Friday, April 22, 2011

Sucker Punch: Zach Snyder (with Hot Tub Time Machine and Your Highness)

I had intended to review only the first two films titled but, having seen the third before writing this, have decided to do a single review of all three. 'Sucker Punch' is a fantasy which is either the imaginings of Abbie Cornish which the closing scene suggests or a retreat from reality into a comic-book world involving Emily Browning who has the main part. Five girls are imprisoned in a mental institute for young ladies which the chief warder operates as a brothel with the house shrink, played by Carla Gugino using a weird accent, as the madam. Part of their duties is to dance for the selected customers and it is when made to do this that Emily Browning escapes into a different fantasy world each time. All wear costumes meant to arouse - schoolgirl with very short skirt, tight leather and so on - and each fantasy includes Scott Glenn as some form of father figure/guide. At least one reviewer has desribed this as soft porn for the teenage male which it might have been fifty or so years ago but hardly now. Taken at face level, it is a series of well-imagined and executed implausible adventures in which, eventually, three of the girls die as they do in the intervening reality. This leaves ... now broked in spirit and trapped but her efforts have helped Abbie Cornish, the only one old enough to be thought of as a woman, to escape to a nearby bus station where she is saved from police interrogation and recapture by the bus driver - Scott Glenn. Fast-paced enjoyable hokum.
'Hot Tub Time Machine' is much nearer to porn though not so described. Four male friends return to a ski lodge to relive their past with the weekend starting badly until they short-circuit the hot tub accidentally and are taken back to their earlier
visit where they try to repeat what happened in order to return to the present. A series of misadventures, mainly sexual, do
eventually get three of the four back, the fourth choosing not to return: this alters what the present has become but for the
better for all. A few amusing moments in a rather gross film in which John Cusack is wasted.
However, this is easily surpassed in grossness by 'Your Highness' which is almost a Carry On film with explicitness rather than
the innuendo the English series had to use. James Franco, who should know better, is the heroic older son of Charles Dance,
who seems nowadays to collect pay cheques, whose bride-to-be, Zooey Deschanel, is seized by the inevitable evil wizard just
as the wedding ceremony is all but done. He sets off to rescue her with his younger brother, Danny McBride, who has been a
foul-mouthes wastrel in his brother's shadow. The gallant knights with Franco turn out to be in the pay of the wizard which complicates matters as well as adding more vulgarity. Along the way they meet Natalie Portman whose near-nude swim in long shot is almost the film's highlight though she does have a good line in cgi assisted fighting. They do, at last, save the bride and kill the wizard returning hom in triumph. For no good reason, Portman seems to have a thing for Mc Bride but has
another quest to follow - however, she turns up at the end so all live happily. Utter rubbish but midly enjoyable.

1 comment:

pppatty said...

If one accepts the first and last films as mindless hokum with cgi work of varying effectiveness, they are mildly entertaining but totally disposable. Hot Tub Time machine however had absolutely no redeeming qualities and therefore virtually no entertainment value.

However, Abbie Cornish, James Franco, Natalie Portman and John Cusack should all be ashamed of themselves.