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By: Jeff Ford
By: Jeff Ford

Previewing the Good, Bad and Ugly of Identity Thief, Side Effects and Quartet

 There’s just something about this batch of releases that fails to excite me.  I’ve been staring at a blank screen for over an hour and… for the most part… I’ve got nothing.  But, as the cliché goes, the show must go on.  Up first is…

 

IDENTITY THIEF

 

Mild-mannered businessman Sandy Patterson travels from Denver to Miami to confront the deceptively harmless-looking woman who has been living it up after stealing Sandy's identity. *

 

The Good – Jason Bateman is reteaming with his Horrible Bosses director, Seth Gordon, for this latest comedic endeavor.  I wasn’t expecting much from that film but the bosses (Jennifer Anniston, Colin Farrell and Kevin Spacey), along with Jamie Fox, stole the film from the main stars.  It surprised me in all the right ways and had me cracking up in my seats.  Hopefully, lightning strikes twice with this film.

 

The Bad – The trailers lead me to believe otherwise.  I’ve not seen Bridesmaids so I can’t place Melissa McCarthy in the good category.  The brief two minutes we spend with her in this trailer, though, firmly places her in the bad.  I already can’t stand this character.  We are meant to laugh at her antics but instead I want to ditch her in the farthest forest I can find, hoping she doesn’t have enough sense to make it back.  There’s funny annoying and just irritating annoying.  I’ve already made the distinction she is the latter.

 

The Ugly – Only a few more months until the return of Arrested Development returns on Netflix.  The wait since the announcement has been rough.  Hurry up May.

 

Identity Thief is rated R for sexual content and language.

 

SIDE EFFECTS

 

Emily and Martin are a successful New York couple whose world unravels when a new drug prescribed by Emily's psychiatrist - intended to treat anxiety - has unexpected side effects. *

 

The Good – Steven Soderbergh is the man behind the lens.  He’s a director that normally delivers exceptional work, from his indie days (Sex, Lies and Videotapes) to his more mainstream fare (the Ocean’s Eleven trilogy).  I see his name on a crew sheet and I immediately take notice.  He’s not afraid to try something different and for that I admire him.  It’s just a shame that this film looks dull.

 

The Bad – This is the third film in a row that Channing Tatum has had a starring role in a Soderbergh film (Haywire, Magic Mike).  I’ve seen a few films of his and, outside of 21 Jump Street where he portrayed a dumb jock (aka, he played himself), I have never been impressed with him.  In fact, he tends to be the worst aspect of the films he’s in, 21 Jump Street included.  He draws in the female audience, though, so until his looks drop, he’ll be continuing to be a headliner.

 

The Ugly – Rooney Mara may be The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to many.  To me, she’ll always be dull Nancy in the A Nightmare on Elm Street remake.  That film is the perfect cure for insomnia.

 

Side Effects is rated R for sexuality, nudity, violence and language.

 

QUARTET

 

At a home for retired musicians, the annual concert to celebrate Verdi's birthday is disrupted by the arrival of Jean, an eternal diva and the former wife of one of the residents. *

 

The Good – After decades in front of the camera, Dustin Hoffman steps behind it for the first time to direct this musical comedy starring a bunch of old British thespians.  Maggie Smith is the headliner, while Billy Connolly attempts to move to the head of the class as her costar.  It should appeal to the same demographic as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel skewed towards (which also starred Maggie Smith).  It should be harmless fun.

 

The Bad - But it’s not for me.  There was nothing egregious about the trailer, but it never excited me to venture to the theater.  At best it’s a curiosity about how Hoffman handled the proceedings and nothing more. 

 

The Ugly – I shoehorned that Head of the Class reference.  I must say, that is not my finest hour.

 

Quartet is rated PG-13 for brief strong language and suggestive humor.

 

That will do for this week.  Tune in next time when a New York cop Yippee Ki-yay’s all over the Russians.  Until then, let’s all do Gob’s Chicken Dance.  Cluck. Cluck.  Cluck.

 

*all summaries taken from IMDB.com

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