Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Average nose, average actor: Luke Wilson double feature

Because really, can you think of a movie in which you said, "Wow, that Luke Wilson really knocked it out of the pakr!" Sure, he was amusing as the somewhat straight guy in "Old School" and had a funny little cameo in "Anchorman." Beyond that? Eh, not so much. And these two movies don't exactly change my thinking.

Maybe if the bed had Magic Fingers ... "Vacancy"

Never heard of this movie but was intrigued when it popped up on cable the other night. That had less to do with Lukey Boy and more to do with Kate Beckinsale -- woof -- as well as the seedy plot: unsuspecting couple checks into remote motel and finds that they're to star in a snuff film. So do I get a AAA discount or what?

(And I love that it's yet another unsuspecting couple. Just once, we need to see a suspicious couple. "You know, honey, this looks like a big set-up by some bad people. I know it.")

Wilson and Beckinsale bicker in their car, clearly carrying some baggage. Of course, people trying to kill them on videotape tends to bring people together. Overall, it's a pretty simple story that could have been told in a half-hour or so; the couple's background and a lot of the atmosphere shots seemed unnecessary padding.

But hey, we get Frank Whaley as the twitchy motel clerk, and I'll admit to being curious how these crazy kids would get out of this mess. Dumb stuff, true, but you'll never look at motel videotapes the same way again. Mainly because nobody has videotapes anymore. (And this movie was made last year.)

A scarier and more possible future than "Blade Runner" or "Robocop," that's for sure: "Idiocracy"

This one I had heard of, but only passingly. Not sure it was ever in theaters, but I guess it's got a bit of a cult following. Figures, since it's a Mike Judge movie. Considering how much some people worship "Office Space," they'd watch him have Butt-head read "War and Peace" on screen.

Another simple plot: Wilson is an average, maybe slightly dim soldier who, along with a hooker (Maya Rudolph), becomes part of a top-secret hibernation program. Instead of a year, though, they wake up 500 years later, when humankind has devolved to the point of everyone being idiots. (Note: It took me three tries to get that last word right just now. First idoits, then iditos. Clearly this movie had an impact.)

In this future, people love the TV show "Ow! My Balls!" and the movie "Ass." Wilson stumbles around a bit but is soon revealed to be the smartest man alive, and as such must solve big problems, like getting crops to grow. Easier said than done, and hijinks ensue.

Lots of clever little funnies here, from the aforementioned programming to the solider in charge of the hibernation program -- "A pimp's love is very different from that of a square" -- to my favorite bit, the cigarette billboard: "If you don't smoke Tarryltons ... F*ck You!" That was kind of awesome.

I wouldn't say there's anything bad about "Idiocracy," but there's also nothing amazing. Like I said, some funnies here and there, and some gags that fall flat. Hey, we're not talking about "Schindler's List" here. IMDb shows the runtime at 84 minutes, but I think it was more like 75. Still a good 15 minutes more than it needed to be, but passable comedy all the same. (Can't wait to see that on the DVD cover: "Passable comedy!" -- Movievangelist. Someday ... )


At 1:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

give Idiocracy a few more viewings. The growing of the family tree is comedy gold.

At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was blown away by Luke Wilson in Legally Blonde.

At 4:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

meh. He was better in That 70's Show.

At 9:40 PM, Blogger Jefferson said...

No question the family tree reeled me in. Very clever. Even more than Larry the Cable Guy.

Alas, things get a little uneven after that. Still, you can't beat Dax Shephard telling someone to beat it. "I'm 'batin'!"

(Note the two usages of "beat." Mike Judge isn't the only clever one. Heh heh, heh heh.)


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