January 4, 2010

Justify My Netflix: Son of Rambow

(Like many Netflix customers, I too can get quite lax with the timely watching and returning of my movies, which of course defeats the entire purpose of having a flat-rate rental plan in the first place. To combat that, I am now writing standardized mini-reviews of each and every movie I end up watching through Netflix, both instantly and on DVD. Don't forget, all previous 'Justify My Netflix' reviews can be found on CCLaP's main movie page.)

Son of Rambow

Today's movie: Son of Rambow, 2007 (Amazon | IMDB | Netflix | Wikipedia)

Why I added it to my queue: Because I had been led to believe that this was an inventive comedy designed for film geeks and artists, about two boys who lovingly re-create the Rambo movies using home equipment in their backyard out of sheer love for the '80s action franchise.

The reality: Disappointing. Because it turns out that this is not an inventive comedy concerning budding film nerds at all; it's instead a tender coming-of-age tale about an unlikely friendship, between a school bully who is determined to win the old BBC game show Screen Test, and a skinny little loser being raised in an oppressively religious household, who accidentally catches a few minutes of First Blood one day and becomes obsessed with the character, volunteering to do all the stunts for the bully's "Screen Test" audition as a way of escaping his Amish-like home environment. And no offense, but all I could keep thinking as I watched this was, "Did the world really need another manipulative, feel-good indie dramedy concerning a delightfully quirky event within an otherwise depressing British industrial small town during the '80s?" Although there's nothing wrong with the film from a technical standpoint, it still feels forced and stale by the end, a tired mashup of Billy Elliot and The Full Monty that always plays it as audience-safely as possible; much like the director's previous adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, it manages to hit all the right notes while still getting the song itself completely wrong by the end.

Strangest piece of trivia: This script was apparently highly loved by Sylvester Stallone during pre-production, which is why it was relatively easy to secure the rights to use the John Rambo character so heavily.

Worth your time? Meh

Filed by Jason Pettus at 2:44 PM, January 4, 2010. Filed under: Movies | Reviews |