Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

July 2, 2010

Movie reviews: "Knight and Day," "Grown Ups"

VALDOSTA — “Knight and Day” (Action: 1 hour, 50 minutes); Starring: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Paul Dano and Viola Davis; Director: James Mangold; Rated: PG-13 (Violence and profanity)

Movie Review: Roy Miller (Cruise) is a secret agent for the United States. At an airport, he accidentally meets June Havens (Diaz), a traveler heading to her sister’s wedding. She ends up being Miller’s accomplice. Government agents and a crime syndicate relentlessly pursue them. As it turns out, Miller has a valuable device that more than one person would love to own. Miller must keep the item safe while also trying to protect Havens.  

Cruise and Diaz are talented actors, and they are enjoyable to watch. They entertain, even when their roles trail off into trivial antics. Their characters appear to change sporadically, never having the consistency needed to remain believable. An appearance of a comedy is present but the action is too much. Too many car chases, gunfights and fancy fighting scenes are overkill but entertaining with thrilling special effects and multiple stuntmen.

Cruise does lighten up in this film, showing he can be comical when needed and not always the serious hero. Diaz can play dizzy well, but I am not sure that is a compliment. Cruise and Diaz are a nice comical, action duo. However, the movie’s best player is Paul Dano of “Little Miss Sunshine” (2006). He steals the show as young supergenius Simon Feck.

“Knight and Day” is interesting and stupid simultaneously. Director Mangold has directed better. The notables are “3:10 to Yuma,” (2007), “Walk the Line” (2005), and “Girl, Interrupted” (1999). “Knight and Day” is an impractical plot of unbelievable feats.

Grade: C- (Too pricey at night, not worth it during the day)

“Grown Ups” (Comedy: 1 hour, 42 minutes); Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider; Director: Dennis Dugan; Rated: PG-13 (Thematic elements, sexual innuendo and strong language)

Movie Review: A good meaning exists in this silly comedy. A candid reminder exists about adults forgetting how to be happy and enjoy life like children.

Friends since childhood, the friendship of Lenny Feder (Sandler), Eric Lamonsoff (James), Kurt McKenzie (Rock), Marcus Higgins (Spade), and Rob Hilliard (Schneider) has lasted for more than 30 years. They are now adults with families of their own. They are not happy.

Lenny Feder is a wealthy Hollywood agent married to a beautiful and talented fashion designer Roxanne (Salma Hayek). He believes his family’s life of luxury has spoiled them. Eric Lamonsoff is married to Sally (Maria Bello), and they are having relationship problems, especially his wife’s need to continually breast feed their 4-year-old son. Kurt McKenzie’s wife, Deanne (Maya Rudolph), is pregnant and feeling unwanted, and Kurt’s mother-in-law lives with them. A very eccentric Rob Hilliard is dating Gloria (Joyce Van Patten), who is about twice his age; they behave the most childish of the group at times. Even more, Hilliard feels his daughters ignore him. Marcus Higgins is the only unhitched man, but he stays drunk most of the time.

While this film is entitled “Grown Ups,” the childish behavior is anything but that. A photoplay filled with juvenile material. This entertainment is for adults only, regardless of its childish nature.  

The problem here is that adults appear overly childish. This aspect is because this screenplay muddles along with bad one-liners. The cast is mostly comedians. They deliver their lines with all the tact of a clown trying to be unnoticed at a funeral.

Comedic lines fall flat, and these actors communicate their lines as if they are doing stand-up gigs. Audiences are laughing, not because all of the jokes are funny, but rather the jokes are silly to the point you giggle and think they are lame.

These people are hilarious as individuals, but they compete when grouped together like this. A screenplay putting this many comedic actors in one plot is similar to seeing 20 clowns driving cross-country in a single smart car.    

Grade: C (Grown but immature)

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