Radio 01.16.09
This is Ron Salfen, “At The Movies,” and here’s my commentary on a couple of films opening this weekend at The Majestic Theater in Greenville :
Hotel for Dogs” is one of those cute kids’ movies where the primary characters are well-scrubbed teenagers, who are smart, resourceful, and winsome.  The adults around them are absent, inept, irrelevant, or just plain mean.  The plot involves the teenagers secretly taking care of stray dogs in a vacant house.   You know you’re going to be in for some pooper-scooper jokes.  And you can expect maybe the slightest hint of adolescent romance.  If you’re a dog lover, you’ll definitely be rooting for the kids to rescue their orphan mutts from the local animal shelter and its bumbling dogcatchers.  Despite the predictable story line, “Hotel for Dogs” is actually kinda cute and quirky, if you don’t think about it too much.
Speaking of kinda cute and quirky, if you don’t think about it too much, “Paul Blart:  Mall Cop” is the whimsical tale of an ordinary security guard, played by Kevin James of “King of Queens” fame), accidentally getting to be the hero when a gang of toughs take over the mall.  Paul Blart  is big, fat, clumsy, and underachieving, but sweet and sentimental:  he’s committed to his young daughter (they live with his mother, played by the venerable Shirley Knight), and he’s smitten with a high-school kind of crush on Amy (Jayma Mays), the sweet, slender young lady at the hair extension kiosk.  Their relationship is refreshingly awkward, reticent, and understated.  Aside from the viewer needing to suspend more disbelief than usual, an unexpected bonus is the sheer athleticism of the bad guys, who, it turns out, were recruited from actual competitors of the extreme “X” games.   “Paul Blart” is not great filmmaking, but it is warm-hearted, and harmless family fun.
This is Ron Salfen, “At The Movies,” for 93-5 KICK-FM.