Mini Reviews (September 2007)
Fired!, Crazy Little Thing, Decaying Orbit
Fired! (September 18/07)
The brainchild of television personality Annabelle Gurwitch, Fired! follows the actress as she interviews a variety of folks about their worst job experiences. Gurwitch, who was actually fired by no less than Woody Allen, proves to be an affable on-camera presence, though the movie is undeniably an overlong and distinctly uneven piece of work. It becomes clear early on that some of Gurwitch's subjects are far more interesting than others, and the film's abrupt transformation from a light, free-wheeling comedy into a Michael Moore-esque indictment of corporations is certainly lamentable (Gurwitch even travels to Michigan to meet with a group of striking GM employees!) There's ultimately little doubt that Fired! works best when Gurwitch is chatting with fellow celebrities (ie Tim Allen, David Cross, and Tate Donovan), as the majority of these people offer up stories that are generally fascinating and flat-out hilarious (Donovan's tale about losing a role to Matthew Broderick is particularly amusing). And while the movie will never be confused for a hard-hitting, Oscar-worthy doc, Fired! does possess more than enough small pleasures to warrant a mild recommendation.
Crazy Little Thing (September 21/07)
Though it gets off to an admittedly bumpy start - ie writer/director Matthew Miller's script is initially just a little too clever for its own good - Crazy Little Thing eventually establishes itself as a funny and surprisingly involving little romantic comedy that sidesteps many of the expected conventions of the genre. The film follows a pair of affable New Yorkers (Jenny McCarthy's Whitney and Chris Eigeman's Jimmy) as they attempt to separately navigate the dating scene's treacherous waters, and although the pair encounter each other in a series of near-misses over the years, both characters remain attached to other people for the majority of the movie's running time. Buoyed by McCarthy and Eigeman's tremendously charismatic and compelling work, Crazy Little Thing quickly sets itself apart from the majority of its romcom brethren - with the off-kilter structure employed by Miller clearly playing a substantial role in the film's success (ie unlike most efforts of this ilk, it's not always easy to predict where the storyline's going). The uplifting conclusion undeniably leaves the viewer wanting more, and there's ultimately little doubt that Crazy Little Thing is one of those hidden gems that clearly deserves a much wider audience.
Decaying Orbit (September 21/07)
Obviously shot on a shoestring budget, Decaying Orbit is an uneven but surprisingly entertaining little sci-fi flick that benefits from the inclusion of some seriously impressive visual effects. The movie follows a futuristic space crew as they attempt to weed out a saboteur after an explosion cripples their ship, with much of the film's action taking place aboard a dingy escape shuttle. First-time filmmaker Tim Pyle - a computer animator who's worked on such movies as Fantastic Four and Looney Tunes: Back in Action - effectively compensates for some of the inherent deficiencies within the production (including a few less-than-impressive performances and a storyline that's occasionally a little more complex than it needs to be) by offering up a number of genuinely suspenseful and flat-out exciting sequences throughout the movie's brisk running time. And while there's not a whole lot here that one hasn't seen before in similarly-themed movies (ie The Thing) and TV shows (ie Star Trek), Decaying Orbit is - ultimately - a pretty darn impressive effort that admittedly feels right at home on the small screen.