Be Kind Rewind (2008)

(In theaters, May 2008) Michael Gondry is an bizarrely inventive director, and Be Kind Rewind is never as good as when it runs with that streak of lunacy, imagining how a few desperate filmmakers come to recreate home-made “sweded” versions of some of cinema’s greatest hits. It’s funny, it’s original and it’s affectionate toward cinema. But there’s only a few minutes of that in the entire film: the rest is taken up by the increasingly annoying Jack Black shtick and a forced conclusion in which we’re supposed to believe in the old clap-trap of communities pulling together. A barely-interesting plot holds everything together loosely, forcing us to wait between the film’s most compelling scenes. The dialog is trite and the characters act as if they’re brain-damaged (though Danny Glover’s finger-written warning is amusing): even for movie buffs, Be Kind Rewind barely gets started before lapsing back in a far-too-conventional third act. Almost a failure, but certainly not a triumph.

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