Saturday, September 08, 2007

Shoot 'Em Up!

I came out of the theater trying to figure out What the Fuck I just saw and why I liked it so much. I will definitely recommend Shoot 'Em Up, especially to anyone looking for a fun movie to watch on a Friday night after a very long week. It's a positively ridiculous film, including the actors. As in Clive Owen and Monica Bellucci are ridiculously good looking. (Clive Owen. Omf.)
[F]or those who can stand the nonstop assault on their sensibilities, it's delightfully trashy, albeit irresponsible [x].
The film gets increasingly ludicrous as it proceeds. This isn't unexpected: it's called Shoot 'Em Up. But when we get to the the most ridiculous part of the movie near the end, people were enjoying themselves so much there was nothing to do but laugh, sit back, and see what in the world could possibly happen next.

What's nice about the level of absurdity is that it's fit snug into a decent if simple plot that doesn't have to stretch to shoehorn in the latest bit of silliness. It's so big and cartoonish, painted in extremes of black and white that it's difficult to resent or object to the newest cliche that's cropping up. Of course Monica Bellucci is a hooker. Of course the bad guy is a senator and an interest group. Of course he's taking a hippie van to find her. Instead of asking "why this again?", it's more like, ha! why not? And then they take it and run with it. The first scene involves a birth and the severing of an umbilical cord by shooting it. It goes from there. The film handles cliches well, and takes them on a spin.

Between shooting out messages in factory signs and playing puppets with guns, Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti convince us that even though we've seen something in this vein before (many times before) there's nothing wrong with enjoying the little quirk or twist they've added. As Lou Lumenick of the New York Post points out, it's a Elmer Fudd versus Bugs Bunny, carrots included.

I think what the trick might be (I'm not sure what the technical name is) is something in the family of the Sideshow Bob and the Rakes.
Even with all of these additions, the episode still ran short of time. This led to the creation of the rake sequence, which became a memorable moment for this episode.Originally, Sideshow Bob was only supposed to step on one rake after he stepped out from the underside of the Simpson family's car, but this was changed to nine rakes in a row.The idea was to make it funny, then unfunny and later funny again [wikipedia].
There's a point where repeated actions/ideas go from x to un-x, and then back to x. Timing is key, and Shoot 'Em Up manages to skip over the "un" for the most part. An example is the carrots. The first use is silly. The second time is predictable. By the third, fourth, and fifth and sixth time, it's not about predictability anymore. It's like waiting for Fresh Prince's Hilary's next words. What's she gonna say next? Even if it's not that funny, it's still funny. It's established in a context of continuity and reference. The fact that it happens is pleasing and fun, without regard to the actual quality of the words or actions. A specific incident is the factory sign sequence. I don't want to give much away, but what first happens is a groaner, enjoyable though it is. When the joke is extended, it gets sillier and, happily, funnier.

Go see it with a friend and on the big screen (with the caveat- IF YOU'RE INTO THESE SORT OF THINGS.) Watch Clive Owen slide around while shooting a gazillion dudes while "Ace of Spades" plays in the back. It's a ridiculous movie, and a ridiculous amount of good-natured fun. And Clive Owen is still really really ridiculously good looking.

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