Now in theaters: "Rent," "Yours, Mine and Ours" and "The Ice Harvest."
"Rent," the huge Broadway hit, finally makes it to the movies. It opened off-Broadway almost 10 years ago, and it's set 15 years ago. It's been so long-awaited, the New York it so vividly created on stage … doesn't exist anymore.
As for the movie, it's a case of been there, done that, with ripped holes in the T-shirt. It's no accident the movie's best number copies the stage play -- just actors on a bare stage.
The play works on stage because we're captivated by the cast's energy and passion. When the film opens to show us the real New York, we're reminded that New York doesn't look like this anymore. Now, crime is down. There's no more graffiti. And this Alphabet City loft the kids couldn't raise the rent for then would now sell for $2 million to $3 million.
Another problem for these kids -- the movie stars most of the original Broadway cast and they are now pushing 40. That's kind of old not to have jobs. "Rent" is better on stage. And with $20 tickets on Broadway, it's almost cheaper, too. Grade: C+
Yours, Mine and Ours
The original "Yours, Mine and Ours" featured Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda as widowers who marry and have 18 kids around the breakfast table. It was an OK film from 1968. Who could expect the Dennis Quaid-Renee Russo remake to be any better?
The new "Yours, Mine and Ours" is sitcom silly. It's inoffensive, but it's also another example of Hollywood making the same movie over and over again. Last year, we had two movies about a president's feisty teenage daughter. This summer we had three movies about idiot Little League coaches. And this winter, "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" opens in December.
I always thought Dennis Quaid was the least funny actor in Hollywood. But he's such a good actor, by the film's end, I was ready to say he's only the second- or third-least funny actor in Hollywood. Grade: C.
The Ice Harvest
John Cusack is Charlie Arglist, the best mob lawyer in Wichita. Can you imagine? Who's second best? Mother Teresa?
Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton hatched a plan to steal $2 million on Christmas Eve. Directed by Harold Ramis, who did "Groundhog Day." It's "The Gang That Can't Shoot Straight" -- they can't do anything straight, but they do everything funny. Grade: B.