With the big studios churning out Scumbucket-bound clunkers like The Ugly Truth and Orphan this weekend, Peter Travers gets his cinema fix in the form of two indies, In The Loop and The Answer Man in this week’s At the Movies. First up, there’s the satirical In The Loop, starring James Gandolfini, or Tony Soprano as he’ll always be remembered, as a General in this Dr. Strangelove-esque film about the story behind the Iraqi War. Another comedy that deserves your attention is The Answer Man, featuring a fantastic performance by Jeff Daniels as a reclusive J.D. Salinger-like author who wrote one acclaimed book called Me and God. Both Loop and Answer Man are what we call “smart comedies,” a distinction only made more apparent when considering the idiocy that fills Travers’ Scumbucket this week.
Let’s start with the zero star The Ugly Truth, starring Katherine Heigl and 300‘s Gerard Butler. Heigl’s done comedy successfully before, hilariously pulling off her role in Knocked Up. Here, she and Butler combine to give audiences a nearly unwatchable film featuring gags revolving around vibrating panties and cheap When Harry Met Sally rip-offs. The stupidity of this goes beyond any chick flick horror,” Travers said, adding that the film is crap multiplied by four. Another cinematic train wreck is Orphan, the latest in a long line of “scary kids” movies like Children of the Damned, The Omen and The Good Son. Here, even a cast of usually stellar actors like Peter Sarsgaard and Vera Farmiga can’t prevent this film from stinking up the screen.
But potentially worst of all, so bad that it wasn’t even screened for critics, is the latest 3-D-animated kids movie G-Force, about a pack of crime-solving guinea pigs. No matter how many times you read that plotline, it never gets any less ridiculous. Even though it wasn’t screened for critics — to avoid the inevitable bad word of mouth, Travers will spend his hard earned money for a ticket to see G-Force this weekend, so check back next week for his review.