On the cusp of endless cycles of boogie-boarding shorts and bonfires, the movie industry’s offerings this summer look to provide on the same level as previous years, with 3D and hopefully a new interest in catching quality up with quantity as the exceptions.
Familiar faces represent the season’s offerings for comedy fans. Writer/director Nicholas Stoller must have liked he and Jason Segel’s enormously sub-par 2008 film Forgetting Sarah Marshall so much that it deserved a spin-off. Get Him to the Greek stars Jonah Hill as a hopeful record label intern assigned to make sure rock god Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) arrives on time to a show at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles.
Their debauchery-laden journey must survive a series of hiccups before coming to a successful close, no doubt providing the flavor of comedy popularized by Judd Apatow (who produced the film) and his merry band of offspring. The film is due out June 4.
In the same vein, Paul Rudd’s annual vehicle has him playing an ambitious businessman required to participate in an executive dinner where each person brings the weirdest guest he can find. Based on a 1998 French film, The Dinner Game, Dinner For Schmucks co-stars Steve Carell and hits theaters July 23.
New-age buddy films such as these have become the standard for comedy in film. The Rat Pack, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby have been replaced by our own time’s comedy regulars pairing off for ordinary-extraordinary hijinks. While sometimes lacking in substance, in numbers they seem to prevail. The more you see, the more you want to see, and this summer will provide the fix.
No shortage of spectacle-driven action titles will also help to fill those boring afternoons. The highly anticipated Iron Man 2 looks to build on the outstanding original, and on the last day of finals no less (May 7). Mickey Rourke, Don Cheadle and Scarlett Johansson spice up the cast for double the comic book craziness.
Later in May, Disney will try its hand at adapting a video game into film with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Jake Gyllenhaal holds the power to stop an evil force from corrupting the world in his hands: a dagger that preserves time. Lovers of the franchise keep your fingers crossed; you have until the 28.
Other action flicks include Robin Hood (May 14), Predators (July 7) and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (August 13).
The first summer since 3D fever struck, the coming months will bring some long-standing series into the new dimension. Woody and Buzz return for Toy Story 3 on June 18 hoping to do right by the franchise that introduced Pixar to the world. Following the lackluster, slapped-on 3D of last year’s Up, the film will officially mark (in my mind) the studio’s entry into the new wave of cinema.
Shrek Forever After (May 21) promises to be the final installment to the 9-year-old series and thank god for it; the fairy tale inspired films went stale after the first one in 2001. Despicable Me rounds out the family-friendly 3D fare, launching July 9 with the voice talents of Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig and Will Arnett.
Expectant romantic film fans will get their fix in the form of two monolithic sequels. Sex and the City 2
(May 27) reunites viewers with pop culture’s iconic foursome of city-living ladies. The relationship dramedy comes two years after its predecessor made more than $150 million at the box office. How much of that was reluctant boyfriends we will never know.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse will see winding midnight launch lines on June 30. Bella continues to struggle with the choice between a shirtophobic werewolf and what I assume to be a drug addict… Either way, summer isn’t summer without an entry into an epic series of teen lit adaptations.
As invisible restrictions on the film calendar begin to break down, this summer will be one of the first to be carefully watched for both blockbuster explosions and critically acclaimed features (recall that 2009’s Best Picture Oscar went to a summer film). Judging by this fact along with the extensive list of anticipated titles launching in the coming months, expect to enjoy the summer in the darkened arena of your favorite movie theater.