"I know my scum when I see it!" says Peter Travers. Yes, friends, it's time once again for our courageous film critic to wield the infamous Scum Bucket – and this time, he tackles six of the summer's biggest disasters.
First up is the laugh-free CGI/live-action sequel Smurfs 2, which wastes its charismatic star, Neil Patrick Harris. "It isn't better than Smurfs 1," Travers says. "It sucks!" Travers also spews bile at the Kristen Wiig-starring comedy misfire Girl Most Likely, and he vents at length about Only God Forgives, the limp crime thriller that reunites Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn with star Ryan Gosling.
Next up on the list is the gag-worthy R.I.P.D., which costars Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds as a pair of dead, crime-solving cops. "This is horrendous. . . It crushes careers!" Travers says. Meanwhile, Grown Ups 2 reunites its cast of comedy all-stars (Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade, Kevin James) only to squander their talent in inane, lowbrow humor. "It would have been — in any other month — number one," Travers says.
But even Grown Ups 2 doesn't compare with July's scummiest film, the big-budget action-adventure trainwreck The Lone Ranger, which stars Johnny Depp as Tonto. Travers says he "expected a new twist on this mythic kind of character," but instead, the film aimlessly "drags on for two-and-a-half hours." Speaking of Depp's performance, he says, "It's as if he's playing Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean with a feather on his head."
Travers leaves no mystery about the extent of his Lone Ranger hatred. "When we come to the end of the year, and our bucket is overflowing, we know this is going to be on top."