Movie Review: Evan Almighty (2007)

Evan Almighty ____________ 6/10
Engaging satirical flick for the whole family

Evan_AlmightyNo, Evan Almighty is not a contender for the Oscars, much less a serious threat to unseat political satire-comedy classics such as Wag the Dog, American Dreamz, or Man of the Year.  But it’s a reasonably intelligent family-friendly spoof of power politics and an extremely funny deflation of the socially ambitious political personality.

Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) is one such ambitious, though well-meaning, poli-person. The film begins with Evan leveraging his TV news persona to win a race for the United States Congress.  It’s always been his dream to reach this pinnacle of public service, and he’s also firmly attached to the frills of the job: a monster trophy home in the hills of Virginia, first-class office and staff, chauffeur and special parking privileges.

His first day on the job, neighboring Congressman Chuck Long (John Goodman), who has been in office for a long time, approaches Baxter to pre-endorse Long’s self-serving land-use bill.  Long feels Baxter’s notoriety and his cultivated anchor-man good looks—we see Baxter spending 10 minutes over the sink shaving and removing his nose hairs—will give Long the credibility he needs to push the bill through. Continue reading

Movie Review: Dan in Real Life (2007)

Romantic comedy with an awkward family focus (7/10)

DanDan Burns: What don’t I understand, Cara? Please, help me out. What is it? Is it frustrating that you can’t be with this person? That there’s something keeping you apart? That there’s something about this person that you can connect with? And whenever you’re near this person, you don’t know what to say, and you say everything that’s in your mind and in your heart, and you know that if you could just be together, that this person would help you become the best possible version of yourself?

Steve Carell is fast becoming a Hollywood go-to guy, especially for (sort of) original comedies: The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Evan Almighty, and Get Smart.  But in less-comedic ‘real life’ roles as well, such as the suicidal, homosexual scholar brother-in-law in Little Miss Sunshine and now this romantic comedy, Dan in Real Life, which starts out with a considerable patch of pathos.  As in Sleepless in Seattle, the leading fellow must persevere with children following the death of the wife and mother everyone loves and misses desperately. Continue reading

Movie Review: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)

A modest, cosmically funny movie that packs a heavy multilevel punch (8/10)
Directed by Lorene Scarfaria

SeekingFirst, let me tell you that if you’re a Keira Knightley fan solely because of her movie star glamour and celebrity, Seeking a Friend is not for you. I doubt we’ll ever see a more frumpy Keira than her role as Penny. At her real age of 27 the actress looks 10-15 years older… and plays a character who is old beyond her years. Plays it extremely well. Yet what Penny lacks in outer beauty she more than makes up for with inner substance. Oddly enough, the Steve Carell lost-soul character, Dodge—Carell in real life was 50 when this movie was made—, awakens Penny’s substance, her youthful romanticism. And she becomes the beauty we’re used to.

They are, indeed, a match made for the end of the world. The movie opens with:

“OK, what we’re getting now is, yes, they’re saying it was in fact a fire that erupted inside the external tank of the ship, exactly ninety-eight seconds after it entered the asteroid field. No one is sure what caused the fire which led to the massive explosion, killing all twelve crew members and scientists aboard the space shuttle Deliverance, taking with them our last and only hope. Once again, if you’re just tuning in, the CSA space shuttle Deliverance has been destroyed. The final mission to save mankind has failed. The seventy-mile-wide asteroid known commonly as Matilda is set to collide with Earth in exactly three weeks time, and we’ll be bringing you up-to-the-minute coverage of our countdown to the ‘End of Days’, along with ALL your classic rock favorites. This is Q107.2.” Continue reading