Our critics choose between The Switch, Vampires Suck, Lottery Ticket, Piranha 3D, and Nanny McPhee Returns.
SCOTT: It's been four long months since the last artificial insemination comedy (The Back-Up Plan with Jennifer Lopez) hit theaters, so I'm sure that, like me, you've been eagerly anticipating another opportunity to share in the warm-hearted laughter that only baby batter can bring. Well, we're in luck, because the latest high-concept Jennifer Aniston rom-com off the assembly line finds our plucky heroine inadvertently conceiving a child with the sperm of her best friend Jason Bateman. What a crazy yet relatable mix-up! Honestly, I'm struggling to find some reason to give this ill-conceived (ha!) overgrown sitcom episode the benefit of the doubt — I guess it's nice to see Jeff Goldblum on the big screen again — but given that the directing team is responsible for the short-lived TV series based on the Geico caveman commercials… no. Just no.
ANDREW: Oh! So THAT'S what it's about! Given Bateman's look of discomfort on the poster and the tag line ("The Most Unexpected Comedy Ever Conceived"), I kinda thought this film was the latest entry in the "pregnant dude" micro-genre (following in the proud baby steps of the 1994 Arnold Schwarzenegger classic, Junior, and Joan Rivers' 1978 directorial debut/swansong, Rabbit Test). But, no, somehow The Switch sounds even less interesting than a knocked-up Billy Crystal, so let's instead move on to…
ANDREW: See, the title is a pun, because "suck" in this case refers both to the action of undead revenants slurping blood from their victims and also to the fact that the directing team responsible for sucky "comedies" like Date Movie, Epic Movie, and Disaster Movie are now attempting to make an even stupider vampire spoof than Mel Brooks' Dracula: Dead and Loving It. To be fair, though, while Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer's movies are never especially good, they're never completely terrible, either, since I'm pretty sure I've laughed at least once during each of their previous efforts. Plus, there can never be too many parodies of Twilight… right?
SCOTT: Oh, I must vehemently disagree. The Friedberg/Seltzer parodies are completely terrible, as I've learned firsthand in conducting my Unwatchable survey of the hundred worst movies ever made. These are the guys who think casting lookalikes for Snooki and Lady Gaga qualifies as satire; they don't understand that you actually have to come up with some sort of joke to be called humorists. And yet, they're still churning these suckers out. So as cheap as they may be to produce, somebody out there must be laughing. I just know it's not me.
SCOTT: I see a bit more potential for hilarity in this shaggy dog story about a boy in the ‘hood (Bow Wow) who must make it through a long Fourth of July weekend in order to cash in the titular winning ticket. I'm not entirely sold — there's too much potential for preachiness inherent in the concept — but I do have a fondness for this sort of ensemble neighborhood comedy, especially with the reliably funny likes of Mike Epps, Charlie Murphy, and a silly-voiced Ice Cube on hand. Do you see this Lottery Ticket paying off?
ANDREW: Call me pessimistic, but my own fantasies of winning the lottery never get much further than anxiety about how I'd collect the winnings without encountering an obstacle course of agita not unlike the one faced by Lottery Ticket's protagonist (and then, even if I did manage to get my hands on the loot, I'd immediately start worrying about Tony Soprano or Paulie Walnuts or some equally unsavory character extorting me or kidnapping my cat… so I guess in retrospect it's actually a blessing that I've never won more than two bucks on a Mega Millions ticket)! All of which is to say that, yes, I can definitely get behind the premise of this movie (not to mention the talented cast), making writer/director Erik White's feature debut a strong candidate for Top One Movie honors. But is it strong enough to face the ravenous charms of the week's other heavyweight contender?
ANDREW: At last, a summer movie that puts 3-D back in the B-movie gimmick box where it belongs! (Well, not counting Clash of the Titans, I guess.) Plus, according to an Entertainment Weekly interview with horror maven Eli Roth (who cameos as the emcee of a wet T-shirt contest), the latest entry in this nasty little critter franchise may well feature "the most blood ever spilled in a horror film." But, wait! There's more! For fans of Jaws (which, of course, the original Piranha ripped off shamelessly, right down to its poster), there's the prospect of aquaculture all-star Richard Dreyfuss in a rematch against the terrors of the deep — itself an indication of the self-aware, slightly-better-than-it-needs-to-be aesthetic that's marked the series as a cult favorite since the original installment. (The operative word being "slightly.") So what do you think? Any interest in some late August surf, sand, and screaming?
SCOTT: Honestly, this is probably the ideal summer movie as far as I'm concerned. It just doesn't get any better than killer fish chomping on innocent beachgoers, and this is probably the first time this year I've actually been excited about putting on those 3-D glasses. The gorier, the better, even if Elisabeth Shue is slightly embarrassed to be involved.
Nanny McPhee Returns
SCOTT: Those of us who had forgotten Nanny McPhee was ever here in the first place will have a hard time getting enthused about her return, but the kiddies too young to sneak into Piranha 3D need entertainment, too. They could probably do worse than Emma Thompson's second go-round as the magical wart-faced nanny, this time dispatched to a farm to assist a woman forced to deal with her own children as well as their city-slicker cousins while her husband is at war. The trailer promises plenty of pig-based slapstick, but there doesn't appear to be much to entice us adult types aside from the promise of some Maggie Gyllenhaal ogling.
ANDREW: I'm okay with ogling Maggie G, but the film's title character? Not so much. I mean, damn, that Nanny McPhee makeup is gross. Not Jonah Hex gross, but still. Nevertheless, Emma Thompson and the film's other Maggie (Maggie Smith) have pretty much both earned lifetime passes as far as I'm concerned, and I wish them well in what seems like a charming enough family film with the dancing pigs and the bratty next-gen Veruca Salt and whatnot. But me, I'll most likely be one theater over watching Lottery Ticket instead.
Andrew's Top One Movie of the Week: Lottery Ticket
Scott's Top One Movie of the Week: Piranha 3D