Ice Age: Continental Drift
20th Century Fox
Rated PG for rude humor, action and scenes of peril.
A Frenetic Animated Adventure Strictly For Tykes
Unfortunately, the brains behind the latest installment of this animated series abandoned the family-friendly formula which made it so popular with kids of all ages. Instead, they decided to produce a kitchen sink comedy more concerned with generating cheap laughs by any means possible than with spinning a coherent tale that might engage an adult.
Besides an unfocused, scatterbrained storyline, Ice Age: Continental Drift features a plethora of preposterous anachronisms which suggest that pirates, togas and telephones existed in an age of prehistoric creatures. Plus, the picture makes a number of distracting allusions to everything from the movie Meet The Parents (“Why do males have nipples?”) to Trix cereal tv commercials (“Silly rabbit!”) to Homer’s Odyssey (seductive sirens as characters) to the Bible (Book of Jonah).
The upshot is a frenetic, attention-deficit adventure apt to enthrall tykes at the expense of appealing to other demographics. In addition to the principals reprising their roles, noteworthy newcomers to the voice cast include Jennifer Lopez, Drake, Wanda Sykes, Joy Behar, Peter Dinklage, Nicki Minaj and Keke Palmer.
The fun starts when half-squirrel/half-rat Scrat (Chris Wedge) accidentally triggers the continental divide of the planet while trying to bury an acorn in the frozen tundra. Elsewhere, woolly mammoths Manny (Ray Romano) and his wife, Ellie (Queen Latifah), exhibit concern about their daughter, Peaches (Palmer), developing a crush on bad boy Ethan (Drake). Meanwhile, the smitten teen rides roughshod over the feelings of a secret admirer (Josh Gad) she barely recognizes since he’s just a nerdy molehog.
Additional subplots involve sloth Sid’s (John Leguizamo) having to care for his sassy grandmother (Sykes) and, later, saber-toothed tiger Diego’s (Denis Leary) pursuit of a love interest (Lopez). However, the film’s primary concern is reuniting families left separated from each other on different land masses in the wake of Scrat’s cataclysmic hijinks.
Too bad the resolution of every piece of this cinematic jigsaw puzzle proves predictable. Sad to see a once-beloved franchise jump the prehistoric shark.
Fair (1 star)
Running time: 94 minutes
Hedonistic Playboy Tries Platonic Relationship In Offbeat Romantic Romp
At first blush, this picture superficially reads like the typical opening of a Dragnet episode. After all, it is set in L.A. and starts with a voiceover informing the audience that what you are about to see is true. However, that’s where the similarities between the classic tv series and Crazy Eyes begin and end, since the latter is an offbeat romantic romp rather than a sobering crime story narrated by a glum gumshoe.
Here, the protagonist, Zach (Lukas Haas), is a wealthy playboy who boasts about having four and a half women on speed dial should he find himself in the mood for a booty call at the end of any evening. That self-indulgent lifestyle doesn’t sit well with his ex-wife (Moran Atias), since it results in his forgetting when he’s supposed to take custody of their son (Blake Garrett) sorely in need of quality time with his emotionally-unavailable dad.
Zach’s also routinely nagged by a persistent girlfriend (Regine Nehy) who keeps calling from the East Coast. She’s so desperate for a visit or at least a little phone sex that she seductively whispers “I love you” into the receiver, ignoring his begging to leave him alone.
Besides being surrounded by frustrated females, Zach has a substance problem, too. That’s not much of a surprise, given that his best friend, Dan (Jake Busey), is a bartender and his primary enabler. After hours, they’re fond of doing lines of coke in his hot tub with loose ladies they picked up at the club.
The plot thickens the day Zach finally meets his match. That would be Rebecca (Madeline Zima), an attractive, if uncoordinated lush he decides to refer to as Crazy Eyes. She’s able to resist his considerable seductive powers, ostensibly holding out because he’s promised to take her to an art gallery exhibiting the work of Hieronymus Bosch.
Rather than find someone else to sleep with, Zach inexplicably becomes intrigued and what ensues is an ill-advised dating ritual marked by overindulgence, passing out inebriated together, totaling a car, a DUI and intermittent barfing. Will Rebecca get to see Bosch? Will Zach ever get lucky? Will they ever clean up their acts?
Sadly, none of the above is necessarily important to a couple of decadent drunks already in Drunk Heaven.
Good (2 stars)
Running time: 95 minutes
OPENING THIS WEEK
For movies opening July 20, 2012
The Dark Knight Rises (PG-13 for sensuality, profanity and intense violence). Latest Batman adventure, again directed by Chris Nolan, has the Caped Crusader (Christian Bale) coming out of exile to match wits with a mysterious cat burglar (Anne Hathaway) and with a masked terrorist (Tom Hardy) determined to destroy Gotham City. Ensemble cast includes Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman and Marion Cotillard.
30 Beats (R for nudity, profanity and sexuality). Romantic comedy, set in the midst of a summer heat wave, about 10 New Yorkers ensnared, due to forces beyond their control, in a web of desire woven by a chain reaction of seduction and self-discovery. Starring Ingeborga Dapkunaite, Jason Day and Vahina Giocante.
Grassroots (R for pervasive profanity and brief drug use). Unlikely-buddy dramedy about a just-fired journalist (Jason Biggs) who grudgingly agrees to campaign for an eccentric pal (Joel David Moore) running for a seat on the Seattle City Council. With Tom Arnold, Cedric The Entertainer, Christopher McDonald and Lauren Ambrose.
Hara-Kiri: Death Of A Samurai (Unrated). 3D remake of the 1962 revenge saga of the same name revolving around a struggling samurai warrior (Ebizo Ichikawa) who decides to even the score with the feudal lord (Koji Yakusho) responsible for his son-in-law’s suicide. With Goro Daimon, Takashi Sasano and Hikari Mitsushima. (In Japanese with subtitles)
The Queen Of Versailles (PG for mature themes and mild epithets). McMansion documentary about music mogul David Siegel’s two-year effort to build the biggest and most expensive single-family home in the United States for his wife, Jackie.
Wagner’s Dream (Unrated). “The show ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings” documentary chronicling the daunting host of challenges encountered by Manhattan’s Metropolitan Opera in the process of mounting a very ambitious production of Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle. Featuring appearances by James Levine, Carl Fillion and Peter Gelb. (In English and French with subtitles)
The Well-Digger’s Daughter (Unrated). Faithful remake of the 1940 classic based upon the Marcel Pagnol romance novel about a working-class widower (Daniel Auteuil) who finds himself emotionally-conflicted when one of his six daughters (Astrid Berges-Frisbey) is left pregnant by a wealthy Air Force pilot (Jaques Mazel) fighting in the First World War. With Kad Merad, Jeanne-Pierre Darroussin and Nicolas Duvauchelle. (In French with subtitles)