When Steve Carell was the breakout star of Anchorman and then the headliner of the absurdly charming The 40 Year Old Virgin, we probably all thought his path to greatness as a comedic film actor was assured. And while Virgin certainly has its gross-out elements, the reason it works is that Carell is convincing as an unassuming, lonely, sweet guy who's just given up on kind of an important part of life, and that it's the sad kinds of comedy that he does best. No one is better in a bittersweet dramatic comedy, like Crazy Stupid Love and Little Miss Sunshine and (I hope) the forthcoming The Way Way Back, which he does beautifully and which his naturally melancholy face is perfect for. Why he feels the need to alternate movies like those with broad, stupid comedies like Evan Almighty and Get Smart and Dinner For Schmucks, I'm sure I don't know. Just kidding, I do: dump trucks full of money.
In The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Carell plays a Siegfried-ish Vegas stage magician who is moved to reunite with his Roy (Steve Buscemi) when a stunty, Criss Angel–type upstart (Jim Carrey) starts siphoning off his audience. Enemy of comedy Olivia Wilde plays a … girl, I guess. Bleh.
Silver: Item no. 17 in my work in progress, Guidelines to Successful Movie Consumption: Theatrical Edition, reads as follows:
“Relatively unheard of, quaint-feeling, and seemingly silly science fiction films should never be disregarded outright. That said, they can, more often than not, be accurately judged by their trailers. Don’t let a solid cast fool you. Look specifically to see if the high-concept conceit appears to live organically in or get swallowed up by overly stylized visuals. Sometimes you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised with a film like Equilibrium. But more often than not you’re going to be sitting through a film like Ultraviolet or Paycheck. So look at the trailer carefully.”
With this in mind, Upside Down’s trailer leads me to believe this film is going to be a disaster. The visuals are trying way too hard to make up for a story device that would have been better suited for a short film. And even though I like both Jim Sturgess and Mary Jane Watson; they’re simply not enough to get me into a theater. Pass.
Browne: I really prefer movies that don't have half the characters walking on the ceiling for two hours. Beyond the plot, this just seems like an unpleasant viewing experience, unless somehow I can lie on my side at the theaters, which usually isn't a thing.