In theaters this weekend, as has been the case recently, we're looking at two wide releases and one smaller film with some potential that's just getting rolled out in a limited variety. We start with a 80s-themed rock & roll musical, "Rock of Ages", move to an Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg comedy, "That's My Boy", and round it out with an independent dramedy starring Emily Blunt and Mark Duplass, "Your Sister's Sister".
All three offer something a little different, but you'll have to hit the jump to see which of these I think, if any, will be worth your time this weekend.
I go back and forth trying to decide which of these two wide releases I think will have the most to offer this weekend. Ultimately, and I'm just going to be blunt, I really don't think that either of these offer much more than what we've already got from their trailers. I'll start with "Rock of Ages" though, and get to "That's My Boy" in a minute. I assume you've already seen the trailers for this one, but it's a musical starring Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Russell Brand, and newcomers Diego Boneta and Julianne Hough. The film actually centers around the two new kids who meet in L.A., fall in love, and try to overcome a series of obstacles to stay together. What I like to focus more on (though it will probably only set me up for further disappointment upon viewing) is that the film takes place in 1987 and centers around a rock club that's looking for it's one last hurrah; full of characters clinging to every last bit of the lavish and extravagant 80's lifestyles they've grown accustomed to.
First off, in a setting like this, I really dig the musical selections. I was definitely much more into these songs about five years ago, but they can all still rock pretty good if I'm letting myself have a good time with them. Bands we're looking at (though, with songs all redone by the cast of the film, of course) are Def Leppard, Journey, Bon Jovi, and Poison, among others. I think if the performances of these songs feel inspired and keep the film upbeat enough, I could be happy enough with the film just as mindless entertainment.
My biggest thought on the film right now is that it's going to focus way more on the relationship between these two kids than we are lead to believe in the trailers. The only parts I really care about - and the studio knows this - are the ones in the club, with that plethora of actors playing 80's rock enthusiasts. I fear that most of what we've already seen in the club will be the majority of what's in the film as well. I hope that's not the case, but I definitely have doubts. That being said though, from what I'm hearing, Tom Cruise steals the show. His performance as an aging rock icon is spot-on, and apparently it's much better than should be expected for a film like this. I've always been a Tom Cruise fan, so just seeing some critics mentioning this aspect gives me slightly more reason to check this one out.
Overall, I'd say that the generation slightly older than me will either love or hate this movie much more than I will (depending on what your thoughts were of this music at the time). If you enjoyed it, chances are this could be a great nostalgic trip for you, and be a fun revisit to that time. If you disliked the era however, I still feel like you could enjoy this movie, because my guess is that, while rocking hard, they'll also try to exaggerate the silliness of the era, probably mocking it in many ways. If you listed to our CinemaCast earlier this week, I did say that I will probably be checking this one out, if for nothing other than convenience-sake. I like going to the theater, and this has me just interested enough to check it out. But other than seeing what Tom Cruise has to offer, I don't think this will provide anything amazing; expectations are muffled.
The other film rolling out nationwide this weekend is "That's My Boy". This one stars Adam Sandler who becomes a father as a young teen. His son (Andy Samberg) is raised by Sandler himself, who has no idea how to be a parent. As soon as he turns 18, he disowns him and they go years without seeing each other. Upon hearing about his son's engagement though, Sandler's character seeks out his son and looks to reconcile with him and become the father he never was. Other than Vanilla Ice and James Caan, this one also stars a ton of other Sandler alums.
Right off the bat, I hate that voice that Sandler is doing in this movie. He's done it a few times in the past, and I can't stand it. I honestly feel like I could get past some aspects of this film and give it a bit more of a chance if Sandler's character wasn't so over-the-top. But I guess that's been his problem (at least in my eyes) for most of his career - I don't think he knows where to pull it back. But I guess that being said, his movies continue to make money, so maybe I'm in the minority with those thoughts.
I do think there will be some solid moments of comedy throughout though, and it looks like this one will be a little more raunchy than what we normally see from Sandler - which is either a pro or con, depending on your point of view. The concept itself seems similar to a lot of what Sandler likes to focus his movies around - a man-child who over the course of a film, finds that hidden part of him that helps him grow up and become a decent human being (see: "Billy Madison", "Big Daddy", "Grown Ups", "Just Go With It", etc).
I generally like Andy Samberg, but at the same time I think he has issues with going to the comedy well too often just as Sandler does; he has a tendency to go overboard sometimes too. I guess maybe they're a perfect match for this film then. Every time I see this trailer I keep feeling like I want to check it out just a little bit, because I think the film will be out of control and in a way that might make it enjoyable. I just can't get past that voice though, and I know if I were to go see this one in theaters, I'd be thinking about it the whole time, and it would just be eating at me, taking away any chance of enjoyment I could possibly get from the film. I guess I'd say if you're a big Adam Sandler fan and the voice he opted for in this one doesn't bug you, then it might provide for some cheap thrills. The film also falls into that category of not allowing reviews beforehand, which we've seen time and time again, is never a good thing. I think most of us suspected this was going to get ripped apart by critics anyway, but the fact that they have an embargo right now only solidifies my doubts. Overall, I don't think this will be a good movie, critics or no critics, even if it can provide a few laughs. But hey, it can't be any worse than "Jack and Jill", right?
The other film that starts to make its rounds tomorrow is "Your Sister's Sister". The film stars Mark Duplass as Jack and Emily Blunt as Iris, who are great friends who secretly have feelings for each other. Things get complicated when Jack heads up to Iris' sister's cabin (Hannah) to stay with her upon the death of his brother. While there, he has a drunken encounter with Hannah, that changes everything. And of course fate has it that just a few days later, Iris decides to come up and visit. From there, everything gets awkward; people admitting to their true feelings about each other, people keeping things from other people - just a mess of messy comedic moments (and I don't mean that with any bad connotations).
As I've stated before on this blog, I really love Emily Blunt. I think she's been great in everything she's done. Mark Duplass has some pretty decent directorial efforts under his belt (though he's not directing this one), and I liked him when I watched "The League". From what I've seen in the trailer for this film, this looks like a film I'll really like. I love character studies, and I think this should provide for some interesting examination. Also, the fact that it's sitting at a healthy 92% on Rotten Tomatoes right now doesn't hurt either. Like I said, this is only starting its roll out this weekend, so I don't expect many of us will get a chance to see it. When you do get a chance though, I expect this one will be worth your time. The funny thing is though, even if I were able to watch it this weekend, I still think I'd be opting for "Rock of Ages". In no way do I think that it will be a better movie, but I do think it will provide for a more exciting theater experience. As much as I think "Your Sister's Sister" will be very good, I can watch it anytime/anywhere and still get the same things out of it. If you're opting for a movie like "Rock of Ages", which most of us will really only ever need to see once, you might as well check it out in a theater, with great sound and hopefully a good crowd.
In terms of the box office predictions, I think we're due for a minor dip compared to what we've seen in previous weeks. I'm really trying to figure out which film I think will "win" this weekend. Our two new ones this week are "Rock of Ages" and "That's My Boy". I can't imagine that either of them come close to the totals "Madagascar 3" and "Prometheus" put up last weekend. They should both be in contention for the top spots, but I'm also pretty sure that even with 50% drops from last weekend, the latter two films could still put up numbers similar to what we can probably expect from the new releases this weekend. Here's what my gut says for totals and placement for the top four spots this weekend (all of which I believe are listed above). "Madagascar 3" - $38MM; "Rock of Ages" - $31MM; "Prometheus" - $27MM; "That's My Boy" - $24MM. I hate putting "Prometheus" so low, but I just feel like people that wanted to see this film saw it; I can't believe the negative feedback I've already seen with this movie. It's definitely worth a theater visit, even with some admitted flaws.
But that's what we're looking at this weekend. What do you guys think? Which film(s) will you be checking out?