difference between Michel Gondry's Be Kind Rewind and
most movies is that it has one great idea in it. Otherwise,
they are a lot the same. Both have limpdick plots with "ticking
timebombs" to set artificial deadlines for when the climax must
happen. Both have reluctant heros. Both have botched romantic
subplots. Both have lame, sappy endings.
Gondry's got the great gimmick. I hear he stole it from The
Amanda Show on Nickelodeon. I wouldn't know; I only watch
the warring robot cartoons there. The idea is the central conceit
of Be Kind Rewind: a magnetized Jack Black accidentally
erases all the videocassettes in the video store where Mos Def
works, so the two hatch a plan to re-record the movies before
the boss gets back. With an old, battered camcorder and about
eight buck's worth of supplies, they reshoot Ghostbusters,
RoboCop, Lord of the Rings, Rush Hour 2,
King Kong and a couple hundred others around Passaic,
New Jersey. They use friends and acquaintances as additional
cameramen and actors. The process is dubbed "Sweded" by Black,
because he wants to charge customers more by claiming his and
Def's versions are customized and imported from Sweden.
and funniest part of the movie is watching them remake flicks
on the cheap,. They use a toy car grill for King Kong's mouth,
and a Hot Wheels rug as the cityscape under a man supposedly
hanging from the side of a skyscraper. Black, who's about as
naturally hammy as a potbellied pig, gets to overact. He's great
at that. Mos Def, whose main feature is that he's likable, gets
to mutter and sound reluctant.
and Def make movies, Be Kind Rewind is great. When the
rest of the story happens. it's embarrassingly dopey and trite.
It's sort of like someone making a shitty wrap with good cold
cuts, when a simple sandwich would have been better. Danny Glover
plays an old man named Fletcher who owns the video store. His
building is about to be condemned and turned into cheesy modern
apartments. He tells everyone that Fats Waller was born in his
building; it's a lie to make the place seem like more than the
dump it is. Of course, Black and Def scheme to raise enough
money to save the building through their Sweded movies.
on a show to save a condemned building for an old man is also
the plot of Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, and that movie
sucked so much ass the people involved are just now able to
take a crap again. It's also the plot of about one hundred Hallmark
and Disney Channel movies that suck dick, upper leg, genitalia
and lower abdomen.
have gotten away with it if he had winked at the lameness of
the plot, but he doesn't. In fact, he piles onto it with such
sorry ass tropes as a faceless, large competitor called West
Coast Video. Yeah, like a video store chain can be seen as a
powerful behemoth these days. Fuck, I can't believe any of them
are still in business. Anyway, that subplot goes nowhere. There's
also a downright uncomfortable subplot about the community teaming
up to help save the store that ends the movie in a way just
a little too sappy for a 1940s Frank Capra movie. There is a
near-kiss in a romantic subplot that disappears as quickly as
quarters on the pool table when the Harelip is around. Another
subplot that goes nowhere and means nothing is the appearance
of a studio executive who destroys all the Sweded movies for
copyright infringement. It's just a Deus ex Machina -- that's
a fancy way of saying some bullshit that a director jams in
to turn the direction of the plot when he's run out of ideas
for its current direction.
are also all one-dimnesioned and dull. Black is zany, in the
worst Hollywood movie way. Def is just dull. The romantic lead,
Melonie Diaz should at least show us her boobs. Glover just
acts old. None of them are worth rooting for.
Gondry just stopped trying after he came up with the Sweding
part. That part is good, though. It reminded me how much fucking
fun it is to just take a camcorder and make a movie. Except,
not the kind in the bedroom because--no matter how well I hide
the camera--Mrs. Filthy always figures it out and asks, "Why
is that dirty sock whirring?" It also is a great reminder that
what makes a movie so much fun to watch is not technical skills
or fancy-ass special effects. Sure, those help, but the soul
of a movie is not its laser battles. The people making it have
to believe in it, and have to be trying. The Sweded movies here
have that spirit, and it's infectious, even if Black and Def
are incompetent boobs.
it this way: Be Kind Rewind ain't a great movie, but
it may inspire people to Swede their own movies, and more folks
to try. The most a shitflick like Transformers does is
encourage people to buy new lunchboxes. For that alone, this
movie doesn't suck. Three Fingers.
to tell Filthy Something?