Cahill, Dardenne and Dardenne, Linklater, Peretz, Rydell

Our Idiot Brother (Jesse Peretz, 2011). There’s sure an abundance of promising elements to this comedy, but it illustrates the vast divide between lining up the right pieces and assembling them properly. Paul Rudd plays a layabout organic farmer who gets busted for selling pot to a police officer and then cycles through staying with his various siblings, played by Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer. It’s boilerplate comic uplift with everyone evolving to understand the kind-hearted qualities behind the protagonist’s aggravatingly detached manner. There’s barely a laugh to be had in the film, though, and most of the … Continue reading Cahill, Dardenne and Dardenne, Linklater, Peretz, Rydell

Kubrick, Kurosawa, Robbins and Wise, Rydell, Wilder

Harry and Walter Go to New York (Mark Rydell, 1976). A colleague of mine at Spectrum Culture wrote about this nostalgic caper comedy a while back, calling it “a delightful farce of a film.” Not really, but it’s surely an oddball relic of the era when nineteen-seventies adventurism gave way to self-defeating excess. Clearly inspired by (and given its greenlight due to) the smashing success of George Roy Hill’s The Sting a few years earlier, the film casts Elliott Gould and James Caan as a pair of hackneyed vaudevillians in the late nineteenth century who get caught up in a … Continue reading Kubrick, Kurosawa, Robbins and Wise, Rydell, Wilder