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August 2010 Reviews

By Shawn McKenzie 8/6/2010

Here are my reviews of the movies that were released in August of 2010.  Check back later as the month progresses for more reviews.

Go directly to my review of Step Up 3D, The Switch, and Takers.

Step Up 3D Review

Best friends Robert “Moose” Alexander III (Adam G. Sevani, reprising his role from Step Up 2: The Streets) and Camille Gage (Alyson Stoner, reprising her role from the original Step Up) are incoming freshmen at New York University.  Moose has promised his mom (Kathy Najimy) that he will give up dancing in order to concentrate on earning an engineering major.  He breaks that promise almost immediately when Julien (Joe Slaughter), the leader of a dance troupe called The Samurai, challenges him to a dance-off.  When he smokes Julien, aspiring filmmaker Luke Katcher (Rick Malambri), the leader of another dance troupe called The Pirates, catches it on film.  He brings Moose to a warehouse/dance club that his parents bought before they died.  He introduces them to other members of The Pirates…Jacob (Keith Stallworth), Anala (Kendra Andrews), Jason (Stephen Boss), and the always-arguing Santiago twins (Martin & Facundo Lombard), among others…where they live in and train for dance-offs.  The problem is that the rent now five months past due, and the place is facing foreclosure.  Luke hopes that Moose and a hot new dancer named Natalie (Sharni Vinson) might help him and The Pirates win a dance competition called World Jam, in which the prize is $100,000.  Julien (who used to be a Pirate and Luke’s former best friend) and The Samurai are their main rivals for the prize though, and they’re not above cheating to win.  While training, Luke finds himself falling for Natalie, and Moose is having trouble fitting in dance, schoolwork, and maintaining his friendship with Camille.  I felt the same about this movie as I did about the first two…awesome dancing with lame plots and bad acting.  Believe it or not…I thought that the first movie was the worst, because Channing Tatum was in it (he is the new Richard Gere of actors I don’t like.)  The second one was a little better because the lead was a hot girl (Briana Evigan.)  This one also has a hot girl, and the 3D effects actually added to the excitement of the dance routines.  I guess you could say that this movie is the best of the three…but only by a slight margin.  The plotline is soooooo clichéd.  Win a dance competition to save a house?  I believe that is the plotline for at least half of these dance movies.  I will say that Malambri and Vinson had some heat together.  Also…there is a weird scene with Sevani and Stoner near the end of the movie where the couple dance together to make up after a fight that would only be in a movie musical…but it felt a little bit out of place.  Sad to say…you need to see this movie in 3D to get the full effect.  Just go to it on a matinee though.

The Switch Review

New York City TV news producer Kassie Larson (Jennifer Aniston) and neurotic financial equity analyst Wally Mars (Jason Bateman) have been best friends for six years (they started out dating, but they ended up in the “friend zone.”)  Kassie wants to have a baby, now that she is 40 years old, so she decides to get pregnant via artificial insemination.  Wally doesn’t think that it is a good idea (as you could easily figure out that he has romantic feelings for her), but she goes ahead with it.  Her friend, Debbie Epstein (Juliette Lewis), holds an “I’m Getting Pregnant” insemination party, where the donor, married college professor Roland Nilson (Patrick Wilson)…who is participating because he and his wife Jessica (Kelli Barrett) need the money…are there for the event.  Wally attends as well, but he gets drunk and throws up in the bathroom.  He sees Roland’s donation there, and he decides to play with the jar.  He gets distracted and the semen accidentally goes down the sink.  He replaces it by using the oh so hot Diane Sawyer as his “inspiration.”  The next day, he forgets what he had done, and a few days later, Kassie tells him that she is pregnant.  She moves to Minnesota to be near her family and raise her child.  Seven years later, she comes back with the now 6-year-old Sebastian (Thomas Robinson.)  Wally is excited to see his best friend again, but when he hangs out with Sebastian, he notices similarities between him and her neurotic son.  After discussing it with his boss and friend, Leonard (Jeff Goldblum), he realizes what he had done.  He doesn’t know how to tell Kassie what he did without ruining their friendship.  Things become more complicated now that she starts dating the now-divorced Roland.  I know that Aniston hasn’t had a good track record of romantic comedies lately (even though I actually liked The Bounty Hunter), but I enjoyed this one.  Bateman, on the other hand, has been involved in many critically acclaimed projects (with varying degrees of box office success.)  Their chemistry in this movie is good, along with Bateman’s chemistry with Robinson.  Yes…you can easily figure out how this one is going to end, but I didn’t care.  The comedy was funny and touching.  It’s worth taking a date (or a female friend if you are a guy) to see it.  I have to note that this movie was the last movie that my good friend and fellow critic Reggie McDaniel saw when he passed away on August 20th.  He thought that it was funny…up to a point.  When he realized that Wally wasn’t going to tell Kassie right away what he had done, he thought that Wally was an idiot and he got exasperated with the movie.  I tried to tell him that you don’t know how hard it is to admit your feelings to a girl friend that you like as more than a friend (I’ve been there myself), but he thought that Wally should have just told Kassie and faced the consequences.  Reggie told me that he would give the movie 2½ stars (out of 4.)


Takers Review

Five professional thieves…including British crew leader Gordon Cozier (Idris Elba), bagman Jake Attica (Michael Ealy), Jake’s younger runner brother Jesse (Chris Brown), gunman John Rahway (Paul Walker), and builder A.J. (Hayden Christensen)…have just successfully robbed a bank, and they want to lay low for a while.  Gordon wants to take his drug-addicted older sister Naomi (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) back to their home in London.  Jake’s girlfriend, Lilli Jansen (Zoë Saldaña), is the bartender for his and Jesse’s private club, and Jake wants to marry Lilli soon.  John and A.J. are just enjoying their new loot.  Laying low isn’t in the cards for them though, because the original crew leader and Lilli’s former boyfriend, Ghost (Tip “T.I.” Harris), wants to do another heist.  He was shot and arrested during the last job they did in 2004.  He is out now, and he figures that they all owe him for keeping his mouth shut during his stay in prison.  He hears from some Russians about an armored-car route that has around $30 million in them, and they just need to rob them.  Normally, it takes the crew months to plan a heist…but this job needs to be done in ten days.  To complicate matters, L.A. police detectives Jack Welles (Matt Dillon) and Eddie Hatcher (Jay Hernandez) are looking for them.  Jack is under investigation by Internal Affairs though for violating a suspect’s civil rights, and the workaholic is divorced and caring for his young daughter Sunday (Isa Briones.)  Eddie is having money problems, and it doesn’t help that his son Eddie, Jr. (Harrison Miller) is sick and his wife Monica (Zulay Henao) is unemployed.  The action is excellent…but the story doesn’t go anywhere.  It seems like the problems of both the cops and the thieves are just convenient plot points to further the story instead of making it interesting to care for them.  The acting overall isn’t bad…but not perfect.  T.I. isn’t the best rapper-actor around, but he has the right swagger for the part.  Brown though is a horrible actor, but he (or his stunt double) is the focus of the most exciting part of the movie involving a foot chase around the city.  I thought that it was funny that Dillon played a part in the second armored-car heist movie in a year (2009’s Armored was the first one), but he was on the right side of the law this time instead of on the wrong side.  The main female actresses, Jean-Baptiste and Saldaña, are wasted in this movie (they are part of the above-mentioned convenient plot points.)  I do recommend the movie for the action alone…but I would wait until it goes to DVD to rent it.


Ratings System:


Catch this movie at the theater if you can...

Wait until it comes out on video...

Wait until it plays on HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc...

Demand your money back, even if you saw it for free!

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