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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Friday Estimates by Wacky Comedy Klady

32 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Wacky Comedy Klady”

  1. bulldog68 says:

    I think Melissa McCarthy just stole what was left of Rex Reed’s career. They say success is the sweetest revenge, well she got hers.

  2. etguild2 says:

    The release of “Lost In Thailand,” a smash hit in China that’s done $200 million USD (let that sink in a second) proves that Chinese cinema from the PR does not have the same niche appeal Bollywood does here…

  3. anghus says:

    How about this for the headline:

    “Tractor sized hippo number one at box office”

    Let me preface the following comments with my acknowledgment that Rex Reed is an idiot. It didn’t take this comment to get me to that rationalization. However….

    I think it’s funny how everyone’s flipping out about his comments when McCarthy stars on a sitcom that is basically one long fat joke. The show is called ‘Mike and Molly’ but it might as well be called ‘Laugh at the Morbidly Obese’.

    I saw the trailer for The Heat last night. The trailer is one sight gag after the next. Bullock’s uptight and wearing spanks. McCarthy is a big, doughy, gross looking cop. McCarthy owes as much to her body as supermodels. Her obesity is her schtick. She’s the funny fat girl. Wasn’t that also her schtick in Bridesmaids? Weren’t the jokes derived from her being outspoken, raunchy, and overly sexual? That wouldn’t have been really funny if it was Rose McGowan would it? I mean, if McGowan walks up to a guy and throws her leg up into the air and makes lewd overtones, we got a porno. But if it’s overweight Melissa McCarthy, we got a joke.

    I don’t think you can fault her for that or fault Reed for screaming ‘Tractor sized hippo’. I mean, that’s why she’s in this movie, right? She’s talented. She’s funny. And she’s hefty.

    And i like McCarthy. She’s funny. But her brand of funny is based on no small part to her no small parts.

  4. Lex says:

    Nice 7-8 mil opening weekend for alleged newly christened ultra-super megastar Channing Tatum. Weren’t people on this very blog saying that after last year, he’d graduated to the “reliable leading man” leagues?

  5. anghus says:

    He’s in the movie for eight seconds. He’s the “And” in the credits. It doesn’t help that the movie is a drowsy no thrills thriller.

  6. jesse says:

    Eh, considering that Tatum is probably the most recognizable name in Side Effects, and that the trailer isn’t too deceptive in terms of telegraphing that he’s not the main star of the movie, I would guess that the version with some other Soderbergh regular in Tatum’s part would’ve opened to 5 or 6 million.

    There aren’t REALLY any reliable leading men or women in terms of every single genre, every single time. That was maybe kinda-sorta cruise of Hanks and Cruise in the nineties. Anyone else? If Eddie Murphy had busted out a serious drama in 1986, would it have made $120 million? How about Stallone in a comedy? (We saw how that went.)

    Basically, I defy anyone to name a movie star who had a streak of cross-genre movies longer than three or four in a row — that is, Sandler and Carrey, who’ve both had long long strings of comedy hits, don’t really count.

    Lex, I do think you’re right to a degree that Tatum’s awesome 2012 was as much good luck with three projects that probably would’ve sold reasonably well with other people subbed in. But even if not all three of those movies made $120 million because he was in them, I feel like he (a.) contributed to them moreso than stars of special effects-driven movies can be said to contribute, box-office-wise and (b.) got a big enough profile bounce from them so that if he wasn’t much of a star when The Vow opened, well, by the end of the summer he was certainly going in that direction.

    No real way of knowing this stuff, of course; hard to quantify. But I get the sense people know who Channing Tatum is more or less by name/face, and that’s not the case with so many stars his age.

  7. jesse says:

    Also, no surprise for an in-the-tank Soderbergh fan like me, but I really liked Side Effects. It fits really well with a lot of what he’s been doing the last few years with Girlfriend Experience, Magic Mike, The Informant, and Contagion — it even has a little in common with Haywire (in that it is a beautifully made and well-shot genre workout that moves slower and more deliberately than a lot of modern fans of those genres have come to expect). I’m sad to see him go (or “go” — we all think he’ll have a movie out in five or six years, right?) but as much as I’ve loved this last run (I think it’s his best bunch since Out of Sight/The Limey, though I like almost everything I’ve seen of his), I can see, OK, mmmmmaybe there’s evidence that he’s feeling a little tired out, just in the sheer number of overlaps this movie has with his other recent output. It actually ties this little set together nicely, but I’d understand if he was feeling like maybe he doesn’t have anything more to say on film for awhile.

    It doesn’t make Side Effects drowsy or secondhand, at least not to me. There were some parts where I wondered if he was cheating a little in terms of POV, but scene for scene, shot for shot, I was hypnotized pretty often.

  8. anghus says:

    Tatum’s success is based on picking the right projects. Last year was lightning in a bottle. Magic Mike showcased him as beefcake. The Vow was the romantic leading man part. 21 Jump Street was a great comedy that benefitted from his density.

    No one wants to see Channing Tatum in a psychological thriller. His target demo doesn’t want to watch Tatum play some schmuck in a loveless marriage. Movies like Step Up helped make Tatum. He should never try to stray too far from that target female demo.

    You know what Tatum needs? He needs to find something like Ghost. A big, over the top, tearjerker that gets every woman in the theater wet.

    With tears. Wet with tears.

  9. Lex says:

    I didn’t know he wasn’t in the movie that much, so thanks for spoiling, I guess! (Though I asked for it.)

    Also why aren’t people getting out there to support one of the FOUR MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMEN ALIVE, Rooney Mara?

    I agree people know Tatum by name/face now… but I’m not so sure he’s “won over” the dude-bro quasi-homophobic “men over 30″ audience yet. Meaning like the fantasy football, ESPN2 types in your office or your family or your friends from like “back home”…. I think Tatum’s still at that unfortunate point EVERY male actor always seems to face, where they aren’t deemed “manly” enough by “bros” until they do some hardcore crime epic or Nolan pic or something. It’s a stigma that hits any good-looking male lead; I don’t know if it’s yet at the point where you tell your bros at the water cooler or back in Pittsburgh “the new Tatum movie” is good and they don’t look at you askance.

  10. etguild2 says:

    I’m actually surprised they didn’t push Tatum harder, whether or not he’s barely in it. The studios have a looooong history of tricking mainstream audiences into seeing Soderbergh films.

  11. dinovelvet says:

    I’m actually surprised they pushed JUDE LAW as leading man in the year 2013, rocking the stub up top.

  12. chris says:

    jesse: Will Smith

  13. Aaron says:

    If Rosé McGowan threw her leg up in the air it would have a machine gun attached to it AND have a spare set of lips growing on it. I would however pay to see the ever dour Rose Byrne roll around stuffing food in her mouth.

  14. Triple Option says:

    Point of order: The “And” credit means he’s the #2 billed.

  15. bulldog68 says:

    ” The show is called ‘Mike and Molly’ but it might as well be called ‘Laugh at the Morbidly Obese’. ”

    Agree to disagree Anghus. There is the smattering of fat jokes in each episode but the show could actually exist with them being slim as while it started with them meeting in an overeaters meeting, it has not gone back there.

    Rex Reeds attack was not a criticism of the film or her performance, it was a criticism of her body. Yes somethings are funnier because a fat person is doing it. Tell that to John Belushi, Chris Farley, John Candy, John Goodman, Zack Galifinakis, Jonah Hill, Curly, Oliver Hardy, Dom Deluise, Larry the Cable Guy, Kevin James and every other fat guy who turns his weight into advantage.

    Calling her a hippo in his review is not a review, it’s just name calling.

  16. YancySkancy says:

    Of course we can fault Reed for “screaming tractor sized hippo.” He could have easily referred to McCarthy’s weight and how she uses it in the film without resorting to insulting name-calling.

    Also, I’ve been seeing some folks saying that McCarthy is fair game for Reed and other haters because of the roles she takes–as if she were turning down all the many plus-size leading roles that Hollywood offers. If the woman wants to work, especially as a lead, she’ll have to take at least some roles that were written for a woman her size. I never cease to be amazed at how naive so many “film buffs” are about the career choices that are open to most actors.

  17. jesse says:

    Chris, point about Will Smith, sure. But he’s also by consensus the last real huge movie star. So one hand, you have to go the biggest star in the world to get there. And on the other, he’s considered the “last movie star” even though his track record isn’t just unequaled in the last five or six years… it’s unequaled in the last twenty or thirty, I’d say. Sort of an exception-proving-the-rule-deal according to me.

    Lex, sorry, didn’t intend Tatum’s billing as a spoiler — but it is on the poster and in the trailer, that he has the “AND” credit. And it’s not some fakeout where he has two scenes. It’s just a supporting performance, and I think the trailer reflects that.

    Fair point about Tatum not having the same bro cred as, say, Mark Wahlberg might have worked up by now… but if you need to achieve that level to reach True Star status, probably hardly anyone is one. (Or, Jason Statham would probably be a way bigger star than a lot of people who actually draw audiences in beyond $7 million worth of tickets.)

    Do bros even go to see movies for stars? Maybe Statham if it’s a huge action fan. Neeson, maybe? And some comedians. But to me that niche is almost like, you know, women over 50. It’s definitely an audience segment and you can definitely market to them, but it’s not like they need to know who Channing Tatum is for him to be a movie star. If a shit-ton of ladies aged 18-40 know, that’s probably enough. And if some guys hop on board too, hey, bonus.

  18. jesse says:

    Oh, and Triple Option, is that true? He’s literally fourth-billed in the trailer and poster, with the “And” making it a kind of special treatment… I’d say the “and” becomes more of a de facto third billing, not a bump up to second!

  19. chris says:

    jesse: Sure, but you wrote “I defy anyone to name a movie star who, etc.” He’s one.

  20. Lex says:

    SIDE EFFECTS belated review, solely for Jesse’s enjoyment! Which will be bumped off the page tomorrow when the Weekend BO thread supersedes this one!

    Liked it of course, but OH MY GOD ROONEY LOOOOOOK AT HER, playing THE most PERFECT woman I’ve seen in a movie since Bella Swan, was ENRAPTURED through the first half hour and DELIGHTED by batshit last third…

    So I’m thumbs-up for sure, but in the middle third of this movie, where Jude is sleuthing– Seem like Soderbergh (or specifically, Burns) weren’t really on their games there? Law’s doing all this investigating, and the scenes are all nice in that “Contagion” way… But half the time I didn’t quite know in the moment what he was going for, especially with regards to Zeta-Jones.

    SPOILER BUT VAGUE…

    At one point CZJ just kinda mails Law some photos, and it’s sort of helpful, sort of threatening, sort of a blackmail…. and at that point in the movie we don’t know which or what’s going on, so it means there’s like a REEL of Law scenes where we’re not really sure what anyone’s game is, and after the movie’s over, it kinda comes together but it didn’t make those bits any more sensical in the moment.

    Also while it’s in Soder-Vision as always, Zeta-Jones’s office that looked like Daryl Revok’s from Scanners was about the dullest locale imaginable for a “visual stylist.”

    But ROONEY in this is ABSOLUTE PERFECTION. Maybe I was lost at sea during the Law bits because I was just waiting to be HYPNOTIZED by her again.

  21. StellaPD says:

    In terms of box office potential, Side Effects always seemed more Haywire or The Informant and less Contagion or Magic Mike. Sure it’s got some stars in it, but your average viewer probably thought it looked a little odd, a little hard to pinpoint. I know Soderbergh compared it to Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct, but did the advertising effectively convey that? At least with Identity Thief you knew exactly what you were going to get.

  22. jesse says:

    Yeah, Lex I don’t necessarily share your penchant for super-willowy demure skinny chicks (and am totally guilty, to the extent that I have any guilt over this, of loving-bordering-on-crushing-on redhead critics’ faves like Amy Adams and Jessica Chastain) but besides being gorgeously photographed by Soderbergh (he often makes his actors look GREAT: think of J-Lo in Out of Sight and Catherine Zeta-Jones in Ocean’s 12 and Pitt in all of the Ocean’s movies) I am really liking Rooney Mara in her leading roles so far. Thought she was awesome in Dragon Tattoo and then Soderbergh uses that “wounded bird,” as they say in the movie, quality really well in this movie. I sort of felt for her (vague vague spoiler) even at times when maybe I should not have.

    MORE VAGUE SPOILERS:

    Anyway, I kind of agree with you about that middle section with Law. I liked him sleuthing around and I liked not knowing exactly what was going on BUT Soderbergh doesn’t really play the paranoia stuff to the hilt — he just doesn’t go frenzied like that, and so you have some really talky Law-hitting-bottom paranoia scenes before he sort of gets it together and gets the story moving again. I felt like there were probably one or two too many scenes of Law looking demented and paranoid while everyone else in his life is like, seriously dude, come on. And I agree, that talkiness and ever-so-slight pokiness felt like a problem with the Burns script, not Soderbergh. But I’m also a huge Soderbergh fan who will probably never blame anything on him.

    Also, I think Law is great, kind of an underrated actor at this point, amazing in many movies, glad to see him getting plenty of screen time here… but maybe it was just because this movie looked a little like Contagion and he was super smarmy and snively in that one, but there was a little residual feeling in this one like he was kind of a prick, even though he doesn’t really DO much to make me think that. It worked well for the movie’s ambiguities, actually, but it also means it’s awhile into the movie before I thought seriously about trusting his character. And it does make that middle section a little bit like, OK, OK, can we get back to Rooney Mara now?

  23. anghus says:

    “There is the smattering of fat jokes in each episode but the show could actually exist with them being slim as while it started with them meeting in an overeaters meeting, it has not gone back there.”

    bulldog, i am not a regular watcher of the show. But every commercial/promo i see heavily promotes the ‘hey, we’re two fatties’ aspect. There’s some promo they run right now that i saw a dozen times on the superbowl where they say something to the effect of “maybe we can fit back into our wedding rings”.

    It’s plus size comedy. Even if there’s more to it, CBS pushes the show using that aspect of it.

    “Rex Reeds attack was not a criticism of the film or her performance, it was a criticism of her body. Yes somethings are funnier because a fat person is doing it. Tell that to John Belushi, Chris Farley, John Candy, John Goodman, Zack Galifinakis, Jonah Hill, Curly, Oliver Hardy, Dom Deluise, Larry the Cable Guy, Kevin James and every other fat guy who turns his weight into advantage”

    Yup. Just about everyone you mentioned has made a few bucks being ‘the fat guy’. But if someone referred to Kevin James as ‘a tractor sized hippo’, would anyone even have batted an eyelash?

    It’s forced outrage. An old, tired film critic turns catty and people act like it’s a tragedy. It reminds me of Imus as the whole ‘nappy headed’ comments. If you’re Melissa McCarthy, and you’re offended by Rex Reed then i totally get your outrage. If you’re anyone else, you’re just posturing. Everybody’s way too quick to grab the torch. He’s a terrible film critic. I would think people in this room would find that more offensive than him making a comment about her size.

    RE: Side Effects – SPOILERS

    Jesse,

    i agree. I think Law’s character never feels like he hits rock bottom. And he figures out the whole scenario way too quick. And then his entire plan to solve the mystery is half baked at best. Good first two acts but i would have loved to have seen Law’s life turn to shit making his need to fix everything seem even more desperate.

  24. Gus says:

    But anghus, he was DRINKING and had STUBBLE. If that’s not ROCK BOTTOM then I don’t know what is. When you are DRINKING HEINEKEN in your MULTIMILLION DOLLAR APARTMENT wondering what to do with your BMW then you have HAD IT UP TO HERE.

  25. anghus says:

    Spot on Gus. His version of ‘losing everything’ seemed like minor inconveniences. I think the movie would have been better served if they turned him into a monster. But Soderbergh has this lo-fi, sterile approach to filmmaking where he removes all the scenery chewing and drains the fun out of a premise. Side Effects reminded me how much more fun these kinds of films were in the 80′s and 90′s when there were Directors who werent afraid to have fun with the premise.

    oh, and another thing….

    SPOILERS…

    Was that not the worst lesbian love scene you’ve ever seen put to film? There wasn’t an ounce of sexuality to it. If you would have told me on paper that Zeta Jones and the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo were going to hook up in a movie, i would have assumed it would be damn sexy. But nope. Soderbergh really has mastered taking the fun out of a subject.

  26. chris says:

    Lex: Did you miss the scene where we see CZJ addressing the envelope? Might be some vagueness elsewhere, but we know right away EXACTLY what she’s doing.

  27. jesse says:

    anghus, I know that’s a common knock against Soderbergh but I think it’s a weirdly narrow definition of “FUN,” that you haven’t have FUN at a movie unless it indulges scenery-chewing histrionics. Is the lack of camp in Soderbergh’s approaches, I wonder? I found Haywire terrific fun. I found this movie and Contagion fun.

  28. Triple Option says:

    Any time there’s a string of names, top billing is the first name, the “And _____” credit is the #2.

  29. bulldog68 says:

    @Anghus “Yup. Just about everyone you mentioned has made a few bucks being ‘the fat guy’. But if someone referred to Kevin James as ‘a tractor sized hippo’, would anyone even have batted an eyelash?”

    The thing is Anghus, I get your point, and of course there is no way I can scour every review that is out there, but I have been looking at some of the reviews for the poorly received movies from Jonah Hill, Kevin Smith, Chris Farley, and I gotta say, thus far it’s completely free of criticisms aimed squarely at their body type or just plain name calling. Even the scathing reviews were that this film is a piece of shit. For the most part, fat male comics are just taken at face value as that is what they are. It’s just accepted. And they live or die based on how funny or unfunny their movies are. I have yet to find one criticism that calls John Candy a slob in the mean spirited way that Reed described McCarthy. If you find a similarly mean spirited review aimed personally at a fat male comic, I’d love to see it.

    People keep saying what you said, “But if someone referred to Kevin James as ‘a tractor sized hippo’, would anyone even have batted an eyelash?” The problem is, critics hardly ever go there with fat male comics. And to put this in perspective, it’s only one of them who went there with McCarthy, so this is not a slam on critics in any way.

  30. YancySkancy says:

    Well, I’d bat an eyelash, because the phrase “tractor sized hippo” is terribly insulting and tells us nothing about the actor’s performance, whether it’s Melissa McCarthy, Kevin James or Charles Durning. McCarthy is a talented woman, whatever one may think of IDENTITY THIEF, and a critic should critique her performance, not insult her appearance. John Simon, whose criticism I generally find incisive, felt that a performer’s looks were fair game, since they’re putting it up there on the screen for our perusal. I get the point, but there’s such a thing as common decency, and I was taught not to ridicule or insult people over something as superficial as appearance. There are plenty of ways to point out someone’s size without being insulting.

    As for Reed, he’s had the same bitchy shtick since the 70s–he didn’t suddenly “turn catty.” So I certainly didn’t expect anything different from him.

  31. christian says:

    Rex Reed – the guy who masturbated himself on camera in MYRA BRECKENRIDGE? Yeah, THAT guy is bitchin’ about who?

  32. cadavra says:

    He could have said “plus-sized” or “roly-poly” or even “chubby.” But he said “tractor-sized” and “hippo.” That moves it from observation to insult.

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