Director: Michel Gondry
Writer: Michel Gondry
This was my first time watching this movie since seeing it in its original theatrical run. I know the movie has flaws but I still really enjoy it because the good things about it I feel really make up for the faults.
Set in the present Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover) runs a VHS only movie rental store in Passaic, New Jersey. He goes away one week leaving Mike (Mos Def) in charge. Through a failed attempt at power plant sabotage Mike’s friend Jerry (Jack Black) gets magnetized and ends up erasing all of the tapes in the video store. With no options and oblivious clients to satisfy Mike and Jerry realize their only option is to remake the movies themselves and rent them out to their old unsuspecting customers.
Admitadely a very far fetch and fantastical concept but that isn’t the movie. The movie exists in a heightened sense of reality and doesn’t spend too much time trying to sell you on the idea, you either just accept it and go with it or you don’t. Most of the joy of the movie comes from seeing Black and Mos Def recreating scenes from movies such as Rush Hour 2, Ghostbusters, Robocop, and The Lion King, among others. The version are zero budget yet Gondry uses lots of clever techniques that make you appreciate the ingenuity behind the recreations.
The movie has an overall golly gee Frank Capra-esque feel to it that I can’t deny puts a smile on my face. There isn’t any life threatening conflict in it and the scenes of the towns people getting together to save this video store and pay homage to the movies they love are the scenes I really enjoy the most. In the end the movie is about movies and our love of them.
Like I said in the beginning it isn’t a perfect movie but the concept is so outlandish and handled with a lot of clever tricks and good intentions that I definitely enjoy it.