After spending five days alternating between walking too much and eating too much, it’s back to something of a semblance of reality. Which means it’s time to get this thing fired up again, and boy did Hollywood make sure it rolled out the red carpet for me this week. Nothing says “Welcome back!” like a formulaic romantic comedy and healthy dose of Michael Bay waiting there for me.
The Big Wedding just smacks of pre-assembled product. In fact, it looks designed more to make an appealing poster than an appealing movie. Just slap on a bunch of familiar names and faces, have them all smiling warmly, and hope that the combined good will the audience has for all those folks will carry over into getting people to watch the movie. What happens in it is almost inconsequential. But I’m sure relationships will be tested in heartbreaking and hilarious ways, and the ceremony will go off with no shortage of humorous mishaps, and in the end, we’ll have laughed and cried at love yet again. Until somebody else’s career needs a pick-me-up.
The good news is that Michael Bay has taken a break from making movies about giant robots that turn into trucks. The bad news is that it’s apparently only for one film, because after Pain & Gain, he’s hopping back on board the Transformers train. So enjoy him working with live human beings while you have the chance. As much as you can, anyway. There’s been a lot of buzz about Pain & Gain being Bay’s shot at some sliver of respectability, but the trailers had all of his usual tricks, and not even the presence of Dwayne Johnson has got me all that excited about this. Maybe being deliberately funny will produce better results than we’ve seen before, but I’m not holding my breath.
While on vacation, I finally caught up with Oblivion (which I liked) and Oz the Great and Powerful (which I did not). Both films trade heavily on our preconceived notions of their genres — Oblivion on sci-fi in general and Oz on The Wizard of Oz in particular — but while Sam Raimi undoubtedly has the better track record, it was his film I found more tedious in its devotion to its influences than Oblivion. Not that Joseph Kosinski’s film is terribly original, but it played with its pieces in much more interesting ways. And didn’t remind me so much of Tim Burton’s execrable Alice in Wonderland.
Next week, the summer season truly begins, with Iron Man 3 blasting its way into theaters trying to keep that Avengers momentum going. So this week’s new films better enjoy life while they can, because they’re about to get creamed.