Saturday, March 22, 2008

Be Kind Rewind

Year: 2008
Director: Michel Gondry
Cast: Jack Black, Mos Def, Danny Glover, Mia Farrow, Melonie Diaz

I needed to laugh, because I'm the guy that rarely goes to watch a comedy. I usually stick to serious films, since Hollywood tends to give us really pathetic and lame comedies, like all those spoof films. So when Be Kind Rewind came along, I had to check it out.

Be Kind Rewind takes place at a video store, an old school kind of store, where they still use videotapes instead of DVDs. Elroy Fletcher (Danny Glover), the owner of the store (incidentally named Be Kind Rewind), leaves for an out-of-town trip and asks his employee Mike (Mos Def) to watch the store for him. But it's easier said than done, because of the presence of Mike's trouble making friend Jerry (Jack Black), who keeps thinking that the power plant nearby is making everyone crazy in the head.

One night, Jerry sabotages the power plant and as a result, gets himself magnetized. Yes, as silly as it sounds. So what happens when a big magnet walks into a video store? All the tapes get erased! And now Mike is in deep trouble, for there are no tapes left to rent out. Then when an old lady (Mia Farrow) wants to rent Ghostbusters, Mike delays her request and gets Jerry to help him re-film the movie on camera.

Now, how much sense does this make? Well, it makes sense if the customer hasn't actually seen the film, so Mike and Jerry re-film Ghostbusters using their own props and a video camera. And guess what? The lady and her nephew and his friends love it! They remake other films later, and the neighborhood love their versions as well, and start making a line outside the store for Mike and Jerry's versions of popular films. When Mr Fletcher returns, and discovers their idea, he isn't too keen on it, especially since he's more concerned on saving his store from being demolished by developers. But soon, he comes to love the idea and all is well. Until the FBI show up and sue them for copyright infringement.....

First off, let me tell you that I had watched Gondry's work on Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind and I wasn't too impressed. It was quirky, but hard to like, maybe because I don't like seeing Jim Carrey being so depressed. But Be Kind Rewind is fabulous. It's funny, it's creative, and not over the top like most Jack Black films tend to be. Here, his brand of inane and over-animated comedy is well balanced by Mos Def, who brings a sense of realism to the quirkyness of the film. Melonie Diaz almost steals the show as Alma, a girl from the neighborhood who helps them 'swede' the films.

But the real attraction of the movie is seeing Gondry reenact the popular films like King Kong, Rush Hour 2, Carrie, Driving Miss Daisy, Robocop and even The Lion King. The final result of the 'remakes' look like stuff you'd see on Youtube, but that's exactly what makes it so genuinely funny. It's an original idea about unoriginality, and well executed indeed.

The last third of the film may seem a tad less watchable, but it does end with a feel good conclusion. Overall, a well-made comedy you can appreciate. (4/5)

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