more sundancing
issue no.
  january 15
c o n t e n t s
RED Reviews
'Torque' Runs Out of Gas, Explodes, Cuts to T&A
Opening this Weekend

It's a Wonderful Ken: RED Locates Cool-Lookin' Ken Just in Time for the Holidays

Opening This Weekend

“Along Came Polly”
Universal Pictures
Rated PG-13

(out of four)

It might be filled with clunky potty humor and have no chemistry between its romantic leads, but “Along Came Polly” also has quite a few laughs, thanks largely to its cast.

Ben Stiller plays an insurance risk-assessor whose wife screws a French scuba-diving instructor (a hilarious Hank Azaria) the first night of their honeymoon. So he meets the allegedly wacky Polly and dates her on the rebound…and maybe falls in love with her, I dunno.

If the film had done a better job of communicating the romance and Polly’s wackiness, the film might have been a nice showcase for some amusing set pieces and supporting roles by Philip Seymour Hoffman as Stiller’s best friend, a washed-up former star, and Alec Baldwin as Stiller’s obnoxious boss.

As it is, however, it feels more like a missed opportunity that still pulls off some laughs than a successful comedy.

“The Cooler”
Lions Gate Films
Rated R

(out of four)

For the past decade, William H. Macy has been one of the best character actors working. Wayne Kramer’s “The Cooler” finally gives him a romantic leading role and Macy fulfills the promise splendidly. Moving from down-and-out to elated, Macy brings life to what could have been a boring unlucky character without the proper acting.

And unlucky he is. Bernard Lootz’s luck is so bad that he works in a Las Vegas casino as a cooler—he stands next to people on winning streaks, and they start losing when he’s near. He currently works to pay back his friend, a crooked casino manager played by Alec Baldwin, who is very good, although the character sometimes goes over the top.

Baldwin’s character faces suits who want to turn his last-of-the-old-school casino into a recreational locale, so it’s a bigger problem when Bernie’s luck changes after many years when he falls in love with a cocktail waitress (Maria Bello).

Kramer shows a strong literacy of films past and sets up the luck with a series of misfortunes, like no cream for his coffee, that might seem small, but mean a lot when they all happen to one person. Kramer shows promise as a writer/director with a knack for communicating premises and creating lively locations, such as the old, traditional and corrupt spirit of Vegas.

“Disney’s Teacher’s Pet”
Walt Disney Pictures
Rated PG
(Not reviewed)

Get ready for some fun learnin’! “Disney’s Teacher’s Pet” isn’t an animated film about the pet of animation pioneer Walt Disney’s teacher, but about a dog (voiced by Nathan Lane) who can talk, and so goes to school with his master (Shaun Flemming). I think it’s safe to assume that everyone learns some lessons, both educational-wise and life-wise, about dogs, school, taking dogs to school and…let’s say dog school. Kelsey Grammer, Jerry Stiller and Paul Reubens (back in kids’ movies) are also featured.

1 reel (out of four)—reviewed by Jordan Scrivner
See review



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