Call in backup: The Back-Up Plan stinks
Tina Fey and Steve Carell, comedy superstars of "30 Rock" and "The Office," respectively, are today's funniest television personalities. And together on the big screen in Date Night, Fey and Carell prove they are a force to be reckoned with, creating absolute hilarity as an awkward suburban couple innocently caught up in an action-packed New York City scandal.Date Night finds Fey and Carell as a dorky couple from the suburbs looking for an enjoyable night out on the town. Without the reservation needed to score a table at a hip restaurant, Claire (Fey) and Phil (Carell) steal the reservations of another couple (The Book of Eli's Mila Kunis and Milk's James Franco), gangsters involved in a scandal with the Manhattan district attorney (Night and Day's William Fichtner). With the help of a good-looking security expert (The Lovely Bones's Mark Wahlberg) and an NYPD detective (I Can Do Bad All by Myself's Taraji P. Henson), Claire and Phil work to escape the district attorney's threats in what turns out to be their most exciting date in years.
Think of novelist Nicholas Sparks as the Stephen King of the romance genre. He consistently churns out novels that are easily adapted into tear-jerking movies: Novel quality notwithstanding, he explores profound sadness, passionate romance and time-honored life lessons about family, and audiences eat it up. The latest Sparks novel-turned-flick, The Last Song, follows this pattern, with Disney Channel star Miley Cyrus stepping in as Sparks' leading lady. But while the addition of a teenage superstar to the mix makes the film's cast slightly more youthful compared to past Sparks adaptations, there is really nothing truly original about The Last Song. It fails to top Sparks' most acclaimed novel-to-movie incarnations, such as The Notebook and A Walk to Remember.The Last Song begins with Ronnie (Hannah Montana: The Movie's Cyrus), a rebellious teenager, being sent with her brother (Post Grad's Bobby Coleman) to live with their father (Green Zone's Greg Kinnear) in Georgia for the summer. While she stays at her father's beach house, Ronnie rediscovers her passion for playing the piano, befriends an abused neighborhood girl (The Consultants' Carly Chaikin), works to repair her relationship with her father and manages to fall in love with volleyball hunk Will (Triangle's Liam Hemsworth).
The good news, ladies, is that your boyfriend might willingly accompany you to see The Bounty Hunter. The title suggests a testosterone-fest packed with action sequences, but The Bounty Hunter is actually a chick flick that features a few guns and a splash of suspense. Granted, the movie's marketers should get credit for using a title that might scam reluctant boyfriends into seeing the film, but be warned: The Bounty Hunter is not an action film.Nicole (He's Just Not That Into You's Jennifer Aniston) is a successful investigative reporter whose sleuthing is cut short when a warrant for her arrest is issued for a minor traffic accident. Bounty hunter - and Nicole's ex-husband - Milo (Law Abiding Citizen's Gerard Butler) re-enters Nicole's life to bring her in for the reward, but on their way back to jail, they begin to fall for each other all over again and unravel Nicole's original case in the process, with some help from Nicole's lounge singer mother (Christine Baranski, "The Good Wife"), Nicole's nerdy co-worker Stewart (Jason Sudeikis, "Saturday Night Live") and local bartender Jimmy (Up in the Air's Adam Rose).
Sometimes even a movie can have an identity crisis. Such is the case with Remember Me, a film that promotes itself as a coming-of-age drama, yet mixes themes of death and deep loss with scenes of romantic bonding. The question of whether Remember Me is a drama, dramedy or action film is never fully answered because the plot has no real direction. Then again, Remember Me is less focused on plot than it is on serving up an intensely emotional Robert Pattinson as eye candy for the audience.Remember Me begins when Ally (Emilie de Ravin, "Lost") witnesses her mother's murder in a New York City subway just before her police investigator father (Where the Wild Things Are's Chris Cooper) rushes to the scene. Ten years later, Ally's life connects with that of Tyler Hawkins (New Moon's Robert Pattinson) after he has a run-in with Ally's father. On a dare from his goofy friend Aidan (The Invention of Lying's Tate Ellington), he decides to date Ally as revenge on her father.
The highly anticipated Alice in Wonderland, the latest Tim Burton production based on the children's classic, delivers the magnitude of spectacle one would expect from a director who has cultivated a reputation for quirky retellings of well-known stories. In a startling departure from the book, however, unexpectedly dark themes ripple under bright, otherworldly colors and special effects in this re-imagining of the story - this romp through the looking glass seems like it's aimed more at adults than kids. But featuring a cast led by the eccentric Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter and backed with beautiful computer-generated imagery, Alice in Wonderland is still an enjoyably unique yet gloomy film.Though the movie gets its name and premise from Lewis Carroll's books Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and sequel Through the Looking Glass, here it follows a much older, teenage Alice (Amelia's Mia Wasikowska). After her father's death and a surprise marriage proposal, the 19-year-old revisits the Underland of her childhood. In the course of her adventures, Alice re-encounters the Mad Hatter (Public Enemies' Johnny Depp), the White Queen (Valentine's Day's Anne Hathaway), the Red Queen (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince's Helena Bonham Carter), the Cheshire Cat (House of Boys' Stephen Fry), twins Tweedledee and Tweedledum (both played by Astro Boy's Matt Lucas), the White Rabbit (New Moon's Michael Sheen), the Blue Caterpillar (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince's Alan Rickman) and many other fanciful forest creatures.
Like the previews suggest, Valentine's Day aims to be the American version of 2003's Love Actually. And like the British romantic comedy, Valentine's Day focuses on multiple, if maudlin, storylines and amasses a sizable all-star cast. While its British counterpart used Christmas as a romantic backdrop, however, Valentine's Day focuses on the magic of Feb. 14, and the result is a wonderfully charming film.The movie centers around the chaos at a Los Angeles flower shop on Valentine's Day, its busiest day of the year. Assisted by his funny sidekick Alphonso (Beverly Hills Chihuahua's George Lopez), flower shop owner Reed Bennet (Personal Effects' Ashton Kutcher) is smitten with the holiday, having just asked his girlfriend Morley (The Love Guru's Jessica Alba) to marry him. While love-drunk Reed flits around the shop, basking in thoughts of wedding bells, he fills Valentine's Day flower orders for others attempting to capitalize on the holiday.
Paris may be the city of love, but Rome is the city of romance, the perfect place to find that special someone. And while When in Rome, which ventures into sometimes trite and overly hokey territory, is not a great movie, it is still a fun, playful chick flick about searching for love within the city's beautiful piazzas.Beth (Kristen Bell, "Gossip Girl") is a workaholic curator for the Guggenheim Museum who works under the strict supervision of her critical boss (Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure's Anjelica Huston). When she attends her sister's (Alexis Dziena, "Entourage") wedding in Rome, Beth plucks four coins out of a nearby fountain, and in doing so, causes the men who threw in the coins to fall in love with her. However, in spite of the spell-induced suitors' attempts to gain her attention, Beth ends up falling in love with her sister's best man, Nick (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen's Josh Duhamel), who helps her snap out of her hectic lifestyle as well as the fountain's magic spell.
With Leap Year, it's clear that the 1960's legacy of Rock Hudson and Doris Day movies lives on. The plot of Leap Year is simple, the humor is basic and the romance is perfectly clean - no messing around in the bedroom for this couple. And while audiences still enjoy Hudson's and Day's flicks - Pillow Talk was added to the National Film Registry just last month by the Library of Congress - Leap Year lacks the special spark that marked Hudson and Day's movies, and instead exhibits a minimalism that tosses aside both excitement and originality. In Leap Year, Anna (Julie & Julia's Amy Adams) is a sharp young professional living in Boston with Jeremy (Step Brothers' Adam Scott), her boyfriend of four years. When Jeremy gives her diamond earrings instead of a diamond engagement ring, Anna decides to follow him on his business trip to Dublin after her father (Confessions of a Shopaholic's John Lithgow) tells her about an old Irish tradition that allows a woman to propose to a man on Leap Day. Anna's trip to Ireland turns into an adventure full of pitfalls and passion, and after many mishaps, she falls in love with her Irish cab driver, Declan (Watchmen's Matthew Goode).