“Summer School”

7.8

Turns out Gibbs from NCIS used to have a fun side. And a solid Hawaiian shirt collection.

This type of movie has always held a special place in my heart. In the vein of “Teachers,” “The Great Outdoors,” and “One Crazy Summer,” this film is a coming of age tale for, well, the ages. The incredible breadth and depth of the character pool here takes the zaniness and grounds it with an incredible sense of heart. It’s not winning an Oscar anytime soon, but makes tough subjects approachable in a way that Oscar-bait films consistently miss the boat on. Movies are supposed to, on the whole, be fun, and this movie is definitely an hour and a half of that. So lace up your roller blades and don your radio headphones, and head out for a missed Hawaiian vacation turned quintessential summer adventure classic.

Side note: I can vouch for not only learning English, if some Italian to hit up the Italian foreign exchange student. Fond high school memories of a maiden from Milan once upon a time came to mind… I hope things worked out for Chainsaw after his time in summer school.

“The Offering”

6.1

I don’t think anyone offered anything… after the first idiot who unleashed this horse/deer/centaur demon thing. Don’t carve ancient symbols into your hardwood floors and you wouldn’t have these problems, people. Sheesh. And of course it’s the taker of children.

The story was pretty by the numbers, and the jump scares predictable. Not bad, but not great. A movie they release in January that you forget by February.

“Plane”

7.5

“They say redemption can be found in the most unusual places.”

Pretty damn good action thriller. Gerard Butler and Mike Colter team up to save a plane full of people from a remote island warlord in charge of a rebel force who holds them for ransom. Of course, with a little assistance from a Seal Team 6 type bunch of “fixers.” A war room. Gerard Butler doing Gerard Butler things. A tight runtime with little fat, and only one action scene with shaky cam. All in all, a good day. Well done! Much better than I was expecting, given the asinine marketing campaign and brain dead title.

“Hitch”

7.7

Kevin James must always Kevin James. Like Will Ferrell being shirtless, Kevin James must dance like a buffoon. And Will Smith must riff some lines. I don’t make the rules.

All that said, Eva Mendez and Amber Valletta? These guys seriously out-kick their coverage here.

Some extremely valuable lessons here about human connection and the value of balancing being honest and bettering oneself in the name finding true love. And jet skis. Beware of jet skis. I’ve been there. It’s a hard date to master, especially when you fall off and have to be rescued. Just saying…

A rom-com staple with an absolutely fire soundtrack!

“The Ugly Truth”

7.5

The classic “straight laced character learns from the goofball character and they end up proving the opposites attract theory” rom-com. A tale as old as time. A film so old it’s before Gerard Butler decided to drop the American accent. Also, a strong entry into the Katherine Heigl renaissance.

These two play these parts perfectly, and as I’ve said here before, mail the most important part of the rom-com formula: the heart. Without anchoring itself to true human romantic connection, the comedy falls flat. The laughs are only as strong as the “awe” factor at the other end of the spectrum, and this film has both for days. There’s also a lesson in there about opposites attracting, game theory, and the player just being a broken nice guy protecting his heart… but I digress.