Obligatory Bare Naked Ladies One Week Song Reference (The Week Of, 2018)

Week_of_PosterKenny Lustig is a lower middle class Jewish dad whose daughter is engaged to the son of rich surgeon (and black) Kirby Cordice. The week before the wedding, Kenny is trying to set everything up to go perfectly.  Shockingly in a story like this…that is not happening.

There is certainly a potentially entertaining movie in the story.  But the weight of the cliches and the casting brings to much drag. Kenny has big ideas, but is trying to pull them off on a budget and hide just how tight money is.  He is constantly fighting with his wife, his family is overbearing but he and his daughter have a special bond. Is the massive fighting with his wife (played by Rachel Dratch) something that needs resolution? I don’t know…maybe? It is almost more like “This is an Adam Sandler movie, he needs another person to have shouting matches with”.

Rock’s Cordice has no apparent relationship to his ex-wife or his kids. He hates her new man, and just threw money at the kids. But the movie never does a good job of showing this relationship. But at the end, we are supposed to accept how much he has grown.  But from where???

We don’t really get much of a sense of any of the relationships.  A lot of the running gags feel like the film was originally envisioned as a writer pitch to Wes Anderson.  The quirky friend who offers to sleep with guys for her best friend’s sake, another friend who throws herself at the weird neighbor kid who has been obsessed Sandler’s daughter for years…they are all “quirky”…but here it just feels like a weird clash.

And the biggest problem is the casting.  Sandler and Rock are just not the right guys for these roles. They do not bring any real personality or life to their characters.  Kirby and Kenny are ill defined characters, relying on cliches…and neither actor does anything to make these characters feel like they are more than those cliches.

Heck, they don’t even really make use of the cliches that might give them some solid awkward comedy.  The only gag we really get from the Black and Jewish thing is one that…well, makes Kenny look pretty bad.  He sees two black guys walking by the house and invites the (rather confused) two in because he assumes they are members of Kirby’s family.

Nothing really seems able to save The Week Of from drowning in it’s own lack of creativity.

I Love L.A. (Escape From L.A., 1996)

Escape-From-LA-posterJohn Carpenter’s first sequel.  Escape From L.A. brings back Snake Plissken.  The setup here is that in the late 20th century, a Presidential predicts a major earthquake will hit California and Las Vegas because of their sinful ways.  Unlike Pat Robertson, his prediction comes true.  American makes the now island of Los Angeles a one way prison.  The president was elected to a lifetime appointment.  They instituted a theocracy.  If you were to sinful you were sent to L.A. (but you get the option to repent of your sin and be immediately electrocuted).

In the future of 2013, the President’s daughter (oddly named Utopia, because a hyper-religious parent would name their kid Utopia?  Or is the implication that he used to be a hippie?)  has stolen an important prototype and run off to L.A.  Like before, the government calls in Snake Plissken and forces hm to make a deal to go into L.A. and get the prototype back so a potential invasion of America can be averted.

Plissken runs into all sorts of Oddballs, such as evil plastic surgeons and a surfer gang.  He gets help from the morally ambiguous Map to the Stars Eddie and the sexy Taslima.  He takes on Cuervo Jones in an attempt to get the prototype.

Like most sequels, Escape From L.A. mimics Escape from New York a lot.  There is even a scene where he walks into a club and finds a dead Rescue Team member he was tracking.  On the other hand, the film really amps up the action.

The film has stuff that does not really make sense.  The Evangelical President outlawed eating of red meat?  I mean, it might make more sense if the laws were based in Old Testament.  The effects are not..well…effective.  Many scenes are clearly green screened.  The basketball sequence just does not compare to the gladiatorial combat of the first film.

This is not to say the film is terrible.  The cast, including Steve Buscemi, Valeria Golina, Pam Grier, Stacy Keach and Cliff Robertson are all good.  And Russell slips right back into the skin of Snake Plissken with ease.  One of the most entertaining moments is when Snake is captured by the Surgeon General of Beverly Hills (Played by Bruce Campbell).  He leads a group of surgically enhanced misfits…they need to keep replenishing their body parts and look like the surgical disasters of nightmare on E! Television.

Escape From L.A. is fun, but comes no where near the classic status of Escape from New York.

 

 

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