Short Reviews

The Back-Up Plan (PG-13) ☆☆☆☆☆

On the day of her artificial insemination, Jennifer Lopez finally meets the man of her dreams (poorly played by Alex O’Loughlin). Excruciating, interminable and preoccupied with the words “shit” and “vagina,” The Back-Up Plan is the worst film to come out of Hollywood so far this year. Television director Alan Poul (Big Love) makes his feature film debut with a remedial script by TV writer Kate Angelo.

The Losers (PG-13) ★★☆☆☆

Hot on the trail of Kick-Ass’s experiment in vacant violence, The Losers is equally wrongheaded. A team of U.S. Special Forces, led by Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Clay, gets double-crossed and then joins up with a mercenary named Aisha (Zoe Saldana) who insists they seek revenge against CIA baddie Max (Jason Patric). The film’s politics, like this entire effort, are sketchy. Each character seems to have sauntered in from a different movie.

The Bounty Hunter (PG-13) ★☆☆☆☆

Short on chemistry, but big on violence, Hunter casts Gerard Butler as bounty hunter Milo Boyd, who is thrilled when he’s offered the job of capturing his ex-wife ( Jennifer Aniston). There isn’t a single laugh to be had in this shoddy flick with inflated production costs. Aniston is a caricature of herself, Butler’s accent becomes grating and Screenwriter Sarah Thorp’s (Twisted) script feels like it was farted rather than written.

Death at a Funeral (R) ★★☆☆☆

Audiences unfamiliar with Frank Oz’s 2007 original film by the same title will enjoy Neil LaBute’s lesser remake, whose conceit lies in transplanting the setting from the U.K. to the U.S. and replacing the all-white cast with a largely African-American group (Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence and Tracy Morgan). Screenwriter Dean Craig updates his own comedy of errors, but much of the original’s humor is lost in translation.

Date Night (PG-13) ★★★☆☆

This middle-aged rom-com splits between slapstick and comic delivery. As a wedded couple, Tina Fey and Steve Carell are plausible and funny. Screenwriter Josh Klausner’s hackneyed plot puts the couple on the run. Cameos from Mark Wahlberg, Ray Liotta, James Franco and Mila Kunis barely improve the script. Fey and Carell deserve better.

Clash of the Titans (PG-13) ★★★☆☆

In spite of a miscast Sam Worthington and a lame CGI Medusa, Titans is an enjoyable spectacle based on the myth of Perseus. Director Louis Leterrier (Transporter 2) makes the most of big action and intense battles. Ignore the critical moaning about this update of Desmond Davis’ 1981 film. Solid performances from Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes.

Oceans (G) ★★★★☆

Led by Pierce Brosnan’s commanding narration, filmmakers Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud explore the ocean. Although it sounds like the kind of documentary you’ve seen before, Oceans takes full advantage of state-of-the-art technology to show audiences crystal-clear images. The filmmakers balance the dramatic and peaceful rituals of ocean animals with the pollution problem.

Kick-Ass (R) ☆☆☆☆☆

Director Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake) oversees this dumb story, co-written by comic book writers Mark Millar and John S. Romita Jr. The story is about the young Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), a New York fan-boy who reinvents himself as Kick-Ass to violent results. He finds assistance from a Batman wannabe (Nicolas Cage) and his Robin-ish daughter (Chloe Grace Moretz).

Hot Tub Time Machine (R) ★★☆☆☆

Considering John Cusack produced this lackluster comedy romp in which three buddies (Rob Corddry, Cusack and Craig Robinson) travel back to their ’80s-era heyday, Time Machine should at least feature some cool music à la High Fidelity. Chevy Chase and Crispin Glover are wasted in minor roles. Homosexual hijinks and poorly executed slapstick pratfalls attend this sloppy comedy.



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