Skip to main content
Tag

i do

Review: Superbad, I Do, Perfume- The Story of a Murderer, Evan Almighty and The Future is Unwritten

By Cinema and Reviews

Superbad posterWhen your cor­res­pond­ent was a nip­per back in the early 80s, two of the most prized pir­ate videos avail­able were the legendary Porky’s and some­thing called Lemon Popsicle – two films about horny teen­agers in the 1950s – and illi­cit cop­ies were pre­cious cur­rency. Now the mod­ern gen­er­a­tion gets its own fat Jewish kids try­ing to get laid in Superbad: a very funny, filthy, com­edy spawned fully-formed from the dirty minds of two horny 14 year olds (writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg pro­duced their first draft when they were, in fact, only 14).

High school kids Seth and Evan are des­per­ate to get lucky so they’ll be able to go to col­lege with “exper­i­ence” and the only way they know to achieve that is to get chicks drunk. With the help of an extremely humor­ous fake Hawaiian ID and two hil­ari­ously easy-going loc­al cops they get pretty close. As you might expect, the per­fect audi­ence for this film is about 14 years old, and con­sid­er­ing the R16 rat­ing it would only be fit­ting if they watched it on grainy VHS or wagged school to sneak into the flicks.

I Do posterI Do is that rare beast: a romantic com­edy that works bet­ter as a romance than a com­edy, largely due to dir­ec­tion from Eric Lartigau that makes a hor­rible meal of the broad com­edy moments and self-effacing per­form­ances from leads Charlotte Gainsbourg and Alain Chabat. Chabat plays hen-pecked met­ro­sexu­al per­fume design­er Luis Costa, saddled with five sis­ters, sev­en nieces and a wid­owed moth­er, all of whom are des­per­ate to see him mar­ried off. As seems to be the way of things in French cinema recently Costa hires a stranger to pre­tend to be his fiancée so she can dump him at the alter and the fam­ily will get off his back. A match­less plan I’m sure you’ll agree.

Perfume posterSurely it can­’t be a coin­cid­ence that this film is released in the same week as Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, anoth­er film about an emo­tion­ally stun­ted wonder-nose. Perfume is based on the well-loved Patrick Süsskind nov­el that many (includ­ing Stanley Kubrick) con­sidered un-filmable and so it proves. Ben Wishaw plays Jean-Baptiste Grenouille: born into poverty in pre-revolutionary Paris he has a remark­able tal­ent for dis­cern­ing scent. Unfortunately, as a char­ac­ter he’s not much more than a monkey-boy with a nose and dir­ect­or Tom Tykwer fails to find a sat­is­fact­ory cine­mat­ic rep­res­ent­a­tion for the sense of smell which defeats the point somewhat.

I won’t go as far as recom­mend­ing avoid­ance as, unlike most films, it is full of mem­or­able moments and will at least pro­voke a response – its just that mine was negative.

Evan Almighty posterThe like­able comedi­an Steve Carell takes the lead in Evan Almighty, sequel to un-likeable comedi­an Jim Carrey’s smash-hit Bruce Almighty from 2003. Carell plays politi­cian Evan Baxter who is taught a les­son in humil­ity and eth­ics by gen­i­al prac­tic­al joker God (Morgan Freeman). Soft-headed, dim-witted but warm-hearted.

Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten posterPunk came along at just the right time for Joe Strummer. As “Woody” Mellor (after folkie Woody Guthrie) he was a middle-class art school drop-out chan­nel­ling his energy into women and pub rock until he heard the siren call of punk and made his mark as lead­er of The Clash. Julien Temple’s mov­ing bio­graphy, The Future is Unwritten, is an excel­lent guide to the punk peri­od but is even bet­ter on the per­son­al and artist­ic resur­rec­tion of Strummer’s final years. Highly recommended.

Printed in Wellington’s Capital Times on Wednesday 19 September, 2007.