Gelf Magazine - Looking over the overlooked

« March 6: Gelf's Varsity Letters

The Gelflog

Post Poaches Puff Piece »

Arts

February 27, 2008

Why 'Be Kind, Rewind' Sucks

Before I begin my tirade, I feel compelled to offer the caveat that I fell asleep for a solid 25 minutes between the first and second acts of Michel Gondry's new flick Be Kind, Rewind. That said…fuck that piece of shit movie, and all of its childish optimism about the ability of people to band together to do what's right.

As someone regularly exposed to the famed East Coast liberal elite, I am well aware of the prestige Gondry carries into a picture. And said prestige is not unwarranted, as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Gondry's compilation of music videos rate among some of the more interesting and thought-provoking film works of recent note. However, as talented as Gondry may be, even his seemingly endless array of whimsical props and vibrant colors cannot save Be Kind, Rewind from its parade into mediocrity.

The plot revolves around Passaic, New Jersey residents Jerry and Mike (Jack Black and Mos Def), a predictably inept but goodhearted duo of neighborhood oddballs who work at a failing video store owned by a man named Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover). One day, officials from the big bad local government warn Mr. Fletcher that his decrepit storefront is in violation of building codes, and unless he raises X amount of money in X amount of time, his store will be condemned and demolished in order to make way for condominiums. That's what happens in comedy films, right? Why should Messrs. Gondry, Black, Def, and Glover be held to a higher standard than Deuce Bigalow, European Gigolo?

The main gags of the movie, which are occasionally amusing but quickly grow stale, are the remakes of popular films Mike and Jerry shoot following a bizarre incident in which Jerry somehow becomes magnetized and erases the content of all the tapes in Mr. Fletcher's store (the part where he becomes magnetized is the part I think I slept through). While in concept vaguely interesting, a number of bloggers have pointed out that the same idea was used years earlier on that most revered of comedy platforms, The Amanda Show, which ran on Nickelodeon from 1999-2003. The idea is broad enough that it would be a stretch to say Gondry stole the idea from The Amanda Show, but regardless it seems like kind of a cop-out for the man behind Eternal Sunshine to be on common ground with Amanda Bynes.

While the plot was hackneyed and the characters uninteresting, the real sticking point in Be Kind, Rewind is the film's cheerful depiction of humanity. Like so many Adam Sandler films, the underlying theme of Be Kind, Rewind is more or less that people are good and will eventually triumph over evil, and sometimes all it takes is a simple reminder of what is truly important. Sure people love new developments and condominiums, but what's really important are local businesses, regardless of how unprofitable and/or ignored they may be. Mr. Fletcher's video store could be any number of small, locally-owned real-life businesses that are going under every year in towns across the United States. Usually these businesses fail because they cannot compete with larger, corporate stores. Sometimes they fail for other reasons, but it really doesn't matter. The point is that the business has failed because no one is utilizing its services. And like in the film, people don't seem to have a problem not utilizing said services until that fateful day comes when it is time for said store to close up shop, whereupon the public is reminded of how one day everything will be controlled by "evil corporations" and there will be no more local business.

The film revels in its glorious demonizing of gentrification. Yes, I acknowledge that gentrification is real and often has negative consequences, including people losing their homes and businesses and the eyesore that is a brand new Starbucks in the middle of an otherwise organically developed city block. But in making developers the film's main antagonists, it really feels like Gondry is pandering to the Lower East Side/Northern Brooklyn crowd who love to talk about how much character their neighborhood had prior to development and the construction of expensive condos. One can see it up and down Bowery Street in Manhattan, and outside the subway stop on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, where some brave dissident has scribbled "Welcome to Condoburg" over a Rambo flyer. While it sucks that people are sometimes displaced in the name of "progress," the fact is that gentrification is among the purest manifestations of patently American values, no matter how much Be Kind, Rewind and Adam Sandler would pretend to disagree. By painting developers as the bad guys, Gondry is not only preaching to the choir, he is taking the easy way out, just like he does in the rest of this stupid movie. And that is really disappointing.







Post a comment

Comment Rules

The following HTML is allowed in comments:
Bold: <b>Text</b>
Italic: <i>Text</i>
Link:
<a href="URL">Text</a>

Comments

- Arts
- posted on Feb 28, 08
analog

if you fell asleep for "a solid 25 minutes between the first and second acts" then you have absolutely no place criticizing the movie, no matter how good or bad it is ... and this ridiculous "review" is nothing but a badly veiled rant about your personal beef with "the famed East Coast liberal elite," and the "childish optimism" of Gondry's script -- get a clue, dipshit. If you're going use a movie to pawn off some half-baked personal view at least TRY to avoid making is so painfully obvious.

- Arts
- posted on Feb 28, 08
Jake Rake

Analog- I agree with you that this is a rant and that I am kind of a dipshit, but I assure you that there is nothing veiled going on in this article. I thought Be Kind, Rewind was a piece of shit for all of the reasons mentioned in the article and that all of those things that sucked about the film are pertinent issues that suck in real life too. I have no agenda here, other than to trash this movie that I hate so much.

- Arts
- posted on Feb 28, 08
jack black

I feel your rage. The movie was 2 hours too long (even though the movie ran less than 120 min.) and simply not funny. However, your review lost focus when you digressed into the malarky about gentrification. Please remain on your meds as I'm sure your doctor has repeatedly suggested.

- Arts
- posted on Feb 29, 08
keith h.

wow, so angry. everything ok?

- Arts
- posted on Mar 08, 08
Ryan

I couldn't agree more. This was a terrible film. A simplistic script, weak one-dimensional characters and a predictable, cliched storyline. A complete waste of time.

- Arts
- posted on Mar 15, 08
haha

this film was absolute wank i wish i had my money back it was boring uncreative and had jokes that died as soon as you heard them

- Arts
- posted on Apr 13, 08
wipey

couldn't agree with you more
it is in the same class as deuce bigalo, police academy etc

- Arts
- posted on Jun 18, 08
ray

This movie was just plain boring altogether. I'm not surprised you fell asleep, as I almost did as well. I really think that this is Jack Black's worst acting job that he has ever done. He tries, and fails to be funny. The closest thing that you'll get to a laugh out of this movie is a grunt.

- Arts
- posted on Jun 18, 08
Javier

I made the mistake of renting this movie. This is the bigest pece of shit movie ever. And I am being nice. I tried to waching it to see if there was a chance to somhow get a smile on my face but no luck this movie just sucks

- Arts
- posted on Jul 13, 08
yep

didnt bother reading that long review, all i can add is i couldnt take it anymore and switched it off 20 minutes before the end. If you enjoy good movies dont watch this

- Arts
- posted on Jul 19, 08
Cad

I am a big movie lover, and I thought I'd enjoy this like any other movie (even when I know they are B movies by destiny). However, this one is one of the rare "crap" movies that isn't even slightly enjoyable. It mocks my intelligence. The script, the dialogue, the story... it is all half-assed, uninspiring and unfunny, and that is scary when the film relies on inspiration and comedy. I didn't laugh or come close to laughing once. The remakes were "creative" in a way that I could come up with those ideas when drunk at a frat party, I know you all could.

- Arts
- posted on Aug 25, 08
steve

shitest movie ever i was really dissapointed in jack black black this movie was AUWFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Arts
- posted on Sep 30, 08
pezzidimerda

It sucked really bad!!!

- Arts
- posted on May 12, 17
BDM23

This film is absolutely terrible! It feels like the dialogue was frantically written and turned in 5 minutes before each scene was shot, also it seems like many of the speaking parts were just given to random passers by during filming. It is an absurdly clumsy, & unfunny steaming pile of buffalo dung.

- Arts
- posted on May 12, 17
BDM23

This film is absolutely terrible! It feels like the dialogue was frantically written and turned in 5 minutes before each scene was shot, also it seems like many of the speaking parts were just given to random passers by during filming. It is an absurdly clumsy, & unfunny steaming pile of buffalo dung.

- Arts
- posted on May 12, 17
BDM23

This film is absolutely terrible! It feels like the dialogue was frantically written and turned in 5 minutes before each scene was shot, also it seems like many of the speaking parts were just given to random passers by during filming. It is an absurdly clumsy, & unfunny steaming pile of buffalo dung.


About Gelflog

The Gelflog brings you all the same sports, media & world coverage you’ve come to love from Gelf Magazine, but shorter and faster. If you’d like, subscribe to the Gelflog feed.

Recently Posted

RSSSubscribe to the Gelflog RSS

Newsletter

Hate to miss out? Enter your email for occasional Gelf news flashes.

Merch

Gelf t-shirt

The picture is on the front of the shirt, the words are on the back. You can be in between.