MGM's 2008 Romance Promotion
Some Girls (February 9/08)
Quirky to the point of distraction, Some Girls follows a smarmy college student (Patrick Dempsey's Michael) as he travels to Quebec to spend the holidays with on-again-off-again girlfriend Gabriella (Jennifer Connelly). Michael quickly finds himself confronted with Gabriella's unreasonably eccentric family, which includes - among others - a pair of slutty sisters (Sheila Kelley's Irenka and Ashley Greenfield's Simone), a father (Andre Gregory) with a penchant for nudity, and a bedridden grandmother (Lila Kedrova) who mistakes Michael for her dead husband. Screenwriter Rupert Walters' refusal to infuse Gabriella's brood with even a hint of authenticity quickly lends the movie a distinctly interminable vibe, as the viewer - faced with the prospect of spending more than a few minutes in the company of these ridiculously broad caricatures - is forced to find other ways to amuse themselves for the duration of the film's overlong running time. Dempsey's self-conscious, downright obnoxious performance certainly doesn't help matters, nor does the egregiously deliberate pace with which director Michael Hoffman has imbued the proceedings. Connelly's expectedly charismatic work notwithstanding, Some Girls primarily comes off as an exercise in irritation that possesses exceedingly little in the way of positive attributes.
Zapped! (February 9/08)
Zapped!'s place as a bona fide cult classic is nothing short of baffling, as the film - which doesn't even fall under the so-bad-it's-good category - suffers from a whole host of deficiencies that ultimately prevent it from holding the viewer's interest for more than a few minutes at a time. The episodic nature of the film's structure ensures that there's virtually nothing propelling the distinctly threadbare story forward, and it's consequently quite difficult to care about the central character's increasingly silly shenanigans. Scott Baio stars as Barney Springboro, a nerdy science student who finds himself able to move objects with his mind following a lab experiment gone wrong; the majority of the movie follows Barney as he uses his newfound abilities to win baseball games, strip beautiful co-eds of their clothes, beat up longtime bullies, etc, etc. It's the kind of premise that would at least seem to possess the potential for a wacky yet amusing time-waster, yet - as becomes clear almost immediately - there's exceedingly little within the movie that actually works. Director (and co-writer) Robert J. Rosenthal effectively sucks all the laughs and levity out of the proceedings.by emphasizing distinctly unfunny subplots and side characters, which - admittedly - wouldn't be quite so problematic had the filmmaker bothered to include a cohesive storyline (ie Zapped! is ultimately less a movie than a series of poorly-conceived skits). The affable work by the three leads - Baio, Willie Aames, and Felice Schachter - simply isn't enough to compensate for the less-than-competent vibe that's been hard-wired into virtually every aspect of the production, and the movie's enduring status as an '80s sex-comedy staple is certainly a head-scratcher (compared to other entries within the genre, Zapped! is actually pretty tame).