A serious Brad Pitt captivates as a father of three boys in 1950s Texas, but he’s one of the few good things in this confusing (if gorgeous) art film. The drama shifts jarringly from Pitt’s suburban family saga to — huh? — a history of the Earth from the Big Bang to the age of dinosaurs and up to the present. The movie’s muddled point? To explore and understand the roots of creation. But it is extremely pretentious — and at 138 minutes, it unspools as slowly as tree growth.
Phil (Bradley Cooper), Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and Stu (Ed Helms) return with a carbon-copy follow-up to the Las Vegas–set hit. This time, the gang hits a remote Thai beach resort for Stu’s wedding, but after a night of beers they wake up in the center of seedy Bangkok. Sadly, however, all the original’s surprise has evaporated, only to be replaced by cheap substitutions.
In the first flick, the guys found a baby and lost the groom, and Stu wed a prostitute. Here, they meet a smoking monkey and lose the bride’s brother, and Stu gets it on with a transsexual hooker! While the talented cast does their best — Ken Jeong gets a couple laughs for his coked-up Mr. Chow — what happened in Vegas should have stayed in Vegas.
Us Rating: **1/2 Johnny Depp returns as irreverent Jack Sparrow in the fourth installment of the wacky adventure series. This time, the pirate embarks on a quest for the fountain of youth, racing against rivals Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) — yet finding time to romance ex-flame Angelica (Penelope Cruz). The actress livens things up somewhat as she and Sparrow spar in a tavern, sling insults and double-cross each other. And campy Rush continues to amuse: When he and Sparrow are captured, he drinks from his wooden peg leg — and offers Sparrow a swig! But the entertaining flick gets bogged down by endless, listless swordfights. Plus, McShane’s serious Shakespearean delivery doesn’t belong in such a satirical romp.
In this whimsical Woody Allen fantasy, anxious writer Gil (Owen Wilson) and his cranky fiancee (Rachel McAdams) visit Paris. One night, Gil hails a mysterious vintage Peugeot that transports him to the Roaring ’20s. He then magically returns every evening to mingle with luminaries like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Pablo Picasso (Marion Cotillard plays the artist’s mistress!). Wilson charms as a romantic enamored with the past, but McAdams can’t overcome her shrewish role. Overall, the romp is a delight and a nostalgic postcard to the City of Light.
Mel Gibson plays Walter, a seriously depressed exec, in this insightful dark comedy. Kicked out by his wife (Jodie Foster), he finds a ratty puppet in a dumpster and — yikes — starts talking through it like a ventriloquist uses a dummy. Gibson excels as a man fighting mental illness, managing to project anguish even in the company of the stuffed animal. But the tightly wound Foster is less believable in her role — and their sex scene (which includes the puppet!) is just too awkward to watch.