Britons battle Romans, Ed Helms goes to the big city, and Adam Sandler does something implausible to get laid. Who gets your ticket money?
Director: Dennis Dugan
Cast: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Brooklyn Decker, Nicole Kidman
Look, if you're aflame with Bieber Fever, then I'm not gonna risk my own health dissuading you from holographic communion with your boy king's 3D concert film Never Say Never when it hits theaters this week. And if you have kids too young to care about floppy-haired, squeaky-voiced Canadians (or if you're going through Downton Abbey withdrawal and need a dose of Maggie Smith's rich, plummy tones however you can get 'em), then we'll try not to judge you for buying a ticket to Gnomeo & Juliet. But if you're among those planning to see Just Go With It of your own free will, then I'm afraid there's not much I can do except to remind you that director Dennis Dugan's last film was Grown-Ups, and…what? You say you enjoyed Grown-Ups? Sure, I get the Sandler love I guess, but you do realize he's co-starring with Jennifer Aniston this time, right? And she's playing a woman with a pair of adorable moppets all pretending to be Sandler's family as part of his asinine scheme to get into Brooklyn Decker's pants? And — wait, why are you laughing? That sounds funny to you?
Director: Kevin Macdonald
Cast: Donald Sutherland, Channing Tatum, Denis O'Hare, Julian Lewis Jones
Then again, pickings are slim this week. For example, the best thing I can say of this sword-and-sandals epic, about a Roman centurion and a British slave searching for the truth about a missing legion in second-century Caledonia, is that it's probably the best film about Pict-bashing Romans since last year's Centurion. (Though, since obscure Celtic tribes are apparently the new zombies, I'm sure 28 Picts Later is just just around the corner!) On the plus side, The Eagle features Canada's other national treasure, Donald Sutherland, sporting a fine bushy beard and a toga. And director Kevin Macdonald has a decent resume, including State of Play and the memorably disturbing The Last King of Scotland. On the down side, however, I'm not sure I really need a whole lot more Channing Tatum in my life at this juncture.
Director: Miguel Arteta
Cast: Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Stephen Root, Sigourney Weaver, Anne Heche
And so that pretty much leaves us with Cedar Rapids, a comedy no doubt as inconsequential and Netflix-able as Just Go With It, but with far less Aniston. Ed Helms, in goofy Andy-from-The Office mode, plays a hick attending a convention in the titular "big city" — which is funny because only a hick would find Cedar Rapids sophisticated! Get it? (Although it should be noted at this point that Iowa currently has legal gay marriage and New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago don't, so eat it, big cities.) Anyway, considering Helms winds up encountering the likes of John C. Reilly, Stephen Root, and Sigourney Weaver over the course of the film's slight eighty-six-minute running time, and also the fact it was helmed by Miguel Arteta (whose solid track record includes not directing Grown Ups), I suppose you could do worse this week if you've already seen all the Oscar contenders and really must leave the house.
The One Movie You Should See This Week: Cedar Rapids