My sons have reached the age where going to the movies is a lot of fun. They behave beautifully in public, our schedule allows time to hit the occasional matinee, and because I don't have child care expenses (Mr. T can babysit!) I've got spare cash for tickets and popcorn. We've got a drive-in movie theater where admission is $6/adult and $2/kid and a local theater has $2 seats on weekday mornings. Team Testosterone took advantage. So, in case you didn't get to the movies this summer, here's what you did and didn't miss:
The Zookeeper: Confession: I have a thing for Kevin James. He reminds me of my favorite ex-boyfriend, so this review skews positively. The kids loved the animals and while some of the voices and jokes were annoying, the gorilla alone made the movie awesome (especially when the zookeeper takes the gorilla out for a night on the town and they hit the local Applebees). The story got more about the human romance factor and less about the animals towards the end, but it was genuinely sweet and had a good message about being true to yourself. Definitely rent-worthy.
Kung Fu Panda II: Will become legendary in its awesomeness. All the big stars came back, fresh villains (a nasty-ass peacock), plot threads picked up where the original left off, battle scenes galore. The cinematography was phenomenal in Po's memories of his childhood. This sequel grows all the characters and doesn't stoop to cliche. Unlike many kids' movie themes, this one got heavy at the end with an honest and brilliant message about forgiveness and mercy. Best part? The final scenes leaves the door open for another sequel! Buy it, you'll want to watch it over and over.
Mr. Popper's Penguins: Overall, a cute movie in the tradition of Disney family films involving wacky animals and misguided humans. I enjoyed the casting except for the title role. Jim Carrey irritates the hell out of me--if he'd play it straight (like in The Truman Show) and quit overperforming like a hyperactive fourth grader desperate for attention, I'd have liked this film more. Rent it, once is enough.
Smurfs: On a scale of Fred: The Movie and Finding Nemo, this ranks one step above Fred. Neil Patrick Harris was the only saving grace, mainly because he said all the things I was thinking, like "Doesn't that song get annoying?" I cannot defend my Secret Gay Boyfriend in this film. There is no defense for this movie. I didn't like smurfs when I was a child and the translation to the big screen left me feeling smurfed off. Skip it.
Cowboys & Aliens: As action concepts go, this was entertaining mainly because it involved cowboys in this mismatched battle for the Earth. That plus great casting (seriously, Daniel Craig as a cowboy is genius!), some innovative plot threads and the gritty feel of the film quality made this a better movie than I expected. Rent it if you're in the mood for action without superheroes.
Now it's your turn. Spill it, reader. What summer movie rocked your world this year?