Hanks Becomes Spielberg’s Most Lovable Homesick Alien Since E.T.

Now in theaters: The Terminal, Dodgeball and Around the World in 80 Days.

The Terminal

Tom Hanks is Viktor Navorski, a citizen of Krakozhia on vacation. There was a revolution back home while his plane was in the air. His country no longer exists and his passport is no longer valid. He can't go home. His can't enter the United States. He's trapped at JFK. And for a while, at least, you're afraid that so is some of Hollywood's greatest talent.

You can't tell if you're watching a thriller, a mystery, a comedy. Then Catherine Zeta-Jones comes on screen. And then you know this is a love story.

Zeta-Jones is terminally gorgeous. Hanks, in another amazing performance, never ceases to amaze. It takes about 20 seconds for him to become Victor Navorski. And you'll notice a nod or two to another Steven Spielberg alien — E.T. Grade: B+ Dodgeball

First-time writer-director Stuart Cornfeld gives us a new professional sport, the World Championship of Dodgeball, as covered on ESPN 8, or, as they call it, "The Ocho."

Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller play rival gym owners, and when the championship starts, "Dodgeball" scores big. The slacker story that gets us there, however, misses with too many gross-out gags.

Stiller is smart. He plays the villain, because it's fun and it's funnier. And Rip Torn is hysterical as a dodgeball immortal who mentors Vaughn's team, the Average Joes, teaching them to dodge arm-sized wrenches. "If you can dodge a wrench," he says, "you can dodge a ball."

I kept running the clip of him chucking wrenches at the Average Joe players and laughed every time. It's one of the funniest gags in a long, long time. Get out of the way — Dodgeball is a hit. Grade: B Around the World in 80 Days Around the World in 80 Days? More like Around the World in 8 Oy Veys.

The first "Oy vey!" is for how cheap the effects looked. I read this film cost more than $100 million. Cheap as they were, the second "Oy vey!" is for the money the filmmakers saved on the actors. Did they cast this movie out of a witness protection program?

The third is for the complicated slapstick choreography that almost never pays off in laughs.

The five others go to Arnold Schwarzenegger in a cameo so sleazy and offensive, I thought: If this film had opened last year instead of this year, he wouldn't be governor of California. Oy Vey. Grade: C

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