BE KIND REWIND
Jerry (Jack Black) and Mike (Mos Def) have always been friends. Mike works in the Be Kind Rewind video rental store run by Mr Fletcher (Danny Glover), but business is slow. When Fats Waller fan Mr Fletcher goes off on a short trip to celebrate his idol, he leaves Mike in charge, with strict instruction to keep accident-prone Jerry away. When attempting to sabotage the local power plant believing it is melting his brain, Jerry gets caught in a magnetic field. He stumbles dazed and confused into the video shop and accidentally erases all the videos. To keep the customers happy, including loyal Miss Falewicz (Mia Farrow), Jerry and Mike come up with an innovative scheme to remake movies, taking on the starring roles and using locals like Alma (Melonie Diaz) from the dry cleaning shop, to help. Business booms and soon the whole neighbourhood is revitalised.
Review by Louise Keller:
Brilliant ideas dance on the high side of Creative Street, but Michel Gondry's outlandish premise doesn't stretch far enough to go the distance. There are some inspired absurd moments as Jack Black's Jerry and Mos Def's Mike play amateur filmmaker and shoot their own versions of such classics as Ghostbusters, but the gag is overdone and at 100 minutes, it feels rather long. It's a one-gag premise that sizzles when it's hot, but is a yawn when it's not.
Who would think to marry a tribute to jazz great Fats Waller with a series of offbeat filmic sight gags? The set up drags but things brighten up considerably when Jerry's power plant misadventure prompts the hapless duo to remake Ghostbusters for Mia Farrow's slightly demented Miss Falewicz. It all starts with 'a minimum amount of professionalism', aluminium foil, a fishing line, plus red and green tinsel. The ideas are clever, and I loved the concept of piano keys being made up of the neighbourhood's (black and white) fingers. I chuckled at the imaginative, if crude special effects using everyday items like fire-starters and toy cars.
The film relies on Black and Def's congenial antics as Jerry and Mike concoct the idea to remake or 'swede' films that are well enough known in order for us to appreciate the joke. Black steals most of the thunder as he hams it up in a frock for Driving Miss Daisy, becomes an ape for King Kong, hides behind a paper cutout for The Lion King, dons robot gear for Robocop and photocopies his face to overcome technical obstacles shooting day for night. The enthusiasm of the locals as they get involved rubs off to some extent, but it all eventually becomes a bit tedious.
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CAST: Jack Black, Mos Def, Danny Glover, Mia Farrow, Melonie Diaz, Irv Gooch, Chandler Parker, Arjay Smith, Quinton Aaron
PRODUCER: Georges Berman, Julie Fong
DIRECTOR: Michel Gondry
SCRIPT: Michel Gondry
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ellen Kuras
EDITOR: Jeff Buchanan
MUSIC: Jean-Michel Bernard
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Dan Leigh
RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 20, 2008
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