“At The Movies” 11.07.08
 
This is Ron Salfen, “At The Movies,” and here’s my commentary on films opening today at The Majestic Theater in Greenville :
 
            Madagascar :  Escape 2 Africa” is the sequel to the popular animated children’s movie of 3 years ago, which featured New York zoo animals somehow finding themselves in Africa .  Then, they managed to survive, but now, they are challenged by  the powerful lions.  They know how to sing and dance for humans, but they aren’t very good at going native.  Underneath all the sight gags and cultural references is a transparent agenda about being who you are, and not what others expect you to be, the importance of loyalty in friendships, and accepting those who are different.  And does anybody else see a metaphor about the giraffe falling in love with the hippo?  Well, it’s still light-hearted, with an extremely good ensemble cast of veteran comedy voices, so just enjoy the show and resist the temptation to overanalyze.  At least the whole family can enjoy this one together.
            “Role Models” is definitely not a family movie, but it also has a soft heart, despite apparent cavalierness.  Two slacker dudes, determined to stagger through their young lives in a foul-mouthed, self-indulgent, post-hangover stupor, suddenly find themselves in a court-ordered mentoring program.  Their “little buddies” consist of the class nerd, a teenage boy whose family life is miserable, so he escapes in medieval role-playing fantasy, and a foul-mouthed younger boy whose home life isn’t that bad, he just enjoys being incorrigible.  We all know what’s going to happen next:  the slacker dudes respond to being forced to assume some responsibility, the “little buddies” start enjoying the odd matchup, and the raunchy comedy morphs into something almost sappy.  The problem is that plot turn will leave it with practically no audience at all, because those desiring continuous R-rated hilarity will be disappointed, and those seeking a poignant and touching drama will surely be offended.
 
This is Ron Salfen, “At The Movies,” for 93-5 KICK-FM