Jessica Bendinger

Jessica Bendinger

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Aquamarine Review


OK
I wouldn't normally even try to review a teenybopper movie like Aquamarine, but I'm doing so for two reasons. First, it's in the bottom 100 of all movies, according to the silly and notoriously irrelevant "weighted average" of user ratings at the IMDb. Second, it's the first movie my three-year-old daughter sat through all the way without losing interest. We're talking about a kid who begs to wear a Cinderella dress when she gets home from school, but has yet to sit still through any Disney movie. That's something.

Anyhoo, Aquamarine is a mermaid movie, or rather, "the mermaid movie," as my daughter now calls it, about two best friends (Julia's niece Emma Roberts and teen singer JoJo) who find a lovely (and equally hormonally teenaged) mermaid washed into the oceanside pool at the motel run by Claire's (Roberts) family. With Hailey (JoJo), they teach the newly-legged Aquamarine (Sara Paxton) about land-based life, while she teaches the gawky girls how to use starfish as earrings. But Aqua's on a quest. In keeping with all mermaid movies, she's looking for love. And she figures the first guy she sees, a hunky lifeguard, will be it.

Continue reading: Aquamarine Review

Stick It Review


Weak
Just to set something straight: Bring It On is awesome. It's spectacular. But not in any way that implies actual quality, more for a spastic camp appeal that makes it a perfect Sunday afternoon tacos-and-ice-cream hangover cure accompaniment. However, we already have Bring It On, and it's on basic cable 17 times a day. We don't need another one, as it's already been brought.

And yet, Stick It.

Continue reading: Stick It Review

The Truth About Charlie Review


Bad
It's possible to pinpoint the exact scene where the wheels come off director Jonathan Demme's rickety, pointless remake of the 1963 Cary Grant-Audrey Hepburn thriller Charade, where the whole ride comes to a screeching halt. Following an ill-timed hit-and-run accident that eliminates a crucial character, a hubcap actually rolls down the street and stops by Thandie Newton's noggin. Subliminal? I think not.

We may never know the truth about Charlie. Demme fills his European vacation with endless lies fed to us by self-serving criminals. The result circles endlessly around a thin mystery that the director punches up with inspired visual tricks, though logic would have been preferred.

Continue reading: The Truth About Charlie Review

Bring It On Review


Weak
There's a point about 35 minutes into Bring It On where you suddenly realize you're sitting in a movie theater, watching Bring It On, wondering exactly how the hell the events in your life conspired to put your ass in an uncomfortable movie theater seat... to watch Bring It On. But soon you give up, knowing there is no answer to this dilemma, and you resign yourself to watching the next hour of Bring It On, knowing full well that since it's a PG-13 movie, nothing scandalous is ever going to happen to make it interesting.

Going in to this movie, I knew full well it was, well, a movie about cheerleading, so I wasn't expecting another American Beauty (which, now that I think of it, was partly about cheerleading, but anyway...). Suffice it to say that my expectations were low. And sure enough, Bring It On is an utterly vapid film with horrendous character development, hackneyed dialogue, and a questionable theme. No surprise there. Essentially it is Fame in short skirts.

Continue reading: Bring It On Review

First Daughter Review


Weak
We now understand why Forest Whitaker and the suits at Fox held off releasing their own presidential daughter romance after Mandy Moore's Chasing Liberty beat them to the punch. Basically, we're looking at the exact same movie save for some minor alterations.

Both involve an overachieving first daughter who, tired of living up to elevated expectations, cuts loose from the presidential apron strings and strikes off in search of pre-twentysomething independence. Moore, in her film, bounces around Europe, while Holmes tests the waters of college life. And while each daughter truly believes they're sowing their wild oats, they both are being watched over by undercover agents planted in their path by the overprotective president. (Liberty was even titled First Daughter in an early incarnation.)

Continue reading: First Daughter Review

The Wedding Date Review


Terrible
Somewhere in Hollywood exists a bin of scripts, each bearing the label "Not Quite There." The stories tend to be half-baked, the characters might be underdeveloped, and the jokes often lack those all-important humorous punch lines that seal the screenplay's deal. Sometimes, these "Not Quite There" scripts suffer all three problems - true stinkers, indeed.

Most A-list actors and actresses know better than to dip their hand into the forbidden bin. When the barriers break down and a proven talent skims the bin's surface, we endure Cameron Diaz in The Sweetest Thing, Bruce Willis in Mercury Rising, or Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts in The Mexican.

Continue reading: The Wedding Date Review

Jessica Bendinger

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Jessica Bendinger Movies

Aquamarine Movie Review

Aquamarine Movie Review

I wouldn't normally even try to review a teenybopper movie like Aquamarine, but I'm doing...

Stick It Movie Review

Stick It Movie Review

Just to set something straight: Bring It On is awesome. It's spectacular. But not in...

The Truth About Charlie Movie Review

The Truth About Charlie Movie Review

It's possible to pinpoint the exact scene where the wheels come off director Jonathan Demme's...

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Bring It On Movie Review

Bring It On Movie Review

There's a point about 35 minutes into Bring It On where you suddenly realize you're...

First Daughter Movie Review

First Daughter Movie Review

We now understand why Forest Whitaker and the suits at Fox held off releasing their...

The Wedding Date Movie Review

The Wedding Date Movie Review

Somewhere in Hollywood exists a bin of scripts, each bearing the label "Not Quite There."...

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