The Lucky One: Or, I Didn’t Have to See Any of These Movies. Zing! I actually was bummed to pass up Lucky One and Think Like a Man screenings, because I’m unlikely to spend thirteen or fourteen (yeah Regal!) dollars on my mild curiosity and, hey, it’s interesting to see movies outside of your film-geeky comfort zone. But on the other hand, I’ve probably seen enough Nicolas Sparks and faux-Sparks movies to ever feel much remorse about missing the one starring Zac Efron, who returns from boy-band boot camp, er, the Marines, and finds love with a Taylor Schilling, whatever that is. Actually, I would’ve sworn/assumed that Schilling (who gets billed by name in the Lucky One trailer) was on Friday Night Lights, but apparently she has been seen by far fewer people, playing the lead role in Atlas Shrugged Part One. This makes me retroactively sad that the Lucky One trailer didn’t take a cue from the Vow trailer and boast “from High School Musical 3 ZAC EFRON” and “from Atlas Shrugged Part One TAYLOR SCHILLING.”
Think Like a Man: There are so few good roles for black actors in mainstream productions that even cheap-looking ensem-romcoms like this one can attract a deep roster of talented, attractive, and/or appealing performers: Taraji P. Henson, Regina Hall, Michael Ealy, Romany Malco, 30 Rock‘s Sherri Shepherd, stand-up comic Kevin Hart, black-ensemble-movie mainstay Gabrielle Union, future Gabrielle Union Meagan Good, and, ugh, Chris Brown, apparently in a hilarious cameo as a love-em-and-leave-em player. As long as we’re thinking it’s okay to hire abusive, delusional nonactor Chris Brown for movies, why don’t we just include some winking references to his unhinged-asshole persona while we’re at it?
Besides Brown, the biggest detriments working against that cast of people I’d see in a movie are less directly present, at least visually. First, there’s Steve Harvey, whose self-branding as a sassily practical advice guru seems to drive the story; rather than using advice-book examples to inspire even-more-fictional situations, the characters in the movie are aware (and presumably in awe) of Harvey’s best-seller and, based on the trailer, spend at least a few minutes explaining it to each other in between Harvey explaining it to everyone on staged talk-show appearances. I’m not sure why I find this off-putting—maybe sort of a don’t-quit-your-day-job-except-you’re-kinda-unfunny-at-your-day-job-too thing with Harvey, probably the weakest of the Kings of Comedy, offhand.
The other point against is visible if you look closer: director Tim Story, who made the charming Barbershop and the less charming Fantastic Four series. Although Think Like a Man reps a return to light comedy after his work as Fox’s go-to action director who doesn’t know how to direct action, it looks astonishingly cheap in the trailers—more like the stretched budget of Story’s woeful action-comedy Taxi than, you know, attractive actors well-lit. [Taxi was among the very first movies I reviewed for The L. I advised: "Don't Tax-see this movie, because it Tax-sucks." -Ed.]
Chimpanzee: I’m sure the chimps in this movie are adorable, but once you’ve seen a chimp play hockey, watching them in the wild just isn’t as exciting anymore. If anyone would like to test this theory, my VHS copy of MVP is available for borrowing.
Darling Companion: OK, so if I don’t want to see the big wide-release movies this weekend, surely the Lawrence Kasdan movie with Kevin Kline, Diane Keaton, Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss, Dianne Wiest, and Richard Jenkins will entice me? But then Kasdan loses me at “this is really a movie about a bickering couple looking for a dog.” I’m sure it’s really about so much more than that, but then again, I don’t know, the trailer really kinda makes it look like they spend the running time calling out for a missing dog that only Keaton really likes. I’m pretty sure the thought process that could almost lead me to see this is probably what lead to all of these people doing this dog movie. Boy am I ready to see a good Kevin Kline movie again, not one where he plays a reclusive writer and/or carousing father figure.
The Moth Diaries: If I see any movie released this weekend, it will probably be Mary Harron’s boarding-school horror movie, if only to encourage Mary Harron to make more movies [I don't think it's really up to her but I get your meaning. -Ed.] and to encourage more horror movies to be directed by cool people. Violet Lucca says it’s not great, but says it has some visual kick, which I’m guessing many of the other weekend’s releases lack.