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Notes from the Back Row

Due Date is weird fun, Megamind is for the kids



Did you like The Hangover ? The sequel is already in the works but in the meantime, director Todd Phillips returns to his Road Trip roots this Friday with Due Date , an R-Rated, odd-couple comedy starring Zack Galifianakis and Robert Downey Jr.  as two total opposites who get put on the no-fly list in Atlanta and have to endure a torturous drive across the United States together. Uptight RDJ has no choice, his wife in L.A. is due to give birth (by planned C-section, as is the Hollywood way - a detail that lessens the urgency of the plot) while lazy, crazy Galifianakis, although mourning his father's death and looking for a spot to spread his ashes, basically fills the role of a bumbling child. The episodically funny film essentially plays the two opposites off each other for 95 minutes but there are some good laughs to be had and both actors shine at times (if masturbating-yourself-to-sleep jokes count as shining.)

Watch for cameos and familiar faces in amongst the car crashes and weed jokes but all in all Due Date is only just kinda funny and also kinda weird - there's a lot of spitting, for example. But Galifianakis recently smoked a joint on national TV during a debate on Bill Maher's show though, so that's pretty awesome.

Todd Phillips also directed Old School , which was one of Will Ferrell's high points. Ferrell is back, sort of, this Friday when Mega Mind opens at the Village 8.

Megamind is an animated 3D (2D in Whistler) superhero-villain flick from the people at Dreamworks best known for Shrek, and while this flick is not as good as Pixar's The Incredibles it's better than the similarly-themed Despicable Me released earlier this year.

Megamind (Will Ferrell) is the bad guy and Metro Man (Brad Pitt) is his good-guy nemesis. Roxie (Tina Fey) is the Lois Lane love interest and Hal (Jonah Hill) is the schmuck cameraman in love with her. Cue the seen-most-of-it-before superhero jokes and way-too-many pop culture references played for cheap laughs. Dreamworks is famous for this kind of "in-joke" style. But Shrek was a long time ago and I still think all this nudge-nudge, wink-wink crap ever does is take the viewer out of what is supposed to be important, which is/should be the story. Mega Mind is a kid's movie and kids are easier to please, but as an adult I'd skip this one unless you've been hanging out with Zach Galifianakis.

Next Wednesday the Village 8 opens the new Rachel McAdams flick, Morning Glory and it looks like the kind of thing they would put on loop in Guantanamo Bay to force innocent people to admit to shit they didn't do. Feel-good comedy, my ass - I watched three trailers online and I still have no idea what it's about because my brain actually recoiled and went into some kind of primal shut-down mode. It didn't feel good at all. It felt like someone hurled a bucket of thumbtacks into my retinas while I scrape-cleaned the sump pump of an overflowing public toilet at a Texas chili cook-off.

Also opening Wednesday is Nowhere Boy , in which Aaron ( Kick Ass) Johnson stars as a young, pre-Beatles John Lennon. Regardless of how you feel about the Beatles or Lennon (for me it's the total opposite of how I feel about the Morning Glory movie) this flick is a watchable and telling coming-of-age story about a boy torn between two women, his mom and his aunt. It's tough to make a movie about such an iconic figure as Lennon, and tougher still to make one where he comes across as a real human. Nowhere Boy succeeds on all counts.



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