Sunday, March 16, 2008

Be Kind, Rewind - Kate's Perspective

I saw Be Kind, Rewind on the tail end of its criminally short box office run in a largely empty theater on a Monday night. It's probably a good thing there weren't many people in the theater, because otherwise it might have been difficult to hear the movie--the handful of viewers there cracked up and howled enough to nearly drown it out in a few places.

I expected Be Kind, Rewind to be funny. It would really take quite a lot of effort to make a movie about amateur filmmakers re-shooting Ghostbusters, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Driving Miss Daisy (among others) not funny. And it certainly lived up to that expectation. Despite Jack Black managing to annoy the crap out of me in the first ten minutes (and keep it up for the rest of the film), Mos Def and the shockingly adorable Melonie Diaz contributed more than enough to compensate for what he took away. I'm always surprised by Mos Def's acting talents. I'm not really sure why. He managed to salvage 16 Blocks on his own, and that was a considerable effort. But I digress.

What I didn't expect from the film--and from its admittedly tired premise (a poor community banding together to help a failing landmark business)--was to be genuinely touched. I think this had little to do with the "save the homeland" aspect itself. It had more to do with the idea, which everyone who has ever tried to make a movie with their friends will understand, of banding together to create something unique and beautiful with the people you love. Yes, it's corny, and the movie is corny, sure. But it's also quirky, and funny, and gorgeous. Performances from such lovable veterans as Danny Glover and Mia Farrow don't hurt, either.

The bottom line is that it's rare that a film that can simultaneously make you laugh until you pee AND leave feeling cuddly about humanity, smiling at the strangers on the way out of the theater and getting smiles back. Do yourself a favor; go and see it.

Final grade: A-

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