Ned Schmidtke

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Wedding Crashers Review


OK
About 20 minutes before the credits roll in "WeddingCrashers," something goes very wrong. It feels as if a drunken scriptdoctor stumbled into the party, demanded to know where all the clicheshad gone and insisted they be put right back where they belong.

Soon there are interrupted weddings, "I tried to tellyou but couldn't" apologies and an avalanche of other plot machinationsthat come close to ruining what is otherwise the bawdiest, most consistentlyhilarious comedy so far this year.

Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson have an ad-lib-happy, almostHope-and-Crosby-like chemistry as a pair of buddies -- ironically talenteddivorce mediators by profession -- who spend their free time attendingweddings of people they don't know to score with girls they'll never seeagain. Almost the entire first reel of the movie is something akin to afilmmaking miracle -- one long, perfectly-tuned montage sequence of variousethnic weddings that just keeps getting funnier and funnier as it mixestoasts, dances, flirtations, made-up war stories, fake tears, and prettygirls caught up in the romance of the day and jumping our heroes' bones.

Story proper kicks in when the boys dare to crash "theKentucky Derby of weddings" -- the Secretary of State's eldest daughteris getting hitched -- and Wilson lays eyes on the middle daughter (talented,bright-eyed Everygirl knockout Rachel McAdams) as she's quietly snickeringthrough her sister's corny self-written vows.

Continue reading: Wedding Crashers Review

XXX: State Of The Union Review


Unbearable
If it weren't for IceCube's charismatic bad attitude, "XXX:State of the Union" would be downright unwatchable.

A paper-doll sequel with paper-thin performances and avideo-game plot -- a ridiculously implausible presidential coup plannedby an arch-conservative Secretary of Defense (teeth-gritting Willem Dafoe)-- this is nothing but a sorry attempt to ride the explosion-shredded coattailsof 2002's "XXX"without bringing back its star. Vin Diesel apparently got a big head fromhaving the first picture custom-tailored for him, and was booted afterasking for $25 million to reprise his role as an extreme-sports-jock spy.

So instead, Cube plays a Navy SEAL imprisoned for insubordinationwho is busted out by loose-cannon National Security Agency honcho SamuelL. Jackson (tough-guying his way to an easy paycheck) and deputized asthe new Agent Triple-X after Jackson's underground headquarters is raidedby gadget-laden baddies in black body armor. Who these thugs are and whatthey were doing there is barely explained, and no reason is offered forwhy, with all its agents, intelligence and firepower, the NSA must relyon a lone prison escapee to investigate and thwart a takeover of the U.S.government.

But director Lee Tamahori (who helped dumb down the lastJames Bond movie) doesn't really care as long as the next 5,000-round shoot-out,five-story fireball or $500,000 sports-car chase is just around the corner.This is the kind of brain-dead action movie in which window-rattling, wind-generatinghelicopters inexplicably sneak up on people, characters "lie low"by squealing around street corners in Washington D.C. while driving tricked-out,iridescent pimp-mobiles, and federal agents have to be certifiable moronsin order for the plot to advance.

Continue reading: XXX: State Of The Union Review

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