Steve Oedekerk

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Evan Almighty Review


Weak
In hindsight, Bruce Almighty was the death knell for the Jim Carrey we know and love. This isn't completely a bad thing: Rurning away from manic comedy allowed Carrey to do the best acting of his career in Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It also allowed for The Number 23. You win some, and you really, really lose some. But that wacky spazz with the ability to manipulate his body like it was made of laffy-taffy was seen hardening in Bruce Almighty, his artful physical comedy becoming a frantic centerpiece to otherwise inept material. It seems strange that Bruce was Carrey's moment of decay while the film's sequel, Evan Almighty, welcomes the great Steve Carell into the annals of mainstream comedic stardom.

Carell's been smart, so far, with his choices of role. Stepping out with small roles in Bruce Almighty and Woody Allen's Melinda and Melinda, Carell hit pay dirt with last summer's sleeper-hit The 40-Year-Old Virgin, quickly establishing him as an actor with even measures of heart and humor. Then he starred in another sleeper: last year's Oscar-nominated Little Miss Sunshine. It now seems time to allow Carell to try his hand at big-budget ($175 million to be exact) summer comedies, seeing if his mug can rake in the big bucks.

Continue reading: Evan Almighty Review

Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls Review


Bad
Even worse than the original. And no eye candy to make things go more smoothly.

Barnyard: The Original Party Animals Review


Weak
The animals populating Steve Oedekerk's Barnyard: The Original Party Animals remind me of the plastic Little People figurines with which my two-year-old plays. The cows wear snap-on noses and hold objects in synthetically smooth velvet hands that look more like designer gloves than hooves. The bulbous pigs each sport perfectly positioned mud blotches, as if the spots were painted on by toy factory workers.The visuals fit the overall mood, because Oedekerk has penned a Lion King clone that's tailored to the Fisher-Price crowd. Instead of an MPAA rating, the Barnyard poster should carry a warning: "For ages 5 and below."In this environment - as in many animated scenarios - the animals behave like people whenever humans are out of sight. They talk, dance, sing, belch, blow bumblebees from their nostrils, and cower in fear of wild coyotes (because hyenas were already used in the aforementioned King).Our hero, Otis (Kevin James), is an immature teenage cow sowing his wild oats... or whatever it is cows sow. Think of him as Simba. Otis is nagged by dad Ben (Sam Elliott) - or Mufasa - to take more responsibility. But the selfish cow would rather spend his downtime entertaining his adolescent buds during late-night concerts in the barn.Yes, Barynard forces itself to follow a musical format. It mimics Disney's animation formula to the letter, which means every 10 minutes of exposition must be interrupted by a serenade - in this case, it's a series of barnstorming ditties that includes a slow-churning country cover of Tom Petty's plucky pop castoff, "I Won't Back Down."The predictable Barnyard brings some balance to this summer's animated output. We began with Cars and Monster House, enjoyable features that married relevant messages to their impressive art. Since then, we've chipped away at their progress with noisy, colorful but hollow adventures like this and The Ant Bully. Kids are entertained, but parents are cheated.During my Barnyard screening, a boy who had giggled at every kick, drop, and tumble turned to his mom and asked with sincerity, "Why are you not laughing?" She didn't respond. The kid is Oedekerk's ideal audience member - old enough to chuckle and too young to know better.Out, damn spot!

The Nutty Professor Review


Good
Many years after Eddie Murphy was a mainstay during what would end up to be the golden years of SNL (who could fathom the show's devastating plummet?), he has become the king of schlock. The worst it got was 2002's Showtime, where he and fellow charlatan Robert De Niro hooked up to attempt to rip off Lethal Weapon's buddy-cop antics. Looking back at The Nutty Professor, we really should have seen the mustering of lazy, worthless filmmaking a long time ago.

Murphy went through hours and hours of make-up and fat suits to get into the role of Sherman Klump, the naive, good-hearted science professor who weighs somewhere in the vicinity of 350 to 400 pounds. He's content enough in this state, until he meets Carla Purty (Jada Pinkett Smith), a new science professor who is a long-time admirer of his work. Sherman's family (entirely played by Murphy) tells him he should be happy with his weight, but when a crowd-insulting comic (overplayed by Dave Chapelle) rips him to shreds in front of Carla, Sherman's on a mission. After taking a potion, Buddy Love is created: a skinnier, Atkins-fueled narcissist (also played by Murphy) who can charm anyone, including Dean Richmond (ever-funny Larry Miller), his boss, and Harlan Hartley (James Coburn), a benefactor who could save Klump's job and the college. Of course, it becomes a fight between Sherman (love) and Buddy (business) that brings the film to its inevitable conclusion.

Continue reading: The Nutty Professor Review

Bruce Almighty Review


Very Good
I don't need to sit here and explain this movie to you, do I?

It's one of the most blatantly simple movies I've ever seen: Jim Carrey becomes God. End of story.

Continue reading: Bruce Almighty Review

Juwanna Mann Review


Bad
Hollywood's latest cross-dressing comedy comes from Warner Bros., a studio that up until now has been enjoying a successful summer run (Scooby-Doo, Insomnia, and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood). Juwanna Mann -- best described as Tootsie in high tops -- should stop the studio's momentum dead in its tracks when it finally hits screens, as this bland, tiresome and uninspired farce has been sitting in the can awaiting distribution for almost two years, gathering mold and cobwebs when it should have been polishing jokes and shoring up plotlines.

Miguel A. Nunez Jr. stars as Jamal Jeffries, egotistical bad-boy of the UBA (apparently the NBA didn't want their brand associated with this Mann), who gets suspended from the Charlotte Beat for repeated examples of lewd behavior on and off the court. His agent (Kevin Pollak) quits on him, claiming no one will employ a hothead, regardless of his talent. Desperate to fuel his extravagant lifestyle, Jeffries dons a wig, some padding, and his aunt's best sneakers to create Juwanna Mann, a muscular two-guard who tries out for and makes the Beat's female counterpart, the WUBA Charlotte Banshees. Whether he/she can maintain the ruse all season lies at the heart of this limp comedy.

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Kung Pow: Enter The Fist Review


Terrible
They say nobody sets out to make a bad movie, but with Kung Pow: Enter the Fist, that's a hard statement to believe. One could argue that as a silly, nonsensical comedy poking fun at martial arts flicks, this bumbling trash-heap serves it purpose. Is it right to pan a film for achieving its goals?

If it's as bad as this, you bet! When a single person writes, directs, produces, and stars in a movie, you know it's truly his vision. For Steve Oedekerk, who made us laugh with The Nutty Professor and made us cringe with Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, it's an accomplishment that will haunt him for the rest of his career.

Continue reading: Kung Pow: Enter The Fist Review

Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls Review


Bad
Even worse than the original. And no eye candy to make things go more smoothly.

Patch Adams Review


Good
Ironically, what I was most excited about seeing in Patch Adams is what eventually left me feeling cheated by it in the end. After seeing the trailers, I knew I was going to get Robin Williams playing that lovably sensitive, extremely funny man, that shows people there's more to life. You know, the guy from Dead Poets Soceity and Good Will Hunting. I love that guy; probably because he had truly inspired me before. And things were going so well for the first two-thirds of this movie too. Until it was over and I thought to myself, "Wait, I think I've seen this movie before."

In the end, my impression of Patch Adamsis that is has some really funny scenes, and you can't help but fall in love with the guy when he's doing all of these great things, a lot of which you have probbly seen in the trailers. And he has a lot to teach everyone he comes into contact with in the film. So throughout I'm thinking, "What a great guy; I wish I was more like him." Which is always a good set-up. But it never follows through. The dramatic conclusion falls flat, and based on a true story or not, the plot points are a bit cliched. Patch Adamsis a comedy, but more appropriately it would be classified as an inspirational film. And the hallmark of the inspirational film is that climactic scene at the end where the inspirational character takes a stand and is met by stiff consequences, but ultimately we realize that he made a difference. You see it in Dead Poets Soceity in the "Oh Captain, my captain" scene. In Patch Adamsthough, it never comes. Though Patch does take an emotional stand at the end in a scene that tries to steal the emotion of a film like Dead Poets Soceity, I don't know that we're convinced that he truly made a difference. He is a great guy, yes, but maybe not great enough.

Continue reading: Patch Adams Review

Kung Pow: Enter The Fist Review


Weak

Have you ever rented a bad kung-fu movie and invited a bunch of friends over to make fun of it and throw popcorn at the TV?

Now imagine paying to sit in the back of someone else's living room and watch him do the same thing with his friends -- who aren't any funnier than yours. That's what watching "Kung Pow: Enter the Fist" feels like.

Of course, writer-director Steve Oedekerk ("Ace Ventura 2") invited all his friends to a sound studio so they could re-dub the movie using silly dialogue and silly voices that were intentionally out of sync. He also had a special effects budget, courtesy of 20th Century Fox, so he re-edited 1976's "Tiger and Crane Fists," and CGI-ed himself into the story as the "Chosen One" -- a suspiciously Caucasian, slapstick martial arts hero a bowl-cut wig.

Continue reading: Kung Pow: Enter The Fist Review

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Steve Oedekerk Movies

Evan Almighty Movie Review

Evan Almighty Movie Review

In hindsight, Bruce Almighty was the death knell for the Jim Carrey we know and...

Barnyard: The Original Party Animals Movie Review

Barnyard: The Original Party Animals Movie Review

The animals populating Steve Oedekerk's Barnyard: The Original Party Animals remind me of the plastic...

Bruce Almighty Movie Review

Bruce Almighty Movie Review

I don't need to sit here and explain this movie to you, do I?It's one...

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Juwanna Mann Movie Review

Juwanna Mann Movie Review

Hollywood's latest cross-dressing comedy comes from Warner Bros., a studio that up until now has...

Kung Pow: Enter the Fist Movie Review

Kung Pow: Enter the Fist Movie Review

They say nobody sets out to make a bad movie, but with Kung Pow: Enter...

Patch Adams Movie Review

Patch Adams Movie Review

Ironically, what I was most excited about seeing in Patch Adams is what eventually left...

Kung Pow: Enter The Fist Movie Review

Kung Pow: Enter The Fist Movie Review

Have you ever rented a bad kung-fu movie and invited a bunch of friends over...

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