When we first heard tell of Be Kind Rewind, the latest movie from Michel Gondry – the innovative director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (mmmm, if only!) and countless music videos– we were kind of excited. Then we watched the trailers, which seemed to feature Jack Black being Jack Black (again), running around singing some wacked out version of “Ghostbusters,” and we started to get this funny and familiar feeling that this movie was not going to be able to live up to any expectations. And, we hate to say it, we were right.
The premise of the movie – two dudes, (Mr. Black and Mos Def ) have to remake VHS cassettes of popular movies themselves because Mr. Black’s brain got magnetized by the power plant nearby or something (don’t make us explain) – is fantastical, creative, and totally improbable. First of all, VHS tapes, really? We get that hipsters love being nostalgic for things that only happened eight or nine years ago, but we still have a hard time believing a whole neighborhood would frequent the Be Kind Rewind shop (has no one heard of Netflix in Passaic, New Jersey?). But let’s get past that little leap of faith. There are parts of the movie that genuinely work and are funny and sweet (and resist it as we may have tried, that whole Ghostbusters thing made us laugh), but others seemed like a stretch – like, did we need to have a heart-warming-town-assembling-around-the-small-little-shop-that-could? The film could have been boiled down to a hilarious online 20-minute sketch and we probably would have loved it. Danny Glover seems wasted in his role as a doddering, kindly, shop-owner and we still don’t know what the heck Mia Farrow is doing in this. But one thing is for sure, this movie will make you want to rent Ghostbusters. On DVD, of course.