Friday, May 05, 2006

Bring it On Peyton But I'm Not Sure I'm Down With the Break-Up

Guys and gals. Are you as perplexed as I about what's going on with director Peyton Reed's career? He started off very strong with the bouncy ten-times-better-than-it-had-any-business-being Bring it On (my old review), a top tenner for me in 2000 and one of the two best teen comedies of the Aughts (the other is Mean Girls). The follow up was the colorful retro failure Down with Love which I didn't love but which impressed me mightily nonetheless.

Imagine it: a mainstream comedy director who exhibits actual personality (shocking I know) and who isn't a hack. I know this is hard to imagine. The best you can do these days is seek out the stuff in the margins: David O Russell makes hilarious movies but they're not exactly multiplex ready. No. Today's Hollywood rule for comedies seems to be point & shoot & let the big bank stars (Sandler, Carrey, etc...) do their thing to make audiences guffaw. Some of the big comedies are funny in spots but it's almost entirely due to the movie stars. Rarely if ever do they feel like Movies in the pure sense. They just aren't interesting or memorable in and of themselves. Remove the comedian and you're left with nothing. Compare this to classic film comedies and you'll see what I mean. The humor was almost entirely organic to the film itself, screenplay direction and performances and not from one funny star.

But back to Mr. Reed (He's pictured here with Sarah Paulson --and why doesn't she work more? She's best-in-show in Down with Love and memorable in cameos when she gets them like Serenity and Notorious Bettie Page...but this is another topic entirely. Sorry). Between 2000 and 2004 I developed this mad movie crush on this new director and when I heard he was hired to direct Fantastic Four I thought "Perfect!" He'll totally understand 4's retro square WASPy vibe, give it visual snap, and make it fun like Spider-Man but with its own distinctive taste. So of course the studio replaced him. And we got a lame blockbuster instead.

So what is Peyton Reed doing directing something as generic looking as The Break-Up with overexposed Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn? Or ,more precisely, why does it look so generic if he's directing it? I'm judging solely on the teaser and trailer. It doesn't seem to be anything other than a disposable star comedy. I hope I'm terribly terribly wrong. Bring it on Peyton. Down with generic comedies.

tags: Jennifer Aniston, movies, celebrities, romantic comedy, Sarah Paulson, Vince Vaughn

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