Michael Rotenberg

Michael Rotenberg

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Man About Town Review


OK
Yeah, that's Ben Affleck grinning out at you from the cover of this direct-to-DVD release, but don't let that turn you off of the film completely. Man About Town may be rehashed from Jerry Maguire and

Down To Earth Review


Terrible
There are times when a remake feels more like a ripoff. The Chris Rock comedy Down to Earth is a perfect example. Based on... no, xeroxed from 1978's Heaven Can Wait, it's a string of dull fish-out-of-water scenes held together by someone else's script.

The "someone else", in this case, are Elaine May and Warren Beatty, screenwriters of that earlier romantic comedy, which itself was a remake of 1941's Here Comes Mr. Jordan. But Beatty and May crafted a fresh story with a modern update and some sex appeal, while paying homage to the old version. Down to Earth is just a much weaker version of the same movie.

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Office Space Review


Excellent
Give Beavis and Butt-Head creator Mike Judge enough rope, and he may just hang himself. In his first live-action outing, Judge does a fair job at making sick jokes about corporate America, he just doesn't seem to make enough of them, ultimately leaving Office Space a bit flat.

Straight from Swingers, Ron Livingston makes a surprisingly good Everyman as Peter, so sick of his job ("In a week, I'd say I do 15 minutes of real work.") that he goes to a hypnotherapist for relaxation treatment. Of course (and the trailer doesn't tell you this), the therapist dies while Peter is under, leaving him in an ultra-relaxed state without a care in the world. (What's particularly funny is that Office Space was shot in high-tech ghetto north of my old hometown of Austin, Texas, where the "go-getter" attitude is severely frowned-upon.)

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Head of State Review


OK
There's a chance Al Gore might have wrestled the presidency from George W. Bush in 2000 if he could've mustered 1/100th of the charisma and common sense Chris Rock displays as politician-for-the-people Mays Gilliam in Head of State. An alderman serving the toughest neighborhood in Washington, D.C., Gilliam is selected by an unidentified liberal party to run for president when their candidate dies in a plane crash. The political pundits know Gilliam's chances are slim, but they hope he'll attract minority support so their frontrunner (a well-cast James Rebhorn) can cruise to victory in 2008.

Once on the campaign trail, though, Gilliam discovers that he's in tune with the people and ready to be the country's next leader. Encouraged by his brother (Bernie Mac) to speak his mind, Gilliam climbs the public opinion polls, courts a headstrong hottie from his 'hood (Tamala Jones), and puts a scare into his opponent - the incumbent Vice President (Nick Searcy) who keeps reminding us he's "a war hero and Sharon Stone's cousin."

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Michael Rotenberg

Michael Rotenberg Quick Links

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