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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Super Over-the-Top

posted by on July 3 at 16:13 PM


In this week’s paper, I reviewed Hancock. It was pretty…blah.

…the trailers, with Will Smith as a drunken misanthrope flying into buildings and tossing whales around with impunity, suggested the kind of brainless summer fun that Smith used to supply with films like Men in Black. Unfortunately, as with I Am Legend and I, Robot, Smith has developed the unfortunate tendency to make all his popcorn flicks as heavy as a brain-dead Hamlet. Everything now has to have gravity and weight, and a simple redemptive superhero comedy simply wouldn’t do for the erstwhile Mr. July.

But then I read David Denby’s review of Hancock, and I had to wonder if we saw the same movie. He declares it the most enjoyable movie of the summer and drools over just about every aspect of the film. That’s fine. Critics disagree. But here’s the part where my jaw nearly hit my desk:

But Theron isn’t running away from her good looks anymore. Wearing a simple sleeveless red shift, her blond hair hanging around her shoulders, she’s a knockout in “Hancock,” and she gives the sexiest performance of her career. The currents flowing between her and Smith are reminiscent of the heat generated by Gable and Harlow, say, or Bogart and Bacall.

I had to rub my eyes and reread that part:

reminiscent of the heat generated by Gable and Harlow, say, or Bogart and Bacall

David Denby, are you on crack? I ask this not as someone who counts To Have and Have Not among my all-time favorite movies. I ask this as someone who’s seen Hancock and doesn’t understand how you could find that much gold in all this mediocre pudding. Are we going to have to fight, David Denby? I will totally fight you, and because justice is on my side, I will win.

If you want to figure out which side you’re on in this fight, film times are here.

RSS icon Comments


I don't think that justice thing is true vis a vis winning. Uwe Boll, siding with injustice as always, won his fights against his critics.

Posted by elenchos | July 3, 2008 4:36 PM

To be fair, i think Mr Denby said "most enjoyable" movie of the summer, not best. I enjoy the hell out of some Showgirls, but that don't make it good.

Posted by Versace | July 3, 2008 4:36 PM

Right. Thanks, Versace. In my blood-boiling rage, I misquoted him. I will change to reflect that.

And elenchos: Uwe Boll confuses justice with his movies before he goes out to fight his critics.

Posted by Paul Constant | July 3, 2008 4:40 PM

I will pay money to see you fight David Denby. You will totally kick his ass, Paul.

Posted by Mary T | July 3, 2008 4:47 PM

and as long as we are challenging New Yorker critics to battle... i want dibs on Sasha.

Posted by Versace | July 3, 2008 4:52 PM

Bummer - I got excited when early reviews suggested Hancock was bad enough to end Will Smith's assault on America.

Posted by Just Sayin' | July 3, 2008 4:55 PM

The interesting thing is that both the New Yorker review you linked and the Wall Street Journal review glow about Charlize Theron, but other reviews found her character "insipid".

Based on Battle for Seattle, I'm going to have to guess you're probably right, Paul, and the New Yorker and WSJ are out to lunch.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 3, 2008 4:58 PM

MiB was brainless? Excuse me but I knew what "Orion's Belt" meant from the very beginning and knowledge like that doesn't come from a GED.

Posted by Blunderplank | July 3, 2008 5:02 PM

Challenge him to a pasta sauce drinking contest, you'd totally beat him.

Posted by PopTart | July 3, 2008 5:35 PM

Methinks Mr Denby may currently find himself in a suitable financial situation to hire Floyd "Money" Mayweather to take his place in such a fight.

I'm not making any libelous accusations, mind you, I'm just saying.

Posted by chasman | July 3, 2008 10:19 PM

OMG, I didn't read any of that, but I totally used to have that car in maroon. Theend. It was amazing.

Posted by uchicago | July 3, 2008 10:58 PM

David Denby has poop where his brains should be.

Posted by Anne | July 3, 2008 11:58 PM

Did you read Denby's review of _Iron Man_? I'd swear that he didn't see the movie--he must have paid a twelve-year-old to describe it to him--it's weirdly inaccurate. I support the crack thesis.

Posted by E. Dettmar | July 4, 2008 3:02 PM

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