With its expensive but largely characterless voice castand an off-the-shelf follow-your-dreams plot retooled for a world populatedby wacky sentient machines, the computer-animated "Robots" islucky to have spectacular production design and one or two curious mechanicalstars to hold the interest of anyone over age 10.
Created by Blue Sky Studios and director Chris Wedge --the gang behind 2002's "IceAge" -- the story concerns young robotRodney Copperbottom (voiced by Ewan McGregor), a small-town dreamer madefrom well-worn, hand-me-down parts maintained by his dishwasher dad. He'sa hopeful, wide-eyed inventor who travels to the mega-opolis Robot Cityhoping to sell some of his scrap-metal gadgets to Bigweld Industries, apparentlythe monopoly supplier of all things robotic in this world.
The company was once run by the altruistic and welcomingMr. Bigweld (Mel Brooks), who for no adequately explored reason has withdrawnfrom the company he loved and let it be taken over by a greedy, brushed-steelcorporate suit named Ratchet (Greg Kinnear). This villain has decided todiscontinue all replacement parts Bigweld has always made for the robotpopulation -- all part of a sinister plan to scrap and melt down any "outmodes"who can't afford full-body upgrades.
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"You know fellas, I've realized something here tonight. Maybe women aren't the problem. Maybe it's us."
With dialogue that insipid, do you really need to know anything more about "The Brothers" before running as fast as you can away from the movie theater?
An ironically misogynistic, "Waiting to Exhale"-style talker disguised as a male-oriented buddy picture, "The Brothers" is the latest in a string of predictable films about yuppie African-American guys in Hugo Boss suits slowing getting it through their thick skulls that maybe being a player isn't what life's all about. (Think "The Wood," "The Best Man.")
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The "Scary Movie" horror spoofs must be some kind of mutant, alien movie franchise. There's just no other explanation for the fact that the sequels actually keep getting better. And unlike the hilarious but indefensibly scattershot second installment, "Scary Movie 3" even has a coherent combo-platter plot.
Serving up campy twists on The Ring's" killer-videotape plot and the alien invasion from Signs" -- with a little mock-"8 Mile" thrown in for flava -- the story catches up with wide-eyed dingbat heroine Anna Faris (who goofed on Neve Campbell's "Scream" character in the first two films) after she has become a blonde TV reporter (a la Naomi Watts in "The Ring") who discovers the creepy VHS cassette that curses anyone who watches it to die horribly in seven days. But when she tries to warn the world of its dangers, her producer puts his foot down: "No more paranoid on-air rants about the supernatural!"
Meanwhile Charlie Sheen -- returning to the kind of parody he showed such a deadpan knack for in 1991's "Hot Shots!" -- plays a farmer and former priest (shades of Mel Gibson in "Signs") whose cornfields have been flattened in a mysterious "crop circle" that from above reads "Attack Here!" with an arrow pointing to his house.
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It may be crude, it may be lewd, it's certainly slapdash and stupid, but the steadily and readily hilarious "Soul Plane" stays in the air on nothing but a jet-powered fuel of out-loud laughs from very lowbrow comedy.
The flick takes place onboard the maiden flight of NWA, the first black-owned airline, started by an obnoxious layabout (the forgettable Kevin Hart) who trots out a sob story and wins an excessive $100 million award in a lawsuit against another air carrier after getting stuck in 747 toilet. (Well, that and a luggage compartment depressurized in flight, sucking his checked dog into an engine.)
It's a plotless premise on which to hang a string of largely unrelated gags, but with such a traffic jam of ribald cultural raillery, the movie actually is at its worst when newbie director Jessy Terrero tries to shoehorn in an off-the-shelf romantic subplot between the jokes.
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