Be Kind Rewind (2008)
Director: Michel Gondry
Cast: Jack Black, Mos Def, Danny Glover, Mia Farrow
Plot: A man whose brain becomes magnetized unintentionally destroys every tape in his friend's video store. In order to satisfy the store's most loyal renter, an aging woman with signs of dementia, the two men set out to remake the lost films.
Rating: PG for some sexual references.
IN RETROSPECT (Spoilers: NO)
Michel Gondry's fabulous new film takes 'parody movies' to another level, just as he took romantic comedies to dizzying heights in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (the film that propelled him to stardom). Gondry is one of
Scary Movie popularized 'parody movies'. Unfortunately, it also gave rise to appalling sequels and silly rip-offs such as Epic Movie and Meet the Spartans. Be Kind Rewind could have fallen into the same Venus flytrap, but hey it's a Gondry picture, so that’s a low possibility. In fact, it redefines how a 'parody movie' should be shot. Spoofing films from Kubrick's mind-blowing 2001: A Space Odyssey to Bertolucci's erotic Last Tango In Paris to Robocop, Ghostbusters, and The Lion King amongst many others, Be Kind Rewind pokes fun into these movies, drawing huge roars of laughter from viewers; Gondry knows how to balance between humor and at the same time, he does well in not devaluating the spoofed films.
Jack Black and Mos Def play the film's two leading roles. Black plays the 'funny guy' role to excellence, but he's able to exude a respectable degree of seriousness in most of the emotional sequences. Def gives a restrained but quite an effective performance throughout. Somehow both of them are pinned down by an aged Danny Glover whose display is warm and subtle. The ending sequence reminds of Cinema Paradiso, and is a tribute to the love and art of moviemaking.
Be Kind Rewind is tailored to appeal to teenagers, with Jack Black as the crowd-pulling factor. However, how many teens have seen 2001: A Space Odyssey or Driving Miss Daisy, and have realized the significance of the humor involved? A minority I guess. Genuine film lovers will love Gondry’s latest flick, but although it pleases, Be Kind Rewind will never be truly appreciated by people without a vast knowledge of film.
GRADE: B+ (8/10 or 3.5 stars)
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