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Greatest Idea for a Comedy Ever: Be Kind Rewind

Published February 22, 2008 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of New Line Cinema.
Be Kind Rewind Poster Be Kind Rewind
Be Kind Rewind is the greatest idea for a comedy ever. Jack Black has to film all the movies in a video store because he erased the tapes. That's screwball antics that everyone can relate to, because we've all seen everything. Please understand that this is a Michel Gondry, so even as commercial as it wants to be, it's still an art film.

Review: Be Kind Rewind

I can appreciate it on the level of the art film. I put away my hopes for a comic romp through cinematic history. There are enough of those moments to embellish the trailer, but it's all ultimately an excuse for more of the simple home-made special effects Gondry loves to throw in his films.

A whole lot of the movie is about Fats Waller. The video store is supposedly the home where the jazz great used to live. The entire third act hinges on the Waller legend, so if you're not all that interested in jazz men, that much of the movie will lose you. Half the movie is magnetization jokes too. These are hilarious, but it's still not about remaking movies.

It's also odd that there's no straight man. They cut the trailer to make it look like it's Mos Def, but he's playing a simple, ditzy character with his own quirky problems. Black has plenty of his Blackisms, random tangents and musical sounds.

The shots of Black and Def remaking movies with their ingenious homemade effects are brilliant. The sheer notion that a man in America would not know the lyrics to Ghostbusters is pure comedy. The montage of all their special effects scene is awesome.

There are some happily obscure choices, from documentary titles like When We Were Kings to pure forgettable fluff like Rush Hour 2. Just the list of titles we don't see them make is awesome, including many New Line titles scattered in as references.

Of course, with all the New Line plugging, I can't believe they didn't have the boys remake Snakes on a Plane. They show a clip of it at the competitor's DVD store, but didn't Gondry have any kitschy ideas for snakes? I want some motherf***in' homemade snakes in this motherf***in' movie!

Ultimately, there are not enough movies within the movie. There are plot points they have to get to, but really the concept is so high, all they needed was one plot scene and then just go with the remakes. Ending with a different sort of project is well intended, but only works as an art film, not the satirical masterpiece it could have been.

All that said, the home made effects are nothing short of brilliant. The story credits every individual townie with a different one, but really they all come from Michel Gondry. It's an amazing mind that can out-Corman Roger Corman and make it feel like The Matrix.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of New Line Cinema.

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