Tuesday, January 22, 2008


“27 DRESSES” & “MAD MONEY” (Lots of chicks)

Ah, it’s that glorious time of the year when all the Oscar buzzers have been released & all that’s left is the junk that will fade away before the credits even start to roll... in other words, ‘chick flick’ season is here!
Last January saw the release of the 3 worst movies of the year (Well,’I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry’ fits right in too, but) ‘Georgia Rule’, ‘Epic Movie’ & ‘Failure To Launch’ will all be in my bottom 5 of ’07.
But onto the task at hand – which had me viewing back-to-back chick flicks; one with no hope at all of being pleasurable & one that appeared to have some bite to it.
If you had told me I would like the movie about the woman who had been a bridesmaid 27 times more than I would the sneaky bank robbing caper, I’d have said you were nuts – but guess what? I liked ’27 Dresses’ a LOT more than the ridiculously stupid ‘Mad Money’ (Not that ‘Dresses’ offered any intellectual stimulation either)

I’ll start with what I liked about ’27 Dresses’; Judy Greer & James Marsden as the lead character’s best friend & chief annoyance, who turns out to be her favorite newspaper writer. I liked these characters because they’re cynical – they hate weddings as much as I do – so this doesn’t pay homage to droning rituals of the Homosapien species, it actually pokes fun at them.
The biggest surprise in this film is that they used my least favorite Elton John song, ‘Bennie & The Jets’ & actually made it work – how? By making fun of it, as the only lyrics Katherine Heigl’s Jane & Marsden’s Kevin get correct are ‘I read it in a magazine’ & ‘B-B-B-Bennie & The Jetssss’
’27 Dresses’ has a few funny moments & to be quite honest – it just didn’t suck as much as I thought it would.
What did suck was Ed Burns – he has the acting ability of a dead slug on a windowsill. He makes the unflappable Mark Ruffalo seem ‘dynamic’.
& for some reason, Katherine Heigl decided to ‘channel’ Lisa Kudrow to play this part & boy, does that idea fall flat on its unfunny face. Listen to her voice & the way she delivers her lines – that flat, ‘oh, I’m so much more sophisticated & adorable than you homely peons’ voice that just makes you want to throw buckets of raw sewage on her.
But still there’s enough to like to give this movie a C.

‘Mad Money’ on the other hand, gets a D- as its main plot ‘scheme’ is so simplistic it insults the viewing audience. If they had marketed this to pre-schoolers, I’d cut it some slack, but this was presented as a ‘smart’ bank theft caper involving 3 totally diverse actresses – The big surprise – they’re all really bad in this. Oh, they’re diverse, all right, but they all stink up the screen in their own unique way.
After one day on the job at a Federal Reserve Bank in K. C., Diane Keaton’s Bridget
unveils an easy as boiling water plan to heist several thousands of dollars a day from the worn-out cash that is earmarked for destruction.
Keaton is a janitor; Nina (Queen Latifah) is the actual bill shredder; & Jackie (Katie Holmes) is the ‘ditz’ that takes large bins of cash up to Nina’s section to be destroyed. First, Jackie is not the type of individual a staid bank would hire; & second - how convenient for Bridget that these 2 gals decided becoming criminals would be harmless fun.
One might ask why a janitor would be allowed inside rooms with large amounts of cash & several employees on duty, but that would be injecting sense into a movie that is devoid of such frivolous plot infringements.
The only thing this movie challenges its audience to do is to stay awake while these unethical, lazy women do very little to get rich quick.
Just when I hoped this story would show a little respect to the audience, they shove hypocrisy down our throats when Nina, after enrolling her 2 sons in a private school & making a generous donation toward the school’s library, orders the other 2 not to spend any of the loot as it would appear ‘suspicious’.
The bottom line here is that this film has 0 laughs; a sprinkling of light chuckles along the way, but there is not a single good laugh in the entire flick.
I guess if you’re tired of films with intricate plots that bog you down with having to remember who’s who & who’s responsible for doing what & who’s that guy? Where did he come from? (& believe me, I’ve had my fill of those overly complicated plots) then ‘Mad Money’ is the slow-it-down-for-me-and-spell-it-out-like-an-instant-replay-with-teleprompter-writing movie for you!

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