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A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Comedy Not

Busy times ahead, so I tried to get in two movies tonight before the crunch time hits and really wish I hadn't. AMC Loews Lincoln Square, two movies on two of their biggest screens (#2, The Kings; and #1, the Loews), on Tuesday 30 March.

Noah Baumbach did a great film several years ago called The Squid and the Whale. Wonderful performances by Jeff Daniels, Jesse Eisenberg, Laura Linney. Incisive, knowing, brutal. Saw it twice and it held up. He followed that up with the dreary Margot at the Wedding, which got much worse reviews and deservedly so. His new movie Greenberg with Ben Stiller got much better reviews. Not deservedly. Many of the reviews made it sound like the movie was some kind of quintessential LA movie. Not. Any of you see LA Story? Much better. This could have been set anywhere where there are pools, and people who spend lots of money on pets. Which is to say anywhere. Ben Stiller is kind of interesting, there's something going on with his eyes where you kind of get the sense that he's marching to the beat of his own drummer in a way that's very appropriate for the character. But it's the same look for the whole movie, to where you wonder if it's a real performance or a low-key stunt trying to be Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man without the funny edge to it. Yes, it's better than Margot at the Wedding. That doesn't make it good. Shopgirl. That was overrated, too. This is Ben Stiller's Shopgirl.

Then I popped in and walked out of Hot Tub Time Machine. The reviews for this were all over the map, some people saying it was cheap and chintzy and bad, and some saying it was better than Hangover. I left around halfway through, so you can guess whose side I'm taking on that.

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