Wednesday, May 7, 2014

North (Rob Reiner, 1994) Review

If you were to look at movie posters, you'd notice that one of the main selling points is that the actors (whether lead or cameo). The cast is an important asset for marketing because, if we like an actor, we're naturally going to go see their latest film. It's important to note that, even though the cast may be strong, the film won't necessarily be good. North is a fine example of a star studded cast including Bruce Willis, Dan Aykroyd, Jason Alexander, Alan Arkin, Jon Lovitz and even Scarlett Johansson as a kid (seriously) but...well...let's take a look...(that picture sets the tone well...).

11 year old North (Elijah Wood) is an average kid who has had enough of his parents (Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus). The twist? He actually does something about it. North takes the matter to court and is given to months to find a new set of parents or else he has to move back with his original parents. North finds himself travelling the globe finding new parents with the assistance of a supposed 'guardian angel' (Bruce Willis).

The reason I chose to review this is because, in my last review, I quoted Roger Ebert's review of this exact film so I figured I would find out what he hated about this film. I as intrigued. Now, while North isn't as horrifically made, audience insultingly bad as The Human Centipede II [The Final Sequence], it's pretty bad. The two big elements that make this a stinker is that 1) it's stupid and 2) it's insulting. The film basically runs on racist stereotypes from Hawaiians to Inuits (that was probably the most infamous). The film revels in ignorance and runs with the stupidest sub-plot you'll ever see. Even the ending felt like a punch in the face due to how much of a cop-out it was.

It sounds pretty terrible so I think Ebert is justified in his hatred. The thing that he over looks is that there are some very minor good things. The film as a whole is bad but the main selling point, the cast, is probably the best bit about it. Like it or not, Elijah Wood does a good job as do a few of the random cameos but the rest of main cast falls flat. You can just tell that Bruce Willis wanted to be done with the film as fast as possible (just listen to that rushed opening narration).

North is a weak, insulting and stupid movie. It runs on some horrible jokes and an idea that just doesn't work to begin with. There are more actors that phone it in rather than put the effort in so it makes the others look bad. It decides to use racist stereotypes in a poor effort to get a quick laugh...which fails miserably. Mr. Ebert, I now see what you meant by you hated this movie. Next time, I'm probably going to look at a more positive film...can't guarantee it but...we're almost at my 300th review! Yeah!
Insulting, stupid and relying on terrible jokes to get doesn't get by.

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