallery of bathroom humor infused into the film, there just is not enough to keep the audience content beyond the occasional chuckle. This is a film that sounds terrific as a proposed production, but the end product just does not deliver anything worthwhile beyond the few high-points. And by the time the audience gets to those, they have been taken through some of the most forced material this year.
Looking at the film, especially in the live-action
sequences, it's surprising that the film made off with a PG-rating. There's enough
gross-out humor and references to an area where the sun doesn't shine, that I cannot
believe the normally conservative MPAA let the movie get away with some of the stuff they
do. I mean, this is no egregious misappropriation of ratings like the R that was given South
Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut a couple years ago (which, might I add, was a far
better animated film for adults), but there's enough mucus, puss, and vomit to fill a
normal R-rated Farrelly Brothers film. The only thing I've heard about as problems with
the ratings was a scene in which the protagonists visit Gonad's Gym and talk to the sperm.
Hmm, I wonder if those little fellas bore any resemblance to Woody Allen.