Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Two Each Out Of Three

Three moderately entertaining movies show you can hide iffy plots behind good pairings: In "RED," the bad guys think Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) knows something prejudicial about the vice president. The arrival of a wet team that surgically demolishes his house follows charming scenes in which Moses, a retired CIA assassin, pretends his pension check hasn't arrived so he can flirt over the phone with government clerk Sarah Moses (Mary-Louise Parker). Moses getting the same clerk every time is the first of a million unlikely things in the movie, but Parker and Willis make a great couple...In 1987's "Broadcast News," Holly Hunter's scrupulous network producer won't run off with William Hurt's anchorman because he doesn't come up to her journalistic standards and she's afraid he represents the wave of the future. In "Morning Glory," producer Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) saves her network morning show by putting the weatherman on a roller coaster so he'll say the f-word on the air and spends most of the movie trying to convince award-winning journalist Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) to abase himself for ratings. So Holly was right. TV news has definitely become a sad joke. But thanks to McAdams and Ford, the movie's a joyful romp...Who doesn't love cross-country buddy movies "Midnight Run" and "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles"? "Due Date," manacling Robert Downey Jr. (anger-prone architect) and Zach Galifianakis (goofy, gross actor) together from Atlanta to LA, owes a lot to both movies and improves on neither. The best moment is when they've inadvertently been served coffee made from several ounces of Zach's father's ashes and Downey comforts him as he tries to get the rest of dad back in the can (male bonding fuzzy). I didn't think "The Hangover," also directed by Todd Phillips, was that good, either, at least the first time through. Must be a generational thing.

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