March 20th, 2009

THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN (2008) *** ½

OK, so my wife is knocked up (and yes, the baby IS mine... I think) and to help educate her and I on the whole birthing thing, she Netflixed this documentary about how hospitals try to rush women out of the ER so that the doctors can go play golf.  It also documents how the health care industry frowns upon midwifes and basically treats them like lepers.  We get to see women having home births under the care of a midwife and it's some pretty fascinating shit in a Discovery Channel sort of way.  One chick squats down and queefs her kid out and another woman gives birth in a kiddie pool.  Host Ricki Lake is even shown giving birth at home in her own bathtub.

 

As a straight-up documentary, the film will be somewhat polarizing as it's sorta one-sided.  The anti-midwife doctors all seem like douches (grainy Faces of Death style hospital footage is incorporated to show how barbaric doctors can be) while the midwifes are all portrayed as knowledgeable, earthy, and spiritual women.  If you're the kid who laughed all the way through all those birth-of-a-baby filmstrips in high school, you're going to have a field day with this flick.  There are about six birthing sequences and they're all pretty great.  (One chick's cooch stretches A LOT to accommodate a baby.)  Celebrity Skin enthusiasts will go ga-ga over the footage of a totally naked Ricki Lake giving birth.  She also breastfeeds a couple times, so if you're into Milk Maid shit, you'll get a total boner from that too.

 

My wife watched all of this as if it was a snuff movie or something.  Watching her watch it was almost more entertaining than the movie itself.  I can't say it was quite Four Star material, but there were plenty of nekkid wimmen in it, so I liked it just fine.

WHAT JUST HAPPENED (2008) * ½

The previews for this movie made it look like it was going to be The Player or something.  It looked like a pretty funny Hollywood insider spoof and featured such guys like Bruce Willis and Sean Penn playing themselves.  The problem is its not very funny and it's just plain boring to boot.

 

Robert DeNiro stars as a harried producer (based on Art Linson) who tries to juggle a potentially disastrous flop (starring Penn), a failed married (to Penn's wife, Robin Wright Penn), and an egotistical Bruce Willis who refuses to shave his Grizzly Adams beard for his latest picture.  That's pretty much it. 

 

The whole movie is basically DeNiro talking on his blue tooth to the studio head, then going to the editing room to fix his movie, then talking on the blue tooth to an agent, and then going to see his ex-wife.  And it goes on like that for two hours.  I think I laughed about three or four times.  That's about it.

 

I should have known what I was in for when I saw that Barry Levinson was the director.  Maryland native or not, the man has not made a good movie since Sleepers and that was over a decade ago.  He's really bad when it comes to these half-assed unfunny comedies.  This one makes Jimmy Hollywood look like Citizen Kane.  It's no Young Sherlock Holmes, I'll tell you that.

 

FYI:  The whole not-shaving-the-beard bit was actually based on Alec Baldwin's prima donna bitchiness while making The Edge.

I LOVE YOU, MAN (2009) ***

I really like Paul Rudd and I really like Jason Segel, so I was inclined to like I Love You, Man right from the start, no matter how dopey, trite, and cliché the flick got.  Believe you me, things get dopey, trite and cliché in this flick, but the duo's chemistry really keeps things afloat.

 

The flick centers around Rudd's character who is a total wuss that doesn't have any guy friends.  He's the kind of dude who makes hot chocolate for his fiancée and her friends when they're having a girls' night.  It's pathetic.  So he decides to go on some "man-dates" to find a best friend so he can have a best man at the wedding.  He meets Segel and all the usual romantic comedy clichés happen except instead of a guy falling in love with a girl, it's two dudes in a platonic relationship. 

 

Since the whole movie is gearing up towards a wedding, it's pretty lame and hard to watch from a dude's perspective.  Luckily, Rudd and Segel are funny as shit together, especially whenever they are hanging in Segel's "Man-Cave".  The film suffers whenever the two aren't on screen together, but when they are, it's damn good times.  The film does lose some points for the non-stop Rush music though.  God they suck. 

 

What's even worse is that the band actually appears and plays that one Rush song that sounds like every other Rush song.  That's OK though because any movie that features a gratuitous Lou Ferrigno cameo is alright by me.  (Wait, Hulk had a gratuitous Lou Ferrigno cameo and that sucked nuts, so never mind.)