This week at the movies, we’ve got rock ‘n’ roll ribaldry (Get Him to the Greek, starring Russell Brand and Jonah Hill): DNA disturbances (Splice, starring Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley); a canine caper (Marmaduke, starring Owen Wilson and William H. Macy); and espionage entanglements (Killers, starring Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher). What do the critics have to say?
It might seem like fun to hang with your favorite rock star – unless you actually have to do it. The critics say Get Him to the Greek takes this inspired premise and wrings plenty of terrific gags from it, making for a film that has such high energy that its lapses are easy to forgive. In this quasi-sequel to Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Jonah Hill stars as a low-level record company employee who’s been given a daunting assignment: get a crazed, hedonistic rock star (Russell Brand) to show up on time for his band’s 10-year reunion show. Naturally, everything goes haywire as Hill finds himself in the midst of his target’s wild lifestyle. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Get Him to the Greek may not be the most disciplined comedy in the world, and it gets a little mushy at the end, but for the most part, this is a raunchy, clever, and deftly-acted good time. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down our favorite cinematic party animals.)
Given our collective anxieties about both childbirth and cloning, a movie like Splice is sure to touch a nerve. And critics say this sci-fi/horror flick is a creepy and provocative piece of work – even if it doesn’t completely live up to its fantastic premise. Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley star as a pair of biochemists who craft a new being by combining human DNA with a miasma of animal features – and must confront the moral and practical ramifications of their creation. The pundits say Splice has an ice-cold, queasily compelling look, and is smarter and more philosophical than your typical horror fare, though it’s hampered by an uneven tone and a middling conclusion.
Marmaduke has been in the funny pages since the 1950s, so it was inevitable that the gigantic, implicitly savage pooch would eventually wind up on the big screen. Unfortunately, critics say there’s precious little to chew on here, despite the presence of some talented actors. Marmaduke (voiced by Owen Wilson) finds the titular Great Dane on the run after an embarrassing mishap with his new masters, who hit the road to find him; hilarious talking-dog hi-jinks and romance ensue. The pundits say this is strictly juvenile fare padded to feature length, with little to delight kids or their parents.
It appears the folks behind Killers don’t believe their film will slay with the critics, since it wasn’t screened prior to release. Jen (Katherine Heigl) is a lonely gal who’s just met Spencer, a guy who seems to be too good to be true; naturally, it turns out he’s a secret agent and she’s about to get caught in the line of fire. Hey, tomatoes, stop playing that first-person shooter and guess that Tomatometer!
Also opening this week in limited release: