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This is a difficult film to like (imho) because as many other comments have noted, the characters are unsympathetic jerks. Further, I saw no chemistry among the various permutations and combinations of the four leads, nor any development of relationships. Perhaps better acting or staging could have floated this sinking ship.
The characters appear to jump into connections (I won't dignify them with the term relationships) with nothing more behind them than that they have ended up in close proximity to the other at some point. If any of you ride or have ridden a subway or crowded bus route, would you have sex with someone just because he or she happened to be standing near you one day? Exchange pleasantries, some banter supposed to be witty, lips get trembly, kiss, have sex. The concept is preposterous. Or, I missed out on a heck of a lot of potential activity back in my subway riding days! With all due respect (my better half bought this turkey for $3 at an odd-lot discount store), this had "chick flick" written all over it, confirmed by the sappy opening dirge.
In addition (as others have noted), the flashbacks and fast-forwards are not differentiated from "real time" at all, making the activities even more difficult to follow. This is worsened by the unsympathetic personalities of the leads.
Definitely, one to miss...
Code Name: The Cleaner (2007)
Did they run out of money?
Watching this movie, I kept thinking they couldn't afford to have a real script written, and must have run out of money when they were about 2/3 of the way through, and couldn't finish editing it. Not to mention, they probably couldn't afford Martin Lawrence for the lead role, so they filled it with Cedric the Entertainer, who does better in supporting roles. Cedric does have several funny scenes, though.
The plot is completely unintelligible, and undeveloped, but based on the genre you can predict most of the action. It's the ever-popular "hero has something secret the bad guys want, so they can sell it to terrorists for a fortune, but it's missing." Not to mention, the scenes or "shticks" that have been better done elsewhere. For example, every time Cedric tried to be funny with judo moves, I kept thinking that he ripped that off from Martin, who does it much better. There is a brief cat-fight scene that is far inferior to the one in Undercover Brother (which is an excellent movie, and much funnier overall).
Smokin' Aces (2006)
A total dud
This dud doesn't work as a comedy, because it is not funny, and it doesn't work as an action flick, because the plot is completely unbelievable, especially the twists towards the end. One of the plot twists is obvious, and the other is completely ridiculous. The characters are not developed at all, so you don't really care what happens.
The plot, such as it is, revolves around multiple hit men trying to kill the lead character Aces, to collect on a million dollar contract hit, while the FBI is supposed to protect him. By the end of the movie the body count is very high, but it feels like watching someone else play a violent, stupid video game -- you're detached, and don't react on a gut level.
All in all, this genre has already been better covered several times by others. This dud is derivative, and could have been much better done.
Basic Instinct 2 (2006)
I'd rather stick my head in a toilet for two hours...
The primary failure of this film relative to the original is an aged, faded Sharon Stone who is supposed to portray an irresistible sex goddess. That just does not work at all. In the first Basic Instinct she was credible as a sexy young beauty exploring the boundaries of her ability to control men by exploiting their lust for her.
I've noticed many other comments say "Wow, look at Sharon Stone, she is almost 50 and still attractive and sexy - that's incredible!" That is nonsense. It is ridiculous to say that mature women can't be attractive and sexy. What I would expect (and I am a 50-year-old man), is that an attractive woman of that age range would be more subtle and sophisticated about her sexuality. The way Stone's character acts in this film, I'd expect to find her as an old drunk falling off a bar stool in a trailer park in Dog Fart, Kentucky rather than as supposedly glamorous, world-famous novelist.
The secondary failure is David Morrisey's character, supposed to be a psychiatrist or psychologist. How could the character have an M.D. or Ph.D. degree when he is a moron who apparently never got past puberty sexually?
The tertiary failure is the complete unbelievability of the plot. How can one believe it is many years since the first film, Stone's character continues to be suspected of multiple murders, yet she is still free? At the rate people Stone knows get murdered, everyone she ever knew would have been dead five years before they made this film.
Even though I found the first Basic Instinct over-the-top and occasionally unintentionally laughable, it worked much better than this putrid sequel.
Great date movie
Hitch is a very funny and entertaining film. Will Smith and Kevin James provide excellent performances and play well off each other.
The setting (NYC singles dating scene) rings true, I lived there many years ago. Guess people are still as shallow and vapid as they were then.
This movie also avoids gratuitous sex scenes, which is welcome. Families could take their teens.
Of course it has a "message," but its a worthwhile one, and not overly syrupy.
This film is definitely worth seeing, and you'll leave the theater smiling.
The Fast and the Furious (2001)
Dude, this movie really sucked!
Sorry to add yet another "pan" of this turkey, but it is so bad that it deserves all the abuse that can be heaped on it.
The plot isn't even worthy of a WB TV series. The characters are not developed at all. One would think that a movie of this ilk would try to explain the racers' motivation, history, basically why they are so fixated on hot-rodding Japanese cars that were intended to be reliable, overpriced, boring transportation for young women (i.e., Honda Civics).
Furthermore, to my recollection nearly all the cars raced were front-drivers, making the film's "Holy Grail" of a ten second quarter mile ludicrous. Any front-driver with enough power to run a ten second quarter mile would disintegrate its front tires on launch.
I did kind of like the plastic bad guys, totally evil and destructive for no apparent reason. They were funny.
Well-acted film noir
Pendulum is a murder mystery, or rather two murder mysteries. Rachel Hunter plays a detective originally assigned to investigate the brutal murders of several street prostitutes, then reassigned to investigate the murder of a prominent law school professor.
Hunter's character is not exactly "Colombo," and there are several red herrings along the way. The film is set in a milieu of prostitution, lies, kinky sex, corruption, violence, etc., which is why I consider it a "film noir."
This movie isn't a classic, but it keeps you interested. If you enjoyed "Presumed Innocent" you'll enjoy this one.
Freddy Got Fingered (2001)
Rated it a "1" because "0" was not a choice
This amazingly awful waste of film tries to be gross-out humor, but it is not funny, its just gross. Unless, of course, you think masturbating large animals is funny. The only possible target audience, young teenage boys, should not see this R-rated dreck. Any adult who would have brought a teenager into this movie should be arrested by the good taste police. Compared to "Freddy Got Fingered," the worst Adam Sandler p***-fest is sophisticated, urbane humor. Compared to "Freddy Got Fingered," "Drowning Mona" is a hilarious, light comedy. Don't waste your time watching this. It isn't worth the wear and tear on your senses.
Another brilliant Spike Lee joint
In this film, the Damon Wayans character (a Harvard-edumacated former southerner with a faux French accent worthy of Tina Turner) creates a TV variety show based on offensive, archaic racial stereotypes, in part hoping that audiences will hate it, burying these stereotypes forever.
Instead, the show becomes a smash hit, although extremely controversial. The movie ending is predictable, if you are aware of Lee's politics.
To me, the main question Lee raises in this film is, if entertainers exploit racial stereotypes, even in an attempt to destroy these stereotypes, and their product is successful, are they not cashing in on racism?
The film is definitely worth seeing -- also, it has many hilarious scenes.
Get Carter (2000)
Get another video!
Get Carter (2000) is awful. The plot is so thin, the running time of this movie should have been less than an hour, instead of an hour and 45 minutes. Maybe if Stallone actually spoke English instead of constantly mumbling in a low monotone, it would have been possible to figure out what was going on. The basic plot is, Stallone finds out his estranged brother has died in a car accident, goes to his funeral, and concludes that his brother has been murdered. He decides to stick around and dispense some frontier justice. Why he decides to investigate instead of going to the police, is never explained. Why the brother's family doesn't investigate either, is also not explained. Why one character who claims to be a Harvard graduate acts as if he has the IQ of a frog, is also not explained. Get the picture? Unless you are a die-hard Stallone fan, don't rent this video. Even if you are a Stallone fan, be advised that (in my opinion) this is one of his worst efforts.
Down to Earth (2001)
No guts, no glory
To enjoy any fantasy comedy, the viewer must be able to suspend disbelief. It is impossible to suspend disbelief for Down to Earth.
Why do we see Chris Rock as Chris Rock, when everyone around him sees him as Charles Wellington, rich, fat white man? Why? Because the producers thought they could make more money showcasing Rock, than having us see Rock as Wellington. It ruins much of the movie's attempted humor. For example, when Rock (as Wellington) uses the "N" word, black folks who hear him become furious, and we have to remember that he is supposedly this rich, fat white man.
The film does have some funny moments, and Regina King is attractive as the love interest. It could have been really good, though.
This film is unforgettable, and could have been a classic, except for occasionally awful dialogue. Andy Garcia plays a reformed gangster who reassembles his old crew for one last job, trying to keep his (legitimate) business afloat. Things go horribly wrong, and in retribution, the local crime boss puts contracts out on all of them.
Thus, each of the crew is faced with the choice of fleeing, or of being a "stand-up guy," i.e., accepting the consequences of their actions.
It is much like life itself -- we try to do the right thing, often things go wrong, and ultimately we're all under a death sentence, eh?
If you haven't seen this one yet, I highly recommend it.
The Replacements (2000)
Very entertaining feel-good comedy
"The Replacements" is everything "Any Given Sunday" could have been, but wasn't. The casting is excellent -- Gene Hackman gives his best performance in years, and the Keanu Reaves role is one that he can do, the ever-popular "loser with a heart of gold."
Even my wife, who hates football, loves this movie. 'Nuff said.
Little Nicky (2000)
Have a brain, hated this movie
Since "The Wedding Singer," the quality of Adam Sandler's movies has been in a tailspin, each one worse than the next. In this turkey, he plays one of Satan's three sons, an idiot with a speech impediment and facial deformity (the result of being hit in the face with a shovel by one of his brothers). Of course, Sandler's character has the obligatory heart of gold.
His use of the speech impediment and deformity for humor is cheap, to put it mildly. What humor this movie has is of the shock-vulgar kind, and it continues Sandler's obsession with urination "jokes."
Unless you have two hours or so of your life to totally waste, don't rent this video!
Hollow Man (2000)
The major problem with this mad-scientist movie is that the viewer never gets involved. It trots out every cliche in the book, with no redeeming message and not a single appealing character. I watched it, never caring what would happen next, just waiting for the inevitable conclusion.
For example, the Kevin Bacon character is not tragic, he's just a major jerk.
This movie isn't worth watching, even if it is ever shown on free TV.
Very Bad Things (1998)
Very Bad Movie
This is a "black comedy" which is not funny at all and has absolutely no sympathetic characters. If you liked Drowning Mona, you might like this one. Anyone with taste, avoid this turkey.
What Planet Are You From? (2000)
This is a pleasant romantic comedy. The casting is perfect. It only made me laugh out loud once, but I smiled through the entire movie. Any man who has ever been a virgin will identify to some extent with Gary Shandling's character (an alien from an all-male planet where reproduction is via cloning, who is sent to Earth to impregnate a female).
This film is awful because nearly all the characters had their personality development stopped in their late teens, probably by excessive drug use. It also runs too long, considering the lack of action. You'd think such a talented cast would have crafted a more entertaining film.