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Death to Smoochy

Good idea gone bad
Watching "Death to Smoochy," I realized it must have looked great on paper. But, we don't watch movies on paper. We watch them (for now) on film. And on film, this film flops.

I checked out the credits of the writer, Adam Resnick. Unfortunately, I've seen all three films he wrote: this one, "Lucky Numbers" and (get ready) "Cabin Boy." I didn't like any of them, but there's a certain consistency to them. While watching all three of them, I said to myself, "Hmmm. That should make me laugh. But it doesn't." Something about this guy's work just does not translate. And yet, I'm not sure the writing was the main culprit here. Instead, I blame three other elements.

First, Ed Norton. Yeah yeah, great actor and all. Love him in almost everything else. But how they settled on him for the role of Sheldon/Smoochy is beyond me. He brought entirely the wrong vibe, spirit and mannerisms to the part. In no way does this role suit him.

Second, Catherine Keener. Anyone else getting tired of seeing this girl play a bitch? Best I can tell, she's a one-note actress, and I've heard enough of that note. Thanks, Catherine. Next time we need a hardened urban professional woman who uses sarcasm as a defense mechanism, we'll be sure to give you a call. Until then, I suggest trying to find the other two dimensions to your characters.

Third, and most crucial, the direction. Devito just f*cked this one up. Where he should have gone for irony, he went for maliciousness. It tilts the boat the wrong way, and everyone goes into the drink. I almost always like Danny, but he did not interpret this script right. Because of that, this movie never really had a chance.

If you give me this script, these actors and this director, I agree to make this film any day of the week. Oh well. Just goes to show you that there's no such thing as "can't lose." Because in this case, "can't lose" did.

All About the Benjamins

Dead-tired Presidents
"All About the Benjamins" falls into that category I call "something else" movies. As in, when you watch it, you should be doing something else, e.g., paying bills, talking on the phone, drinking with friends, trying to nail the girl you invited to your place, etc. Do not give it your undivided attention, because it doesn't deserve it.

It seems like everyone realized they weren't making a very good movie and phoned it in accordingly. The direction is so vague you'd swear it was done by remote control from a helicopter. No one, even the normally enjoyable Ice Cube, ever breaks a sweat trying to get this movie off the ground.

If you held this flick up to your ear, you'd hear the ocean. Easy come, easy go. Stay away, or have that "something else" on deck.

Changing Lanes

Unexpected, but in a good way
*****WARNING: contains tiny potential spoilers*****

Reading other people's comments, it's obvious that the marketing folks at Paramount did "Changing Lanes" no favors by advertising it as an action/revenge fantasy movie, because it's not that at all. No big showdowns, no gunfire, no fight scenes -- OK, one, but it's incidental to the main story. But while the movie lacks action, it speaks better of the human condition than I initially thought it could or would.

You know the basic premise: two guys have a fender bender whose consequences dent their lives worse than their cars. A game of F-U one-upmanship ensues. Life-altering changes hang in the balance. Off we go.

It seems a lot of people don't like the movie's pace or ending. The pace thing, as I mentioned, I attribute to mismarketing. The ending...well, what others found too contrived or neat, I found compelling. There's a difference between saying things will work out fine and suggesting that, with a little effort, they might.

To me, "Changing Lanes" is ultimately a story about learning from -- and taking responsibility for-- your mistakes. While a literal lane change causes the initial accidental, it's the figurative lane change in how they live that redeems these men. The movie revolves around an accident, but the title is no accident at all.

Panic Room

Not bad, not great
Wow. The spectrum of comments this film elicits should give you a clue that you're going to have to decide for yourself. To address some of those comments:

For hard-core David Fincher fans -- Yes, it's probably his worst work. I blame the script, and I'm not sure why it interested him to begin with. But if you do "Se7en," "The Game," and "Fight Club," eventually you will come up against a script that, while interesting, does not lend itself to visual exploitation. And here it is.

For hard-core action fans -- The whole thing takes place in a house. What did you expect, Lethal Weapon? Sometimes, action intensifies BECAUSE it takes place in cramped quarters. If you don't dig that, fine. But this film never promised anything else.

For the idiot who sees this film as a racist rape warning (I can't be bothered listing his name) -- If you're looking at a white guy in cornrows as proof as racism, you really need to finish graduate school and get out into the real world. Even Freud conceded that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. If there were no black characters, you would have bitched about that. In fact, the black guy comes off as perhaps the most humane character in the film, in terms of what he sacrifices to make things right. Keep voting Democrat, but dude, get off your high horse. You're way off base.

So, beyond that, it's still a fun film worth watching. I figured it would be better. It wasn't, but that doesn't mean it's not good. It is. So enjoy it.

National Lampoon's Van Wilder

Peters out
At the start of "Van Wilder," I was amused enough to keep watching. But by the end, it became one of those "guess I'll leg this out" movies. And while they probably didn't shoot it in sequence, it felt like the actors were doing the same thing -- waiting for it to wrap up.

Having spent 5 1/2 alcohol-soaked years in college, my main problem with this film is that what passes for college craziness isn't all that crazy. Come on, a guy spends seven years in college, he better find cooler parties than this. And he's the one RUNNING the parties. It just didn't click.

Beyond that, I didn't buy Ryan Reynolds as a college lifer or Tara Reid as an aspiring journalist. And while I smiled seeing Otter from "Animal House" in this National Lampoon venture, it only reminded how much better you can do the drunken college idiot genre.

My advice: Watch "Animal House" again. You'll get more laughs from a second, third or twentieth viewing of that than you will from a first-time viewing of "Van Wilder."

Noble effort, but still...swing and a miss.

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

Laughed a lot
I've enjoyed every Kevin Smith film I've seen, and yet I still found myself surprised by "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back."

Incorporating characters from all of his previous movies, Smith constructs a flimsy, irrelevant plot to stitch together his scenes. And that's fine. Anything more is unnecessary and would probably have just cluttered the freewheeling, good-time script.

Really, I'm not sure why I found this film so amusing. The setup is basic, the jokes are juvenile, and the performances are...WAIT! That's it! The performances!

Am I saying anyone here got robbed of an Oscar? No. But am I saying that everyone, especially Jason Mewes, buys into what they're doing totally. It looks like they had a blast filming it, and that silly joy radiates from the film.

Put it this way. If you liked the Kevin Smith films before this, you'll like this one. And if you didn't, why the hell would you go near this thing?


Liked it a lot
I happened across "Bait" on cable one night just as it started and thought, "Eh, why not?" I'm glad I gave it a chance.

"Bait" ain't perfect. It suffers from unnecessarily flashy direction and occasional dumbness. But overall, this movie worked. All the elements aligned just right, and they pulled off what otherwise could have been a pretty ugly film.

Most of that, I think, is due to Jamie Foxx. I don't know who tagged Foxx for the lead, but whoever it was did this movie a big favor. Believable and amazingly likeable, Foxx glides through the movie, smooth as butter and funnier than hell. You can tell he's working on instinct, and instinct doesn't fail him.

The plot, while unimportant, actually ties together pretty well, and there's even a character arc through which Foxx's character grows as a person. Again, they could've slipped by without any of this, but it just makes things that much better.

I'm surprised at the low rating for this. Maybe I just caught this move on the right night, or vice versa, but I'd give it a 7/10. Bravo, Mssr. Foxx.

Joy Ride

Gets Good Mileage
A pleasant surprise, "Joy Ride" takes a very basic premise and squeezes from it every possible drop of entertainment and suspense.

Writer J.J. Abrams, who cruelly foisted "Gone Fishin'" on an unsuspecting public, began atoning for his sins with TV shows "Felicity" and "Alias." He continues to deliver the goods here, with nothing much more than three kids, a car, a truck, and some seedy locales. There's really no clutter, as everything advances the story, entertains, or both.

A clever horror film, without the standard horror film body count, "Joy Ride" is worth the trip.

Smilla's Sense of Snow

Interesting at first, but then...
"Smilla's Sense of Snow" captivates at first, but by the end, I found myself struggling to care. It's not for a lack of effort. Everyone here seems game, but there's too much working against them.

Calling it a murder mystery would unfairly ignore the film's subtleties, yet at its heart, that's what it is. Unfortunately, "Smilla's" neglects the standard murder mystery practice of doling out little nuggets of information periodically to keep viewers interested. It takes a long time before you see anything substantial enough to call a development in the case. Before that, there's a lot of mood, a lot of flashback, and a lot of Julia Ormond snarling at those around her. Which brings us to problem number two.

Ormond delivers a solid performance, but her character isn't very likeable. Yes, they kind of explain why, but it still didn't make me care whether she discovers how/why her young neighbor died.

I think some people might really enjoy this film. I'm just not one of them. 5/10.

Not Another Teen Movie

As dumb as you'd expect
I'm pretty sure the name "Not Another Teen Movie" is meant ironically, since the entire film is ironic, or at least tries to be.

This flick contains an absolute gaggle of d*ck jokes, so if that's what you're looking for, you're home. Occasionally, something semi-clever surfaces, like using the white dude who acts Chinese to lampoon how dumb white kids look when they try to act black. That really amused me.

Other than that, it's a steady diet of low-brow humor. "NATN" contains parodies of countless teen movies from the last 20 years. Sometimes, they're actually funny, but other times, all they've done is recreate an old movie scene and hope you laugh from the nostalgia.

So, if dirty jokes and half-baked send-ups leave you in stitches, you'll like this movie. If not, you won't.

Joe the King

Slow, boring and amateurish
Ever wind up watching an entire movie that stinks only because you keep hoping (against all hope) that it will get better, or at least have a point? Thus was the case for me with "Joe the King," a lethargic, pointless film that offers virtually nothing in the way of revelation or entertainment. I swear, people who praise this film must be trying to rationalize wasting their time on it.

After enduring this snoozefest, I just knew that Frank Whaley had never written or directed before. It was completely obvious. Whaley ruins his film with a first-draft caliber script and stale, unimaginative direction that even a film-school novice would laugh at.

Had the dialogue and direction been better, well, you'd still have nothing. Even a story about a miserable small-town kid with a crummy home life does not justify the slug-in-quicksand pace that squeezes the life from this film. I've enjoyed films before that develop slowly, but this one never develops. I kept thinking, "!!!!!"

As if this movie needs more flaws, the acting bordered on the criminal. Again, no big surprise to discover (thanks to IMDB) that Ethan Hawke is friends with Whaley, as it's the only possible reason I could imagine he'd agree to be in this clunker. But don't worry. He doesn't try too hard. No one does. Val Kilmer works straight from the Lifetime Network 101 playbook of alcoholic fathers/husbands. He curses. He breaks stuff. He smacks his family around. He belittles them. And then, toward the end, he has one brief moment of lucidity where we're supposed to understand that he realizes he's a bad man. Who cares? And the kid in the title role might have been trying to convey hopelessness, but all he exudes is apathy.

Two closing thoughts: First, my wife watched the first half-hour with me, then opted to take a nap. She made the smarter choice, and I'm being serious. Second, if I'm already mad about wasting time watching the film, why did I waste more time writing about it? In the hopes that YOU wouldn't waste your time the same way. Seriously, avoid.

A.I. Artificial Intelligence

You'll Definitely Have An Opinion On It

See the number of IMDB comments for this film? That's because no matter how you feel about it, you will feel it passionately. Even if it's passionate ambiguity, Or ambiguous passion. "AI" elicits that kind of reaction. My guess is, you'll either find 75 percent of it cynical and 25 percent redeeming, or 75 percent gloomy but visionary and 25 percent saccharine crap.

If someone asked me "Is that movie any good?" and "Should I see it?" my answers would be "I don't know" and "Yes." I saw it three days ago and I still don't know what to make of it. I remember in the Entertainment Weekly review when it came out, the reviewer closed with "I want to see it again." At the time, I didn't get why, but now it makes complete sense. You need one time to get a handle on everything and another time to analyze it.

Also, the influence of two disparate directors -- Kubrick and Spielberg -- is obvious here. To my mind, Kubrick managed to direct a majority of this film from the grave. But the last half hour is pure Spielberg, and isn't the end what counts?

Kubrick, who -- and I'm going to p*ss people off with this -- was losing his touch at the end, manages to exert huge influence over the film. Every dark moment devoid of human goodness is his. And come on, try to even SUGGEST I'm wrong about that. On the other hand, the whole ending, which could have been dropped to make an entirely different movie, feels like Spielberg refusing to accept Stanley's ultimate conclusion.

Spielberg, who has ventured into this childhood wish-fulfillment territory before, ultimately wins the philosophy battle, what with him being the alive one who actually directed the film.

By the way, to put the issue to rest, the "aliens" in the third act are the Mecha. It's beyond debate. Which is about the only thing in the film that is.

It wanted to be a FILM, but it wound up being a film. Still, you should watch it. And don't be surprised if ten minutes after the film you're on this site writing your own review.

Screw on your thinking caps, and happy viewing,

Don't Say a Word

I'm Gonna Teh-eh-elll: Very predictable
Ever see a movie for the first time yet still have to ask yourself, "Wait, have I seen this before?" That's pretty much what we're dealing with here. Even if you haven't seen this movie yet, you have.

With "Don't Say a Word," it's like whoever made it was so enthralled by the high-concept, give-it-to-me-in-ten-words-or-less premise, they figured they didn't have to try real hard with anything else. Sure, it's competent. But with its intriguing premise, it should have advanced way past that.

Oh well. It doesn't. Michael Douglas -- who in this film is wearing more make-up than the "women" I see on Santa Monica Blvd. at midnight -- puts in the kind of performance that, if this were an office job, wouldn't get him fired but wouldn't get him promoted. It's more than a drive-by paycheck pick-up, but Douglas has been around long enough to size up a script and know when he should bother trying and when he shouldn't. He goes with choice B here. And it doesn't really matter.

(As a side note, when is the last time Michael Douglas had an on-screen wife within 20 years of his own age? I mean, come on. Do you really think that in real life the man could...oh, wait, never mind.)

As for everything else, Brittany Murphy scores some points for playing a schizophrenic disaster of a girl who you'd still like to nail. Oliver Platt, who is getting fatter faster than Aretha Franklin, shows up for some day player-level acting work. Famke Jannsen looks sexy in a cast, but isn't given much to do. And as for the cop, played by Jennifer Esposito, she is so irrelevant to the plot that she's practically in a different movie altogether.

The plot? If you can't figure out how this movie ends, you're trying even less than whoever wrote it.

Having said all that, it will still kill two free hours just fine. Little ventured, nothing gained.

Cecil B. Demented

Partial credit... what I give this film. John Waters scores points for trying to skewer Hollywood and toss it on the grill. But, he loses points for sometimes choosing "outrageous" over clever. Some scenes called for an Exacto knife, but Waters used a paint cannon.

Two more thoughts here:

1) Either I owe Melanie Griffith an apology or she owes me one. I've long regarded the woman as anti-matter in the acting universe. After watching some of her other gems -- Cherry 2000, anyone? -- I figured she's too bad of an actress to pull off her role as a bad actress. But seeing her in this film, I realized she's either: (A) such a bad actress that she wasn't even trying to be a bad actress, or (B) a hell of a site more talented and ironic than I thought. My hunch is A, but I'll acknowledge that it could be B.

2) If you are the kind of person John Waters takes aim at in this film, you'll probably never see it. On the other hand, most Waters devotees already believe Hollywood is evil, and already pat themselves on the back for not being part of "the problem," like the film's targets. So, ultimately, what's the point?

And that, I guess, is a good way to look at this film. Not really necessary, but fun enough that it's worth your time if you find it on cable. Besides, you won't see too many like this.

Hmmm. Maybe THAT was point.

Jeepers Creepers

Falls apart
Several reviews here say that "Jeepers Creepers" starts out well but eventually goes south. I'd say, it starts out very well and eventually goes waaay south.

Everything clicks for the first 40 minutes. The set-up incorporates the standard horror movie elements quite impressively. The dialogue hums along nicely. The two leads deliver a believable brother and sister shtick. You're interested to know what happens next. But when you find out, well, that's where it gets ugly.

Without revealing any plot points, let's just say that the writer-director made some unfortunate choices that produce more unintentional laughs than chills. Also, some things just don't make sense. (Anyone else wonder why a police station in the middle of nowhere has like 20-some cops?)

Basically, "Jeepers Creepers" falls prey to the laws of entropy. What begins as an surprisingly entertaining film devolves into silly camp. My advice: watch it until the first time your roll your eyes, then turn it off. Because after that point, it only gets worse.

Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles

It's a Croc Alright
When over 10 years passes between sequels, it's generally not a good sign. For every "The Color of Money," there are several "Two Jakes," pointless sequels made for a quick buck that may or may not materialize.

Go ahead and toss "Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles" into the pointless category. I guess you could watch this with your kids for harmless fun. But if your kids are old enough to remember the first two films in this franchise, they're too old to enjoy this one.

Aside from showcasing the adverse effects of prolonged exposure to the sun, there was zero reason to drag out leather-skinned Paul Hogan for another installment of "The Croc." A silly plot, flat jokes, and some of the laziest acting this side of "Con Air" make this film entirely unnecessary.

For humor, you're better off hitting an open-mic night. And for that old Australian charm, hell, you're better off at Outback Steakhouse. And that ain't a compliment to Outback.


Pearl Harbor

Fair to Middlin'
"Pearl Harbor" seems to elicit passionate opinions on both sides. Some think it's fantastic. Others think it's trash. I'll opt for the in-between.

What they tried to do here is use the "Titanic" schtick. Take a historical event, whip up a love triangle, throw in a British actress named Kate and -- voila! -- instant success, right?

Not really. But it's not as bad as some people say. The attack footage is amazing. It plops you right into the events as they unfold. But man, it takes a looong time to get there.

If you rent the DVD and forward right to the fight scenes, you won't miss much. If you choose to sit through the entire movie, just know that it drags in spots, and it undermines its own credibility in scenes like the one where FDR rises from his wheelchair to prove a point. (That never happened.)

What bogs down this movie is the amount of time spent setting up the event for which the entire film was made. "Pearl Harbor" didn't need to be three hours long. Maybe someday they'll do the opposite of "Apocalypse Now" and release a version that's 50 minutes shorter. Until then, keep that fast-forward finger limber. You might need it.

Freddy Got Fingered

Beneath contempt
A revolting, repulsive, putrid, mean-spirited, ultra-juvenile, brainless waste of film. To quote Homer Simpson, "It was the worst piece of garbage I've ever seen. And that's not easy for me to say."

"Freddy Got Fingered" has seriously caused me to reconsider what the term "bad movie" means. If the worst films of all time were tossed into a swamp and allowed to settle, "FGF" would be the crap UNDER the crap at the bottom of the swamp.

Devoid of even one laugh and obsessive in its search for the lowest level of maliciousness, this flick is literally unsettling to watch. I tried to hang in there, not out of enjoyment but out of defiance. Alas, I gave up.

Tom Green, who was once funny in very limited doses, is revealed as the desperate, untalented hack he is. He's like the six-year-old kid who eats poop at recess just for the attention. Only he's thirty.

I actually felt sorry for the people in this film, except for Green himself. My guess is they'll repress the memory, much like a molested child might. Oh, by the way, the film does make fun of child molesting. Ha ha ha! Child molesting! Don't you get it?

No, neither do I.

1/10, only because there are no negative numbers to choose from. Don't say you weren't warned.

Invasion U.S.A.

Action Comedy, but not on purpose
In the mid- to late-80s, movies like "Running Scared" and "Lethal Weapon" paved the way for a slew of action comedies. But before them, "Invasion U.S.A." unleashed the accidental action comedy on us.

This used to be one of my favorite movies when I was 14. Then I watched it again, post-puberty, and realized what a complete crock of sh*t this thing is. This ranks right up there at the top of the heap -- and heap is a fitting word -- of mindless B-movies foisted on an unsuspecting public by the Cannon Group. Wanna have some fun? Look up the names of producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, and gape in awe at the list of impossibly stupid action flicks they produced in the '80s. I mean, they were so lazy that the main hero in "Invasion U.S.A." shares the same name as the hero in the "American Ninja" series. Guys, I know you didn't put much effort into the scripts, but could you at least come up with a different name for your characters?

Anyhow, one thing I will mention is that, in light of the September 11 attacks, this film's plot about terrorist attacks in America...well, it doesn't say anything at all. It's a coincidence. No one has ever called the Golan-Globus duo visionaries, and I'm sure as hell not gonna get the ball rolling on that.

I think if you add up all of Chuck Norris's dialogue in this movie, it might amount to five minutes. Even for a genre that prides itself on having its good guys speak tersely, that's impressive. And that's about the only thing in "Invasion U.S.A." you could possibly call impressive.

5/10. 3 for the action, 2 for the unintentional laughs.

Dead Presidents


Sifting through the comments for "Dead Presidents," I was starting to think I saw a different movie than everyone else until I found one other person who thought it was slow and directionless. Thank God for that guy.

The Hughes brothers had a great concept in depicting Vietnam and life afterwards from a black soldier's perspective. A much needed perspective, since countless movies have showed things from the white POV. Problem is, the Hughes brothers took this concept and sucked the life out of it with sloooow pacing and an unfocused script.

I'll say this: The directors have a knack for framing interesting shots, and when they do make a point, it resonates. It's just that their points would have been so much sharper if they didn't take forever getting to them. We've all listened to someone tell a story that should be interesting but isn't because they kill it with a sleepy pace, boring sidenotes and irrelevant details. That's what happens here.

A movie is kind of like a bank robbery. It might sound like a great idea, but if you botch the execution, it all goes to hell. Sadly, in "Dead Presidents," art imitates itself.

Nick of Time

Misses the mark
I like the guy, but let's be honest: Commercial success hitting a Johnny Depp film is like sunlight hitting Dracula. The only way any of his films are successful is if they're also weird. And that ain't the case here.

"Nick of Time" isn't awful, but Depp just does not have any business being in this movie. Maybe they were looking for someone unconventional to star in it, thereby making the whole "take an average guy and plop him in a tough situation" plot more realistic, but it backfires.

For a short movie -- less than 90 minutes -- it stacks up quite a few implausibilities and just plain stupid actions. Several times, people get halfway through an action only to abandon it, or undertake some unbelievable action just to keep the premise (barely) intact.

If you're killing time watching Cinemax at 2 a.m., "Nick of Time" is passable. If you're settling down with a 9 p.m. Friday movie to start your weekend, look elsewhere.

Gung Ho

Not edgy, but funny
Surprised to see the rather low score for this movie. Just saw this film for the first time in 10 years, and was reminded why I like it.

Come back with me, children, to a time when Michael Keaton was a straight-up comedy guy, and you might find some joy in this film. It's a gentle comedy -- the kind Ron Howard specializes in -- but if that's your thing, you should check this out. Keaton's low-key charm is just right for this project.

"Gung Ho" is a bit dated, because it takes places in the last stage of the pre-global economy world, when it still mattered what country a business was based in. That said, it delivers laughs as well as a lesson on how people can learn from each other, to great benefit.

You could watch this film and enjoy it without remembering one scene in particular you really liked, but that's because the whole movie provides a slow but constant stream of laughs. It's like an I.V. drip. And I mean that in a good way.

Up the Creek

...without a paddle
Is this flick good? Jesus, no. Is this flick funny? Somehow, yes.

"Up the Creek" has not aged well (what a shocker), but it's a perfect example of the pointless, disposable comedies they made in the early- to mid-80s. You know, the kind of film that aspired to reach the heights of, say, "Porky's."

Actually, "Up The Creek" has a pretty solid comic pedigree, at least as solid as you can get in a film like this. Two "Animal House" vets, a "Porky's" refugee, and -- I can't believe I know this -- the chick from "Charles in Charge."

Every scene, every joke, every character here is dumb. And thank God. Another review mentioned that this is a good drinking film. Actually, I think "Up The Creek" was made specifically FOR drunk people. (And possibly by drunk people.) But that's OK. It's all good. I mean, the film's not good, but then again, it is. Ah, forget it. Just grab a case, a beer bong, and watch the damn thing.

Bachelor Party

Classic sophomoric romp

One of the things I enjoy about this movie is the mere fact that it exists. I'm thinking Tom Hanks scratched this one of his resumé long ago, along with "Dragnet" and "Volunteers." I delight in the notion that some folks who love Hanks from films like "Saving Private Ryan" and "You've Got Mail" might stumble onto this puppy and give it a shot based on more recent work. Boy are they in for a shock.

Even this early, in 1984, it's obvious Hanks had the capability of spinning gold from pewter. Because the script is nothing more than an endless series of low-brow gags and d*ck jokes. But in Hank's hands, it all comes out much better than you'd think.

I think the second-most famous person in this film is either Tawny Kitaen or Adrian Zmed, so what does THAT tell you? (By the way, think they get Christmas cards from Hanks?) But the odd assembly of buffoons and horndogs here team up to do some surprisingly funny work.

Sometimes I'll take one scene and let it sum up a movie's entire mindset. I can definitely do that for this flick: In the middle of a donkey show at the bachelor party, the donkey wanders off, snorts a lot of coke, munches a bunch of pills and drops dead of a massive coronary on the spot.

So ask yourself this: Am I the type of person who thinks a sex-show donkey OD'ing on blow and pills is funny? If no, steer clear. If yes, you may proceed.

I might be nuts, but I say...7/10.

15 Minutes

Loses Focus
Every film needs a little suspension of disbelief. Your capacity for accepting the unreal can bend, but not break. In "15 Minutes," that suspension of disbelief snaps like a twig.

I could list reasons why this movie takes too many liberties with reality, but it's not worth it. It clearly had some (very obvious) social commentary to make in between murders and explosions. But in being so abjectly stupid about it, not only does it fail to make its points. It blows them so out of proportion that it undermines them.

"15 Minutes" follows the laws of entropy. It starts out OK, but with each passing minute, it spins further off the axis of reality and more toward a cartoonishness that both DeNiro and Ed Burns should have known better than to get involved with. (But not Kelsey Grammer, who is an idiot and, given his limited acting range and complete unlikeability, is so lucky to be Frasier that he should thank God every single day.)

"15 Minutes" packs about that much in entertainment. After that, you're on your own.

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