It was a challenging week, so I spent a few nights with my favorite form of escape, Hollywood formula movies with enough of an original twist to keep me watching.
Jim Carrey can be aggravating to watch sometimes with that radiant but twisted phony smile he perfected that I never found appealing or humorous. And that happens a few times in this flick. But the rest of the time he's pretty good in a movie set in the early 1950s during the McCarthy Witch Hunt, that the movie skewers in an obvious and heavy-handed way but nonetheless is satisfying in the ways Hollywood formula movies can be, thus the formula.
It's basically a boy-meets-girl boy-loses-girl boy-gets-girl formula, with the cliched small-town purity and innocence and goodwill of the Andy Hardy movies. But it works, because there are enough original filigrees on the formula to keep you, or at least me, interested. And there's nothing like an old fashioned Hollywood ending to leave you satisfied when all you want is to escape the too often lack of Hollywood endings in everyday life.
As is usual for the fish-out-of-water formula, it's also the-underdog-triumphs formula, only this time the underdogs aren't up against the star jocks or the corporate baddies or city hall etc. but instead computer geeks, who they have to do better than to win a competition among nerdy brainiacs that includes technical skills, entrepreneurial skills and salesmanship.
There's a minor love story, but it's incidental to watching the old guys get dissed for being so out of it until the old guys use their life experience to inspire the young geeks to try doing things in ways they never thought of or had the courage to. Like I said, formula. But the characters are mostly fun to watch, especially Vaughn and Wilson, especially since they're beginning to look a little the worse for wear and it fits the plot.
But the rest of the cast was terrific, and Olga Kurylenko made it worth watching for me, for exactly that: watching, let alone Morgan Freeman's and Melissa Leo's usual, totally committed—and in this flick more-or-less cameo—performances.
As always with films like this there were plot points that could have been cleared up a lot more easily than the story-line demanded. But fewer than in truly "bad" movies. These three films weren't bad, just minor. But even a minor distraction can mean a lot if you feel the need to be distracted. So thanks to all of them for helping me escape for a few hours this week.