Will The Hunger Games finally fall this week? It surely can’t beat a Nicholas Sparks love story starring Zac Efron? Actually, it probably will. The Hunger Games has been on a decline the past few weeks and I’m sure people are hankering for a nice romance. Other options this week are Disney’s documentary Chimpanzee and a comedy called Think Like A Man.The Lucky One
Human Dreamsicle Efron has buffed and tattooed himself to the bulked-up extreme for his big dramatic turn in “The Lucky One,” but the role of a stoic, expressionless philosopher-soldier requires that he tamp down his natural exuberance and physical grace, a regrettable misuse of his native talents.
Another Nicholas Sparks novel, another cinematic brush with insulin shock.
Better they don’t talk at all, which can only mean one thing in a Sparks adaptation, and you know darn well what that means. It means much smoochy-woochy in the golden light of sunset, music plinking tenderly beneath them. It’s all very pretty, and all very dull.
Verdict: Wait for DVD Think Like A Man
And speaking of tasks, for some folks, who prefer their love stories slathered in syrup, The Lucky One won’t seem like a task at all.
The women think the Steve Harvey book is a secret, even though it’s a bestseller, and are angry when they find out the men have been reading it, too. Why? Well, because it got to be that point in the movie where the women were supposed to get angry and the men were supposed to feel bad and apologize.
Director Tim Story (“Barbershop”) juggles this potentially clunky material quite deftly, and the bumps are smoothed over by the appealing cast. (Even Chris Brown, in a cameo, seems likable again.)
Shove people into categories, then into a film like “Think Like a Man,” and it’s a recipe for tedium.
Verdict: Skip Chimpanzee
Given all of this, screenwriters Keith Merryman and David A. Newman (they wrote “Friends with Benefits“) and director Tim Story (“Barbershop”) have to be complimented on making a movie that gurgles along with funny patter disguising what could be disturbing situations.
Those hungering for rare footage of our cousins playing and foraging, fighting or fleeing are in for a number of treats. And you’d need a heart of stone not to be delighted by scenes of Oscar trying to crack a nut with primitive tools.
“Chimpanzee,”the latest Disney nature film, might as well be called “Simply Irresistible,” because thanks to the mischievous monkeyshines of a baby chimp named Oscar, it comes pretty close.
But it’s unfortunate that the filmmakers juxtapose those striking visuals with a warlike anthropomorphizing element.
Verdict: Wait for DVD
To experience “Chimpanzee,” the latest piece of gorgeously shot pablum from Disneynature, is to endure an orgy of cuteness pasted over some of the most asinine narration ever to ruin a wildlife movie.