In May the Summer Movie Season opens with highly-anticipated flicks like Iron Man, Speed Racer, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Sex in the City and, the really big one, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Great, but what do we do in the meantime? Here’s a look at a few of the more intriguing titles slated to open before May.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
The Basics: When struggling musician Peter (Jason Segel, How I Met Your Mother, Freaks and Geeks) gets dumped by his TV star girlfriend Sarah (Kristen Bell, Heroes, Veronica Mars), he impulsively goes to Hawaii to get away from it all, only to discover that Sarah and her new British rock star boyfriend Aldous (Russell Brand) are vacationing at the same hotel.
What’s the Deal: This R-rated comedy is produced by Judd Apatow, the man behind The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Superbad, which is certainly encouraging. The leads are appealing actors, but I’m especially excited because of the presence of Russell Brand, a love-him-or-hate-him comedian who hosts a wildly entertaining weekly radio show on BBC 2 (go to www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/ and click on the “Listen” link to hear his most recent show).
The Basics: Three high school students hire a bodyguard named Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson) to protect them from bullies.
What’s the Deal: Judd Apatow also produces this comedy and Seth Rogen (Superbad) cowrote it. Besides, it stars Owen Wilson, who almost always elevates the material he is given.
Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
The Basics: Stoners Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) try to sneak a bong on a plane flight and get accused of being terrorists, leading to ... well, you read the title.
What’s the Deal: 2004’s Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle was choppy, but had enough giddy spirit and rude humor to make up for the weak parts. This one sounds even more impolite and the filmmakers have had four years to hone their craft. Neil Patrick Harris, who was a revelation in the first film playing a demented version of himself, is back for this round as well.
The Basics: In 1925, Dodge Connolly (George Clooney) tries to keep his struggling football team going by bringing in golden-boy war hero Carter Rutherford (John Krasinski, The Office). Suspicious reporter Lexie Littleton (Renee Zellweger) starts poking into Carter’s background. Both men fall for Lexie, of course.
What’s the Deal: George Clooney both directs and stars in this romantic comedy and his judgment has been pretty good over the last few years.
The Basics: Best in Show-style improvisational comedy set in the world of professional poker.
What’s the Deal: With improv movies, it’s all about the cast and this one stars Woody Harrelson, David Cross (Mr. Show), Dennis Farina (Law and Order), Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Chris Parnell (SNL), Ray Romano, legendary German director Werner Herzog and Welcome Back Kotter star Gabe Kaplan. Intrigued?
The Basics: Los Angeles cop Keanu Reeves tries to prove he didn’t kill a fellow officer.
What’s the Deal: James Ellroy cowrote the script and Forest Whitaker costars. That’s enough for me.