And Now a Word From Our Sponsor, Stuck in Love, The We and the I 


click to enlarge And Now a Word From Our Sponsor

And Now a Word From Our Sponsor (NR)

Virgil Films

This anti-commercialism comedy feels very much like a pretentious student film that just happened to score big indie names like Bruce Greenwood and Parker Posey to give its misplaced nonsense a bit more gravitas than it deserves. Reading like a feature-films pitch meeting from the writers of Adbusters, after they watched Peter Sellers in Being There one too many times, the basic idea of Sponsor is that one of the greatest ad men in the world wakes up in a hospital and is only able to speak in famous advertising slogans, much to the chagrin of those around him. I suppose the laughs are to come from those who take these slogans and interpret them as some sort of life-changing advice, but it's all so amateurishly written and on-the-nose that it's repetitive and cloying, making the viewer want to change the channel. Just like a real commercial. — Louis Fowler

click to enlarge Stuck in Love

Stuck in Love (R)


Early in Stuck in Love, a sturdy coming-of-age drama about a family of writers hitting its crisis point at Thanksgiving, patriarch and successful novelist Bill Borgens (Greg Kinnear) learns that his daughter is going to be published — not the novel for which she's been soliciting his help, but one that she wrote alone. His hurt is harsh, but befitting someone who still pokes around his ex-wife's lawn trying to catch glimpses of her newish life. The film deftly balances Bill's arc with those of others in his life, including a son trying out infatuation for the first time and a matchmaking bed buddy (Kristen Bell). Co-starring Logan Lerman from The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stuck isn't on par with that one, but it could land a young writer-director like Josh Boone the chance to make one that is on par next time. His next project: John Green's instant coming-of-age classic The Fault in Our Stars. — Justin Strout

click to enlarge The We and the I

The We and the I (NR)

Virgil Films

After the big-budget misfire of the Seth Rogen superhero flick The Green Hornet, Michel Gondry has returned to his indie roots with the cinéma vérité drama The We and the I, starring a busload of inner-city youths who are entertaining on film, but would probably be incredibly annoying if you had to sit by them on the bus in real life. Light on the camera tricks and heavy on the monologues, the real-time flick is, very simply, a group of Bronx high-schoolers on their way home from the last day of school, discussing the banal various aspects of their insipid lives. From gossip and bullying to insults and confiding, these kids run the whole teen-angst gamut, for better or worse. As entertaining and enthralling as it all is from a distance, it still feels like a bit of a setback artistically for Gondry. But I guess even the most fantastic directors need a palate cleanser every now and then. — Louis Fowler


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