Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Review - Be Kind Rewind

This zany comedy follows Jerry a down on his luck junkyard worker, and Mike a video store clerk whose building faces forclosure. While trying to sabotage a nearby power plant Jerry's head accidentally becomes magnatized and unintentionally erases all of the video's in the video store. In order to save the store and fix their blunder, the two decide to remake many of the films erased like, Ghostbusters, Lion King, Robocop, Rush Hour, and Driving Miss Daisy with a home video camera and props they put together from the junkyard. All to find out that their remade videos become become insanely popular in the community.

Michel Gondry takes a step away from is more surreal projects like Science of Sleep and Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind and instead gives the viewer a very light-hearted comedy full of quarkiness. I for one, love Gondry's style and vision, but I did found it refreshing that he did give us a lighter film, one that can just be watched and laughed at, instead of trying to understand the complex meanings.

Gondry directs Jack Black, Mos Def, Danny Glover, and Mia Farrow and all do a great job rounding out the film. Jack Black in particular is great. He is not his usual over the top self in this film, it seems Gondry may have toned him down a notch, and it works great. Like Jim Carrey, I enjoy Black's work more when he is more suttle and more refined. Mos def also does a great job and seems that Def is very comfortable in dialogue and situtation comedy as well as physical comedy. Mos Def continues to impress me with his work, regardless of it being light-hearted, action, or heavy material. Furthermore, Def and Black play perfectly off eachother. Almost similar to the likes of Matthau and Lemon or Pryor and Wilder. Their scenes together in their "sweeded" versions of Driving Miss Daisy and Rush Hour were classic and had me laughing pretty damn hard.

All of the "sweeded" videos were great. It has actually become quite a trend on youtube and so on. I was entertained in each of them and seeing how they made the special effect on the cheap. I would have liked to see more of the creative process on more of the videos though. Too many of the films were just flashes in the pan or one quick clip, like Men in Black, and I really wanted longer cuts of those scenes. Overall though, the sweeded videos were a riot and were really what made the movie enjoyable.

The downside to the film is its predictability and similarity to other films. This film felt way too much like Batteries Not Included! It wasn't a blatant rip-off, but very close. The backstory itself was pretty weak as well. The building that the video store is in is not up to city standards and code, so unless the store can raise the money to bring the building to code, it will be torn down. So, without giving away the whole film, you can deduct what will happen by the end of the film. Again, too cookie cutter, generic, and something we have seen all too many times.

Overall, the performances and originality of the sweeded videos are what make this film enjoyable and overall worth watching. The plot is nothing to be desired, but the dialogue and overall creativity of the film maker really went above and beyond my expectations of the movie. The best thing about Be Kind Rewind is the justice Gondry does to all the films he sweeded. Ghostbusters and Robocop are iconic films and he did a valid job of keeping their hiliarity or overall mood, while shortening the film in some cases to under two minutes. That said, I consider this film to be on the lighter side of Michel Gondry and I enjoyed having an easy going, zany comedy, that was inventive throughout.