Sony's April '06 Releases
Bachelor Party Vegas (April 22/06)
Though it's clearly not trying to be anything more than a mindlessly silly romp, Bachelor Party Vegas is nevertheless saddled with a strangely uninvolving and downright tedious vibe throughout the majority of its running time - something that can be attributed primarily to the increasingly outlandish situations the film's protagonists find themselves in. And although said situations begin to make more sense once everything's said and done - following a twist that's straight out of a certain David Fincher flick - the film is ultimately done in by the uniformly over-the-top performances and dearth of laughs. The storyline revolves around five buddies who head to Vegas for a wild weekend of partying to celebrate an impending marriage, only to find themselves confronted by one obstacle after another (ie middle-aged strippers, notorious casino robbers, Ultimate Fighting Champions, etc, etc). Bachelor Party Vegas has been written and directed by Eric Bernt, who infuses the film with a distinctly frenetic pace and an emphasis on comedically broad set-pieces - which would be fine, were there any interesting characters or even the slightest hint of a storyline worth following. Instead, Bernt aims for the lowest common denominator at every turn - eschewing anything even resembling a linear storyline in favor of obvious, disastrously unfunny vignettes. The enthusiasm of the cast keeps things interesting for a while, but the movie just never manages to rise above the level of pure idiocy.
Sporadically intriguing but ultimately overrated, Crumb features a look at the life and career of renowned fringe artist Robert Crumb. Crumb, an unabashedly eccentric figure, achieved fame thanks to the creation of a few pivotal pop-culture items (including Fritz the Cat and the Keep on Truckin' guy), though his refusal to "sell out" has allowed him to keep a fairly low profile. Filmmaker Terry Zwigoff offers up a brief history of Crumb's artistic highlights, while also emphasizing Crumb's admittedly bonkers family (dysfunctional doesn't even begin to describe his mother and two brothers). As interesting as some of Crumb's exploits are, Zwigoff's decision to stress the more salacious aspects of his subject's existence ultimately lends the proceedings a vibe of almost relentless unpleasantness. The overlong running time and repetitive structure only adds to this feeling, and although there's no denying that Crumb's lived a fascinating life, the lack of focus and rambling tone ultimately transforms Crumb into an uneven piece of work that's never quite as compelling as one might've liked.