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September 11, 2002

Moviegoing: "XXX"

Friedrich --

Today (a hot one) the Wife and I went to the multiplex in seach of good air conditioning and mindless entertainment, and wound up in a theater showing "Xxx." 15 minutes in, I offered to leave if and when the Wife saw fit. Five minutes later, air conditioning or no air conditioning, she saw fit, and we were outta there.

Necessary preface: I'm capable of all sorts of snobbism; I'm also all in favor of brainless, dynamic fun. "Xxx," which wants to be a post-Gen X/ESPN2/Xtreme- sports reworking of a Bond-like franchise, was brainless and dynamic, but it wasn't fun.

All it was, as far as I was concerned, was a blur of noise and hyperactivity happening at a very far distance -- one of those duds that sends you out of the theater wondering why you never once felt involved or interested. It proposed its world, its premise, and its game, then failed completely to lure me in.

Vin: Icon of Edge?

Larger Michael Musings:

1) How does "involvement" occur? And what is it that happens, or fails to happen, when it doesn't occur? The Wife points out that while "Xxx" had lots of cleverness and energy, it had no playfulness and no spark. I felt like a column of numbers that the movie was determined to crunch.

2) Some performers -- such as Cameron Diaz, or (here) Vin Diesel -- are so striking in supporting roles that you can't wait for the pleasure they'll deliver as stars. Then, presented in a starring role, they can't hold you. Why? Cameron Diaz is a charmer in "My Best Friend's Wedding" but seems all-used-up in "The Sweetest Thing." Vin Diesel seems like an instant icon in "The Fast and the Furious" but fails to hold the camera in "Xxx." What gets lost in the move from striking-supporting-player to not-really-a-star?



posted by Michael at September 11, 2002


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