Saturday, January 06, 2007

My Super Ex-Girlfriend

I just got back on Netflix after having taken a year break from a steady stream of movies which I just couldn't handle, and unfortunately started it off with this disaster. Mind you, I'm not entirely certain why I decided I wanted to see it. I never thought it looked good from the trailers, and the presence of Rainn Wilson (the lovably malicious Dwight from The Office) and Anna Faris (the vacuous and bubbly starlet from Lost in Translation) were the only factors in my even remembering that it existed.

Ten years ago Marvel comics released Marvels to much acclaim. It's premise was genius; the history of the Marvel comics universe as told by a newspaper reporter who experienced these magnificent events as normal human observer. My Super Ex-Girlfriend somewhat follows this point of view, showing us a world in which a powerful superhero exists and giving us a story of what it would be like for an average Joe to date her. What would it be like to try and have a nice dinner with your girlfriend only to be interrupted by a stray missile headed for the city? And worse, what would it be like to have to break up with her?

Had this been a drama, the setup might have worked. As it stands, though, each character is a shallow caricature. Uma Thurman (or G Girl, a name given no origin or meaning throughout the movie) is possessive, jealous, and needy to the nth degree, and acts suprisingly reckless for a super hero throughout the film. Wilson is a bland nice guy that can't believe his luck when her secret alter ego shows interest in him. It's the nice guy in him that causes the trouble as he sticks around for a little longer than he should because he doesn't want to be a jerk, and then it's too late.

What could have been a very hilarious send up of Fatal Attraction instead turns into an exercise in over the top scripting. G Girl comes up with more and more inventive ways to tormet Wilson, up to and including throwing a live shark at him through a window, instead of playing the scorned lover who can't face reality. There are some amusing moments provided by the aforementioned Wilson (though his horny sidekick schtick wears thin quickly), but overall this just isn't worth it. Ivan Reitman can, and should, do better.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year, New Goal

So my backitude was fairly short lived, what with all the Alabama business over at Roll Bama Roll taking up most of my time. Anyway, I've set myself another movie related goal for this year, though it's not quite as strenous as the last one. I want to watch at least three new (to me) movies each week, so that should be imminently doable since I tend to watch more than three movies every week anyway and I won't be forced to watch crap I wouldn't normally watch just to fill a quota. So to start off the new year, I chose a movie from last year that I was very excited about but somehow managed to never get around to seeing.

Ever since Heat I've made it my business to watch anything Michael Mann does, and with the sole exception of The Last of the Mohicans I haven't been disappointed yet. Miami Vice is no exception, though at times it felt like Mann was too in love with the style of the movie than the substance. Digital video is a blessing and a curse for the man, blessing in that it keeps his creative juices flowing and finding new and better ways to shoot movies, and a curse because the style became the focus at times.
At the start of the film, we find Crockett and Tubbs on a stakeout before they are rudely interupted by a phone call from a former informant telling them his cover was blown. They find that he was part of a sting operation involving white supremacists with a drug connection. From there the film turns into a perfectly paced police procedural as the two go undercover as smugglers to pick up where he left off. This is Mann's strong suit, as we are dropped into the middle of the action instead of suffering through a bunch scenes and conversations inserted for the sake of exposition. We know little to nothing about Crocket and Tubbs or their crew, and its for the best. We know they are cops, and we know who the bad guys are, and for this movie that's enough.
Towards the middle the picture's narrative gets bogged down with questionable pacing. Too much of the action is misplaced with a wasted romantic subplot between Crockett and a woman in the employ of the druglord they are trying to take down, and it gives Farrell just enough reason to show his "inner conflict" which only made him seem slightly deranged and kind of pathetic.
Still, Mann makes movies that are always worth watching even if the visuals are sometimes better than the story they are telling.