1. Speed Racer (3,606 Theaters, 129 Minutes, Rated PG): I was never truly a fan of the original Speed Racer cartoon. It was a little before my time. So I really don’t have that big of an emotional investment in the movie. If they change things around totally, I wouldn’t know. If they do well or not so good, for me, it wouldn’t depend on my memories of the original cartoon.
That being said, I have to admire what the Wachowskis did with the look of the movie. They tried to make it look and feel like a live action cartoon—a big anime fest with neon and speed lines. Bold, bright colors rule the day, a tactic that hasn’t really been employed since Dick Tracy. But now it’s updated for the 21st century.
But will this go over with regular audiences? Or an even tougher audience—fans of the original series? Who knows. But Warner Brothers can’t be that concerned. The Dark Knight is their lynch pin movie of the summer. I’m sure they’d like a return on their investment with this one, but if it tanks, it won’t be fatal.
2. What Happens in Vegas (3,215 Theaters, 99 Minutes, Rated PG-13): Speaking of tanking, we come to this one. No matter how bad Speed Racer does, it still will run circles around this one.
Why do I think that is this a bad movie? Let me count the ways. First, the derivative, hackneyed plot. It’s a combo of a “Drew Carey Show” episode (the one with Nicole Sullivan), meets It Could Happen to You, meets War of the Roses, meets just about every other romantic comedy made in the last twenty years.
Next is the pairing of Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz. I really can’t stand Kutcher as a film actor. I can barely tolerate him on That 70s Show. And Diaz is hit or miss. For every The Mask, There’s Something About Mary, and Charlie’s Angels, there’s a The Sweetest Thing, In Her Shoes, and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.
Finally, even though Diaz is older than Kutcher by only 6 years, on screen it looks like 20. During the trailer, I keep saying to myself, “She much to old to be acting this silly.” So, needless to say, I will not be seeing this one this week.