Category: 2003


Elfen Lied: Vol. 3

Every time I read a new volume of the manga Elfen Lied, I become slightly more convinced that this series is going to leave me an emotionally scarred, broken shell of a man. Sweet lord this story is disturbing. I feel like there’s going to be some variation on that phrase in every single post because in every single volume thus far, Lynn Okamoto manages to outdo himself in the “how miserable can the lives of our heroes be” department as well as “how cruel can the villains be” section as well. In this volume, I also finally began to see where Okamoto introduced some of the more philosophical and outright psychological themes that lead to this series’ regular comparisons to Neon Genesis Evangelion, and while the shoddy translation that’s at the core of the copy of the manga I’m reading still unfortunately interrupt and distract from the over-all experience, Elfen Lied has quickly turned into one of the most outright disturbing pieces of fiction I’ve ever encountered whose shock value seems to only be matched by the copraphagia and orgy scenes in Gravity’s Rainbow (note that I am in no way saying Elfen Lied is half the work that Gravity’s Rainbow was).

After they both ran away last volume, Nyu and Mayu both make their way back to the Kaede residence. Nyu has reverted back to her docile Nyu personality after going on a roaring rampage of violence against Big Bad Karuma’s Diclonius daughter Nana, and Mayu (who was injured during the fight) was picked up at the hospital by Kohta. After enjoying Kohta and Yuka’s hospitality for the evening, Mayu (who has repressed the memories of Lucy’s fight with Nana) goes back to being a homeless street urchin with her dog Wanta as her only companion. We learn that Mayu ran away from home after her mother’s new husband began to sexually molest her and when Mayu told her mother, the mother hit Mayu for trying to cause problems. Now, Mayu takes shelter in a firewood shed and lives off the scraps from a bread shop that a kind clerk gives her. However, the clerk leaves the bread shop (which means Mayu has no food) and Wanta’s owner turns up to take Wanta away (it’s real name is James) and tells Mayu to stay away from the dog forever. Eventually, Mayu returns to the Kaede residence because she has no where left to go, and Kohta and Yuka begin to take care of her. Cue a time skip of sorts and Kohta and Yuka are finally attending college again. They drag Nyu along with them because she can’t be left on her own. Nyu can also say “Kohta” and “yes” besides just “Nyu” now.

Nyu runs into Bando on the college campus but thanks to something that apparently didn’t translate very well into my comics, other people using “nyu” as syllables in other Japanese words makes him unable to be sure that he’s run into the same Lucy that maimed him. Bando is at the school to find out if there’s any way he can avoid castration which Kurama has sentenced him to face after being infected by Lucy. It turns out this infection happens to any man who is pierced by the vectors of a Diclonius. If they were ever to have children, the kids would be Diclonius. The scientist however isn’t all he seems to be and he offers to not castrate Bando as long as he is able to go around and impregnate as many women as possible so the scientist, Dr. Kakuzawa, can study the effects of letting the Diclonius into the human population to wreak havoc. Yeah, he’s not suspicious at all. The volume leaves it vague on what Bando decides to do but somehow I don’t see him picking the greater good over emasculation. The scientist is also one of Kohta’s professors and he finds Nyu next to Kohta and Yuka in his class and takes her away pretending to be her uncle. He, is in fact, a male Diclonius although he lacks any of Lucy’s powers because his bloodline has been diluted. He wants to impregnate Lucy to retake Earth for the Diclonii, but Lucy returns when he puts Nyu under anesthesia and she doesn’t like to be used by anyone. She decapitates Kakuzawa just before the anesthesia wears off and she becomes Nyu again. At that moment, Kohta and Kakuzawa’s assistant arrive to find Kakuzawa’s headless body.

This volume really upped the number of plot threads (I even left off where Nana learned to use artificial limbs with her vectors to replace the ones that Nyu ripped off) and added something really important to the mythology of the series, mainly the existence of who knows how many other weak Diclonius in the world and the virus that will result in the birth of stronger, purer Diclonii. However, honestly, at this point, the most impressive thing was how it made one character seem more whole and well-rounded than even Kohta and Yuka after only a couple of issues. Mayu has to be the most damaged and scarred person in this whole series and that includes Nana whose father regularly does evil Mengele-esque experiments on her for the sake of who knows what. We learned a lot about Mayu’s backstory and how this is affecting her ability to function in the Kaede residence, esepcially after she walks in on Kohta and Nyu taking a bath together. Nyu seems to be in love with Kohta in some odd way that only her underdeveloped mind can really comprehend. We’re also learning that Nyu’s vectors are growing so this could prove to be especially fatal for anyone that attacks her when she’s in Lucy mode. I’m curious to see exactly what the consequences are going to be if anyone discovers that she’s the one that killed Kakuzawa (and Kohta already suspects this to be the case).

I always read these volumes of Elfen Lied incredibly fast because I have to know what happens next. The chapters are very short and they almost without fail end on some sort of a cliffhanger so there’s an immediate urge to know just how deep this rabbit hole goes. However, I’m also thankful that I’m also reading Bleach at the same time as Elfen Lied because if I didn’t have decent breaks between volumes of this comic, I think it would just break my soul. There are almost no moments of happiness in this series. Even when they do occur (such as Kohta and Yuka throwing a birthday party for Mayu), they are almost always a prelude to something absolutely terrible happening. I’m not sure if I’ve encountered an author with such an eye for how to construct horrific situations since George R. R. Martin, and at least his terrible moments weren’t always as unsettling as what happens in Elfen Lied. Well, it’s time to begin a short break from the macabre world of Lynn Okamoto and into something a little lighter like Tite Kubo’s urban fantasy and the adventures of Ichigo Kurosaki.

Final Score: B+

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I often like to imagine my life having a theme song at any moment, and my past love of creating mixtapes that matched my current mood only speaks of my most pretentious music inclinations. When I went to NYC for my interview for the internship, my theme song was LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends” because if there is a better hipster/indie anthem then I don’t know what it is. When I returned to America at the end of my first trip to Italy, we flew in to Logan International Airport, and of course, classic rocker’s Boston were blasting from my headphones. Despite my own personal agnosticism, when I dated an extremely conservative Christian girl during the summer before college began, my theme song was “Into My Arms” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (one of my top five love songs of all time and it fit the relationship perfectly). Right now my theme song should be Amy Winehouse’s (in retrospect) darkly accurate “Rehab” because I have an addiction to Star Wars: The Old Republic and “I don’t want to go to rehab. So I said no, no, no!” It’s a problem. Ever since it came out, if I’m not at work, I’m playing it. It’s more addicting than Skyrim was (although I would argue Skyrim is still a much better game). Anyways, if readers are wondering why my writing has slowed to a crawl, my awesome Zabrak Imperial Agent/Sniper named Yoqeed is the reason why. Anyways, time for a review in a day that I have set aside as being for absolutely no video games.

Dennis Lehane is a hot property in so many different worlds right now. He wrote several episodes of the single greatest television program of all time, The Wire. His novel Mystic River was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film that would have likely won Best Picture had it not been up against the Oscar juggernaut The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. I actually enjoyed Gone Baby Gone even more than Mystic River, and Martin Scorsese left his directorial comfort zone to direct the psychological thriller, Shutter Island, another of Lehane’s novels (though I’ve yet to see the movie). If you want intelligent and morally challenging crime fiction, you don’t have to look much further than Mr. Lehane who has made a name for himself as arguably the premier crime novelist of the 2000’s. I bought my little sister all of the Lehane novels I mentioned earlier for Christmas one year and she ate them up like candy. I haven’t had a chanec to read any of them yet (until now), and I can say that his delirious and mind-bending Shutter Island makes me very excited for something in a genre that Dennis Lehane is more accustomed to working in. As much a gothic horror story as a frenetic whodunit, Shutter Island managed to keep me on the edge of my seat and guessing even though it’s big climax had been partially ruined for me by unintended spoilers from the film version.

Shutter Island is set in the 1950’s and follows the investigation of U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels and his partner Chuck Aule as they investigate the disappearance of a mental patient from a secure room in an experimental mental hospital on the remote titular island off the Boston coast. A veteran of World War II and one of the best Marshall’s in the service, Daniels has been called in because every inch of the island has been scoured and the patient, a woman named Rachel Solando who murdered her children and then placed them at the dinner table like dolls, still hasn’t been found even though it should have been physically impossible for her to escape her cell in the first place. It doesn’t take long on the island for Teddy and Chuck to realize that something isn’t right. All of the doctors and orderlies seem like they have something to hide and one of the key doctors left the island around the same time as the patient escape. It also looks like potentially illegal and Nazi-esque techniques are being used on the patients and not to cure them but for the sake of experimentation. When it’s revealed that Teddy may have had ulterior motives for accepting this mission in the first place and a connection between one of the patients and the murder of Daniels’ wife years ago, the tale journeys further down the rabbit hole until it reaches its shocking and truly brilliant climax.

I can’t talk about the one thing I thought was the most brilliant about this book without giving away its ending, and if you’ve somehow managed to not see the movie or read the book yet and no one has ruined the twist for you, I have to avoid any spoilers out of good conscience. So without wanting to ruin anything, let me simply say that form most definitely follows function and for those of you who have read it, you know just how deftly Lehane foreshadows the books climax if you read it with an eye for what’s coming ahead. Most endings like this books are cheap but if you pay attention, Lehane lets you know its coming at least half-way through  and its great just how intimately Lehane is able to get the reader into the head of the protagonist. This is a psychological thriller at its finest, and while I haven’t heard as many great things about the film adaptation, this book almost reminds of a David Lynch film except for the fact that the ending is rather clear compared to Lynch’s more ambiguous works. Let us just say that this is a taut and thrilling page-turner that will keep you hooked til the final moments.

This is an easy read but at the same time the pacing is absolutely top notch, and I was left dissecting the myriad ways Lehane’s story bowled me over hours after I finished the book. I knew how it ended (but not necessarily the exact details) and the ending still managed to have me saying “Wow.” and “holy crap” to myself over and over again and it made putting the puzzle of the novel together while reading even more enjoyable than the shocking twist would have been had I gone in cold. It’s simply a great book. Not perfect by any means but Lehane is a top-rate novelist, and I’m excited for seeing the rest of his library. I’m torn as to whether I want my next Lehane novel to be Gone Baby Gone or Mystic River. I know which movie I prefer, but Nicole (my sister) says neither book is like the film. I’m sure I’ll enjoy them both quite a bit.

Final Score: A-

“Kung-fu movies” (often a considerable misnomer) have a considerable cult following among film enthusiasts. As someone with a very slight (emphasis on “very”) background in martial arts, it is incredibly simple to explain this phenomenon. Whereas your traditional Michael Bay style action film relies on pre-fabricated special effects and copious explosions and other digital trickery to elicit its thrills, martial arts films often simply place their resources in the stars whose knowledge of a million ways to kill you with their bare hands and unnatural speed and agility is more than enough to satisfy any audience. There’s a reason that decades after his death, Bruce Lee remains a legend despite making only one film in the United States and only a handful of films in his native China. My film preference will always be high-brow arthouse pieces but there’s a 95% chance I will see whatever Jet Li’s next martial arts epic is because he rarely disappoints. Back in high school, one of my friends recommend a film by Thai up-and-coming martial artist Tony Jaa, Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior, and it became the very first movie my family ever rented from Netflix. We couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to the service. While the film’s plot is as paper-thin as you can possibly manage and its first thirty minutes are incredibly slow, once Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior kicks into gear, you really couldn’t ask for a more impressive display of martial arts mastery.

Ong-Bak‘s plot (as meager as it may be) is that of young Thai country peasant, Ting (Tony Jaa) as he goes on a quest to retrieve a sacred religious artifact which has been stolen from his village. A master of the Muay Thai fighting style (which primarily consists of beating your opponents senseless with your knees and elbows in extremely painful and impressive fashion), Ting is chosen by his village elders to go on the quest to receive his village’s stolen Buddha head. Once he reaches the city, he meets up with a former denizen of his village, Hamlae, a gambling addict as well as Hamlae’s female companion, a young student named Muay. Thanks to Hamlae’s connections with the criminal underworld, Ting is able to locate the criminals who stole from his village and he finds himself dragged into a world of underground kickboxing as well as a seemingly endless conflict against waves of seedy thugs who are hellbent on stopping him from receiving justice. Along the way, Ting mows through legions of criminals and fighters while showing off all of the martial arts prowess and sheer stunts craziness that has shot Tony Jaa to international stardom.

I’m not going to devote any time to an in-depth criticism of the acting or storytelling because this is a kung-fu movie and those things aren’t what you came for. Let’s just say that after the 30 minute mark when the film finally has a real action scene, the action doesn’t slow down one drop until the credits rolled. Tony Jaa is one of the most impressive martial artists to come on the scene in ages, and when I put him in the same level of talent as Bruce Lee and Jet Li, that’s really saying a lot. Rather than relying on any of the wire stunts that are in vogue in martial arts films these days, Tony Jaa simply lets his knees and elbows do the talking. He’s lightning quick and ridiculously agile. There’s a foot chase sequence that is as impressive as any of the given fights for how well Tony Jaa is able to jump and flip around the scenery  with such precision and finesse. The film will often show some of the most incredible stunts from multiple angles so you can get an even bigger appreciation for just how talented Jaa is. The fight scenes themselves are top notch. Even though I knew it was all choreographed ahead of time and Tony Jaa wasn’t really hitting those people as hard as it looked like he was hitting them, I still found myself seeing “ooooh” and “ouch” a million times through the movie because the choreography was so well done that I was able to momentarily suspend my disbelief.

Even the most cynical of movie fans who either A) aren’t fans of martial arts movies or B ) think they’ve seen everything there is under the sun, need to give this movie a go. Tony Jaa will leave your jaw on the floor. Simply put, he is one of the most bad-ass individuals around and his stunning Muay Thai skillset is pure entertainment. The movie might have virtually no plot and any other time that would bother me. But because Tony Jaa (and not computer graphics or wires) is doing all of this himself, I am able to set that quibble aside and just revel in how talented this man is. It’s not one of the best movies out there, but it’s certainly one of the most fun, and I’m hard pressed to find any one out there who might not walk away without at least a considerable level of respect for the talents of Tony Jaa.

Final Score: B

Every now and then, you listen to an album, and every critical and intellectual instinct you have says that this music simply should not work. It’s too silly. it’s too ambitious, it’s too “out-there.” My tastes in music have gotten fairly eclectic over the years so I’m pretty willing to give absolutely any genre of music a chance before I pass judgment, but I must admit that I was mentally preparing myself for some real silliness with 2003’s As Heard on Radio Soulwax Pt. 2 by the electronic rock act 2 Many DJs (which is simply a side project for the regular band Soulwax) since the album is a mash-up album of over 114 different songs. The reason I was preparing myself for silliness was the ridiculously diverse and inherently incompatible artists that were being mashed and re-mixed over the course of the album’s considerable length. And while I was right, it was incredibly silly, it was also the definition of a fun dance album which never ceased to entertain me with its shocking but surprisingly well done song selection.

As I mentioned, As Heard on Radio Soulwax Pt. 2 is a mash-up album. Therefore, there is no (as far as I could tell) original music on the album, but instead it consists entirely of songs where the instruments of one track like Iggy Pop and the Stooges “No Fun” is layered on top of the vocals of another song, in this case Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It”. Or, the songs are simply heavily, heavily remixed versions of other songs like Peaches’ “Fuck the Pain Away” which some listeners may recognize from the Jackass film. The album simply bounces all over the place in terms of musical styles or speed or general levels of “are they really mixing these two songs together”. It starts off with prog rock mixed over house and then goes to electro-rock/techno to kraut rock to funk to R& B. On one’s first listen to this album (I’ve done it three times today almost), you simply have no clue exactly where this album is going to take you, and even after repeat listens, you’re still in awe of the ridiculous nature of the album.

The album is chock-full of inspired mash-ups. The Iggy Pop/ Salt-N-Pepa combination is an obvious highlight, but there are dozens of others over the albums 30 track length. At one point, Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” is transformed into a rocking disco anthem over the electronic beats of Royksopp’s “Eple”. Destiny’s Child “Independent Women Pt. 1” is used better than in its original format over a 10cc track, “Dreadlock Holiday”. The album instantly draws you in with its open which is the prog of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer played overtop of the house music of Basement Jaxx. They even have the audacity to remix a classic Velvet Underground track beyond any recognizability and yet make it all work within the context of the album. Much of the album segues directly from one song to the next with no pauses. This is beyond a doubt an album that must be listened from start to finish for it to remotely have its full effect.

If you’re a fan of DJ music and the genre of mash-ups like with Girl Talk, then this album needs to be checked out. It might not be perfect and its incredibly erratic nature maybe keeps it from real greatness, but this is one of the most fun and immediately accessible albums I’ve reviewed. It’s got one or two tracks that disrupt from the flow considerably, and “I Sit on Acid” was legitimately probably bad, but that was one blemish on an otherwise fantastic product. Yeah, this is a really damn weird album, but if you can get past the preposterous “take it too far” nature that lends the album its charm, then you’re in for a considerable treat. This is the first mash-up album I’ve listened to in its entirety and it has me really excited to hear some more stuff from the rest of this previously unexplored genre

Final Score: B+

 

Being a movie critic has trained me to be instantly wary of all films that too obviously play on sentimentality. There are just certain movie themes that have been done to death, and the themes themselves are simply too easy of a choice for directors. A film about a terminal illness, for example, has to be done exceptionally well for it not to be trite and cliche. Sentimentality in film is often the same thing as cheap emotional manipulation. Films about children are often another cheap source of easily obtained emotional reactions from audiences. If you place children in danger or otherwise treat children characters poorly, you basically have a guaranteed instinctual reaction from your audience. The film I just finished watching was 2003’s Monsieur Ibrahim, and while it was unashamedly sentimental, it rose above its source material through a genuine and personal touch that lended credence to an otherwise familiar tale.

Monsieur Ibrahim is the story of a young Jewish, French teenager named Moses Schmitt living in Paris in the 1960’s. Moses’s father is never home, and even when he is, he verbally abuses or ignores Moses. Moses seeks out affection  from the local and friendly prostitutes whose love he can buy at 30 francs a pop. Moses’s only true friend is the local grocer, an elderly Turkish Muslim named Ibrahim (film legend Omar Sharif). Ibrahim knows that Moses steals from his store in order to survive, but Ibrahim turns a blind eye because he genuinely cares for the boy. Eventually, Moses’s father runs away, and Ibrahim takes it upon himself to look out for and take care of the boy who lovingly refers to as Momo. Through each other, the boy and the old man learn lessons that re-shape each other’s lives.

Omar Sharif was an A-list star at the height of his career, and his biggest picture, Lawrence of Arabia, is the next film that will be coming in the mail from Netflix. While I was never quite able to puzzle out why exactly it was he cared so much for this boy who he knew so little about at first, Omar Sharif gives him a genuine warmth and kindness that sells the part even when logic has me slightly confused. He and the boy had a very natural screen chemistry, and their father/son relationship should have been more difficult to believe than their seeming compatibility would let on. While I’m not saying this was a child performance on par with Lena Leandersson in Let the Right One In, Pierre Boulanger was a natural as Moses. The kid is put through all sorts of hell throughout the film, and for a child actor, he is able to capably handle a wide array of emotions and levels of intensity. I was honestly surprised to see that he had so few film roles after this. I think he could have really been a top-grade talent.

I’ve mentioned this in several other reviews, but I’ll say it again. I’m ethnically Jewish. Growing up, one of my best friends was a Muslim although I didn’t know until we were both much older. The conflicts in the Middle East often raise a lot of tensions between the Jews and Muslim world, and I really appreciated how this film showed an absolutely beautiful relationship between a young Jewish boy and an elderly Muslim man. I’m not entirely sure if that was an intentional theme of the film because while Ibrahim’s Islamic heritage is a major part of his character, it’s not really as big a deal for Momo’s Jewish background. However, I do believe a theme of the film was tolerance and love and acceptance, and while those are easy things to make a film about, I thought the film succeeded in portraying these ideals.

This wasn’t a great film, but it was still a memorably personal and touching story. The vast majority of the films that I watch for this blog are quite dark and depressing, and for once, it was a relief to watch a film that touched on the brighter sides of humanity. While the film certainly has darker moments such as the boys relationships with the local prostitutes and his father, the overall core of the film is one of reaching out to your fellow man when he’s in need, and how can you turn that message down? For any one who enjoyed Liam Neeson’s story in Love Actually or ever had a father figure of their own that wasn’t their real father, I can recommend this with ease.

Final Score: B+

 

As important of a role that movies play in my life right now, it’s easy for me to forget that there was a time in my life where I didn’t have more random and useless trivia about films floating around in my head than an average room of people combined. Right when Kill Bill: Vol. 1 originally came out in theatres, it was in the fall of my freshman year of high school. I had no idea who Quentin Tarantino was and I had never seen any of his films. My dad and I were at the mall when we happened to bump into the man that I’m named after, one of my dad’s best friends, and he couldn’t stop raving about how fantastic he thought Kill Bill: Vol. 1 was. So, my dad brought home on DVD Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction (which he had seen but I hadn’t) and the rest is, as they say, history. That began my love affair with a director who I consider one of the most talented and brilliant men to ever step behind the camera and call himself a director. And while I rank Kill Bill Vol. 1 down towards the bottom of his works, that still makes this movie better than anything the average director will produce during his entire career.

Kill Bill Vol. 1 is the first story of two focusing on a character known only as the Bride (well at least until her name is revealed at the end of #2. The Bride is a former assassin for a shadowy crime lord known as Bill and was part of a squad of assassins working for said man. In a story that hasn’t been fully explained in this chapter, the Bride has apparently ran away to marry a boy and Bill and his other assassins massacre her wedding party and shoot her leaving her for dead… but she lives. What follows over the course of the next two films is a bloody (and I do mean bloody) roaring, rampage of revenge.

Pretty much every Quentin Tarantino film ever is a love letter to a particular genre of film that he loves, the exception being Pulp Fiction which is just a melting pot of genres and styles. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 is no exception and this film is non-stop shout out to the martial arts genre and its various sub-sets. This is actually the first Tarantino film that I would ever characterize as a straight action film as opposed to a drama or thriller that had action elements. There are several kick-ass fight sequences in the film although the now infamous battle against the Crazy 88’s takes the cake. And sprinkled through-out the entire film are innumerable shout outs to specific kung fu films and bits of martial arts cinema history. Hell, there’s even a super-awesome scene done entirely using anime, and it freaking works.

As much as I love this movie (and really everything else Tarantino has ever made), what makes it fall short in the pantheon of great Tarantino pictures is the lack of his trademark dialogue and twisty-turning storytelling. This is probably one of his most straight-forward films and it contains the least amount of talking of his entire ouevre of work. This film doesn’t have any sort of “royale with cheese” or “gold watch” conversation. That’s a shame because so much of Tarantino’s strength as a director comes in his ability to frame incredibly memorable conversations for his characters to have. And at the same time, while most of his films are love letters to genre, they also serve as deconstructions and subtle satire of their mediums. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 plays so many of the tropes of over-the-top action movies completely straight and it never really feels like it’s trying to take a more piercing look at the genre. Kill Bill: Vol. 2 would be a much more effective return to form for Tarantino, although like I said, while this is towards the bottom of his works, this is still a pretty fantastic movie that all true movie fans need to give a whirl.

Final Score: B+

Old School

For my 14th birthday, my dad took my cousin and I to see Old School in theaters. I loved Will Ferrell on Saturday Night Live, and I had just recently discovered National Lampoon’s Animal House and loved it as well. When I saw it that first time in theatres, I absolutely loved the movie. It had been a couple of years since the last time I watched the movie and I didn’t have anything waiting from Netflix at home right now, so I figured I’d pop the film and see how well it’s stood the test of time. And while it’s still enjoyable, watching Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughan play practically the same exact character for the last 8 years has robbed the film of much of its original freshness and pleasure.

For those rare few of you who have managed to not see this one yet, Old School is about three friends, Mitch (Luke Wilson), a lawyer fresh off a hilariously failed relationship, Frank (Will Ferrell), a mild-mannered newly-wed til he drinks when he becomes party machine Frank the Tank, and Bernard (Vince Vaughan), a fast-talking speaker salesman in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Due to Mitch’s house being zoned for the new school by scummy Dean Pritchard (Jeremy Pivens), the trio decides to form an unconventional fraternity to keep Mitch’s house. Zany antics ensue.

Don’t get me wrong. There are some moments in this film that are hilarious. Frank streaking after his first taste of alcohol in years is classic Will Ferrell. There are actually a ton of funny moments in the film involving Will Ferrell, like him debating James Carville, doing a floor show dance for a gymnastics competition, tranquilizing himself on accident. Unfortunately, Will has spent the last 8 years playing variations of Frank the Tank. If this weren’t the original role, this film would be much more boring. Same with Vince Vaughan. Except, this time, this isn’t the original role. That goes to Swingers. He’s been playing the fast-talking, scheming, obnoxious man-child since freaking Swingers. The film does have a lot of people in small roles before they got much more famous. This is a pre-Ari Gold Jeremy Piven. This is a pre-Mrs. Ari Gold Perrey Reeves. Big Bang Theory‘s Wolowitz is in this. Rob Cordrey is in the film. Hell, it has John Locke in it pre-Lost. And the always stunning Elisha Cuthbert, although this came out the same year as 24 I believe.

This movie is by no means a classic. But it’s fun and I always enjoy it whenever I pop it in. It’s 8 years old at this point and I still quote it fairly regularly and I still wear my Frank the Tank shirt on occasions. And actually, unlike most of his roles for the next 8 years, Will Ferrell does manage to vacillate between full on crazy and quieter, drier humor at a fairly regular pace rather than just playing complete full on insane mode the whole film. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, you should give it a watch. It’s not one of my favorites but it’s managed to survive many repeat viewings over its lifespan.

Final Score: B