Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Switch, Piranha 3D + Winnebago Man

The Switch. Not good. The Switch pretty much fails at most of everything it tries to do. That's a shame too because its male lead, Jason Bateman, is as good as it gets but a flop as a romantic lead might launch him back to supporting roles. He's too good to play second fiddle all the time in a supporting role. Bateman and Jennifer Aniston have little to none on-screen chemistry. I'm not going to blame Bateman though as he's rarely been given a romantic lead whereas Aniston makes a disaster of the genre repeatedly. Unless you happen to like such junk as The Bounty Hunter, Love Happens, He's Just Not That Into You and Marley & Me. The Switch has a workable premise for this sort of film of long-time friends with a mix-up involving sperm and an artificial insemination procedure. That should be guilty pleasure comedy gold but it's mucked up from start to finish. Only Bateman and oddball Jeff Goldblum make it remotely worth watching. The real question is how many more awful romantic comedies will Aniston get to make?

Piranha 3D. If you read my recent review of The Expendables, I spent a lot of time ragging on its empty celebration of the worst of the roided up action films that were popular in the 1980s. I loathed everything about it--from its endless destruction to its gimmicky, lunkheaded cast. Now, reason would tell you that I would despise another throwback styled genre picture in Piranha and guess what, you'd be dead wrong! I actually enjoyed this bit of silly mayhem from French director Alexandre Aja. The story is flat-out ridiculous but who cares? This is about getting a bunch of nubile bodies in skimpy bathing suits while they are mauled by a horde of fake, CGI prehistoric flesh-eaters let loose by a volcanic fissure in the bottom of a huge lake. And it's in 3D. I am sick and tired of all the 3D but this time the ploy for more money from my wallet works. It's safe to say I've never seen this many breasts bouncing around in front of my eyes in a theatre. Aja definitely ups the lecherous meter throughout. While it could have devolved into just a series of exploitive scenes, there's even some genuine tension toward the end and a snarky sense of humor that pops up from time to time. Piranha 3D is a blast of summer fun.

Winnebago Man. We live in a culture where fame can be found by pretty much anyone via the internet. Put some deranged, humiliating or attention getting video on youtube and if you get lucky, it will go viral around the globe. Suddenly, you are a star! Or, a fool mocked and ridiculed. This kind of celebrity has come to Jack Rebney. Search "Winnebago man" on youtube and you can see his infamous collection of profane outbursts as he was filming an industrial commercial in the 1980s touting all the positives in the RV field. Rebney is a maniac and unleashing a barrage of curses that are hilarious and captivating at the same time. Rebney seems to have disappeared from society as there is no trace of him after he was fired from Winnebago. This documentary attempts to locate Rebney and find out what he's been up to the past couple of decades. The film wants to make a statement regarding fame and the damage done to people who become celebrities without their knowledge or intention but that is its weakest element. It works best by just tapping into the strange life of Rebney himself as he's turned out to be a hermit, living on a mountain and with absolutely no clue so many people love this clip of him going berserk. Rebney and Winnebago Man is at times sad, charming and funny.

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