Movie of the Week—Just the Bad and the Ugly

Parental Guidance, Billy Crystal, Bette MidlerRecommendations from friends overcame our better judgment and we bought tickets for Parental Guidance.  We lasted 30 minutes.  It was over-done, over-acted, and over the top.  Watching Billy Crystal mugging at his worst, and stealing the show from Bette Midler and Marisa Tomei, was bad enough.  But the studio had loaded the trailer – which we saw at least four times in previous weeks – with all the best jokes.  So the movie was totally flat and there was not one character likable enough to make it worth our time.  Our parental guidance is to avoid this movie.

We bugged out and headed for the only show starting around that time that we had not already seen before and ended up in Hansel and Gretel—Witch Hunters.  It had not been screened for reviewers, which is never a good sign, and the movie lived down to its promise.  Jeremy Renner must have accepted this role early and for the money because he’s better than a sad vehicle like this. 

It’s a weird mixture of campy humor, with sly references to other fairy tales, that probably would have worked if Joss Whedon had been in charge, and grotesque violence that I won’t begin to describe.  The troll looks like the love child of Shrek and Arnold Schwarzenegger.  The sets look like it was filmed in Disneyworld and Busch Gardens in the Bavarian Village near the now-defunct Big Bad Wolf.  Still, an actor doesn’t often get to say lines like, “Trolls are extra,” or “Whatever you do, don’t eat the fx%#g candy.”

 Sigh.  I think we’ll swear off movies for another couple of months or until something decent is released, whichever comes first.  It could be a while.