Four new films open in South Africa this first Friday of 2013. And generally they’re of a lighthearted nature, most likely designed to cheer people up as they return to the rat race after the holidays.
80s comedy heavyweights Billy Crystal and Bette Midler are back on the big screen in this family film about a couple who agree to babysit their grandchildren while their daughter (Marisa Tomei) and son-in-law (Tom Everett Scott) are away with work. Unsurprisingly, old styles of parenting clash with the new.
Parental Guidance sports an aggregated Rotten Tomatoes rating of 18% Fresh. It’s bland, it’s predictable and it alternates sentimentality with gross-out jokes. It’s harmless enough for undemanding audiences though.
The antithesis of feel-good Parental Guidance is this indie ensemble comedy about the craziness triggered by the Iowa State Fair Butter Carving Competition. Jennifer Garner is a deranged housewife with political ambitions, Ty Burrell her champion sculptor husband and Olivia Wilde the slutty stripper who comes between them. Also with Rob Corddry, Ashley Green and Hugh Jackman.
With its talented cast and ridiculous premise, I had high hopes for Butter. Unfortunately though, the satire is apparently as blunt as a butter knife, and the quirky film can’t sustain its laughs. A scene-stealing performance from Wilde though, and the film is still wittier than most.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower:
Based on Stephen Chbosky’s novel, and adapted for the screen by the author himself, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming-of-age drama about an introverted high school freshman (Logan Lerman) who is befriended by seniors, and step-siblings, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller.
Now brace yourself, because although it sounds like just another teen flick, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is apparently awesome. Sporting a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 85% Fresh, the film has accumulated multiple critics’ awards. Performances are excellent and the film is heartfelt and authentic-feeling.
Screening in limited release is this French language comedy about male infidelity. Split into 9 segments and directed by multiple filmmakers, the film is written by and stars Jean (Oscar winner for the Artist) Dujardin and Gilles Lellouche.
It may be honest, but The Players has put off a lot of critics with its vulgarity and misogyny. It improves as it progresses but doesn’t benefit from its pointless sketch comedy format.