Thursday, June 14, 2012

Double Dose of Bad This Weekend

That’s My Boy
                Famous for fathering a child with a teacher at age 13, Donny (Sandler) is deep in IRS debt and needs to track down his son “Todd” (Samberg) for a made-for-TV event to get the money to get out of debt.
                This is a Sandler movie that is actually funny for a long stretch of time but still has all the little Sandler ticks.  Like the trend these days, the humor veers into the raunchy realm, especially in the very funny second act.  The second act, obviously inspired by The Hangover, revolves around “Todd’s” (there is a reason for the quotation marks) bachelor party with guests including Will Forte, Nick Swardson & Vanilla Ice.  Yes, that Vanilla Ice.
                Unfortunately, the movie isn’t 40 minutes long.  There are another 75 minutes buffering it that range from insomnia-curing to nearly offensive.  Most of Sandler’s trademarks are there: his annoying voice, this time for the entire movie; the deliberate commercialism (count the Budweiser cans & signs); old ladies saying or doing un-ladylike things; the sentimental story with a fake moral; and cringeworthy moments waiting for a laugh.  Add in more cameos than usual plus making the plot a MacGuffin, That’s My Boy is a slightly funnier version of every Sandler movie thus far.

** (out of 5 stars)

Rock of Ages
                Set in an alternative universe where most hair-bands don’t (technically) exist, an aspiring young singer (Hough) meets and falls for and aspiring rocker (Boneta) in 1987 L.A.  They work at a bar run by best friends (Brand & Baldwin).  Meanwhile, the wife of the mayor of L.A. (Zeta-Jones) leads a group of concerned mothers looking to end the evils of rock ‘n roll.  Finally, Arsenal, the biggest band in the world, is playing their last gig at the club before Stacee Jaxx (Cruise) goes solo.
                Director Adam Shankman, most famous for the surprising remake of Hairspray five summers ago, tries with this material, adapted by Justin Theroux, who continues to show me he isn’t funny, but fails miserably.  Shankman tries to go campy but isn’t talented enough on a technical level to do so.  The leads are totally uninteresting and the story is a laboring mess.
                The big names, however, do their best to save this as much as they can.  Balwin & Brand are solid with one fantastic sequence to start the third act.  But the real star is Tom Cruise as the (undiagnosed) legally insane rocker.  There are times where you’d swear Cruise was born to play Jaxx.  Cruise & Malin Akerman, who is wonderful in her small role as well, share one of the most wonderful and steamy scenes you will see in this or any summer.
                Regardless, Rock of Ages is a disaster with the boring leads and messy musical numbers despite the flashes of awesome.  In the end, to quote the closing number, “Oh the movie never ends/it goes on and on and on and on.”

*1/2 (out of 5 stars)

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