Top critical review
A movie with alot of heart,but....
on February 27, 2013
Be Kind,Rewind(released Feb/08) stars,among others,Jack Black as Jerry Mclean,Mos Def as Mike Coolwell,Danny Glover as Mr. Fletcher,Mia Farrow as Miss Falewicz,Melonie Diaz as Alma Sykes,and Arjay Smith as Manny.This is a movie with a ton of heart that doesn't quite get it out there,unfortunately,until the film is winding down.
The story finds Glover as the owner of a video store in Passaic,N.J.,still selling VHS movies,and doing poorly.Def is his employee and Black is Def's best friend.Glover touts his old store as the birthplace of the legendary pianist great Thomas"Fats"Waller.When Glover leaves for Kansas City to attend the 60th anniversary of Fats'death,he puts Def in charge.Black,who lives in a junk yard trailer just down the street,and is a bit"off sided",gets an idea to sabotage the local hydro electric generator.Def joins him but at the last minute backs out.Black throws a grappling hook into a transformer and electricity arcs all over the place,affecting Black.Next morning Black visits Def in the store and suddenly all of the movie tapes have been erased.It seems Black has acted as a giant magnet and unknowingly done the deed.If Glover finds out they're in deep trouble,so what to do?They decide they will make their own versions of the movies they have in the store.They do so and slowly but surely their business starts taking off like never before.When folks ask,Black tells them these are special imported versions of the films;"Sweded"(as in Sweden)versions.
Glover returns from his trip with some ideas to modernize his store into renting DVDs.Glover also has a deadline of six weeks to keep with the city,as they want him to make renovations on his property or risk getting it torn down.It seems with all the money Def and Black have generated,they will be able to perform the necessary renno's.Who should walk in but a rep from the movie companies who is there to confiscate and destroy all the movies the two have made because they violate copyright laws.That having been done they have but one move left.The entire neighbourhood will pitch in together to make a movie of their own,about the life of Fats Waller.On the night of the demolition all the participants are gathered inside the tiny store and they throw a sheet up to capture the images from a projector.Well,it seems not only did the people inside see the film but an entire crowd outside got to enjoy the images also.Will the store be demo'd now?
The recurring theme of Fats Waller resonates throughout this film.There is no bigger fan of the great pianist than myself,and I was very pleasantly surprised when events were unfolding before me.That aside though,the film seems to start out in one direction,veers away,then comes back to it.By that I mean we are slowly introduced to the main characters Def,Glover and Black.Then we go to cartoonish and silly time,with Black getting magnetized by the transformer.You really have to watch the scene to appreciate what I mean.The plot,over time, ends that silly plot thread and we're finally back to the business at hand.This movie would have worked fine on the level it started at,without having to resort to a screwy plot device like getting magnetized.It just didn't work for me because it was so silly and out of character with what we had so far seen.The constant is Def,Black and Glover who play it quite"real" with each other.Also there are some funny moments here and there especially the fun Def and Black have making 20 minute shorts out of full length movies.There's only one scene I howled at and that is when they are doing the Fats Waller story.Black comes out of wardrobe,with a derby hat,an afro wig and black face on.Again,you have to see it to believe it.At the end with the showing of the Fats Waller story,the film finally displays its' heart,but it is too little,too late.I was really surprised when I saw the rep from the movie company,who turned out to be none other than Sigourney Weaver doing a cameo.
Technically speaking the film is in its w/s a/r of 2:35:1 and is clear and crisp.Both w/s and full screen versions are here.There is a featurette and the trailer.
All in all,while the theme of Fats Waller prevails throughout the film(an idol of mine),I cannot in all conscience give it more marks than I have.It has some funny moments throughout and the actors are good in their parts.But it veers into the realm of the silly and unreal while keeping an air of "reality"with its' character interaction,so there is a conflict there.Its real heart comes out far too late to do it any good. 3-3 1/2 stars.