Sandler romcom makes a go of it
Just Go With It, Cert 12A: Danny (Adam Sandler) has his heart broken on the eve of his wedding and spends the next 20 years using the wedding ring and a variety of invented nasty wives to woo women.
Now a successful plastic surgeon in LA, he likes to keep things nice and superficial, until he meets young, gorgeous teacher Palmer (Brooklyn Decker) whom he believes has "forever" potential.
Unfortunately the wedding-ring trick backfires this time so he needs his long-term friend and assistant Cathy (Jennifer Aniston), then her children to step in to complete a separate ruse.
Somehow all of them, along with Danny's creepy brother, end up in Hawaii where they just happen to bump into Cathy's college nemesis Devlin (Nicole Kidman.) Ruses become meaningful glances.
Just Go With It is a sort of zeitgeisty thing in that, as this generation of actors ploughs into their 40s, we will have to brace ourselves for lots of films about well-preserved midlife people.
Sandler and director Dennis Dugan have made many films together, some of them atrocious (Grown Ups), others just quite bad (I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry); these two grossed $162m and $116m respectively so do Adam and Dennis care? Aniston too has had pot luck with the film thing and reviews of this were banned until the week of release, which normally signals a hideously bad film.
Granted I had some lurgy when I saw it, but even taking this into account Just Go With It is the first Sandler film I have seen without wanting to kick his head in. The audience laughed plentifully so it wasn't just my illness.
Some of it is just stupid, the Devlin running joke for instance, the brother-boyfriend Dolf, the sheep... OK, the entire story, but given all that, it works on some levels. The pairing is convincing, Sandler even has some charm and the rest of the cast are good. It's fine for teens and for an evening of daft humour, you could do worse.
Never Let Me Go
Kathy H (Carey Mulligan) narrates the story of her life in an alternative Britain, starting briefly in 1994 when she is a carer to hospitalised patients. The story quickly reverts to flashbacks, firstly to 1978 when she is a child in Hailsham, at first glance a normal boarding school where the headmistress (Charlotte Rampling) teaches them they are special.
However, their shabby uniforms, ramshackle surroundings, strange attitude to life beyond the school and the obsession with their health hints at some other truth.
But within, Kathy, Ruth and Tommy develop a complex love triangle like any other. Only when Miss Lucy (Sally Hawkins), a new guardian, feels obliged to tell them their real reason for being does the truth begin to become apparent.
In 1985, when they are 18, Ruth (Keira Knightley), Tommy (Andrew Garfield) and Kathy move with others to begin final preparations for either donation or becoming carers, there is much talk of completion, and by the time the action returns to 1994 it is all but nigh.
Alex Garland's screenplay reveals the truth much more quickly than does Kazuo Ishiguro's novel on which it is based, but here it's perhaps best not to mention it at all. This is sci-fi drama, with something of The Handmaid's Tale, Children of Men and a dash of AI and Gattaca, and it's directed with an eye for the creepy by Mark Romanek, who made One Hour Photo.
It tells a story, and although it deals with something as large as the soul, it leaves the moral elements very understated, resulting in it being emotionally too cold at times.
One of the difficulties with the film is the way the characters accept their fate, and it doesn't explain why that is so.
Overall it's one of the more original films out there and the performances, Mulligan's especially, are very good. However it's far from uplifting, and those who are seeking feel-good factor should avoid at all costs.
Yogi Bear 3D
IT was only a matter of time; Yogi Bear and Boo Boo are brought back to life through the magic of 3D and CGI. The vintage Hanna-Barbera cartoon is given a loud and awkward big-screen makeover that will hold children's attention fleetingly, while parents witness the Hollywood machine riding roughshod over their own childhoods.
It begins with the two heavily anthropomorphised bears (voiced by Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake) doing just what we have come to expect of them; snatching picnic baskets and tormenting Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh).
While they toil away at this, Ranger Smith is faced with the prospect of Jellystone Park's closure thanks to Mayor Brown who seeks to sell the land for logging. Yogi will have to stop thinking of his stomach and help save the park.
This ecological sentiment is sprinkled liberally: the city is polluted and corrupt while Jellystone is a clean, green haven. It's a worthy message for young people to ingest, but the virtues of the film come to a halt there.
The marriage of CGI to live action can look very iffy unless you have the mega bucks to hire the best in the business. Yogi simply doesn't. The humans look like they are addressing thin air and the animation clashes with the tones of the film. As does the cast: Cavanagh doesn't even try to do any more than he has to for the younger viewers, likewise for co-stars Anna Faris and Andrew Daly.
CGI integration and acting aside, Yogi Bear relies too heavily on the novelty of lurching 3D images to impress at any opportunity. There is no wonderment for children to savour, not enough giggles along the way or opportunities to flex their imaginations. Pixar, you assume, won't be losing any sleep.
Showing from Friday
Sunday Indo Living