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Notes from the back row

Failure to grow up

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I think most of us will agree, there's nothing better than going home to stay with your parents: the fully-stocked fridge, the in-house laundry, the sit-down dinners, and that old comfy couch in the basement that’s seen a million naps and more than few good teenage dry humping sessions. In fact visiting your parents is so great that my generation is finding no reason to leave and adult children living at home is so common now it has generated a handful of quasi-intellectual terms (aduletscents) and (so far) at least one crappy comedy starring Matthew McConaughey.

Failure to Launch , while sounding like an impotency film, is actually a romantic comedy about Tripp (McConaughey) a 35-year-old non-virgin who still lives at home and makes no apologies for it. His fed up parents hire Sarah Jessica Parker, a consultant/therapist, to lure Tripp away by making him fall in love with her and move out. She takes money for sex but isn’t a whore and both characters think they have it all figured out until they really do fall in love and each eventually causes the other to realize their own shortcomings while appreciating the magical power of love in general.

Sure, it has a few cutesy laughs and a strong supporting cast but Failure to Launch , ironically enough, starts off strong and then peters right out. If your girlfriend truly wants you suffer through this, rent it and relax on the couch.

The only time when living at home doesn’t rule is when your parents live in an old abandoned nuclear blast test site and are cannibalistic mutants. Such is the case in Alexandre Aja’s highly stylized remake of the classic horror film, The Hills Have Eyes.

Remaking ’70s horror is all the rage right now but Aja does a remarkable job by sticking closely to the original story – a vacationing family is led astray by a creepy gas station attendant and soon they are being chased/hunted/killed/eaten by a hideously deformed, evil, freak family.

Superbly shot, amazingly edited and with a bang-on sound score this The Hills Have Eyes proves Aja is a true horror disciple, and while non-fans may find some scenes a bit much, people like me will love it. Not to say it’s better that Wes Craven’s 1977 original – I think those ’70s flicks had a raw, gritty, you-are-there feeling to them that upped the scare factor – but Aja provides a visceral film laced with feelings of isolation, torment, and a jab at the American Government (their nuclear tests in the ’50s started the whole mutation/evil thing). Much like Aja’s other film, High Tension, this one may be criticized as style for style’s sake but I’ll take that over Tim Allen in a dog suit any day.

That’s right, after being bitten by a magical 300-year-old, lab animal-tested Tibetan Sheepdog, Tim Allen, perhaps the most unfunny person to ever have his own TV show, begins to transform into a canine himself and, as a dog, realizes he’s been a poor husband and a terrible father to his two children, one of which is suspiciously gay. The Shaggy Dog – chock up another one for the creative geniuses at Disney, this is only the second time they’ve remade this movie. Expect the obvious butt-sniffing, leg-lifting to pee and cat chasing jokes. The best thing about this movie is watching co-stars Robert Downey Jr. and Danny Glover do the math in their heads to figure out how much they’re getting paid for every painful hour.

I’ll leave you with that, dear readers, I have to go unload the dishwasher before my mom comes home for lunch.

AT VILLAGE 8 March 10-16: Failure to Launch; Shaggy Dog; The Hills Have Eyes; Curious George; Eight Below; Capote; Aquamarine; 16 Blocks; Ultra Violet; Brokeback Mountain; Pink Panther.

AT RAINBOW THEATRE March 10-16: Matador.

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