Films I Neglected To Review: Goodbye LoversBy Peter Sobczynski
Posted 04/16/21 04:34:29
Please enjoy short reviews of "Monday," "The Rookies" and "We Broke Up."
The idea of using the grand romantic gesture that usually ends a film as its jumping-off point is not an uninteresting one but Argyris Papadimitrpoulos, who directed and co-wrote the screenplay with Rob Hayes, simply has no idea of how to make anything of it. The key problem is that the two central characters, to put it gently, are deeply annoying idiots and while they clearly deserve each other, most viewers don't deserve being forced to watch them struggle to form some kind of union. Mickey is an irresponsible douche right from the start and never really changes and Stan's relentlessly one-note performance fails to find any sort of shading that might make him come across as sympathetic or engaging. Chloe, on the other hand, is meant to be the more ostensibly responsible of the two but there are too many occasions where the screenplay requires her to act in inexplicable ways--from her initial decision to upend her life in order to stay in Greece with a twerp she barely knows to a late-inning choice that has potentially disastrous consequences for both of them--that will simply be too much for most viewers to swallow. Sure, some of the Greek scenery is pretty to look at but unless you have a profound desire to see Bucky Barnes's junk dangling for all to see, "Monday" will prove to be anything but a funday.
I am fully aware that "The Rookies" is meant to be little more than a nonsensical action-packed live-action cartoon (there are even bits of animation here and there) that is best viewed with one's brain shut off. Fine, but even those movies have certain limits and this one keeps stumbling over them right from the get-go. Tonally, the film is all over the map as it veers between badly executed action thrills and staggeringly unfunny comedic asides. (At one point, our hero celebrates his ascension to the ranks of the Phantom Knighthood by partying with an inflatable sex doll that he already has on hand.) Likewise, the screenplay is remarkably incoherent--if you thought that the plot description above made little precious little sense, imagine watching it struggle to unfold over the course of nearly two seemingly endless hours--and eventually becomes so slapdash that one could rearrange the scenes in any random order and it would hardly be any less comprehensible than it is now. And if all of that weren't excruciating enough--and I assure you that it is--the film also has, in Wang, one of the most off-putting would-be "heroes" is cinema history, a turning so resplendent with mugging and devoid of anything vaguely resembling comic timing that from the moment he is introduced, you will be rooting for the bad guys to prevail. As for Jovovich, who delivers her lines in a raspy voice that suggests a dire need of a lozenge, she is the best thing about the film—she is the one element that comes across as remotely professional--but not even she can do much of anything since she is barely in the first half of the film (the aforementioned sex doll may actually have more screen time) and she spends nearly the entire second half paralyzed and only able to communicate by blinking (presumably sending out dire messages to her agents informing them that they need to talk). Eventually she recovers but, alas, the same cannot be said for "The Rookies" or anyone unwise enough to watch it.
The chief problem with the film is that even though it only clocks in at about 80 minutes, the screenplay by Jeff Rosenberg (who also directed) and Laura Jacqmin seems to run out of ideas long before then and ends up spending too much time spinning its wheels while trying to find something to say about relationships that might be interesting, amusing or insightful. This is most evident in regards to the characters of Doug and Lori--neither of the actors have much to work with here, especially Cash, and are too often stranded in scenes that seem to exist only to move the plot along. In addition, whenever it seems that the conflicts between Doug and Lori might be getting to some real and recognizable place, we cut away to the mostly tiresome antics of the other wacky wedding guests--the only one who scores is Cavalero, who brings some energy to the role of the goofy fiancee who turns out to contain a surprising degree of inner strength beneath his laid-back exterior. "We Broke Up" just comes across as shrill and insubstantial, a film that asks us to contemplate why a seemingly happy couple would suddenly decide to split up but never offers up any real reasons as to why we should actually care.
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