Author Archives: Amelie

Couples Retreat (2009)


Starring: Vince Vaughn, Kristen Bell, Jason Bateman, Malin Akerman, Jon Favreau, Kristin Davis
Director: Peter Billingsley
Screenwriter: Jon Favreau

Ok, I knew I would not like this one. There was no way in hell that a
comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau would interest me in the
slightest. I also am not a heterosexual man so that the hotness of Malin
Ackerman or Kristen Bell or Kristin Davies would blind my rational
judgment. I saw the trailer and I thought it was a nice way for some A
listers to earn some money while getting a natural tan in an exotic location.
I knew well ahead what was coming and my masochist side was pleased to
see I was all I hoped it would be.

The plot revolves around four couples: Malin Ackerman and Vince Vaughn, Kristin Bell and Jason Bateman, Kristin Davis and Jon Favreau, Faison Love and a 20 year old post divorce rebound girlfriend. Every one of these couples
has ONE problem and everything they do is connected to that one problem
and/or is totally out of character but serves an one line unfunny joke. They
try to solve their problems by going on a vacation that includes, among
scuba diving and massages, couples therapy. I KNOW, this is so original
and so not cliché at all!

The trailer lies like a well oiled marketing device: it presents this movie as a
raunchy comedy with a stelar cast, great panoramic views and a love
centered story. If you actually buy tickets, you will be met by some bored
individuals who are trying to sell you some figments of candy wrapped
Hollywood “love” that should make you believe that these are good people
who deserve to be happy. I’ll give them this: they deserve each other. The
stories are one dimensional, predictable and quickly resolved, and there are
not enough helicopter shots of crystal blue sea water in this flick to make
anyone forget what impossibly contrived situations they try to pass as real
couple problems.

When I read some reviews about this movie, I realized that many people said that it was a shame that “such a talented cast” was “dragged into this horror fest”. I disagree. These people have not one, but several people watching every move they make, every contract they sign, every role they pick. They read the script, compare it to the check and decide if it’s worth it. So my conclusion was that Vince Vaughn deserves all the bad press he can get, because he wanted to become this mediocre romantic comedy lead with zero appeal. He is almost Kutcher level for me, only worse especially because he had things going for him that the ladder did not, mainly talent. Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell are basically two sides of the same character but at about half way through the movie, she becomes another person so they can fight and “communicate their issues”. It’s all bland and pointless, not to mention unintentionally funny. They are likable actors, but somehow this movie makes them annoying and I’m very happy because maybe that will make Bell stop with the “cute as a button” type roles. Malin Ackerman is underappreciated by her husband and remains that way even after the credits roll, although the script tries to tell you otherwise. And Faison Love is embarrassing, but luckily the bar can go lower to poor Jon Favreau (who also co-wrote this wreck) and Kristen Davis where there.are.no.words.

While watching this movie, the painfully true line uttered by Roeper when trying to explain using words the awfulness that is “What Happens in Vegas” was floating through my head: “The cast said they had so much fun during the making of this movie, THEY should have to sit through it”.

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Good Luck Chuck (2007)


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Starring: Dane Cook, Jessica Alba, Dan Fogler, Lonny Ross
Director: Mark Helfrich
Screenwriter: Josh Stolberg

I had a bad feeling about going to see this movie and I tried to convince my friend not to go, but my main two arguments -“I have never seen anything funny starring Dane Cook” and “I do not think Jessica Alba is an actress”- somehow failed against “You have never seen one of his stand-ups” (true) and “She is hot” (also true). While reading Rotten Tomatoes Top 100 Worst Movies Ever, I came across this title, and I remembered my pain and suffering and regret over spending about $10 (including popcorn and soda) on something so excruciating that it made my root canal appointment seem like Disneyland.

“Good Luck Chuck” tells the improbable tale of a dentist (yes, that is exactly why I said root canal), Charlie Logan (Dane Cook), who has a unique quality: every woman he dates/sleeps with ends up marrying the next guy she meets. He was hexed when he was a child, and now, in adulthood, his current status and reputation helps him get so many women he cannot keep up with, because evidently he is the gateway to women’s heaven: marriage (gag me!) . He meets and falls in love with Cam (Jessica Alba), a penguin zookeeper, that is the ideal mix of beauty and smarts, but she has a twist too: she is clumsy to the extreme. Shenanigans ensue. Of course he has an obnoxious fat friend whose only purpose is to make him look like a prince because he does not pretend he’s somebody else to get laid and he does not fuck a grapefruit on his spare time. Of course her constantly falling and generally being embarrassing to the human race is charming. Of course they love each other but the „situational comedy” keeps them apart. Of course Dane Cook is funny. And of course Jessica Alba could be a scientist.

One of this movie’s major flaws is that it is simply not funny.  I can take slapstick humor. I can take dirty jokes („Clerks”, anyone?). I can suspend my disbelief that such people could possibly exist on an oxygenated planet. I really have no problem with very beautiful women coupled with generic looking men (I liked „Knocked Up”). I can see the charm of a funny man (fine, I admit: I am a Seth Rogen fan). I do not expect life lessons or philosophy out of a comedy script. I laughed during „The Proposal”, for God’s sake, and it was about two walking clichés bantering! But when I go to see a comedy, romantic or otherwise, it better be funny. It better have at least one fresh, innovative, clever joke, and at least ten mediocre ones. And the leads do not have to be Oscar winners, but they better have the charisma and comedic timing to pull through the delivery of lines without making it seem like a school play where everybody is looking at their mommy in the audience for approval.

The second is the leads’ lack of appeal. I do not want to start talking about acting skills, because this particular script has no need for them, not even Meryl Streep can resuscitate this train wreck. But to manage to gain the audience, to make everybody root for the main characters, they need to be likeable. Dane Cook may be a great guy and a worthy actor, but he just makes you want bad shit to happen to him. On screen, that is. He is like Ashton Kutcher: not as funny as he thinks he is, and desperately trying to prove his genius. Even Demi’s husband seems more relaxed when “acting”, and his Twitter persona seems like a genuinely nice guy. But the 30 year old man-child shtick is not attractive and not amusing; it’s just boring and overdone. And Jessica is a pleasure to watch, she really brightens the screen every time she smiles, too bad her role has her talking.  She deserves her spot on any “most beautiful” top, but I think she and Jessica Biel have the same problem: nobody takes beauty seriously. Next think you know, they will declare it a handicap and ask for damages. Because Charlize Theron is ugly, did you not see “Monster”?

Overall, a movie already forgotten by almost everybody except Rotten Tomatoes and me, and a step by step demo of how easy it is to make millions even without direction, script, actors or a plausible premise: just take a funnyman and a vixen; throw in some sex and bathroom jokes, cute animals, over promote the hell out of it and voila: the movie everybody saw and nobody wanted to see.

Good Luck Chuck (2007)

The Skeptic (2009)


01skeptic_6006Starring: Tim Daly, Tom Arnold, Zoe Saldana, Edward Herrmann, Andrea Roth, Robert Prosky, Bruce Altman, LJ Foley
Director: Tennyson Bardwell
Screenwriter: Tennyson Bardwell

Inspired by last week’s great reviews I decided to watch more horror movies in spite of being a total pansy and as I started with “Orphan” – because of which I may start billing Skellington for all the electricity I’m wasting keeping the lights on at night, I continued with “The Skeptic”, given to me by the very sweet and considerate little monster that is my sister. I honestly don’t think there will be a third one; I am just not cut out for this.

“The Skeptic” tells the story of Bryan Becket, played by Tim Daly, who decides to move in his late aunt’s house as a warning to his wife who wants him more emotionally attached. He is very cold, calm and collected, a control freak that hates human bonding. His only friend and his wife both get the jerk treatment, as his calculating lawyer ways leaving no room for emotional blackmail and psychobabble.  That was at the beginning. But soon after he moves he starts to experience a series of inexplicable events. A supermodel psychic join him in his quest to find out what exactly I causing all the apparent supernatural phenomena that makes him question everything he believes in (or doesn’t believe in). He is, of course, The Skeptic.

Tim Daly (the only other thing I’ve seen him in is the TV show “Private Practice”, where I was frankly not impressed with his work, as I thought he was bland, had the mobility of a block of wood and the script tried too hard to make him kind and loving by showing cheesy lines down my throat) grows on me in this movie that requires from its main lead an intentional lack of expression and emotion. And by the end of it, I saw many scenes beautifully acted and a potential for more. It came as a shock to me, but he is very good in this role and about two potatoes out of these 6 are all his. His wife is Robin (Andrea Roth), and she is a little bit too preoccupied to be pretty and blonde for my taste. And the believer, played by Zoe Saldana, started out by being incredibly annoying, but she managed to integrate herself into the story and thus she became useful, but not irreplaceable.

The best actor in this movie is the house. Remember Norman Bates’ mother’s house? Well, this one is at the same level of emoting creepy vibes, only without the benefits of black and white cinematography; I don’t know if they built it or they actually used an existing one, but if someone lives there in real life, then in spite of the multitude of rooms and great architecture, I just cannot imagine any place I would want to be less. It is one of those houses that cannot stop screaming “haunted” even when in broad daylight. The director does a good job focusing on the strong cast, the close ups and tight frames make you afraid of what might happen outside the shot, in the background or in the eyesight of the respective character. These are the good.

The bad? The script is average bordering on nauseating, and the scare tactics are a little overused and clichéd. Some moments make you scream: “Enough already, stop trying to wedge in every leftover horror prop known to man!”, others just remind you of better movies where you saw that exact scene/take/framing. It is scary, yes, and its goal is thus achieved, but it is also completely unoriginal and I am under the impression that it somehow fails to impress the genre fans (which I am not, so it is just a supposition based on the horrible reviews, i.e. 8% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), who have more comparison material. The core story is good, but somehow not meaty enough to sustain an hour and a half of plot development. It could have been worse, but it also had the potential to be much, much better.

This movie is a decent slasher flick. It never amazes, never disappoints, it’s sometimes frightening, sometimes boring, it rests heavily on the actors’ shoulders and it fails at the creativity chapter, but for a night out with friends it will do just fine. Written in the ‘80s, it would have been a hit then, but it has clearly not aged well, as it is not making any waves now.

Twilight (2008)


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Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Cam Gigandet, Nikki Reed, Elizabeth Reaser, Jackson Rathbone, Sarah Clarke, Ashley Greene, Anna Kendrick, Justin Chon, Kellen Lutz, Edi Gathegi, Rachelle Lefevre, Christian Serratos
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Screenwriter: Mark Lord, Melissa Rosenberg

Based on Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling novel with the same name, the debut of one of the most successful teen targeted franchises since the Olsen twins made millions in the ’90s by selling anything that could by signed and painted pink, „Twilight” is a movie that triggers two opposite reactions: hate – by the „too cool for anything this pathetic” individuals and love – by the „love is all around us and it’s fluffy” crowds. Of course, I am referring to teenage reactions, because any person above 17 and with a three digit IQ has enough sense to be neither impressed nor appalled: worst movies have been made (some won Oscars) and better movies, thank God, will still be made.

Bella (Kristen Stewart) is an average girl with an emo twist who moves with her father when she realizes that she is sort of standing in the way of her mother’s new marriage. Nobody says that she is, but she feels it, hence the emo twist. Her new home town is a perpetual rainy place where the people are simple and their minds cannot comprehend the complexity of Miss Swan’s intricate thought process and she thus is lonely and misunderstood. And just when you think she may be contemplating suicide, THE ONE  – you know, that fabulous soul mate that every movie teaches you to wait (if it’s a romantic one) or to find (if it’s a more modern and „feminist” one) , appears. His name is Edward Cullen and he has the great genes of Robert Pattinson, but he also has a little twist of his own: he is a 100 plus years old vampire who goes through possibly the worst drama of all: he has to relive high school over and over again. There is a bit of action provided by three unexpected undead visitors and the beginning of a love triangle that will fuel four more novels, over a thousand web sites and millions of fan wet dreams.

The movie is really better than what I expected. I’ve read the book, and I thank Mark Lord and Melissa Rosenberg for taking only a small fraction of Bella’s interior monologue and sparing me of „When life offers you a dream so far beyond any of your expectations, it’s not reasonable to grieve when it comes to an end.” or „It was a sea of darkness over my black overwhelming emotions and the sun will never rise again without Edward” (I may be paraphrasing the last quote, but you get my point). The first book being much better than the next three (yes, I’ve read them all, don’t judge!), they also have enough angst filled material  to tell a really well built teen romance, complete with alienation, fear of rejection, loneliness and the one thing all teens have in common: the conviction that this world revolves around them and their uniqueness. Also, the first novel of the “Twilight” saga depicts few events that underline the clumsy doormat personality of the main character, and the movie hides them well enough so that these annoying traits become practically invisible. A decent cinematography, some computer generated special effects (frankly, I’ve seen better in TV shows) and an overbearing feeling of depression and internal turmoil add their contribution to a relatable story, despite its fantasy premise. Adding a little action towards the end may have been the only thing that made me not fall asleep after what seemed like 1000 years of exposition.

The two main actors are above average. At first I thought Kristen Stewart may be one of the worst actresses ever, but she managed to make me like Bella, and I hated her in the books. The lines were the same, but she added a sense of fragility and shyness, and she seemed so uncomfortable all the time, exactly like a hypersensitive 16 year old would be, even though I am not sure that was acting or she was just playing herself. She had little to go on but she pulled it off. Robert Pattinson had even less to go on, as his character was a brooding seemingly perfect creature that treated his girlfriend like a 5 year old (sometimes rightly so), and every once in a while left her for her own good, but he managed to bring his character out of the abusive controlling type and, from time to time, even showed a shred of his patented charisma that will make you see what the fuss is all about. The rest are barely visible, but that is a good thing, as no one stands out as the worst link out of an already dull cast.

Over all, a decent portrayal of teenage angst, two chemistry filled leads and a compelling story (when it does not take itself too seriously), “Twilight” is the first part of a movie franchise that has the potential to break box office records.

The Last House on the Left (2009)


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Starring: Tony Goldwyn, Monica Potter, Sara Paxton, Garret Dillahunt, Martha MacIsaac, Riki Lindhome
Director: Dennis Iliadis
Screenwriter: Carl Ellsworth

Because “The Beautiful Life: TBL” had its premiere last week, I wanted to see what the lead actress, Sara Paxton – a name that I’ve seldom heard, but never seen on an actual credit ,  was capable of, so I watched “The Last House on the Left”, a remake of the Wes Craven 1972 movie with the same name.  And as I usually avoid gory flicks (I admit I am very sensitive: I only saw the first “Saw” and the first “Hostel” through my fingers and only because I was curious, a curiosity for which I’ve paid dearly), I was surprised to see that what was presented as a low budget horror movie was actually a very brutal thriller.

The movie starts with a random escape from police custody. The perpetrators are taking their time and start torturing the policemen, which shows that they either don’t care about their odds of freedom or they are just sadistic psychopaths. Spoiler: it’s the latter. On their path to freedom they come across two teenagers who they kidnap, torture and kill and rape, respectively. It’s unjust, cruel and vicious and it is presented in all its glory. And you want to see all of them suffer. Their luck changes when they are forced to seek shelter from a storm at a vacation house by the lake. The owners of the house happen to be the parents of the girl they raped and left for death. When the parents realize who they were helping, a no mercy survival and revenge war with no prisoners ensue. It is a very educational one too: ten ways of killing/torturing someone using only our household appliances are presented (I will never look at a microwave oven the same way again).

Although almost a freshman in the movie industry, Dennis Iliadis does a pretty good job, even if the camera movement is sometimes clunky and (intentionally?) oscillating between sudden and lingering. If there was ever a movie that required no script, this was it: what they say is not important, but what they do and how they do it say everything. I do not remember one line (and the villain has a scene where he tells the father how he raped his daughter, a scene from which I only remember faces and expressions), but I recall visual scenes, woods, lakes, pictures on a fridge, rain and BLOOD. The choice to not   have everything happen in one night is a smart one, as it leaves room for one of the most effective scenes in the movie: the one where the teenagers are stabbed/raped/shot in the woods, a scene that is made even more horrifying by the fact that it all happens in broad daylight, close to a construction site, and the knowledge that they were so close to salvation makes it unbearable. That is the scene that prepares the viewer for what follows, and it seems hard to believe that the murderers could ever be rightfully punished. Well, prepare to be surprised.

Sara Paxton, the reason for my venture in the bloody depths of new age thrillers, is very good at conveying innocence and vulnerability, and that is her character’s main task: to make us hate the fugitives with the fire of a thousand suns for what they did to her. The parents, Monica Potter and Tony Goldwyn, are also good, their fear and rage is visible and understandable. The four criminals are convincing and menacing, they are each the embodiment of at least one different mental disorder: paranoia, schizophrenia, perversion and depression. Together they are a dangerous, destructive and self-destructive mix. The question being asked by the creators of the original and for which the creators of the copy are not to be given credit for is: what is the line between victim and criminal, justice and revenge, cruel and necessary? What would you have done? I, for one, would’ve fainted.

The movie brings nothing new to the growing industry of borderline snuff flicks, and it may seem long and tedious at times, especially for the ones that are attracted by its advertised violence. It may also fall into the avoidable category of films that are too violent for the sensible people (like me) and are not violent enough for the genre fans (like Skellington). It has some serious plot holes that stretch plausibility that I won’t discuss here. Over all, a decent attempt of reviving a seventies nihilist classic.

The Ugly Truth (2009)


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Starring: Gerard Butler, Katherine Heigl, Cheryl Hines, Bonnie Somerville, Bree Turner, Vicki Lewis
Director: Robert Luketic
Screenwriter: Nicole Eastman
Rated: R for sexual content and language.

When you read a summary of the plot of “The Ugly Truth” as presented by trailers and adverts, you may be tempted to think: “It cannot be as bad as it sounds! It has Katherine Heigl and the same type of clichés that made “Knocked Up” a sensation (man – funny, laid back and afraid of being trapped, woman – responsible, stressed and afraid of being single). You may be tempted to try to look at the bright side: “At least it is not about aliens” or “At least it is rated R so that means (technically) that I won’t get full frontal nudity gags” or “At least Seth Rogen stayed out of this one”. They are all deceiving! I watched the trailer as I was reviewing and I felt the urge to give it a higher grade because it seemed so much more fun. But the trailer has literally EVERY mediocre joke in the script and the only ones remotely amusing.

My expectations were low when I heard that Katherine Heigl is playing another one of her dreaded roles that she seems to feel are beneath her but somehow she always chooses (either she doesn’t read the scripts or she just accepts the best paid jobs – neither of these situations gives her the right to complain later) . Well, I’ve seen “27 Dresses”. I’ve also seen “Knocked Up”. And about 4 seasons of the pretentious awfulness that is “Grey’s Anatomy”. My conclusion was that she is a very good actress, even when given lines three feet long and one inch deep, and she has a rare ability to be likeable no matter how embarrassing the situation her character has to go through. Unfortunately, this has to be the lowest point of her career (I refuse to acknowledge a lower one). Yes, I included “Grey’s”, although, to be fair, I never quite got to the whole “Izzie has Denny wet dreams” part. Her character, Abby Richter, is the embodiment of a less haute couture dressed “Sex and the City -The Movie” lady. Only she does not have any friends (or relatives for that matter) to talk to about the one subject this whole world revolves around: men – their needs, their expectations when it comes to women and  everything that is vital to obtaining that glorious relationship that leads to marriage, that all women want and that is every man’s worst nightmare because Lord knows there haven’t been enough movies focusing on phony battle of the sexes and this one is SO original –  and she is thus obligated to listen to a total stranger that is some kind of a Jerry Springer love guru that hosts a five minutes show about… monkeys, sex and monkey sex. Heigl’s already severely bruised charm is gradually destroyed by clunky dialogue and unfunny banter that is supposed to be cute but has you reaching for a bag to vomit in. I will not talk about Gerard Butler because I pity him like Mr. T pities the fools. There were no other characters. I seem to remember a Ken doll looking individual that takes his shirt of at some point but I could not care less about his character who was so clearly set out to be a plot device that his role can be summarized as: “prop no. 2 that stands in the way of the main couple”. A box with that label would have done his job for free.

I do not want you to think I hated the movie because it was misogynistic, because it was not. The women were stupid shrews who never found anyone willing to have sex with them so their need got so severe that one of them goes out at a business meeting wearing FUCKING VIBRATING UNDERWEAR. HAHAHAHAHAHA! Ha. Are you done laughing? That was the greatest gag that all the trailers, no matter how short, had to incorporate. Because it was something that nobody, ever, in the history of movie making, thought about. Except maybe Nora Ephron, the writer of “When Harry Met Sally”. And Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the writers of “Crank”. And just about any sitcom and B list movies junior screenwriter of the last 20 years.  I was actually glad I was a woman in that cinema theatre. I bet Gerard Butler would have given his testicles to be playing any other role but his own. The only ones that got more humiliated were the jelly wrestling twins (yes, there were jelly covered bikini clad models, but don’t pay the whole ticket for that, just search it on youtube), but they were girls who had one shot at stardom and if their looks helped, why not? When you are already a star, WHY GOD WHY? His character is not even abrasive like the ones that Rogen usually plays. Not even remotely redeemable. Not even evil. Not even entertaining. He was an absurd caricature of how geeky pussy whipped writers see THE MAN:  he started like a closeted serial rapist that was about to snap and ended like a teenager in love with his 60 year old teacher.

If you are not easily offended (not by language or nudity, but by nonsense stupidity) then don’t go. A test for knowing whether you will be tempted to strangle the cashier of the cinema to get your money back is this: Could you watch “Dude, Where’s My Car?” without changing the channel? Have you laughed more than twice watching it? Was the laughter actually caused by a line in the script rather than ironical? If you answered yes to all of these questions, you are more patient than I could ever be and I bow.

The Breakfast Club (1985)


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Starring: Paul Gleason, Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, John Kapelos, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Ron Dean

Screenwriter and Director: John Hughes

John Hughes passed away this August, but his legacy remains, as he produced, written or directed some of  the most successful movies of the ‘80s and ‘90s: “National Lampoon’s Vacation”, ”Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”,  “Weird Science”, “ The Breakfast Club”, “Some Kind of Wonderful”, “Sixteen Candles”,  “Pretty in Pink”, “Planes”, “Trains and Automobiles”, “Uncle Buck”, “Home Alone” and its sequel “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York”. His ability to talk to teenagers without being condescending, without minimizing their already small and passionate universe and without making one of the worst mistakes a teen targeted flick writer could do: talk about the former generation instead of the current one – these were some of the reasons his movies were very well received. Some of them even set the tone for countless series and movies to come, as every teen drama has at least one mention of the iconic “The Breakfast Club” and at least one attempt of imitating one of its scenes.

It’s amazing what can be done with very little setting and a fairly simple idea: five very different teenagers belonging to opposed high school cliques end up spending the Saturday in the school library, each having broken a conduct rule. The school is the stage, and seven people are the actors. Andrew (Emilio Estevez) is a jock with a wrestling ambition, but it becomes very clear that that ambition belongs to Clark Senior rather than Junior. The constant pressure has him wishing for a permanent injury and drives him to bully others, making him ashamed of his behavior, and the shame adds even more pressure… a full inescapable circle. Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald) is the prom queen, the prize over which the two halves of a bitter marriage fight.  Rewarded and pampered, she is not actually missed or loved. John Bender (Judd Nelson) is “the criminal” and the only one from a working class background. The constant abuse has him lashing out against everyone, making him to always go out of his way trying to be obnoxious. He is the one that rattles everybody’s cages so that the premise can be outlined. Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall) the brain of the group, the geek that cannot conceive a low grade. When he receives an F at shop class, he acts out in an unusual way and gets detention. And finally, the basket case: Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy), a compulsive liar and a sometimes kleptomaniac who is severely deprived of human contact and attention and whose internal void and loneliness has her attaching herself to this unlikely group in the hope of any kind of bonding. They all talk like ’80s teens do, and it still rings true (either that or I’m old). They try to stand out; they all have short attention spans, a predilection for experiencing new forbidden grounds and a desperate need to be unique. On top of that lays a desire common to us all: to be loved for what they are underneath their façades.

This is the movie that set the mark for stereotyping high school life into groups. We all know that cheerleaders are beautiful and popular, geeks are harassed daily and weirdoes are singled out. I frankly do not remember my cretaceous high school era as being so overwhelming. Yes, there is that obvious fight to not be at the bottom of the social pyramid, but other than that, it is fun. Or it should be. The script does not surprise very much because it does not need to: the point of the story is that the typical masks uncover ordinary family tales. Nothing is extreme; nothing makes you gasp in astonishment. Because these cheap tricks would alienate the target audience, the ones that should be able to point at one of the five characters and say: “That is sooooooo me in 10th grade!”. It is authentic and real instead of over the top. That is one of the characteristics of John Hughes’ work.

It also seems to be one of the major strengths of the cast. They blend tighter together as they separate their stories and they all seem to reverting back to their teen years without any visible effort. One of the main reasons I support the “Beverly Hills 90210” type of casting (remember the balding 16 years old Dylan McKay? Or Andrea, the menopausal school paper editor?) is this kind of acting work, acting that does not make your brain melt (have you ever seen Shanae Grimes “act”? Her full-on seizure face contrasts with her deadpan delivery making it impossibly embarrassing to watch).

John Hughes has one of the characters say that “when you grow up your heart dies”. The good thing is that these teens will never grow up because all we will ever see of them are these 90 minutes of anguish.  Nobody will ever know what happened to them after they left the library, and maybe it’s for the best. One of the most referenced movies in history, “The Breakfast Club” is a ‘80s classic.