Monday, September 7, 2009

A Staycation Chick-Flick-A-Thon

With lots of travel coming up for the rest of 2009, it was nice to stay home this three-day Labor Day weekend and catch up on some movies. All three were, incidentally, chick flicks.

Well, I suppose I Love You, Man wasn't exactly a chick flick, although it was essentially that, with dudes in the usual chick roles. Paul Rudd, as I've mentioned here before, is always lovable. And Forgetting Sarah Marshall's Jason Segel as Rudd's cool manfriend is funny. Rashida Jones is not real exciting as Rudd's fiancee. The supporting and cameo roles are filled out nicely by a large group, most notably by Rush (the prog-rocking band), Lou Ferrigno (The Hulk), and Jon Favreau. Could be funnier, but there are enough laughs along the way. *** out of ***** stars

Zooey Deschanel is a little too hipster-conscious and it sort of ruins being able to care much about her character in 500 Days of Summer. But 3rd Rock From the Sun's Joseph Gordon-Levitt has dimples that won over everyone in the American Film Institute's theater in Silver Spring, Maryland. He plays an aspiring architect stuck at an L.A. greeting-card company, where the only redeeming quality is that beautiful Summer (Deschanel) starts working there. The movie hops back and forth through the 500 days of their love affair. It has a great soundtrack, use of well-placed indie rock references, and the best dance sequence ever anchored by Hall and Oates' "You Make My Dreams." ***1/2 out of ***** stars

And finally, one of the most check-flicky movies I've ever seen was actually not too bad. Queen Latifah plays the head of a South Carolina civil-rights era beekeeping household in The Secret Life of Bees. She's good, and so are the other women (including singers Alicia Keys and Jennifer Hudson) who take in a 14-year-old (Dakota Fanning) escaping from an abusive single father. And 90210's Tristan Wilds also does a good job as Fanning's boyfriend. A pretty nice time-period piece on a time that was anything bit nice. *** out of ***** stars