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Monday, August 25, 2008

Observations from the August 22 Box Office: Or The Rocker Must Really Bite

Fox continued its run of disappointments with �The Rocker,� a Rainn Wilson-starring bid at another �School of Rock�; it came in 12th with $2.8 million.
That blurb from Variety's wrap-up of the weekend tally is an understatement of grand proportions, considering how much of a marketing push the film got. Myspace branding, constant commercials and Wilson front and center for the last few weeks did nothing for this flick.

I haven't seen it, but I'd say the underwhelming performance has less to do with Wilson, than the fact that, while the film is about a 40 something ex-rocker of a hair band finding fame, the target audience appeared to be teenagers and young adults who only have memories of the 80's via VH1 specials. The film might have had a chance if they had made a film that was designed for a crowd that remembers when MTV used to show music videos and Real World was a rare guilty summer treat that hadn't yet been run into the ground creatively.

This is a case when going R, and making more of a satire, would have probably done the movie wonders in box office coin.'s almost unfortunate that [Emma Stone] and [Anna] Faris couldn't spend more time together on screen, riffing off ridiculous and random lines of dialogue. Erik Davis -Cinematical
I can't say The House Bunny is the best movie of the summer. I can say--outside of the trailer of Richard Gere and Diane Lane's new film Nights of The Rodanthe--I haven't laughed as hard or as much as I did in any other movie this Summer. Tropic Thunder is a better constructed movie, but Ben Stiller isn't a better comedian than Anna Faris.

Stiller's characters are almost always too self-aware. They're characters playing a character for the benefit of an audience. It's a style of comedy that's plagued SNL for the last 15 years.

Faris is a throwback to early SNL, when the likes of Gilda Radner totally committed to the part. When Gilda becomes Rosanna RoseannaDanna, she is Rosanna. Her posture, her voice, everything shifts to reflect who Rosanna is. Even when the jokes aren't punching, the fact that Radner is this other character does a lot of the heavy lifting.

Faris's turn in The House Bunny is much the same. The movie is silly--which isn't a knock on the film, not all the jokes work and the setups are fairly routine--that is a knock on the film. However, Faris's timing is so finely tuned, her ability to find a laugh so acute, she does what Dane Cook only dreams about in his sleep. She actually is able to carry the entire movie and to bring the damn thing home. Even Emma Stone is able to work some serious magic with her role.

Faris exec. produced the film. Which hopefully means she'll be wrestling more control over her films and will be able to turn out flicks that take advantage of her ability to do both physical and verbal comedy with virtual ease. Me wonders what could she do in the hands of the Cohen's or teaming up with Amanda Bynes--Fest Director Dan's idea--to be a Lewis and Martin type duo on screen.

...oh and if you haven't, watch the trailer for Nights of The Rodanthe and try not to laugh. George C. Wolfe is at the helm, so it gives me hope about the movie itself. But, the trailer feels as if it could have been constructed from a dozen other movies. When you put lines like: "You gave me back my father. You saved him." Back to back with lines like: "He looks this good and he has a dirty mind, he's definitely a keeper" from the female--I have no personal life of my own--best friend, the trailer can't help but send me over the edge. Paula literally had to get up and move to the other side of Dan and Gabe I was laughing so hard and loud.


Gabe said...

Poor Jenna Rainn Wilson will never let her go:

Paula said... I'm gonna have to write something.