Daily Archives: February 11, 2005

Hitch

The name above the title of this slick, fluffy romantic comedy is Will Smith, playing a Manhattan date doctor who advises shy guys on how to score. But with all due respect to Smith, the moviea performance piece with an unbelievable bare-bones plotbelongs to Kevin James (star of the TV show The King of Queens) as Hitch’s main client, a klutzy accountant who’s hopelessly in love with his wealthy socialite boss (Amber Valletta). This is a mannerist mugfest for all concerned, including Eva Mendes as a gossip columnist, but like the movie as a whole, James manages to be so light on his lumbering feet that it’s only natural for the film to culminate with his goofy dancing. Andy Tennant directed the script by Kevin Bisch. PG-13, 116 min. (JR)… Read more »

Go Further

While it didn’t convince me to give up corn dogs, Ron Mann’s celebration of actor Woody Harrelson’s Simple Organic Living tour (a bus-and-bicycle caravan spreading the gospel of holistic living along the Pacific coast) is a highly entertaining form of ecological agitpropradical but accessible. Mann’s shrewdest ploy is to shift his focus from Harrelson to Steve Clark, his junk-food-addicted production assistant, whose comic encounters with strangers along the way look staged but purportedly weren’t. Great music and animation plus a pivotal cameo by Ken Kesey helped make this an audience favorite at the 2003 Toronto film festival. 100 min. (JR)… Read more »

Uncle Nino

A wise, aging Italian peasant (Pierrino Mascarino) who knows barely any English comes to America for the first time to visit his grown nephew (Joe Mantegna), bringing light and life into the man’s humdrum suburban family and restoring their best impulses. I know how mawkish this sounds, but writer-director Robert Shallcross believes in it so passionately that he came close to convincing me too. I even enjoyed the rock number that Uncle Nino plays on the fiddle with his nephew’s garage band. With Anne Archer, Trevor Morgan, and Gina Mantegna. G, 93 min. (JR)… Read more »

Go Further

While it didn’t convince me to give up corn dogs, Ron Mann’s celebration of actor Woody Harrelson’s Simple Organic Living tour (a bus-and-bicycle caravan spreading the gospel of holistic living along the Pacific coast) is a highly entertaining form of ecological agitprop–radical but accessible. Mann’s shrewdest ploy is to shift his focus from Harrelson to Steve Clark, his junk-food-addicted production assistant, whose comic encounters with strangers along the way look staged but purportedly weren’t. Great music and animation plus a pivotal cameo by Ken Kesey helped make this an audience favorite at the 2003 Toronto film festival. 100 min. Facets Cinematheque.… Read more »