This week at the movies, we’ve got speedy cars (Fast & Furious, starring Vin Diesel and Paul Walker) and a languid summer (Adventureland, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart). What do the critics have to say?
Fast & Furious is the fourth installment of the venerable cars-going-vroom franchise, and unfortunately, critics say it’s the weakest of the lot. The principals from the first film, The Fast and the Furious — including Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, and Jordana Brewster — are back, and they pick up where they left off. Diesel plays Dom, an ex-con who’s still bitter at undercover cop Brian (Paul Walker), but soon, the pair join forces to investigate the death of a mutual associate. The pundits say this franchise is running on fumes; though Fast & Furious features some decent stunts, its groan-worthy dialogue, indifferent performances, and lack of dramatic momentum make for a pretty middling — albeit shiny — package. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we compile Vin Diesel’s best-reviewed films.)
Greg Mottola is building a solid rep as an astute chronicler of coming-of-age joys and pains. Hot on the heels of Superbad is Adventureland, a dramedy that critics say dishes laughs and sentiment with a deft hand. Jesse Eisenberg stars as James, a college grad who gets a job at an amusement park. With the help of Em, a cute co-worker (Kristen Stewart), his wacky bosses (Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig), and his slacker co-workers (Martin Starr, Ryan Reynolds, and others) he learns a thing or two about life. The pundits say Adventureland is bright, funny, sharply acted and deeply heartfelt; throw in a killer soundtrack, and you’ve got a Certified Fresh movie. (Also, be sure to see which movies Greg picked as his Five Favorite Films.)
Also opening this week in limited release:
Finally, props to Speaker for the Films for coming the closes to guessing 12 Rounds‘ 23 percent Tomatometer.