Not every film has to be a cinematic masterpiece. Some are meant to be frivolous, mindless and are made for pure entertainment value - like the three films I recently watched: 'Paul', 'Take Me Home Tonight' and 'No Strings Attached'. However, these films are not really that entertaining....just silly and mind-numbing.
1. Paul - There were several reasons to be excited for this film: The cast is a big one (Simon Pegg, Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig plus appearances by Jane Lynch and the amazingly underrated Blythe Danner). The directer is Greg Mottola knows how to make a funny film (Superbad). It's written by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost - who were also behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. I really didn't see how the film could be anything other than hilarious. And parts of it were....just not enough parts to make it memorable. The only "joke" that I remember is the T-shirt that Kristen's character sports (it's a picture of Jesus shooting Darwin with the caption "evolve this". I WANT!). Instead of remembering the things that amused me - I can only think of the things that annoyed the shit out of me. Like....Seth Rogan's voice (as the alien) - but I guess I should be thankful that his voice isn't as grating when you don't have to look at him as well (sorry...I'm a bitch...). Also annoying?.... how freaking predictable it was - anyone who is a fan of "alien" films knows what Sigourney Weavers voice sounds like. And anyone who is a fan of films in general will be able to predict the supposed "surprise" twist of Jason Bateman's character.
2. Take Me Home Tonight - It's pretty hard for me to resist a film featuring awesome 80's music and the tag line "Best. Night.Ever.". But then the film came out and the reviews were awful (not as bad as the box office results though...). I usually enjoy Topher Grace, but I felt like he was a little bland in this film as was his "dream girl" - Teresa Palmer (who was super hot in I am Number Four but in this film she looked like a stoned version of Kristen Stewart. Correction: a more stoned version of Kristen Stewart). The best friend guy (too lazy to look up his name) was incredibly annoying and not funny at all. The saving grace was Anna Faris & Chris Pratt - best couple ever (in film and in reality). Michelle Trachtenberg was a potential saving grace but she was unfortunately under-utilized. The film was unoriginal, unrelatable and just plain stupid. Seriously, they stole a car then crashed it (from driving recklessly) and were caught with cocaine but there were zero consequences. The main character decides that the best way to prove that he is sorry for lying is by getting into a death-trap metal ball and roll down the street in it (and of course he is forgiven). It's just plain stupid.
3. No Strings Attached - Definitely worse than Friends With Benefits. First, the film itself has no idea what kind of relationship they are trying to depict - they confuse the concept of "friends with benefits" with a relationship that has "no strings attached". They are 2 completely different things. They never establish a solid "friendship" between the 2 characters at all - they barely know each other. Plus, only one of them wants "no strings," the other is clearly in love from the moment they meet. The character development is lacking - I never even begin to care about either one of them. Natalie's character is probably my least favorite depiction of single women in film (you know the kind who pretend they like to be "alone" but secretly just want to find love). I don't think Natalie Portman is the right fit for this type of role (probably because she is such a strong woman in real life - it is hard to see her as a weak girl who is desperate for male attention). Also, if you put funny women like Mindy Kaling and Olivia Thirlby in your film - then the least you can do is give them some funny lines to say...right?! I laughed once during the entire film ("it's like a crime scene in my pants").