This week’s wide releases include a pair of remakes for very different demographics ("The Shaggy Dog" and "The Hills Have Eyes"), and a romantic comedy ("Failure to Launch"). What will the critics say?
"The Shaggy Dog" is a remake of the 1959 Fred MacMurray family comedy. This one stars Tim Allen as a district attorney who is accidentally injected with a chemical that periodically turns him into a dog; family togetherness ensues. Critics say this family fare is not sharp on its own modest terms, and despite some decent moments (many of them courtesy of Robert Downey Jr.), it lacks, ahem, bite. At 36 percent on the Tomatometer, this "Dog" could use a trip to the vet; it’s not as healthy as the original, which stands at 75 percent.
Listen up, Hollywood, because I’m only going to say this once. Don’t you know that you’re asking for trouble from movie critics if you put negative descriptors in your title? It’s like a red cape in front of a charging bull. "Failure to Launch," starring Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker, tells the story of a regular 30-something dude whose parents want him to move out, so they hire a woman to try to go on a date with him. Scribes say the leads have an acceptable level of chemistry, and that the film benefits from quirky supporting players, particularly Zooey Deschanel. But they hasten to add that the title is a bit too apt, for the setup and the script are too contrived for the material to really achieve liftoff. At 34 percent on the Tomatometer, this one’s a… never mind.
Wes Craven‘s "The Hills Have Eyes" gets the remake treatment from Alexander Aja, the director behind the recent slasher fave "High Tension." The film tells the story of a family road trip that comes to an abrupt halt, thanks to a clan of bloodthirsty genetic mutants. Critics say it’s a pretty gruesome experience, and one of the better horror remakes of recent years; whether those are compliments depends on your taste. At 53 percent on the Tomatometer, this one’s a slight notch below the original (63 percent).
Recent Matthew McConaughey Movies:
20% — Two For the Money (2005)
86% — Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3-D (2005)
38% — Sahara (2005)
19% — Paparazzi (2004)
42% — How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)