Friday, May 25, 2007
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #46


starring Ashley Judd, Some Guy, Harry Connick, Jr.

directed by William Friedkin (The Exorcist, The French Connection... need I go on? Oh yeah, and Jade too... I guess I did)

I would almost feel like I'm piling on if I said anything to denigrate this film. The good people who made and distribute the film already have let us know that they also hate it. I know it seems almost counter-intuitive to say so, seeing as they are giving it a Memorial Day release, one of the few prestige Release Dates for films in the United States.

But this is not just any Memorial Day. Already we have had the biggest opening weekend for any film in history (Spider Man 3) and a direct rival to that prize just last week in Shrek the Third followed by what is arguably the most anticipated (financially anyway, not so much if you're like me and you can't stomach people with tooth-jewelry) release of the year in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.

So versus the already-built audiences for Spidey and Shrek and directly in the way of Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom's perty mouth and Kiera Knightley's visible vertebrae, the people at Lions Gate have thrown us Bug. It's like that scene in Empire Strikes Back where Han Solo hides from the Imperials in the Milennium Falcon by floating away disguised in a trash-dump.

Am I a dork for making the reference? Sure. But you totally followed it, so live with that, Fonzie.

It's as though they spent the time and money on filming, editing, advertising and then said to each other "You know what? This feels like a 4th-place film at best. When is the best time to release a film that has no shot to rise above #4 at the box office during the entire course of its run?"

That answer? Clearly Memorial Day. If you release a 4th-place film in February, it only makes $6 million. The fourth-place film this weekend will proabably be closer to $20-30 million. These are not stupid people.

Plus it's hard for me to be negative as I am a huge Ashley Judd fan. Let me be a little more specific: I am a big fan of the hotness of Ashley Judd. It's clear that, even though not twins, there was some kind of gene-hogging going on to her benefit and against her sister Wynnona, not unlike the premise of the Schwarzenegger/Devito dynamic in the film Twins.

Sadly, however, the genetic windfall that is Ashley's has not been translatable to career judgment. Her string of barely-disguised Lifetime Original Movies about chicks being chased by Big Scary Men has been well documented. The promise of Heat and Kiss the Girls has been, by now, well and fully squandered, I think.

The only really good news about that is when the career starts to flag a bit, many hot actresses are willing to slum it in lesser material that includes extremes of violence and (oh yes!) nudity.

And this Bug? Rated R for some strong violence, sexuality, nudity, language and drug use. Sold!

Althogh I should point out that in this film as well, she is being chased by a Big Scary Man. Only in this instance, the obligatory abusive ex-husband is played by... Harry Connick, Jr.? Frankly they might as well have handed the role to a labrador puppy in a wicker basket full of soft fuzzy blankets. And still, more scary than Harry Connick, Jr.

Seriously, what's the Harry Connick threat? Past the very real possibility of be-boppin' or scattin' someone into submission or possibly drawling them into a state of hazy Southern comfort, I don't really see how you maintain realistic dramatic tension there. I'm only willing to suspend so much disbelief.

Despite the Connick factor, the reviews I've read say this is a highly competent, well acted, very effective thriller about a paranoid vet (played by Some Guy) who convinces Ashley Judd that scary government and/or alien sponsored bugs are in his body or after him or... something. Here's all you really need to know: two hours of people talking about bugs under their skin. Still in? Me neither.

Still, I wasn't kidding about the Judd thing. It's mostly people I don't know in a genre I hate, but come on. Nudity!

Two (out of three) on the Hot Babysitter Scale.

One for each Judd boobie.

Come get me, feminists! We can work out our differences in my home mud-wrasslin' pit.




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