If all goes well (fingers crossed), there will be a series of these going up over the next week or so in an effort to manage the outrageous number of holiday releases. Today's installment is jam-packed with hilarity, featuring three comedies that may or may not actually be funny. The short: The Ringer is sweet, Cheaper by the Dozen 2 is painful, and Fun with Dick and Jane is, well, just that. Details follow.
- The Ringer: No one's wildly in love with The Ringer, but they don't hate it, either. Most, like Roger Ebert, come to realize that they "kinda liked its spirit," even though its studied fairness sometimes costs it "many chances to be funnier." Even Nathan Lee of The New York Times, who has no love for star Johnny Knoxville, grudgingly admits that the movie ultimately overcomes the "seemingly insurmountable handicap" of his presence "to wind up a fairly winning comedy."
- Cheaper by the Dozen 2: Let's just start with the fact that even our editors were not cruel enough to send any Cinematical staff to a screening, and close with this quote from Peter Bradshaw's review: "Of all the mysteries concerning those Extraordinary Rendition planes passing through UK airspace, one at least is solved. We now know what the in-flight movie is." Yikes. (Weirdly, Roger Ebert sort of liked it. So, you know, maybe it's not THAT bad - me, I'm not going to risk it, but do what you need to do.)
- Fun with Dick and Jane: For what it's worth, pretty much everyone likes Alec Baldwin. Other than that...our own Robert is not the only one to describe this as, like its title, "fun." Most people seem to find it inoffensive (which, considering Jim Carrey's track record, is probably something of an accomplishment) and mildly amusing, though there's one guy in Minneapolis who thinks it's a work of towering genius. And yes, we'll be keeping an eye on him.
Also hitting theaters in more limited release during this first wave of holiday openings are a blind Ralph Fiennes in The White Countess, Munich (James was impressed), and, at long last, the award-winning Caché (which Christopher saw as a meditation on the media).