Daily Archives: July 14, 2006

You, Me and Dupree

Coproducer Owen Wilson is the title jerk-off, the best man at the wedding of a couple played by Matt Dillon and Kate Hudson. After losing his job and home, he winds up staying with the newlyweds, the houseguest from hell; meanwhile the husband is already buckling under the strain of working for his scornful father-in-law (Michael Douglas). The trailer suggested a Farrelly brothers-type gross-out complete with overflowing toilets, but working with a shapeless script, directors Anthony and Joe Russo (Welcome to Collinwood) can’t figure out what they’re making. They lunge in several directions, but fail to get around the central problem: most of their actors have little flair for comedy. I felt a twinge of envy for those in the preview audience who raced for the exit before the movie was over. They at least knew when to quit. PG-13, 108 min.… Read more »

Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man

Lian Lunson’s torturously dull 2005 documentary, which seems like an extended DVD bonus for a yet-to-be-made biography, shows the Canadian singer performing only once, with U2. Mostly it’s a tribute concert, with his repertoire performed by other singers, including Nick Cave, Rufus Wainwright, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Martha Wainwright, Beth Orton, Linda and Teddy Thompsonall of whom, like Cohen, are typically filmed in close-ups so extreme that we can’t even see their chins or foreheads. And we learn almost nothing about Cohen’s life, apart from the fact that he comes from Montreal and once trained as a Zen monk. PG-13, 105 min. (JR)… Read more »

The Lieutenant Wore Skirts

In Frank Tashlin’s first CinemaScope comedy (1956), which pulses with his characteristically vivid colors and bittersweet observations, a Beverly Hills writer and World War II hero expects to be drafted back into the air force, so his leggy young wife reenlists to be near him; he winds up 4-F, and she becomes a lieutenant. He dutifully follows her to Hawaii, and much gender confusion ensues. The casting is pure 50s and includes Tom Ewell, the poet laureate of male sexual anxiety (The Seven Year Itch, The Girl Can’t Help It), and the unjustly forgotten, mellow Sheree North; with Rita Moreno and Rick Jason. 99 min. (JR)… Read more »

Once In A Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story Of The New York Cosmos

Despite the title, this is less a soccer documentary than a corporate hagiography along the lines of The Last Mogul or The Kid Stays in the Picture; its real hero isn’t Cosmos star Pele (who wisely declined to be interviewed), but Steve Ross, CEO of Warner Communications, which owned the team. The most important secondary figures are Ross’s associates, sycophants, and acquisitions, some of whom happened to play soccer and are intermittently paraded before us as prize pets. (Henry Kissinger makes a guest appearance too, as he does in The Kid Stays in the Picture, though it’s unclear whether he’s supposed to enhance Ross or vice versa.) The distributor is Miramax, so maybe this is just a dry run for The Harvey Weinstein Story. PG-13, 97 min. (JR)… Read more »

Susan Slept Here

The Gene Siskel Film Center’s retrospective on the brilliant comedy director Frank Tashlin continues with this 1954 feature about a Hollywood screenwriter (Dick Powell) and his misadventures with a volatile teenager (Debbie Reynolds). In some ways an early version of Tashlin’s Bachelor Flat (1962), which screens later this month, it’s narrated by the hero’s Oscar statuette, and some of the gags about 50s Hollywood are priceless (among them a parody of Gene Kelly’s dream ballets). With Anne Francis. 98 min. Archival IB Technicolor print. Sat 7/15, 5 PM, and Tue 7/18, 6 PM, Gene Siskel Film Center.… Read more »