No more and no less than exactly what you’re expecting, Rumble is a giant monsters wrestling movie that’s cute enough to entertain young kids and pass the time agreeably and not much more. The world isn’t exactly fleshed out and the characters are very archetypal and the plot is entirely predictable, but I found it mostly fun and low-level escapism. It’s nothing that will wrestle with the better animated films of the year, but if you have little ones that are fans of wrestling or giant monsters then that might be enough to keep their attention for 90 minutes.
Nate’s Grade: C+
I was expecting something much worse but ultimately it’s hard to get too upset with Show Dogs, a lowest common denominator slice of entertainment for the youngest of children. There are two separate Lego Movie references in relation to star Will Arnett, a cop who partners with a dog for an undercover operation. The weird part is that the movie seems to exist in a world where animals talk to one another but humans cannot hear them. Fine, except then why does Arnett treat a stray dog like an equal? Occasionally human beings will interact with the animals like they can hear them. World building inconsistency aside, it’s simply a very unfunny comedy. The lazy puns and slapstick are somewhat excusable in smaller doses but the movie is nothing but. The only reason to watch Show Dogs is to look for the former material relating to a storyline that literally involved the hero dog having to learn to go to a happy mental place while adult judges fondle his genitals. Shockingly, the filmmakers did not see any problem with this storyline aimed at children until weeks after its initial release, and then it was re-cut with the offending and abuse-grooming material wisely removed. How does something like this happen? How does it pass through so many editorial approvals? It wasn’t a simple joke but an ongoing character arc for the protagonist. Show Dogs is for the dogs.
Nate’s Grade: C-
When in Rome, do not do as this banal movie does. Know what kind of movie you’re in for? There’s an audio record scratch/slowdown effect twice in the first ten minutes. Kirsten Bell (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) is an unlucky in love workaholic who, when in Rome, pilfers coins from the Fountain of Love. This makes the subjects who tossed the coins (Jon Heder, Dax Shepard, Danny DeVito, Will Arnett) magically fall in love with Bell. They chase her back to New York and act like obsessive stalkers. Essentially, this is a rip-off of Love Potion Number Nine, except this rom-com is neither romantic nor comedic. The comedy is mostly brain-dead slapstick and the payoffs never materialize. In one scene, Bell and a date go out for a “night dinner” where they eat completely in the dark. There’s plenty of potential there but it’s like a minute until her posse of stalkers interrupt and the date’s over. There’s stuff like people running into trees, people squeezing into a tiny Italian car, a vase that’s supposed to break as a wedding celebration and refuses to break, and Bell and her lead, Josh Duhamel, have zero chemistry and like a three feet height differential. The movie is so joyless and bereft of energy. The scripts seems to be missing many scenes that fill in details about the various characters, or at least help give setup and context. The movie exists squarely in the absurd realm of romantic comedies and it’s thoroughly mediocre. I would expect nothing less from the writers of Old Dogs. I enjoy Bell but it’s not hard to resist the spell of this junk.
Nate’s Grade: C-