Sunday, December 23, 2007

Two for One Movie Review

Saturday night we watched Over the Hedge and King of California.

Over the Hedge is based on the comic strip by the same name. It's the story of how RJ the raccoon meets up with the rest of the critters whose habitat has been paved and turned into suburbia. It's a rather amusing film--especially for one coming from a comic strip (let's face it, there aren't many successes in this category). It doesn't quite have the same humor as the strip itself, but it does the best it can in under two hours. Fans of the strip probably won't enjoy the movie as much, but they might appreciate the effort. Rather than gearing it toward the readers, its focus group is the younger generation. It does a decent job of giving kids easy messages about family and friends and the dangers of suburban sprawl. I was hoping for more commentary on the lives on suburbanites, but that was only a small segment of the movie. This also features Avril Lavigne as the only pop star to not do a terrible job in a movie. Other voices include: Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, William Shatner, and Steve Carell (the voice of the hyperactive squirrel, Hammie--best character).

King of California is more of an adult film that's set in the suburbs from writer/director Mike Cahill. It follows the lives of former jazz bassist Charlie (Michael Douglas) and his teenage daughter Miranda (Evan Rachael Wood) as they go in search of lost Spanish treasure. The amusement takes place in Charlie's exploration of suburban life after his recent release from a mental hospital. You're never quite sure if the treasure hunt is real or a delusion. There's brilliant commentary on the lives of Americans and their shopping habits in McDonald's and Costco--much better than Over the Hedge's commentary. I don't want to spoil the movie for potential viewers, so I won't mention any plot points. It does remind me a bit of a Wes Anderson movie without as many jokes. The humor is definitely more subtle than any of Anderson's movies. Douglas does a terrific job of selling his mental state under the influence of prescription drugs. All of the secondary characters serve as foils for Cahill's suburban commentary.

1 comment:

JA Huber said...

I haven't seen either of those so I may have to go check them out.