[font=Arial][color=DarkRed]Fool's Gold - This may be the most boring film about treasure hunting I've seen in a long time. Clearly the filmmakers were intending to strike the comic/romance/adventure balance of [i]Romancing the Stone[/i], but boy does this flick flounder. It progresses but it never builds any sense of momentum; [i]Fool's Gold[/i] works almost entirely in lateral moves so no scene feels any more important than the other. It's like the film succumbed to Matthew McConaughey's foggy, stoner spirit and decides to just shrug its shoulders through gunfights and explosions. The characters are grotesquely annoying and yet the supporting characters keep elbowing into what should be a combative romance between Kate Hudson and McConaughey. It's like the filmmakers thought exotic locations, sunny skies, and extremely tan lead actors would take care of the rest. Nothing in this movie ever crosses over into intentional comedy. The treasure angle is so contrived that it requires extensive sit-downs to just go over the convoluted exposition. [i]Fool's Gold[/i] is an empty-headed errand that takes far too long to go absolutely nowhere. For goodness sake, the movie has a puffy Malcolm-Jamal Warner (Theo from [i]The Cosby Show[/i]) as a dreadlocked Caribbean gangster. You tell me if you think that sounds like a good idea.
Nate's Grade: C-
Baby Mama - 2008 is becoming a year dominated by Tina Fey. She won three Emmys for her Best Comedy TV series [i]30 Rock[/i], including writing and acting, and her dead-on portrayal of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has branded the public perception of this political figure. [i]Baby Mama[/i] is a mildly entertaining comedy that works because of the finely honed chemistry between Fey and her former [i]Saturday Night Live[/i] co-star, Amy Poehler. The movie is at its best when these two women can play off one another. The banter isn't laugh-out-loud funny but provokes plenty of smiles and chuckles. The movie goes in an unforeseen direction in the third act that attempts to raise the stakes through drama, but it feels like a disappointing direction for what is essentially a female buddy comedy. The jokes flow at a steady pace and the movie has a great supporting cast of big names that know how to leave their mark, like Steve Martin as a daffy New Age CEO and Sigourney Weaver as a amazingly fertile boss.
Nate's Grade: B
The Other Boleyn Girl - The story of Henry the Eighth and his many wives is a tale full of romance, danger, betrayal, and sweeping historical changes; it's the most popular soap opera of its age. The 700-page book was naturally going to get slimmed down as a feature film, and [i]The Other Boleyn Girl[/i] feels a bit too streamlined for all the heavy historical events that take place. The production values are all top-notch and the story has some juicy moments. It presents an intriguing angle by showcasing the conniving rivalry between the Boleyn sisters (Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman). The acting falls under that period film gravity where the actors all speak stately and enunciate every syllable slowly, like they were testing out the sound for the first time. Portman is especially fun in a villainous role. Eric Bana is completely at odds with history as Henry VIII, but I suppose it would be harder for modern audiences to accept young nubile ladies vying for the affection of a huge, ugly man with a leg of mutton in his grip.
Nate's Grade: B
Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay - I was a big fan of the first outing to White Castle, a crude stoner comedy that also happened to be clever in its outrageousness. The [i]Harold and Kumar[/i] sequel returns the same writers but what the hell happened? The first film separated itself from its class of juvenile jokesters because it had charm and wit, but this mediocre movie just stumbles from one uninspired comedic setup to another. The boys get mistaken for terrorists and then the movie becomes a ramshackle road trip through America. The gags are lame and easily telegraphed. Regrettably, many jokes are reheated from the first film, like Kumar's fantasies involving an anthropomorphic living bag of weed. The presence of the hysterically gifted Neil Patrick Harris gives the film a boost but even NPH cannot save these less-than-stellar shenanigans. The comic set pieces don't add up together into something greater, and the only scene worth remembering is when the boys smoke weed with President Bush. You know you're in bad shape when even the gratuitous nudity feels tacky and boring.
Nate's Grade: C
Semi-Pro - Will Ferrell should just retire doing sports movies.
Nate's Grade: C-[/color][/font]