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Friday, May 9, 2014

Film Clips: May 10

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Chef R

Director Jon Favreau returns to his screenwriting roots for this all-star, small-scale comedy exploring Chef Carl’s (Favreau) efforts to rediscover his love of cooking. After a disastrous run-in with a food critic (Oliver Platt) costs Carl the chef position at an upscale restaurant, he returns to Miami to reconnect with his Cuban ex-wife (Sofía Vergara) and their young son. Taking on a fixer-upper taco truck, Carl remodels the caravan to serve Cuban sandwiches, but it’s the life lessons, served between the jokes and gags, that really stick to your ribs. (Lisa Miller)

 

Fading Gigolo R

In Fading Gigolo, Murray Schwartz (Woody Allen) is the proprietor of a struggling Manhattan bookstore. What chance does poor Murray have to compete with the marketing prowess of amazon.com? It looks like his business is about to fold. His buddy, Fioravante (John Turturro, who also wrote the screenplay and directed) is an introverted florist. Murray recruits Fioravante in a scheme to save the bookstore. At Murray’s last dermatologist appointment, Dr. Parker (Sharon Stone) confides that she and her lover, Selima (Sofía Vergara) are seeking a male for a ménage à trois. This well-heeled physician is willing to pay $2,000 for an encounter. Is this the sort of fantasy that a doctor would off-handedly discuss with one of her patients? This is a portent of the mounting heap of implausibilities that confront the viewer. At least the film rejects the suggestion that the bisexual couple would try to entice septuagenarian Murray into performing the role. However, the screenplay’s alternative is only marginally less absurd. The bookseller persuades a reluctant Fioravante to provide gigolo service and allow Murray will act as his pimp. (Nathan Lerner)

 

Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return PG

Based on the books by L. Frank Baum’s great-grandson, Roger Stanton Baum, Dorothy (Lea Michele) awakens in post-tornado Kansas. Before she can get her bearings, she learns Oz is under attack from a new villain, the Jester (Martin Short). Dorothy agrees to return in order to aid her friends the Scarecrow (Dan Aykroyd), the Lion (James Belushi), the Tin Man (Kelsey Grammar) and the good witch Glinda (Bernadette Peters). Additional new characters are voiced by Oliver Platt, Hugh Dancy, Megan Hilty and Patrick Stewart, but there’s no getting around the film’s annoying animation or a busy storyline that lacks emotional oomph. (L.M.)

 

Neighbors R

Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne portray Mac and Kelly Radner, a youngish married couple trying to survive caring for their newborn first child when the neighbor’s home is sold to the Delta Psi fraternity. Zac Efron plays the house president, Teddy, secretly doing the bidding of his smarter V.P. Pete (Dave Franco). After moving into the house, the frat brats make a show of befriending the Radners who try to appear more youthful and hip than they feel. That is until one too many Delta Psi all-night binge-fests get on their last nerve and Mac calls the cops. Unwilling to quiet down, the frat boys declare war on their neighbors, stealing airbags from the Radners’ cars and worse. But Mac and Kelly have no plans to sit idly by while being made into a laughing stock. They hatch a plan to have the frat house permanently closed provided the boys take the bait. (L.M.)