by Louis Fowler
Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.
Wow. Did this movie bring back a flood of painful memories and emotions. Like the protagonist of The Fat Boy Chronicles, Jimmy, I too was an overweight kid while growing up. There is a segment of this movie in which the class has to read Lord of the Flies, and Jimmy dreads it because he knows he’ll be called “Piggy”. I was right there, dude! If only this movie had been around when I was middle school, I probably would have been inspired to deal with fat-bullying in a much more positive, socially acceptable way. Christopher Rivera, who plays Jimmy, delivers an emotionally brave performance that covers every aspect of teenage obesity: the shame, the depression, the constant attempts at rebirth, very realistically. Nothing gets sugar-coated until the final 10 or so minutes, but it makes me happy to see Jimmy get that happy ending I never could. Chronicles is highly recommended, especially if you’re the parent of an overweight middle-school kid.
I know how she does it: by being an affluent white woman. Let’s get real for a minute here, folks. Everyday, there are hundreds of hardworking single non-white moms, doing their damnedest to raise an alright kid and keep the lights on while juggling two, if not more jobs. To have Sarah Jessica Parker, as a haggard do-it-all have-it-all well-to-do white business exec, make a “comedy” such as I Don’t Know How She Does It, is like a warm glob of spit into every one of those hardworking ladies’ faces. It’s inauthentic and worst of all, condescendingly demeaning. Oh no! She has to work so she can’t make her kids’ extravagant birthday party! She’s too tired for sex from her wimpy milquetoast hubby! She doesn’t have time to bake a pie to impress the other snotty moms on the PTA! But, luckily, she does have time to flirt with Pierce Brosnan. And who can blame her, am I right, ladies? Vomit.
David R. Ellis is a bafflingly hit-or-miss genre director. Sometimes, he serves up ready-made classics like Final Destination 2 or Snakes on a Plane. And then something happens and he turns right around and gives us crap like The Final Destination or Shark Night, an obvious attempt to cash in on Piranha. It’s especially bad on Shark Night, because the whole thing comes off like he just didn’t care. And maybe he didn’t. Sara Paxton and a small group of annoyingly horny caricatures head to a secluded island house for a weekend of fun and sun. During a little bit of waterskiing, they come to learn that hungry, man-eating sharks fill the waters. This should be a fun premise, but the PG-13 rating kills any chance of this being as fun or dirty as Piranha was. Also, if you want to hate hip-hop for the rest of your life, stick around for the embarrassing rap song/video, performed by the cast.