Movies in Theaters on June 24, 2011
June is throwing one last hurrah before we segue into a big holiday weekend, though “hurrah” might be too strong a word with such mild-looking cinema fare. There will definitely be eye candy galore, as Cameron Diaz still looks pretty damn great and Cars 2 looks to be rather insane, but beyond the visual razzle-dazzle, don’t expect this movie weekend to be very satisfying — in fact, you might find yourself hungrier than you expected for next weekend’s giant robots (which will at least have eye candy in 3D). Still, there’s a man with a microphone whose documentary might end up being just the ticket…
We like raunchy R-rated comedies about humans behaving badly as much as anybody else, but there’s something about Bad Teacher that seems a little… off. We expect this tale of a foul-mouthed, hard-drinking shaper of young minds (Cameron Diaz) who dodges the advances of the gym teacher (Jason Segal) whilst lusting after the new sub (Justin Timberlake) will definitely have its share of gross-out gags and at least half-inspired moments of inappropriateness (Diaz slamming a dodgeball full-force into a student’s face is pretty funny/wrong) but it won’t go far enough for it to be anything more than an amusing and ultimately forgettable trifle. The main problem might be the casting of Diaz — try as she might, she just can’t quite do “edgy,” and the sight of this pushing-40 fading star being reduced to engaging in slow-motion car wash scenes in short shorts is, whilst undeniably hot, actually a little depressing, too; doesn’t she deserve — and hasn’t she earned — more than that kind of crap?
Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), the sleek speed machine that learned how to really drive once he left the race track and hit the open road, is back for another adventure, with the original’s modest small-town fish-out-of-water tale replaced with a spy thriller scenario that looks to be filled with even lamer gags than any of the Austin Powers movies (and that’s saying something). Word hath it that Pixar has finally broken its (near) perfect track record with this loud, slapdash sequel that confuses noise and mania (really, it looks like it was made by the speed freaks responsible for some of the coke-driven madness you see on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim) for efficient pacing and, well, narrative drive. Why Cars 2 even exists is something of a mystery — did anyone who saw Cars demand “More?” Still, if you can keep up with it, this thing might have quite the visual kick — if the trailers are any indication, Cars 2 could be the most eye-popping candy-colored freaky phantasmagoria since the Wachowskis’ underrated and underappreciated Speed Racer.
This documentary detailing Conan O’Brien‘s comedy tour of the U.S. and Canada upon leaving The Tonight Show and severing his relationship with NBC might actually be your best bet for the weekend. Revenge is a dish best served with a hearty side of funny, and Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop looks to serve as both a perfect vessel through which the former talk show host can rant and rave and as a pretty hilarious stand-up comedy film, regardless of the circumstances as to why it exists in the first place. If nothing else, Can’t Stop will serve as a reminder that O’Brien is a truly gifted comedian, no matter what the venue or the audience might be — and he’s got some pretty funny friends, too, as we’re treated to bonus appearances by the likes of Andy Richter, Jim Carrey. Stephen Colbert and Jack McBrayer, among others. Remember when Conan provided a few character voices on Adam Sandler‘s first comedy album, They’re All Gonna Laugh at You, way back in 1993? You’ve come a long way, fella.