Monday, January 12, 2009

Double feature

Last weekend saw me taking two trips to the cinema, which is way more than my usual no trips. I went to see two quite different style films that I've been trying to think of similarities between, so as to make this post more interesting, but I've been struggling a bit.

The first film I saw late on Saturday night (after an aborted earlier evening effort due to rather large queues) was Role Models. This star's Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott (with Rudd playing a kind of Paul Rudd character and Scott doing an excellent job of playing Seann [why the extra n] William Scott aka Stifler) as two guys who have to do community service by being mentors for a couple of wayward kids (kind of like the "Bigger brothers" from that old episode of the Simpsons where Bart disowns Homer) - one who's a bit geky and shy and the other who's a sweary tearaway. It's not a particularly novel film and is very much in the style of other recent comedies (Knocked Up, Superbad etc), but was entertaining enough. I think Rudd (who co-wrote the film) tried to inject a few in-jokes into it, some of which were ok, but other's didn't quite work on my non-late-thirties not-American ears. I laughed a good amount of times (mainly at Bobb'e J. Thompson's character, who did very well delivering many a foul-mothed line), so I'd say the film worked overall, but isn't going to be a classic.

The next film (seen on Sunday night) took me from the afluent suburbs of the US into the poverty stricken slums of Mumbai - yes, you've guess it, I went to see Slumdog Millionaire. Is it worth it's current crop of Golden Globes? I'd have to say yes (despite having not seen the majority of the other films that were nominated - partly cos they're not released in the UK yet). The film is visually really good for a start, so just watching it is a treat. I'd say that the parts of the story that aren't flashbacks to the characters as kids aren't quite as engaging (good though they are), because the actors playing the young versions of Jamal and Salim are amazing (sorry Bobb'e J., they're better than you) and there are great moments of comedy and tragedy. As Andrew Collins says don't go to see this film as it's been marketed ("the feel-good film of the decade") as it's brutal at times, but do go and see it.

So what is there linking these films? I suppose you could say that both films show triumph over adversity for kid's who've had it hard (mind you the kids in Slumdog have it a few orders of magnitude harsher that those in Role Models), but then that's just the classic underdog does good plot of most stories. But should you want to see a classic underdog story I (and the Golden Globe voters) think Slumdog just edges it.