Some movies are expressly written with children in mind, whether they’re saccharine sweet flicks with a message, or straight up G-rated cartoons about a cute stuffed animal with a honey pot stuck on his head. Then there are movies that are NOT made for kids at all; movies that would actually do harm to a child who is just beginning to make sense of the world. This weekend, we get a little of both, with Cars 2 heading to theaters to entertain the kiddos with lots of bright colors and wholesome action, and then there’s Bad Teacher, a sequel of sorts to the foul-mouthed, nearly soulless Bad Santa. Hey, there’s a little something for everyone, right?
First off, let me just say I never saw the first Cars movie. I believe it was somewhere between thinking how un-cuddly a car made of steel and rubber would be, and me wondering how a society of automobiles could sustain itself without the use of opposable thumbs (or even hands for that matter); but somewhere along the line, they lost me. Now the cars return for another lap, and this time they’re going global, in a plot that takes them to France to compete in a grand prix, and throws a little espionage in to spice up the plot. Of course, the whole show is geared toward kids, especially young boys, who grow up on toy cars and a strange fascination fire trucks and construction equipment. Yet, I’m still left wondering how-in-the-world a world inhabited solely by cars managed to build such engineering marvels as the Eifel Tower, Big Ben, or even the city streets of Paris, which was laid out hundreds of years before a car, or motorized vehicle, was even invented. Now I know the movie has to be entertaining (it’s Pixar; how dare you question them), but I have to admit, these are questions that I just can’t overcome, and I will most likely never see this film. However, if you have kids, I highly recommend taking them to see it this weekend. They’re going to love it.
Now, on to something a bit more adult (but no less juvenile) – Bad Teacher. The film stars Cameron Diaz as a first-year teacher who quits her job to become a kept woman by a super-rich bore who doesn’t realize she’s only using him for his money. When the mother-in-law-to-be enlightens her son of this fact, Diaz is out on her ass, and forced to crawl back to her old job, after spending her summer break in a booze-induced bout of self-destruction. She proceeds to phone in the teaching gig, letting the kids watch movies everyday while she catches up on sleep, and plots her next wealthy victim, Justin Timberlake, playing it straight as a wholesome J.Crew-cut wristwatch heir who prefers forehead kisses to rolling around naked. As she saves up to buy new fake boobs to attract her man, she begins to realize that life is more than money, and the kids she barely knows the names of, are actually moldable minds that she might just be responsible for once the morning bell rings. With Jason Segel as a down-to-earth, pot-smoking gym teacher trying to break the bitch out of her, Diaz shows a bit of growth, without necessarily losing the potty-mouth that makes her a bit endearing. And while the movie is just okay, and glosses over a lot of stuff, it’s got a couple great lines, and should be worth your time if you just need to ditch the kid stuff and swim in the shallow end of a scummy summertime pool.
In Limited Release: If you can find it, we highly recommend checking out Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, the behind-the-scenes documentary the talk show host made during the nationwide tour he staged between talk shows. A gritty-at-times look at the funny man after he lost ‘The Tonight Show’, he bares all, as the depressed, control-freak that funny men most oftentimes are. If you want to see something adult that contains a bit of childish whimsy, O’Brien is never a let-down, and should prove that the real losers in the late-night wars was us, the viewers.