Friday, April 01, 2011

My Week In Movies - Diary of a Wimpy Movie Watcher

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (2011) My kid has been devouring these books. He's read all five of them at least twice...some of them three times. And this is all in the course of a few months. He was excited to see this second instalment of the film series and apparently so were many other kids as it opened at #1 at the box office this weekend. The movie is silly, inoffensive fun. Wimpy kid Greg and his nasty brother Rodrick are forced to start getting along by their parents. At one part in the film, the parents go out of town for the weekend leaving Greg and Rodrick home alone. "No parties," is Dad's command. Of course, high school aged Rodrick immediately throws a party. I thought it was hilarious how the film depicted a high school party as a middle schooler might imagine it in all his PG rated glory. There is no alcohol present at the party, only the big plastic red cups. It is eventually made clear that they are all drinking soda. Typical high school party activities like riding a unicycle, sticking peanut butter bread to the ceiling and a conga line are also graphically displayed. The guys urge each other to "ask a girl to dance." Yes, dancing is what goes on at parties. It's all actually pretty funny and kudos to the film makers for keeping the whole affair wholesome. The movie is rated PG - basically for a couple of poop jokes.

Ramona and Beezus (2010) I'm a sucker for a live-action G rated movie, they are so few and far between - I just can't help myself no matter what the intended audience is. Which brings me to this film, also based on a series of children's books, about a grade school girl and her over active imagination and the troubles she gets her older sister into. At first, I thought the movie was skewed a wee bit young and I was going to be bored but it soon got to me and turned out to be one of the most enjoyable movies I've seen in a while. Selena Gomez plays the older sister Beezus and there are some really good adult performances by John Corbett, Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Duhamel - all of whom appear to be having a great time. If you are looking for a good movie for a family film night, this is a great choice. I think any parent will enjoy it and kids ought to enjoy it as well. With two girl names in the title, it might be a hard sell for boys (as it was with mine) but the film itself isn't really girlie at all.

Snowballing (1984) There are few places as ripe for comedy as a ski resort. At some point during the proceedings, someone is bound to end up on a runaway sled or set of skis racing down a slope backwards against their will. However, it is the rare film that can pull of an entertaining picture with just this trick alone. Sadly, Snowballing is not one of those movies. It is, however, a film with an identity crisis. It tries to be a teenage sex comedy, but with it's PG rating it never really gets anywhere near that. It's kind of silly to hear characters talking about wanting sex when you know they aren't going to get anywhere close to it. Then they keep setting up gratuitous nude shots only to never pay off. The comedy is pretty limp in this movie too. Only a couple of one liners and a pretty clever Indiana Jones riff made me laugh. The cast includes the under rated Billie Hayes who played Witchie-poo on H.R. Pufnstuf, as a homeless woman. She's about the only one in the entire cast who can act. Rated PG - loaded with very mild sexual innuendo and some scantily clad women along with a few curse words.

Gidget (1959) My mom loved this movie and introduced me to the world of Gidget when I was younger. We had watched this movie along with it's two theatrical sequels and the three ultra-rare TV-movie sequels. They are all silly and simple and that's why I like them so much. In this initial outing, Gidget meets a group of surf bums at the beach and is taken with the world of surfing. Of course, she ends up falling for one of the surfers, a cool cat named Moondoggie, and wacky hi-jinks ensue. This was probably considered fairly randy material back in the late 50's but today it's about as provocative as a Nickelodeon sit-com.

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