In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_5pva4m8otgn1ml9iqxtmafrzqoe

How to Be Single

Think of "How to Be Single" as a cinematic Whitman’s Sampler: There are enough pieces that work to offset the pieces that don’t.

Thumb_large_it88e38ctyyhosflczultpw2org

Glassland

A young Dublin taxi driver deals with his alcoholic mother's decline. Bleak, tough, brilliantly acted trip down a familiar road.

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Chaz's Blog Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives

Reviews

Jury Duty

  |  

The comedian Pauly Shore and I would find ourselves in agreement on one thing: The characters he plays are obnoxious. We part company, alas, on whether they are funny. I say they are not.



And after "Encino Man," "Son-In-Law" and now "Jury Duty," I am pretty much at the end of my curiosity about further experiments.

"Jury Duty" is another entry in the national Dumbing It Down sweepstakes, giving us a character who likes jury duty because, hey, when you're sequestered, the room and board are free. After Jim Carrey in "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" and "Dumb and Dumber," after Adam Sandler in "Billy Madison," after Chris Farley in "Tommy Boy," here is another character whose appeal rests on rudeness, stupidity and the ability to make loud bathroom noises.

In this business one becomes a connoisseur. I can now see that Carrey is a virtuoso, Farley is at least hard-working, Sandler is hopeless and Pauly Shore bypasses all categories to achieve a kind of transcendent fingernails-on-the-blackboard effect. His appeal must be limited to people whose self-esteem and social skills are so damaged that they find humor, or at least relief, in at last encountering a movie character less successful than themselves.

The movie's plot shows us Shore as an unemployed layabout whose mother (Shelley Winters) coddles him. She's glad he didn't get a job as a milkman, because she hears the job is dangerous. His macho father (Charles Napier) takes another tack, announcing that the free lunch is over until Pauly gets a job. That's why the summons to jury duty is so welcome: Hey, it's food and shelter.

Shore's purpose in life becomes simple: He needs to prolong the murder trial of the "Drive-Thru Killer" as long as possible. His strategy seems curious, since (as all students of the Simpson trial know by now) almost everything he does in the movie would get him thrown off every jury in the country. No matter. He is obnoxious to his fellow jurors, makes unwanted advances on a beautiful jury member (Tia Carrera), and muscles into the judge's sidebar conferences.

The screenplay, by Neil Tolkin, Barbara Williams and Samantha Adams, has some good lines, of which my favorite is, "Oh, to be young and on Death Row!" There are also many uses of anatomical terms, the usual toilet jokes, and ridicule of tabloid TV types who are, and I quote, "bottom-feeders who suckle on the juice of human tragedy." I'm not sure the makers of this film should include themselves out.



Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

30 Minutes on: "The Swimmer"

A peculiar film, poised somewhere between satire and dream logic.

Wax Masks and Helicopter Acrobatics: An Extra's Experience on the Set of "Spectre"

FFC Gerardo Valero reports on his experience working as an extra on "Spectre."

From the nostalgia file: "Taxi Driver"

A brief consideration of "Taxi Driver," still Scorsese's masterpiece.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus