Friday, September 14, 2007

"Mr. Woodcock" -- * *

"Mr. Woodcock"-- another entry in the "Anger Management" and "School for Scoundrels" nice-guy-up-against-a-dick-that-nobody-believes-is-a-dick genre-- is so remarkably mediocre and middle-of-the-road that I don't even have it in me for a review. For what it is, it's fine. It got a few smiles out of me (particularly in the first few minutes), as well as a few cringes.You'll never really laugh, but you'll never get too angry either. You won't think "this is hilarious!" or "this is awful!," more just the constant steady thought of "this is a movie and I'm watching it."

Billy Bob Thornton plays yet another authoritative foul-mouthed asshole with no dimension beyond the fact that he's a meanie; I've got to say, he plays it to the hilt, but I'm starting to get concerned he's going to be playing this part in every movie for the rest of his career. What happened to the days of inspired performances like "Bandits" and "A Simple Plan"? The plot of "Mr. Woodcock" requires his character to torment our protagonist John Farley (Seann William Scott), while he bangs John's mom (Susan Sarandon). For the majority of its 90-minute running time, John and Woodcock quarrel and one-up each other while hilarity and hijinks ensue.

As said, nothing's particularly bad here, but the only genuine bright spots are Amy Poehler as John's alcoholic agent with all the best lines, and Sarandon, who has a look on her face for the entire movie as if she knew this would get delayed two years and end up opening the same day as her Oscar hopeful.

There are really only two reasons to see this movie: (1) you flip by it on cable and have nothing else to do, or (2) you're really in the mood to go to the movies and you've either already seen everything good, or the only other options are "Halloween" and "Rush Hour 3." This is a comedy that won't hurt your brain or make you depressed, but it really only functions as a time waster.


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