‘Be Kind Rewind’ – Erase ASAP

‘Be Kind Rewind’ – Erase ASAP

No 2008 movie could out-stink “88 Minutes,” right?

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.”)

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

James FrazierNo Gravatar August 1, 2008 at 4:15 pm

I think Gondry desperately needs a leash. Let the guy loose and who knows what sort of nonsense will result.

cftotoNo Gravatar August 1, 2008 at 4:39 pm

Nonsense is right. I suspect some critics, enamored with his previous work, just phoned in their reviews here. Don’t know how else to explain it …

HeidiNo Gravatar August 1, 2008 at 9:08 pm

Well I guess this one’s coming off the Netflix queue.
Thanks for the warning.
Hey, I almost watched it on a plane this week too.
Glad I didn’t waste the $8.
~Heidi

cftotoNo Gravatar August 1, 2008 at 9:13 pm

Heidi, Feel pretty confident you just saved space on your queue – and didn’t lose 90 minutes of your leisure time. It’s really tough to watch. I was dying to rip off my headphones and pick up my book, but I figured if I stuck it out I could write about it here.

perry nortonNo Gravatar August 6, 2008 at 10:56 pm

Sorry, but I cant see how you missed out on all the enjoyment here. The film is all heart, simply acted, builds drama very effectively, and is utterly ingenious. It’s just about the most human film I can remember seeing. Maybe ESOTSM left you expecting something else tone wise.

cftotoNo Gravatar August 6, 2008 at 11:10 pm

Perry, I saw “Rewind” on an airplane and I was starved for entertainment. So I think I was a captive, unassuming audience. We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one, but I appreciate your comments.

I did dig Gondry’s Chappelle concert film, though

JavierNo Gravatar March 25, 2009 at 10:12 pm

One-Laugh Wonder:
Your review is right on the money. I saw this movie yesterday, and I got just one laugh out of it. I saw it based on the 68 it got from rotten tomatoes. Now that I saw it, I will think twice about consulting RT reviews. Just wondering, which part made you laugh? For me, it was when they broke the storefront at the video store.

cftotoNo Gravatar March 26, 2009 at 4:08 am

I don’t think a Jedi Knight could have tricked me into enjoying this one, Javier. I don’t recall where I laughed though … I’ve tried to burn the memory from my brain of the movie in toto.

MatthewNo Gravatar February 24, 2013 at 5:33 am

I understand this is an old review but I implore you to watch this again. I don’t know if maybe you’re just never happy or if you just love explosions and not film but this film has more heart than most.
It’s very well downplayed, the characters are realistic and flawed and it gives a perfect look at the sense of community in downtrodden small areas. Maybe you’ve always just been rich and higher than everyone.
This film says right out that it doesn’t matter what happens in a film, it’s the memories you gain from it and the stories they tell you, that’s the beauty of cinema.
It’s simple, it’s excitable. It may not be the funniest film but I don’t think that’s what it’s trying to be. It’s not trying to do cheap parodies, it’s showing how much they love film. It’s humourous, and most importantly, it’s happiness.
Film is something that can bring us together, much like music, and hopefully in the 4 years that you’ve lived from making this review you’ll have had that life injected back into your world.

Matthew, 16 3/4

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