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By |2008-08-14T09:00:00-04:00August 14th, 2008|Entertainment|
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Pineapple Express
Flying high on pot, process server Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) witnesses drug kingpin Ted Jones (Gary Cole) murder a rival and runs to addled drug dealer Saul Silver (James Franco) for help, putting both men in the crosshairs. This lazy stoner comedy milks a very thin idea for all it’s worth and much more. There are a few laughs, but the movie is mostly a dull, overlong slog with a skein of visceral violence that is too ugly and mean-spirited to ever be funny. The only compelling reason to see this uneven mess at all is Franco. The pretty actor, long groomed to be leading man material, turns out to be a natural comedian, gifted with infectious good humor and perfect timing. C-

Kinsey Scale: 1.5 (As has become routine with Judd Apatow-produced comedies, there is a fair amount of humor reflecting gay panic and homophobia. Franco won a Golden Globe award for his role as the titular queer icon in “James Dean.” Among the co-stars, Ed Begley Jr. had a recurring role on “Six Feet Under,” Nora Dunn was in “Die, Mommie, Die!,” and James Remar has multiple queer credits, including the 1982 gay cop comedy “Partners,” “Boys on the Side,” as Samantha’s hotelier boyfriend on “Sex and the City,” and two collaborations with director Gus Van Sant, “Drugstore Cowboy” and “Psycho.”)

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2
The four best friends from the first “Pants” fitting – Tibby (Amber Tamblyn), Bridget (Blake Lively), Lena (Alexis Bledel), and Carmen (America Ferrera) – are back, moving on to college and separate lives, but continuing their strong friendship thanks to a magical pair of jeans that fits all their differently sized bodies. The demands of college, boyfriends, even separately lived summer vacations take a toll on the connectivity of the girls, but the pants – which act as a metaphor for the unspoken but ongoing devotion that separated friends give one another – keep them together. It’s a fantastical story, yes, but the emotions are real, and, in the hands of talented director Sanaa Hamri (“Something New”), never feel forced or pushy. Call it a younger, sweeter version of “Sex and the City,” if you want (minus all that naughty dialogue), just don’t underestimate its life-affirming power. B

Kinsey Scale: 1 (Ferrera stars on the very gay-inclusive “Ugly Betty.” Bledel’s character Rory had a “lesbian” kiss in her TV series, “Gilmore Girls.”)

ALSO IN THEATERS:

Brideshead Revisited
While the performances are universally first-rate, only Matthew Goode fares well by the script. The complicated, conflicted Charles Ryder is the one character that comes completely to life in this glittering, but insubstantial drama. C

The Dark Knight
This is riveting, uncommonly intelligent summer entertainment that delves deeper into the Batman myth as the Joker’s actions call into question the ethics of Batman’s vigilante justice. A

Get Smart
This well-cast adaptation of the 1960s-era sitcom emphasizes big action scenes, along with silly comedy and a touch of romance. Fans of the old show will delight in the many loving homages sprinkled throughout, but no familiarity with the TV series is required to relish the movie’s absurdity. B+

Hancock
The humor tends toward the sophomoric, stereotypical, and homophobic. Then, in the last hour, the movie completely flounders as it veers jarringly from comedy into sickly melodrama. C-

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
The movie eventually sinks under the weight of its spectacle, as the characters – even Ron Perlman’s goofy, larger-than-life, kitten-loving devil man – get lost amidst the pictorial riot, robbing the story of much of its heart. B-

Journey to the Center of the Earth
It may prove too intense for very young children – the dinosaurs have big, angry teeth – but for everyone else, it’s the next best thing to being on a sweltering theme park rollercoaster. B

Kung Fu Panda
The film nicely sidesteps the pitfalls that have ruined so many recent animated features – namely, sarcastic and pop-culture-heavy dialogue that will easily date the entire enterprise, obnoxious characters, and showy A-list actor voice performances. It relies instead on sweetness, wildly animated kung fu battles, and a cuddly panda to root for. A-

Mamma Mia!
With the exception of Meryl Streep, whose exuberance is worth the price of admission all by itself, the cast seems uniformly confused as to what sort of movie they’re in. And Pierce Brosnan’s singing could peel paint from walls. Bring ear plugs for the moments when Streep’s not belting out a song while bouncing in the air and doing splits. C-

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.