This week, Cineast takes a look at Draft Day, Hateship Loveship and Cuban Fury.
Man, it’s hard living through the days when you wake up and realize: nobody’s playing football today. The AM radio dial is filled with the sound of rending garments and gnashing teeth as people struggle to find anything to talk about, with a few brave souls venturing sunny predictions about what the world might look like when football starts up again. Now there’s a cure for what ails us. Draft Day, the new Kevin Costner sports-lover flick, all about the NFL draft. Ever wonder what it’s really like when those NFL teams go at it to put together next year’s lineup? Ever wonder how they choose which lucky college players are going to have the opportunity to get massive head injuries at the professional level? Ever wonder how to fill the abyss between the end of one football season and the start of the next? Draft Day!
Here’s a movie that poses the important question: how long does a comedian have to wait before he/she can move into more “serious” dramatic roles? Obviously, if the comedian in question were a talented actor, it would help ease that transition. In Hateship Loveship Kristen Wiig, a star of Saturday Night Live heretofore known largely for her comic turns in films like Bridesmaids, takes on a serious role as a lovelorn, middle-aged woman hired by a wealthy family to be a caretaker for a teenaged girl. The teenager’s father, played by Guy Pearce, has issues with substance abuse and is largely estranged from his daughter—Nick Nolte plays the craggy grandfather who has brought in the caretaker. Wiig, whose comedy has often depended on her straight-faced, dead-pan delivery, doesn’t seem to have much ability to show any facial expression beyond a kind of slack disappointment, making her emotionally inscrutable as the story of her hapless affection for the troubled father plays out. Comedy may be a training ground for many things, but serious acting isn’t necessarily one of them.
All you can say is…YESSS! Nick Frost, who played the part of the chubby sidekick in the beloved Cornetto trilogy Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End, takes the lead as Bruce Garrett in Cuban Fury. As a youngster, Bruce had been a salsa-dancing prodigy, but at the age of 13 he suffered an injury (at the hands of bullies) that robbed him of his salsa crown and his promising future. Now, middle-aged and obese, his salsa-dancing just a memory, he has a crush on a new coworker, Julia, played by Rashida Jones. His rival for her affections, the menacing Drew (Chris O’Dowd), is tall and lean and, most importantly, a salsa-dancing whiz. You can guess the silly, cornball rest—but that won’t spoil any of the fun.