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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Quick Reviews: This Is Promised Guidance

Okay, so these movies may not even be in theaters by now, but I don't want to just ignore them. And, if anyone really wants my opinion before renting or buying the DVDs, it'll be here.

What surprised me about This Is 40, the sort-of-sequel to "Knocked Up" focusing on the married couple Pete and Debbie (Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann), was how much bickering they did. Between their own issues, business problems and dealing with their children and parents, there were times when I was wishing there was more comedy and less drama. A nice amount of shirtless Paul Rudd, though, and there's the cameo with current (Scott Hartnell, now-retired Ian Laperriere) and former (James van Riemsdyk, Matt Carle) Flyers in a bar with Mann and Megan Fox. My grade: B-minus.

I started out really liking Promised Land, the film about natural-gas "fracking," with Matt Damon and Frances McDormand trying to get farmers to sign mineral-rights leases to drill on their land. Then an environmental advocate (John Krasinski) hits town and Damon's character is so completely flustered by this development it rang extremely false. And the big twist near the end was just stupid. My grade: C-plus.

I'd compare Parental Guidance to "The Guilt Trip" in that it's a somewhat safe and predictable comedy, in which a long-married couple (Billy Crystal, Bette Midler), called upon to hop on a plane and mind the grandkids for a week, have difficulty with how their daughter and son-in-law are raising the children. But the baseball subplot (Crystal's an announcer needing a new job) helped, the ending made me cry a little (whether I'm just easily manipulated by films or I'm getting mushy in my advancing age is yet to be determined) and Crystal and Midler have old-pro charm. My grade: B.

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