Monday, August 29, 2011

Redboxin’ : “The Beaver” and “Cedar Rapids”

From now on, I’m going to refer to the act of paying a dollar to see movies that I was unwilling to pay full price to watch in the theater as Redboxin’. As part of the review, I will also tell you how much of my dollar the movie was actually worth to me.
redbox
First up is “The Beaver”. “The Beaver” is the kind of movie that makes me wonder what sort of people sat down with the synopsis or the entire script and actually agreed to give the green light to spending millions of dollars on something that would seem to me is an obvious flop from the get-go.
beaver movie
There are two ways to think about this movie. One way is “Wow, this is a phenomenal turd of a movie”. The other way is “This is an incredible portrait of mental illness”. Unfortunately for “The Beaver”, it falls right in the middle of the two. I wanted to call Mel on the phone and yell at him after this because his character is so incredibly frustrating. But, maybe that is the point. The performances here are good but the story made me cringe the entire time I watched it.
What is odd is that the sub-plot involving the oldest son of “The Beaver” is more interesting than the main plot. Anton Yelchin shines as a high school student who makes money off writing papers for other kids at his school all the while saving up his money to get as far away from home as possible. He befriends a girl who wants him to write her graduation speech (played by Academy Award nominee  and future “Hunger Games” star Jennifer Lawrence) while struggling with his own inner demons and the fear that he is going to end up just like his father. The story around their relationship could have carried the entire movie and it would have been a better movie if it had.
I give this one 60 cents out of my dollar. Mel owes me forty cents.
*****
The second movie we watched was “Cedar Rapids”.
This one is about an insurance agent who has to leave the insulated comforts of his very small home town in order to go to an insurance convention in the “big” city of Cedar Rapids. An award that the agency gets every year is on the line and it is up to him to get it.
cedar rapids
Ed Helms is quite likable and he plays the “somewhat innocent” role quite well. He is truly put out by the actions of his fellow convention goers at first but quickly embraces the insanity around them. He cuts loose and everyone has a better life for it by the end of the movie.
It’s also quite raunchy. It’s not a “Hangover” R but it does go for it at times. I guess that is the one problem with it – it can’t decide between being a movie with heart or being a movie with no morals whatsoever.
The cast is pretty good – they seem to gel quite nicely. Isiah Whitlock, Jr. is quite good as the insurance agent who appears to be shy and reserved but takes on a completely different persona right when needed. You’ll just have to see it to know what I mean.
This one was worth the whole dollar but you don’t want to watch it when the kids are around.
*****
We also made it to the theater and watched a movie that we paid full price for. I’ll try to get that one written up tomorrow night.

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