Jack Black is a guilty pleasure. I have always liked him--at first, reluctantly, but over time, I could no longer deny it. When I hear of him in a movie, I make note of it. I read about this one, written and directed by Michel Gondry. I thought I'd try it, not expecting much as it sounded amusing but had the potential to be crappy.
Yesterday, needing some relaxation in the 90oF+ weather, I watched it and it was better than expected. The movie lumbers before gaining focus and starting to move, but the cast is oddly diverse enough to keep interest.
Jerry (Jack Black) and Mike (Mos Def) are best friends. Mike helps Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover) run his VHS-only video store. When Mr. Fletcher goes on his annual Fats Waller reminiscing trip and leaves Mike in charge of the store, his last missive to Mike is: Keep Jerry Out. In spite of his good intentions, Mike doesn't listen and one thing leads to another, resulting in ALL the videos being erased. What to do? When Mr. Fletcher has his pal, Miss Falewicz (Mia Farrow), check on Mike to make sure all is well at the store, she isn't pleased with their mess. She also requests to rent Ghostbusters. It's been recommended to her. But, because all the tapes are erased, they can't let her know. They tell her it isn't in and ask her to return the following day and it will be ready. They try to get another copy to bide time but when that fails, they decide to remake Ghostbusters themselves. Since she hasn't seen it, she won't know. They decide to shoot it from a distance so that she won't recognize them.
Once the shooting starts, Be Kind Rewind gets rolling. These scenes are hilarious. When a store regular rents their version of Ghostbusters, he's hooked and wants more. He tells other customers. That's when they begin remaking all the cult "classics"--Rush Hour 2 (special effects are great and Black as Jackie Chan), Robo Cop (see image above of Jack Black in action), Driving Miss Daisy (Jack Black as Miss Daisy). They dub the process Sweded. A following develops and the Sweded films are now in high demand. During the remaking of Rush Hour 2, when Jerry won't kiss Wilson (Irv Gooch), his mechanic who is playing the woman's role and makes a stink, the mechanic quits and they bring on Alma (Melonie Diaz), the sister of the woman Jerry really wants to kiss, both working at a dry cleaners down the block. Alma's business savvy drives their business further. More storylines involve attempts to save the building the store is housed in from demolition; repercussions of copyright infringement (bit role for Sigourney Weaver); and fame and notoriety going to Jerry's head. The memory of Fats Waller drives this film from beginning to end. See this one. You may not love it but it has some fun moments.
Themes: video store, Fats Waller, friendship, movie-making
Director: Michel Gondry
Minutes: 102 minutes