New Releases: May 18

1. Battleship (Universal, 3,690 Theaters, 131 Minutes, Rated PG-13): I slammed this film on Tuesday as a form of Hollywood’s twisted new brand of originality. I feel bad because, really, I should have included the film listed below in that article as well. Phooey.

Anyway, I don’t know if I have much more to say about the film now than I did then. It’s a movie “based” on a board game. It doesn’t really draw much from the original source, although it seems to borroow liberally from films such as Independence Day, Titanic, Pearl Harbor, Transformers and just about every other film where the plot is tertiary to the special effects. I mean, the rebel who has to avenge his brother’s death while earning the respect of father of his girlfriend is not the most original or stimulating plots.

Early reports predict that The Avengers will once again rule the weekend. But that’s alright. Battleship has already earned $215 million overseas against a $209 million budget. So whatever this film makes in the U.S. is just gravy. Boggle the mind, doesn’t it?

2. What To Expect When You’re Expecting (Lionsgate, 3,021 Theaters, 110 Minutes, Rated PG-13): As the father of a three-year-old, I am very familiar with “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and it’s sequels,  “What to Expect The First Year,” “What to Expect The Second Year,” and “What to Expect the Toddler Years.” It’s a trade paper ATM machine where worried first time parents can have all their questions and fears answered and replaced with new questions and fears (No lie. Here’s an actual exchange between my wife and I: “Does she (our daughter) say 20 words yet? The book says she should say 20 words by now. I don’t think she says 20 words? Do you think we should take her to a doctor?” And that type of thing happens again and again because of that damn book.).

What the book does not have is a narrative, characters or any sembalance of a plot line. So this adaptation of the above book is, like Battleship, passing off a generic ensemble dramedy that could really have been called anything else under a familiar name in efforts to attract an audience. Yes, the book gives advice to expectant mothers experiencing the type of agita and angst the characters in the film, but the connection seems to end there.

But will the film be any good? Well, it’s got a great cast. I love Anna Kendrick and I love Elizabeth Banks. Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez have carried movies all by themselves before. But when the trailer offers “you don’t know true love before you’ve wiped someone’s butt” as an example of one of the best lines of the film, you have a horrible film.

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About Rich Drees 7041 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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