The Washington Times burnishes its reputation as one of the more interesting newspapers in America with today's entertainment section, which includes a profile on former X member John Doe, a story on "reputational repairman," and an appreciation for Bunny Lake Is Missing by Otto Preminger (we loved him in Tom Wolfe's Radical Chic and rate him as the distantly third best Mr. Freeze on TV's Batman, a Black Forest ham not fit to carry George Sanders' subzero-cool jockstrap.)
The Times' also has a mixed review of the new Ashton Kutcher-Bernie Mac joint, a remake of the Stanley Kramer-Western Union message movie Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. Reviewer Christian Toto–which sounds like the name of an X reunion LP to me–says that the flick starts well, with Kutcher playing the whiter-than-rice fiance who has to deal with the comedic racism of Bernie M as the future father-in-law. But alas,
[Director Kevin Rodney] Sullivan and company content themselves with making "Guess Who" a conventional comedy. In the process, they repeatedly trip themselves up with contrived setups just when they've built some story momentum.
All but gone are the telling exchanges that gave the original its socially relevant oomph. We're left with more laughs than your average romantic comedy but a nagging sense of an opportunity lost.
Whole review here.
Which brings me to my real point: Why the fuck was My Big Fat Greek Wedding so popular and so well-reviewed? The ethnic tension/haw-haws at the heart of this tedious, unfunny, and totally lame film were dated back when the Italians controlled the Greek Empire, for christ's sake. Or in any episode of the early '70s science fiction situation comedy Bridget Loves Bernie, predicated upon hilarity ensuing when a rich Irish Catholic girl marries a philosophizin' working-class Jewish cabbie (the science-fiction element of the show? David Doyle, best known for playing Bosley, the fifth-sexed eunuch on Charlie's Angels, plays Bridget's father).
So what might explain the phenomenal B.O. and Golden Globe-glomming success of My Big Fat Greek Wedding? The godawful product-placement gag about Windex? Pent-up demand for a post-Room 222 Michael Constantine? The secret fact that there was a suppressed electoral landslide for Michael Dukakis?
It just doesn't make sense. Except in the ways that markets always make sense. And 50 million Elvis fans can never be wrong.