I saw a handful of movies recently (rare with a three-year-old son) that I (horrors) forgot to review here. Let's start at the top and make our way to the bottom.
1.) Crazy, Stupid, Love is a movie that had skipped under my radar until Rachel's sister, Mandy, suggested we see it. I suspect she was interested because of one beefcake so-named Ryan Gosling. Well, sure, he's got great abs, but he's also funny and perfect for the role of a stud who takes a sad-sack divorcee (Steve Carell) under his wing. He dresses him up, teaches him how to talk to women, and unleashes him onto the singles scene. It's a scary and wonderful transformation to behold. There's just one problem, Steve is still in love with his wife (Julianne Moore), but there are all kinds of crazy, stupid complications to resolve that problem. This is no mere chick flick. It's one of the best and deepest films you'll find this year. **** out of ***** stars
2.) Adam Sandler movies get the full spectrum of reviews from movie critics. While it's true that his first few films are classics, it's not like he's exactly suffered a Chevy Chase-type fall (by the way, why is Chase still part of the cast of the otherwise-funny Community on NBC?). Grown Ups, Funny People, You Don't Mess with the Zohan, 50 First Dates, and Punch-Drunk Love would be considered a pretty good run over the past decade for any actor. While Just Go With It, with Jennifer Aniston as the friend he never knew was hot until he sees her in a swimsuit, has plenty of eye-rollingly-bad moments, one would have to be a loveless zombie not to be warmed and won over by the conclusion within a patented Sandler story structure. All of that is true here. Just go with it. *** out of ***** stars
3.) How can the formula perfected so amazingly in School of Rock (my 16th funniest movie of all time) go so wrong? Somehow I suckered myself into watching Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny one recent late night. This premise had so much stupid promise, but the music just isn't that good, it's too long, and even Dave Grohl (who plays Satan in the film and drums on the full soundtrack) can't provide any spark. This was a major misstep for the brilliant Jack Black, who I love in the afore-mentioned School of Rock, High Fidelity (#41 on my list), Shallow Hal, Anchorman (#34), Margot at the Wedding, Walk Hard, and Tropic Thunder. And how about that classic episode of Yo Gabba Gabba, not to mention Laser Fart? ** out of ***** stars