Not so fast. Here comes “Be Kind Rewind” and it’s a footrace for the year’s worst flick.
“Rewind” comes from the warped and usually reliable mind of Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”). Jack Black and Mos Def play pals who hang around a grizzled friend’s video store. Inexplicably, the shop still peddles VHS tape, though DVD already has hit the scene. The kindly fellow (Danny Glover) clearly doesn’t put much stock in market research.
Both Black and Def’s characters appear either mildly or severely retarded (mentally challenged??) or simply extremely dense. That leads to Black accidentally erasing every VHS tape in the store (too laborious and unfunny to elaborate here). The pair have a plan to restock the store. They reshoot the movies themselves in true guerilla fashion. No stars. No budget. No idea how to actually make a movie. And wouldn’t you know it, their plan strikes a chord with the shop’s customers who dig their silly, and blessedly short features.
It’s all remarkable silly, but there’s plenty of room for great parody here – or simply a goofy showcase for people’s affection for the VHS format and the prehistoric Mom ‘n Pop video store. Nope. I got one chuckle from the movie – one – and I had to squirm in my seat plenty to earn it (caveat – caught this on an airplane, but it otherwise had my complete attention).
When Black is bad on screen (“Nacho Libre”) he has few peers. And Def’s normally stolid screen presence is MIA. So, too, are the laughs. “Be Kind Rewind” could be the year’s low-water mark.
That the film earned a 68 percent “Fresh” rating at Rottentomatoes.com boggles the mind.
(Photo: Jack Black gets his RoboCop on during a scene from “Be Kind Rewind.”)