NEIL YOUNG: HEART OF GOLD
See Film feature. (Edwards University, Irvine)
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TRISTRAM SHANDY: A COCK AND BULL STORY
See Film feature. (Century Stadium, Orange)
ALSO OPENING this week:
This anemic genre parody from "two of the six writers of Scary Movie" strives for the goofball precision of the brothers Zucker and, long before it reaches the end of its 70-odd minutes, gives you newfound respect for the comic genius of the brothers Wayans (two of the other writers of Scary Movie). The targets here are Hollywood's bubbleheaded romantic comedies, but director Aaron Setzer (who co-wrote the script with Jason Friedling) doesn't satirize the genre's familiar tropes so much as merely re-stage familiar scenes from the likes of Pretty Woman, Meet the Parents and My Big Fat Greek Wedding, while adding a gross-out twist. The "jokes," such as they are, uniformly come at the expense of gays, the homeless, the physically unattractive and—pardon me while I catch my breath from laughing so hard—Jennifer Lopez's ass. You know what you're in for right from the opening sequence, in which a morbidly obese young woman (American Pie's Alyson Hannigan) performs a rump-shaking dance routine in front of a crowd of repulsed onlookers, one of whom—a construction worker—responds by putting a nail gun to his head. At least he was spared the rest of Date Movie. (Scott Foundas) (Countywide)
It's one of the many frustrating paradoxes of genre filmmaking that the undoing of so many films is bound together with the very things that make them pleasurable. So it is with Tamara, an entry into the cycle of avenging teen-girl pictures, in which the filmmakers try gamely to put a unique spin on familiar material, but eventually fall back on by-the-numbers tropes. Written by Jeffrey Reddick (Final Destination 1 and 2) and directed by Jeremy Haft, the film is about a homely outcast with an interest in witchcraft who, after becoming the victim of a prank gone fatally awry, returns from the dead as a jailbait hottie with some sort of mind-control power. (If I had a nickel . . . ) Never achieving the idiosyncratic whimsy of a film like Lucky McKee's May, exhibiting a surprisingly prudish attitude toward the obligatory T&A and sporting only one super-rad gross-out set piece—an AV nerd broadcasts his self-mutilation via a high school's closed-circuit TV system—Tamara simply doesn't cover all the bases in its drive to be both a grubby teen splatter flick and a more high-minded thriller. Despite trying to say something meaningful about female empowerment and sexuality, the looming homosocial anxiety among young men and the duality of human nature, Tamara devolves into a finale consisting of yet another lame chase through the corridors of a hospital, capped off by a blatant attempt to keep the possibility of a sequel open. It's hard to imagine anyone clamoring for another—but probably nobody expected a sequel to Angel either. (Mark Olsen) (Countywide)