Sara Vilkomerson's Guide to This Week's Movies: Downey Dons Robot Suit!

All hail Tina Fey! The lady we are forever indebted to for making smarts, sass and eyeglasses sexy propelled Baby Mama to the No. 1 spot last weekend with over 18 million smackeroos, beating the stoner set who chose Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. What does this mean for you? That between this and last year’s Knocked Up and Juno, expect Hollywood to start spawning (hee!) tons of pregnant-y flicks, which will get less funny with each trimester.

 

MEANWHILE, FOR PEOPLE who care about such things, this weekend is an anxious one, as the industry waits to see what happens when summer officially kicks off with the first of the season’s Big! Ass! Blockbuster! Iron Man. Comic-book geeks have been all frothed up over this one for ages, and the movie did the smartest thing possible by casting Robert Downey Jr. in the lead as Tony Stark. Mr. Downey is one of those actors who is impossible not to like, both through his sheer talent and the fact that not too long ago he seemed destined to be a True Hollywood Story casualty. The first 30 to 40 minutes of the film are the most enjoyable, as we’re introduced to Tony Stark, the brain behind the most advanced weaponry used by our government, and a Howard Hughesy, cocktail-swigging, womanizing wit. While in Afghanistan to demonstrate his latest shock-and-awe weapon, he’s captured and forced to invent himself a way out of danger. Thanks to some high-tech body armor, he escapes. Once home, the appeal of blowing things up has lessened, and with the origins story firmly in place, the action becomes about his quest to create the Iron Man persona fans know, and fight the objections of his business partner (a delightfully devious Jeff Bridges), and the U.S. Army, which doesn’t appreciate the helping hand. Our only small issue with the picture is that once Mr. Downey is encased within the Iron Man suit, the actor’s impeccably expressive face is lost and we’re left with, well, a robot. In an odd bit of casting, Gwyneth Paltrow plays Stark’s long-suffering assistant, Pepper Pots, and it appears to be a smart move on both the actress’s part and director Jon Favreau (who has gone way beyond his work in Elf ): The quality of the acting elevates this action film into something that’s more interesting than just cool special effects—which the film has plenty of. Oh, and on the next inevitable go-round, we hope that Terrence Howard gets more to do.

 

HOPING TO PICK up the ladies out there, or those shut out of Iron Man, is the romantic comedy Made of Honor. A few things to get out of the way: We love ourselves a rom-com, and while most of them follow a fairly standard formula, when done right even the predictability of the plot can be pleasurable. Not so in this one (starting with the title!), which is odd since the two leads, Patrick “McDreamy” Dempsey (attempting to play a character at least 10 years younger) and Michelle Monaghan, are both sparkly and charming. But the obvious twists and turns and gags deaden their charisma, and the true laughs are few and far between, as one waits for the movie’s inevitable conclusion.

Sara Vilkomerson's Guide to This Week's Movies: Downey Dons Robot Suit!