Todd Garner

Todd Garner

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Knight and Day Review


OK
This is a breezy, brainless action rom-coms like they used to make in the 1980s starring Mel Gibson as a crazy spy and Goldie Hawn and the ditsy but feisty woman he meets along the way. Yes, it's terrible, but it's also undemanding fun.

After June (Diaz) bumps into Roy (Cruise) in the airport, she finds herself in a mid-air shootout and a cornfield crash-landing. But she wakes up at home as if everything is fine. And so continues her adventure, as Roy turns out to be a possibly rogue federal agent trying to stay one step ahead of the spies chasing him (Davis and Sarsgaard) and keep June safe from the bad guys as they dart to the Azores and across Europe, where they meet a technology nerd (Dano) and a smirking arms dealer (Molla).

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Are We Done Yet? Review


Grim
In normal movie world, Are We Done Yet? would have been the first movie in this series. First, newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Nia Long) would redo their new home, then Nick would take the bratty kids on a road trip.

Often vilified as one of the worst films ever made, Are We Done Yet? is far better than its pedigree would suggest. Mining the home improvement milieu has been done before, and if you've seen The Money Pit you know exactly what's going to happen here. Nick and co. will move into what looks like a dream house, but it will fall apart before their very eyes. A group of incompetant repairmen and contractors will attempt to save it. Nick will have a lot of drywall fall on his head. And the stress will cause much marital strife. The "original" spin here vs. The Money Pit: Suzanne is pregnant.

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Next Review


Grim
If the protagonist of Next were to use his ability to peer two minutes into the future before watching Next, he'd probably have enough to go on to skip it altogether. That's how long it takes to tell the movie will be high on concept and low on content. To find out just how bad it gets, though, he'd have to watch the whole film.

Nicolas Cage plays Cris Johnson, a Las Vegas entertainer disguising his true abilities with a cheesy stage show. FBI Agent Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore) has decided that the best way to stop a smuggled nuclear bomb from detonating somewhere in the U.S. is to use Johnson's talent for prognostication. Never mind the fact that he can only see two minutes into the future, giving her a very brief window in which to act if he were to see the bomb. That's about the level of logic at which this film operates.

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Zoom Review


Grim
Upon its release, Zoom was instantly reviled not only as one of the worst movies of 2006, but one of the worst movies ever made. As I write this it's hovering as the 15th worst film ever per the IMDB's (admittedly unscientific) "bottom 100," one run below Troll 2.

Is Zoom worse than #17 Phat Girlz? Worse than Glitter (#23)? Worse than Alone in the Dark (#38)? Zoom is hardly a masterpiece, but, really now, it isn't that bad.

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The Fog (2005) Review


Unbearable
It should be an unwritten rule of moviegoing: if it's not reviewed in the papers (or here) by Friday you shouldn't see it. Studios know when they have critical duds on their hands. They know when a film is atrociously acted, exceedingly dull, and entirely contrived. They don't screen those films for critics. They don't want the bad press on opening night. For a good many films, this sort of passive aggressive deception works. People go to see the films and the studios make their money back. My only hope is that you take my advice: If it hasn't been reviewed on Friday, wait a day. Or two. Then look online for the review. Chances are it'll be like this one.

The Fog is a terrible movie. Simply put, it sucks. It should have gone straight to video. No, even that is a better fate. It should have gone directly to the Sci-Fi Channel, the latest repository for "new" terrible films.

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The Animal Review


Good
It's always a shame when good comedic talent goes bad, and a pleasant surprise when that finally lands a decent role in a funny film. Nothing has been expected of Rob Schneider since his departure from the hellhole of mind-numbing roles like the Copy Guy Richmeister and the Weed Guy on Saturday Night Live, as well as bit parts in ridiculous Muppet Movie sequels and Adam Sandler comedies. But Rob Schneider is a funny man. I remember watching him at the Improv in San Diego when I was 12 years old and laughing my ass off at his brilliant portrayal of Elvis on a fishhook. I was 12, but what the hey?

Modern comedy comes from its ability to not take its story or its characters seriously. The Farrelly brothers and Woody Allen have taught us that. Recent failures like Joe Dirt and Schneider's last film Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo owe themselves to a seriousness they try to create by treating their main characters as martyrs for the audience to sympathize with and pity. The Animal does no such thing, avoiding this common mistake totally and developing into an enjoyable and hilarious 90 minutes.

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Anger Management Review


OK
Fresh from uncharacteristic performances in Punch-Drunk Love and About Schmidt, Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson have returned to their roots in Anger Management. In Sandler's case, it's as the dim-bulb Everyman who sings with a falsetto; in Nicholson's, as the crazed lunatic with eyebrows of steel.

These two performers come together for the first time in a strange and uneven movie ostensibly about the dysfunction caused by repressed anger. Sandler's Dave, traumatized since the 1970s when his small package was revealed by a bully in the middle of his Brooklyn neighborhood, is an executive assistant to the president of a pet clothing company (people, I don't make this stuff up). A plane trip lands him in a seat next to Dr. Buddy Rydell (Nicholson), and a chance arm-brush with a flight attendant (you've seen the trailers) lands him in court for assault. Soon enough he's sentenced to spend a month in the care of Rydell, who moves into Dave's flat, where he demands breakfast be cooked for him and sleeps naked with him in his bed.

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Master of Disguise Review


Unbearable
Once the chief late-night headliner on NBC's Saturday Night Live, Dana Carvey has been reduced to appearing in films emblazoned with the phrase "An Adam Sandler Production." I wondered what it must be like as Sandler's name floated across the screen to pick up your paychecks from the clown who sang songs about food and watched you become a star. Sad. Master of Disguise is just another loop in Dana Carvey's shame spiral; a path that begins right where Wayne's World 2 ends.

Dana Carvey is Pistachio Disguisey (clever!), the last in a long line of "masters of disguise." Charged with using their powers of disguise for good, they have for centuries protected the world from evil, using only their wits and an incredible gift for visual deception. But Pistachio's parents have been kidnapped. To save them, he must at last learn the true history of his family, and discover the powers of disguise he holds inside.

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The New Guy (2002) Review


Unbearable
When the screenwriter responsible for one of the worst movies of one year directs an equally miserable film the following year, you'd have a hard time believing it was just coincidence. But Ed Decter, writer of the horribly unfunny Freddie Prinze Jr. clunker Head Over Heels, takes the directing reins for the first time with the remarkably lame teen comedy The New Guy.

The premise is simple: a high school ugly duckling named Dizzy (Road Trip's DJ Qualls) turns it around and starts fresh at a new school, strutting like a badass and making a new personality for himself as a guy named Gil. The supposedly funny twist is that he gets his education in cool while hanging at a prison, taking lessons in toughness from Eddie Griffin (wasted in his short appearance), learning how to dance like a hipster from Horatio Sanz (also wasted), and getting a makeover from the stereotypical cross-dressing cons in the pen. In each scene, Decter and screenwriter David Kendall (big blame goes to him too) want to get right to the funny immediately - the only problem is that each attempt results in a vacant black hole.

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Todd Garner

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