Saturday, July 20, 2013
Cindy Prascik’s review of Despicable Me 2 & R.I.P.D.
Dearest Blog, a hot, humid, rainy day means one thing to me: lots of people sharing my cinema. It's a prospect that doesn't thrill me, to say the least, but off I went anyway for a double-bill of Despicable Me 2 and R.I.P.D.
Spoiler level here will be mild, limited to things you'd know once you'd seen a trailer or two.
Our leadoff batter was the animated sequel Despicable Me 2.
Former super-villain Gru has gone straight, and spends his days being a father to Margo, Agnes, and Edith, and trying to start a business, his own line of jellies and jams. When a new threat emerges, the Anti-Villain League recruits Gru and his super-villain knowledge to help thwart it.
I liked Despicable Me 2 easily as well as its predecessor, in fact, maybe even a little better. The Despicable Me franchise has learnt that its bread is buttered on the Minion side, and the little yellow fellows play an even bigger role this time around, which is to the film's benefit.
The solid voice talent includes Steve Carrell and Russell Brand, reprising their roles from the first film, as well as newcomers Kristin Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Ken Jeong, and the delightful Steve Coogan. The movie looks great, too. I saw it in 2D, and while I could certainly see things that were designed for 3D effectiveness, there's nothing that didn't look right in 2D, and everything is clear and bright. The second half does fall off somewhat from the first, which might have left me with a less-positive impression if the ending weren't so much fun.
Despicable Me 2 clocks in at 98 minutes and is rated PG for "rude humor and mild action." It's a family-friendly good time, well worth your movie dollar.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Despicable Me 2 gets seven and a half.
Next up on my agenda was the comic book movie R.I.P.D.
A cop (Ryan Reynolds) is killed on the job and joins R.I.P.D. ("Rest In Peace Department"), a team of undead good guys who keep undead bad guys from taking over the Earth. He's partnered with an old West lawman (Jeff Bridges) who disdains the idea of any partner, let alone one of the newly-dead.
Now, dear Blog, I try to make a point of being a well-educated consumer. As such, it's not often I get stuck paying for a movie I hate. For sure some are better or worse than I anticipate, but as long as the trailers aren't misleading, seldom am I all that disappointed. R.I.P.D. is the unfortunate exception to the rule; I was bored out of my gourd from beginning to end.
If we're being honest, I don't think most of us expected R.I.P.D. to be anything more than a poor man's Men In Black: good action, some awesome monsters, and hilarious wisecracks. Unfortunately, the action isn't exciting, the monsters look terrible, and the wisecracks are anything but funny. I don't think I laughed even once. The plot didn't engage me for a second, and the whole thing looks so dark (even daylight scenes) that it appears to be under a heavy fog. By luck of the schedule draw, I ended up seeing this in 3D, which is pointless.
The cast is decent, but mostly phones it in. Ryan Reynolds is as likable as any actor working today (ditto his leading lady Stephanie Szostak), but his role is so bland I couldn't say I was actively rooting for him. Academy Award winner Bridges has cornered the market on crusty-but-lovable, kooky old guy roles, but unfortunately this one is just crusty and not at all lovable. By rights he's supposed to provide most of the comedy, but he left me totally flat. Any way you slice it, I was getting stuck with one of my most-despised actors, Mary-Louise Parker, this weekend, as she also stars in the weekend's other big action flick, Red 2. It goes without saying her presence didn't help anything. My beloved Robert Knepper has a cameo that's so bad I'd have been happier not seeing him at all. Other than Szostak, pretty much the only thing the movie has going for it is Kevin Bacon, who is oddly perfect for his role. Oh, and if they got one thing right, it's that Boston is surely a bastion of the undead...I know every time I look at Aerosmith.
R.I.P.D. runs 96 minutes, which seem like 96 hours, and is rated PG13 for "violence, sci-fi/fantasy action, some sensuality, and language including sex references."
Of a possible nine Weasleys, R.I.P.D. gets three.
If I hadn't had to wait for my ride anyway, I probably would have walked out on it.
Until next time...
EEK! The Boston Undead!!