Viral marketing, eh? It’s generally annoying, but sometimes genius. In fact, sometimes it’s too genius, because Funny People’s viral pièce de résistance, Raaaaaaaandy is clearly ten times funnier than the film it’s supposed to be promoting. Starring Aziz Ansari and supposedly not a razor-sharp takedown of comedy’s bête noire, Dane Cook (hmm, we’ve gone a bit French today), it’s still perfect if you read it that way. God, we hate that guy.
However sporadically funny Judd Apatow’s films have managed to be, they rarely direct their energy where it matters in the way that Raaaaaaaandy does, and even though Funny People is supposed to be deeper, the Star’s Peter Howell summarizes the film (and the rest of Apatow’s recent works) superbly in taking down the claim that it’s “mature”: “[This] thesis is hard to sustain amidst the barrage of penis jokes made by the various man-children in this 2 1/2-hour endurance test, where initial audience good will is steadily beaten into submission.”
And call us negative, but a similar endurance test to Torontoist is pretty much anything starring Kevin Spacey, which rather crosses out Shrink this week too. NOW’s Norm Wilner calls Shrink—the story of a depressed psychiatrist and the interconnected lives of his patients—”exactly the sort of hand-wringing L.A. indie I’ve come to loathe,” but admits that it’s “not exactly loathsome…there isn’t a single surprise to be had, [but] director Jonas Pate has assembled a fine cast and allowed them to put interesting little spins on their stock characters.”
Also out this week is Fifty Dead Men Walking. It was a PR disaster even before it screened at the Toronto International Film Festival last year; the author of the book on which this “true-to-life” story of an IRA informant is based threatened legal action, calling it “not a true account of my story,” and one of it stars, Rose McGowan, couldn’t have sounded more foolish with her (terrifically ill-informed) statements during the film’s press conference. It all makes it rather hard to even consider watching, especially when, for example, Eye’s Kieran Grant claims the that film “walks the fence, and trips.”
Before we go, though, it’s worth noting that Cinematheque Ontario makes up for a poor week elsewhere with some great screenings, such as Jacques Tati’s Playtime on Sunday at 7 p.m.