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Volume 77, Number 2 | June 13 - 19, 2007

Koch on film

By Ed Koch

“Knocked Up” (+)
When I saw this film, the audience consisted mostly of 20- and 30-year-olds who were in stitches and obviously enjoyed it. I did not find it particularly amusing.

The plot revolves around Alison (Katherine Heigl) and Ben (Seth Rogen). Alison, a true beauty who has just received a job promotion, goes to a club where she meets heavy-set Ben (Seth Rogen) whose personality shifts between “Marty” of television fame and a street-smart guy. She spends the night with him at a cottage near the home of her sister, Debbie (Leslie Mann), where Alison is living. She soon learns that she is pregnant.

When Alison and Ben meet again, they discuss their first date. She asks him what he thought their second dated would entail. He replies he thought it would include a b.j. I had never heard oral sex referred to by using letters of the alphabet. Shows how much I know.

“Knocked Up,” written and directed by Judd Apatow who also wrote and directed “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” is mostly crude and vulgar. About 40 percent of the picture, which includes true-to-life discourse, emotions and affections, is well done. As I am an octogenarian, most of the jokes went over my head, and I seldom found the film to be funny. Let me make it clear that in my judgment, I am not a prude. I enjoy movies that are sex-driven and funny, but I respond to good taste, which, of course, is in the eye of the beholder.
Fairness requires that I give this film a plus rating. It is obviously targeted for a particular audience who, when I saw it, clearly enjoyed it.

The lines to get in are long as they were went I went to see “Borat.” I didn’t enjoy that film and gave it a minus rating. It too was a hit with its targeted audience, so I decided not to make the same mistake again.

HS said: “The movie appeals to young people by musical and pop-culture references. There is a lot of what used to be called obscenity but is now conversation. The plot is predictable and the sex simulated. The only nudity is Seth Rogen’s butt which is ample.”

“Ocean’s Thirteen” (+)
I did not see the original “Ocean’s Eleven” film starring Frank Sinatra nor did I see “Ocean’s Eleven” or “Ocean’s Twelve,” featuring George Clooney. I have a hunch, however, that while they were probably somewhat amusing, they had little impact on the viewer, which is how I felt about this latest movie.

Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould) has been swindled out of his share of a newly built Las Vegas casino by Willie Banks (Al Pacino). Reuben’s pals, Danny Ocean (George Clooney), Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), and Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon), decide to right that wrong before the online casino sites opens. Clooney, Pitt and Damon all perform their roles well. I especially enjoyed watching Pacino display the nuances of his villain character, and Andy Garcia does a good job portraying his rogue character, Terry Benedict. An intimate scene takes place between Ellen Barkin, who plays the role of Abigail Sponder, and Matt Damon, he much younger than she.

While the “Mission Impossible” films carried little weight, they contained an element of surprise, and the Bond films had a lot of humor, often sardonic, sophisticated and sexual. “Ocean’s Thirteen” is an elaborately produced caper story with little excitement and little humor. I saw it because I had to fulfill my obligation as a critic and submit a review. If you miss this flick, you won’t be missing anything of consequence.

HS said: “The picture is a lot of famous guys fooling around. It was number one in its opening week because people like the familiar. The stars play minor characters as well as major roles, which is a funny touch. It’s part action film, part Vegas puffery with ethnic stereotypes. “Ocean’s Thirteen,” a self parody, is nothing like Channel 13. If you envy George Clooney, with buds like Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, this flick’s for you.

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