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Monday, September 19, 2011

Roundup of New Films Released on 16 September 2011

Just a couple more films to talk about this week. 

Spy Kids 4D: All the Time in the World does, I suppose, get some point for acknowledging the fact that the fourth dimension does actually refer to time and, not as it seemed at first, the added "dimension" of "Smell-ovision". That's right, not only do you have to put up with some rather lame 3D, you are also presented with a scratch-and-sniff card that is supposed to correspond to various aromas that are on screen but, regardless of whether you're supposed to be smelling farts or sweets, it all lands up smelling like jelly powder.

Silly, gimmicks aside, there's absolutely nothing interesting about the film. On the one hand, little kids will probably get a kick out of the basic premise of pre-teen Super Spies with a bunch of rather cool (though, obviously, non-lethal) gadgets at their disposal but beyond that even the least discerning kid will probably be left scratching their heads at the thoroughly bonkers plot. As for the adults, the best I can offer is Jessica Alba in form-fitting leather and a sense that though the film might be total balderdash from beginning to end, at least it's innocuous balderdash. Frankly, I think everybody, kids and adults alike, would be better off sticking with Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 if live-action kiddie fodder is what you're after.


Yes, Friends With Benefits does indeed have exactly the same premise as this year's No Strings Attached. And, yes, both films star one of the two main actresses from Black Swan. And, no, I have no idea how this happened and why Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman didn't perhaps mention the nature of their next films over a cup of coffee or something. What I do know is that while No Strings Attached had the latter dragged down to Ashton Kutcher's level, at least Friends With Benefits has Mila Kunis keeping standards up and, though Justin Timberlake is nowhere as good as he was recently in Bad Teacher and Social Network, he fares perfectly well.

The film is generally plodding, predictable and far, far too reliant on "flash mobs" than is entirely healthy but the stars do have some genuine chemistry and the film has enough chuckles and sweetness to make it at least a moderate success. Plus, it has to be said, ever since Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I am more than happy to watch Mila Kunis in pretty much anything at all.

Best Film of the Week: Friends with Benefits and Colombiana are both fine (bot no more than fine) for people who are already fans of their respective genres. 

Worst Film of the Week: Spy Kids 4D. Even kids will probably be unimpressed. 

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