Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Day Twenty-nine - Beware the Gonzo, or "Not quite John Hughes, but it does try."
Charlie Bartlett, Nick & Norah, heck... even the cheese of The New Guy is fun and oddly redeeming, even if ludicrous.
Beware the Gonzo tries, and tries hard, to be both relevant and believable and, for the a portion, it delivers... but there's a little too much gloss and fakery. The villains are too glib and pompous, the leads too hot, the geeks too, well, obvious.
It does have its good points, though. It manages to pull off it's Scooby-Doo investigative reporting with a mild amount of panache, and has a pretty decent coterie of background characters to make the setting feel lived in and real. Unfortunately, it never really utilizes them all that much.
Take, for instance, the interns... a pair of sophomores who show up during the cafe interview sequence claiming they want to learn. That's all well and good, but they're only shown as bouncers (both for the cafe and the concert).
And the principal... what could've been an interesting adversarial relationship (see Robert Downey Jr. in Charlie Bartlett for a much more compelling one) is instead just a token role.
This is pretty much the case for main antagonist Riley, as well. He's supposed to be this monolith of all that's wrong with the school, but never really does anything other than be smug and pop on screen for a "he's up to something" moment. Really, the only thing I thought was believable from him was his freakout and, by then, it was too little, too late.
Overall, the film isn't too bad, but it wastes all its opportunities... focusing way too hard on the lead and his petty drama and not following up on the possibilities it throws off as one-liners (the other Gonzo papers, a possible law drama over the skipped expulsion scene, etc.).
I mean, Gonzo's dad is a freaking lawyer, for crying out loud... and not a single moment is given that takes advantage of that. In fact, it feels like the writer/director was actively avoiding it.
Maybe he was trying not to be cliche, but I still wanted at least a little active participation from his parents, instead of the off-screen asskissing by his mother to the principal.
I mean, seriously? That's the message we want to spread? Fight the good fight until authority makes it too rough on you?
Still, I enjoyed the film. It wasn't stellar... it wasn't even great... but, it was alright.
Until tomorrow, Potatoes~