So we went to see Fast 5 last night; I've only seen the first one, Ant hasn't seen any, but he wanted to see why so many people he likes would be giving it a big thumps up, although other than Ebert I'm not sure who he means. I'll watch Dwayne Johnson in anything, and I've wanted a big screen fix of him since this tidbit of info popped up on the web and made me literally shriek with delight. So off we went to laugh at popcorn fluff, and it might be an exhilarating slew of gravity ignoring spectacle (defying suggests a thoughtful awareness, and the film's too stupid to be thoughfully aware) but it's a little too short on complete ridiculousness (not to mention no funny lines for The Rock; what the hell were they thinking!?) to be truly entertaining. And definitely not funny. Not that I was expecting hilarity, but I was expecting to be a little more engaged than I was. I was more entertained by this than I was the whole of Fast 5:
Today Now! Interviews The 5-Year-Old Screenwriter Of "Fast Five"
Last night the only time I laughed was before the movie even started - during a special sneak peek premiere for Bridesmaids.
Literally a premiere of a scene from the movie, an excellent strategic move and totally novel to me (is this really common?), and very effective - I personally had it set in my mind that I emphatically WAS NOT going to be seeing this film, even though I know that the talent behind it are right up my street. But good talent in a girly movie does not mean it won't be tiresome. There was a time when I like Katherine Heigl, and then she started doing all those girly films that looked like the message was a women is only really happy and complete when a man really does love and commit to her instead of just knowing you could have that if you wanted. Same thing with Anne Hathaway. if the films like that with Heigl and Hathaway ended up being about realising how much the female protagonists are wasting there lives chasing unhealthily things they don't even need, the trailers looked like the films spend a hell of a long time raping your eyes with all that Pre Women + Vote, pink and peach bullshit before the moment of epiphany. I could do without another film showing great actresses doing what appears to be any old conventional shit to raise their stock in Hollywood despite how vomit inducingly inane it is, sucking the life out of any humour that could be mined by sticking to safe social areas copying jokes for women that were only funny when they were new - say, 45 to 60 years ago.
And there lies the savviness of this 'premiere scene' before Fast 5. I rolled my eyes when the intertitle popped up after the trailer. I could accept sitting through the trailer, but watching a whole fucking scene! Then I realised just how many amazing actresses have agreed to be in the film (as well as the continually amusing incestuousness of Jupp Apatow productions - some SNLers, some The Office worker, some from random Apatow films, some from all). You have Rose Byrne, great in both SuperCereal roles like Damages and ridiculous charicatures like Jackie Q:
And you have two of the best SNL headliners in the lead parts opposite her, Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph, both of whom pop up all over the place and tend to steal the show (Maya = Idiocracy; Kristen = Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Ghost Town; Dewey Cox/Walk Hard):
maya rudolph aka Whitney Houston by jenniesslave
Then there's Ellie Kemper, who I don't know much about but she's worked with the director before in the American version of The Office amongst other things, and there's this:
[This one's funnier, but she does less in it - Blind Date Sketch ]
And there's Melissa McCarthy, who I won't include a video of because, frankly, I can't find any that show how awesome she is, or at least nothing that doesn't hugely spoilerize at the same time, but she is fantastic, particularly adorable in The Nines, and small roles in loads of stuff. She doesn't do that many huge roles, and is wasting herself on a show about two fat people who start to date while they try and lose weight, which is one of those comedy shows designed to be safe that ends up being just boring. She should be a mainstay of SNL and Funny or Die, but apparently hasn't done any. In the next week I'll be seeing Pretty Ugly People (good title don't you think?) for a Melissa and Missy Pyle fix. Along with Melissa seems to be even more excellent actors in smaller parts, such as Steven Carell's wife and Jill Clayburgh in her last role.
The scene they showed is of the bride and flock of bridesmaids going to pick the dresses. It starts out with some obvious passive aggressiveness about the price of dresses but descends quickly into bodily function humour relating to the restaurant they just came from. And it's good. Lines are funny, performances solid, outcome (no pun intended) satisfying. And I was sold. And now, even though the trailers still look like it's just going to be one scene of female envy/pining/meltdown of one form or another, one after another, I'll go see it.
Clearly the intention. To say 'This film, yeah it's about all that wedding bullshit, but in a Hangover way, not in a 27 Dresses way, give it a chance, everyone's funny' to all us chicks out there who honestly don't horde a secret collection of chick flicks about women bonding over what they like or don't like about hair, shoes, couture, nails, getting the ring, male physique and karaoke. I guess they figured showing the clip before Fast 5 would target several audiences:
1) Girly girls going to see Fast 5 cos their man or date wanted to, who will see Bridesmaids anyway.
2) Normal girls who like a bit of peachy girliness in proportion and like a bit of action in proportion, doesn't matter.
3) Tomboys who would never go see this cos of all the obvious obsession with all the conventional social cliches that tomboys don't care about.
And 4) The guys who might go see it cos toilet humour might mean it's not gonna make him want to stick glass in his eyes, and he n the chick next to him in Fast 5 seem to be laughing at *shocker* the same bits, so maybe a chick flick wouldn't be so bad...
Or so I assume. I can't find that scene in question, but there's this - the slightly dirtier and therefore funnier version of the trailer:
As to Fast 5; it is what it is. Mini buzzkill info below but major spoilers. If you think such a thing is important with a Fast n Furious movie...
So Fast 5 is silly movie with a lot of pretty cool stunts in pretty (sorry, not pretty, um... tooled up? sick? fierce? whatever) cars. Actually it wasn't just silly - the story was downright offputting to me cos it focussed on the characters doing stuff I just didn't think they justified in the story. They start out as fugitives in Rio, they need some cash and with some other guys they go hijack some cars off a train. They want the same car as the other jackers, it turns out the car is a bigger deal than they thought - it's got a chip in it that reveals all the info about where the overlord of Rio keeps his money. So they decide to go after this money with a team of trusted friends so they'll be rich enough to go somewhere and settle down and stop running. So they come up with a plan (that involves first burning about 10 million dollars just in order to make the plan work) then there's some pointless justifying scenes of Brazilians talking about our evil the druglord of Rio is, and how he makes life hard by making everyone work for their basic amenities, then the crew of defiant carjackers go ahead with the plan to steal all his cash, smash up half of Rio and kill a bunch of people in the process, and then go off and buy lots of shit.
Now, personally, I expect to actually enjoy going on the ride with my characters even if it's just a popcorn movie of people I'll never know, plans I'd never take part in for results I'd never want. And watching a bunch of guys contradict themselves by acting like they think the Gang Lord is a shithead for not treating Brazilians right, and then pointlessly burning some money, taking all the rest of the money, killing a load of Brazilians, making a lot of Brazilians out of work and homeless, destroying whole chucks of Rio, and then giving none of the money back so they can go off and undeservedly chill out for the rest of their lives is really distracting from the two really good action sequences, the train and the ending. I kinda wish I'd waited for those to be uploaded to Youtube and just skip the rest...