Reviews of Knocked Up and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer: 2 ½ Stars
Dir. by Tim Story, starring Jessica Alba, Ioan Gruffud, Chris Evans, Michael Chilkis, Andre Braughter, Laurence Fishburne
If the critics had their way, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer would never have been made. They pretty much unanimously bashed the first Fantastic Four film, yet the film went onto a very respectable 56 million dollars opening weekend en route to a 154 million dollars overall.I haven’t yet seen the first film but if it’s anything like the sequel, it isn’t too hard to see why critics might feel like this franchise is a second-tier version of X-Men or Spiderman. The special effects can be pretty impressive at times. The London Eye sequence, for example, and the airborne battles are great set pieces and if I hadn’t been introduced to Google Earth in the last couple of years, I would have been blown away by the scene where the Human Torch chases the Silver Surfer around the Eastern seaboard as the camera zooms out. The problem, however, is that summer movies are all about escapism and the special effects and the world they are set in don’t seem as well thought-out. Having the Human Torch and Silver Surfer bounce around from New York to Washington D.C. to outer space and Cairo without much second thought, almost feels like something out of a ripe-for-parody 1950’s B movie. A lot of this film is like that: A villain with the name Dr. Von Doom (could they have been any less subtle?), this general blasé feeling by every character in the film about the world ending, etc.
What makes up for it, in part, is the camaraderie between the characters. Johnny Storm (Chris Evans) and Ben Grimm (Michael Chilkis) are a superhuman version of Abbott and Costello, Sue (Jessica Alba) brings a feminine balance to the group, and Reed (Ioan Gruffudd) is the center of the story as much of the drama centers around his choices.
The film’s not a masterpiece but it makes for a pretty decent superhero film.

Knocked Up: 3 Stars
Directed by Judd Apatow, starring Seth Roegen, Katherine Heigl, Paul Rudd, and Leslie Mann
Judd Apatow does very little to restore confidence in the institution of fatherhood but he’s proven again in his sophomore effort (following the 40-Year Old Virgin) that he might just be mainstream Hollywood’s best hope of restoring the mainstream the romantic comedy.

The father in question, Ben Stone (played by Seth Rogen), is someone who’s terrifically incapable of living an adult life. He has an unhealthy love for pot, he lives off a compensation check for being hit by a truck, and has pretty much no foreseeable future. The film centers on the consequences of his one-night-stand-turned-pregnancy with a drunk reporter (Katherine Heigl) who would have been out of his league in any other situation.

The jokes are crude but intelligent and they are remarkably well-placed. Watch the film in a full theater and you never go three minutes without a laugh. More importantly, the films probably comes closer to portraying modern romance more than any attempt at romantic comedy in recent years. As sad as it is to admit, romance these days is more about drunken hook-ups than it is about courting the way the screwball comedies used to present them. Today’s standard of chivalry also might not be Cary Grant but a guy like Rogen’s character, willing to commit to being a father to a kid he didn’t know that’s what he had planned for.


One Response

  1. knocked up should have 4 stars you idiot

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