...and man-dates and man-caves. All these are treated with some wit and insight in the film I LOVE YOU MAN. I’ll make the obvious point that the movie could easily have been better, even funnier, by not being needlessly gross. Still, it captures pretty well the sheer awkwardness of male friendship in our time, and marriage and same-sex friendship are reconciled nicely at the end. We get to see a dog named Anwar Sadat who really does look like Anwar Sadat. And we learn that most real men think CHOCOLAT is stupid, but sometimes find themselves stuck with calling it delightful. I LOVE YOU MAN isn’t a great or even all that edifying a movie, but it’s certainly more enjoyable than all those academy award nominees I sat through.
THE GREAT BUCK HOWARD is also worth seeing. Apparently it’s based loosely on the life of the Amazing Kreskin who appeared so often on Johnny Carson. This movie has the charm of and is sort of like MY FAVORITE YEAR (with Peter O’Toole), but "mentalist" Buck Howard (played with expert quirkiness by John Malkovich) is much less dashing, certainly more vain, but finally more noble and responsible than the alcoholic English actor played by O’Toole. THE GREAT BUCK HOWARD portrays its small-time hero as he would want to be portrayed--as a classy (okay, ambiguously classy) gentleman with a real talent, and, being a sort of period piece, it’s certainly not needlessly gross.
During this period of severe recession, anxiety about our futures, and uncertainty about whether President Obama is in over his pay grade, the film industry appears to be flourishing.