Critical Consensus: Studios Serve Up a Few Turkeys

by | November 22, 2005 | Comments

What’s Thanksgiving without stuffing yourself silly? The studios haven’t disappointed us in that regard, as they pack the theaters this holiday weekend with offerings ranging from a movie adaptation of the Broadway musical "Rent" to the latest black comedy featuring Billy Bob Thornton. And yes, there are a couple of turkeys in the mix.

You know, given time, all popular Broadway plays and musicals will get their own movie adaptations. "Rent," the long-running "rock musical" based on Puccini’s opera "La Boheme," tells of a diverse group of bohemians living in New York’s East Village as they struggle to make a living and produce their art. However, what works on stage may not work on screen, at least not in this adaptation. While "Rent" is energetic and faithful to the stage play, critics say the raw emotions and style of the latter are missing.

If misery loves company, then those without the holiday spirit will find comfort in "The Ice Harvest." A black comedy about a mob lawyer and his co-conspirator, played by John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton, who try to swindle two million dollars from their employer, "The Ice Harvest" will offer a few chuckles for those with an ear for witty dialogue, but the mean-spiritedness of the movie, critics warn, may be a turnoff.

In the original 1968 film, Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda were able to make their family of 20 work. In the new "Yours, Mine, & Ours," Rene Russo and Dennis Quaid give it their best, but critics say that while genial, this remake is a bland and frantic slapstick comedy that falls flat more often than not.

The holidays are a time best spent with family and to reconnect with loved ones, and that’s exactly what Ryan Reynolds is trying to do in the comedy "Just Friends." Reynolds plays a record exec who has it all, except the girl he’s had a crush on since high school. As expected with a comedy milking a person’s weight problem for laughs, the humor here is pretty crude, but if you want to see a person humiliate himself in the name of love, "Just Friends" is worth some laughs, critics say.

Back in 2001, Emmanuelle Chriqui starred opposite Lance Bass of ‘NSync fame in a rom-com titled "On the Line." Let’s just say that movie disappeared from theaters faster than Bass’ singing career. Now Chriqui is back in another romantic comedy, this time with pop singer Usher in "In the Mix." Any parallels here? We’ll see when the reviews come in.

Turkeys from the previous Thanksgivings:
15% — Alexander (2004)
4% — Christmas With the Kranks (2004)
12% — Timeline (2003)
14% — The Haunted Mansion (2003)
14% — Adam Sandler’s 8 Crazy Nights (2002)
7% — Extreme Ops (2002)

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