Two slackers get stuck in a time loop at a desert wedding.
Directed by Max Barbakow
Starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti
Review by Jon Kissel
For time-loop movies, all live in the shadow of obvious gold standard, Groundhog Day. Howard Ramis’ Bill Murray vehicle is beloved by pretty much everyone, up to and including religious scholars who teach it in universities. Its descendant, Palm Springs, likely won’t be showing up on any syllabi, but it stays true to Groundhog Day’s melding of humor with emotion, slapstick with philosophy. On the other hand, if Ned Ryerson can live in perpetuity, I don’t see why Cristin Milioti fluffing a biker’s mullet can’t also join the pantheon.
An American Pickle has several ways it could go. In Brandon Trost’s directorial debut, a dual starring role for Seth Rogen as a Jewish immigrant put in pickle brine stasis for a century and reunited with his great-grandson, there’s the natural path of fish out of water comedy that morphs into something more heartfelt once the modern-day eccentricity jokes wear out their welcome. To the film’s credit, this obvious path is eschewed in favor of a comedy of rivals, where both Rogen characters attempt to sabotage each other. Not making easy choices, however, doesn’t make the end result anything worth praising when it’s this clunky. What good is it to go off the beaten path when this new path is filled with lazy observational humor, contrived scenarios, and tired millennial gags?
Brian De Palma, one of 70’s cinema’s greatest pervs, goes oddly mainstream with The Untouchables. Doubly odd in how its script is written by David Mamet of all people, the film seems like two idiosyncratic creators reaching for popular success. They achieved it on the awards circuit and at the box office, but while this movie might have been thrilling in 1987, it’s now rote and almost boring in its predictability and its ridiculousness. The Untouchables has De Palma’s knack for composition and Mamet’s utility with a resonant line, and that’s about it.
JUST SOME IDIOTS GIVING SURPRISINGLY AVERAGE MOVIE REVIEWS.
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