Saturday, December 11, 2010

Due Date **1/2

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Jamie Foxx and Michelle Monaghan

Rated R (for language, drug use and sexual content)

Directed by Todd Phillips

Screenplay by Alan R. Cohen, Alan Freedland, Adam Sztykiel and Todd Phillips

* * 1/2

A Wild Ride

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 03: Actor Robert Downey Jr and Zach Galifianakis attend the 'Due Date' Premiere at The Empire Cinema, Leicester Square on November 3, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
With any comedy where the main character is shadowed by a wildly annoying person, there is a fine line between irritating moviegoers and making them laugh. “Due Date” walks the line alright. It has its wobbly moments, but overall accomplishes the feat of balancing the crazy with the funny.

This is mostly due to Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis.
They are compelling separately, but together create such an odd couple, hard to look away from. When the storyline is based almost solely on two characters, they’d better be compelling!

Downey is Peter Highman, a straight-laced businessman with a temper and Galifianakis is Ethan Tremblay/Chase, a wanna-be actor, whose idiosyncrasies keep him from fitting into any one mold.

From the moment Ethan crashes into his life, he causes Peter nothing but trouble upon trouble upon trouble. All Peter cares about is getting home to LA in time to see his wife give birth to their first child. An unfortunate turn of events (i.e. Ethan) leaves him without any transportation across the country. Ethan and his dog Sonny are Peter's only hope to get back to his wife.

Ethan’s wackiness, plus his childish and at times, uncouth behavior, would drive any person out of their right mind. Despite this, he does have a heart and the “serious” moments of the film are carried off as well as they are because of the dead-on acting skills of Downey and Galifianakis.

Watch it for a good laugh.
Watch it to see an unlikely pair mix together rather well. Just don’t expect anything less than total insanity and ridiculousness!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

“Yeah 3x:” Chris Brown’s Ticket Back to the Top?

Chris Brown released his catchy radio single “Yeah 3x” about a month ago from his album “F.A.M.E.” and it just might be his comeback after TRI (The Rihanna Incident). It’s your generic shake-it-on-the-dance-floor hit, with a pumping electro beat and lyrics that tell you to “put your hands in the air.” It may not be too different from the other club hits on the radio, but maybe fitting in is just what he needs.

The music video is squeaky clean. Not only does the opening include little kids, one actually announces his arrival, “Hey, it’s Chris Brown!” followed by cheers from all the surrounding children; a bit unrealistic. I don’t think many six-year-olds would cheer at the sound of Brown’s name (if they even know who he is.)

On the plus side, the video features 30 seconds of some amazing female dancers. Shockingly, unlike so many videos today, the girls aren’t wearing next to nothing and dancing suggestively. They have on black trousers, white tank tops and suspenders, and their moves are a mix of modern dance and hip hop; the focus is on technique, not on showing skin. Brown unleashes his thrilling, gravity-defying dance moves while keeping the whole video PG. The video is blessedly free of a lot of grinding and gyrating and the scenes are pretty innocent. Brown’s wardrobe is preppy and clean-cut to the max. He’s on his best behavior, no doubt!

This leads me to wonder, is it ok to like Chris Brown again after what conspired on that fateful night with Rihanna? Can you separate the music from the musician? Is it a crime to be a huge Rihanna fan...but also groove along to Brown's tunes? His talent was obvious, in both singing and dancing, from the moment he swept onto the scene in 2005. Do we look at him as a person who has hopefully learned from his mistakes? Or continue to banish his songs from our iPods? It remains to be seen whether fans will forgive and forget or if this very public incident will forever tarnish his name.