Be Kind Rewind

Jack Black and Mos Def star in Michel Gondry's off-beat comedy, about two friends who live in a small town called Passaic, in New Jersey. Mike (Def) works in a small video rental store (that's VHS, mind you - not DVD) called Be Kind Rewind. Jerry works and lives in a junk yard down the street, in front of a power plant. The owner of the store (Danny Glover) goes on a vacation, leaving Mike in charge. At the same time, Jerry asks Mike to help him sabotage the power plant, who he believes are trying to melt and/or control his brain. Just before the event, Mike backs out, leaving Jerry to be electrified, and as a result - magnetised.

Next day, Jerry enters the video store, and wipes every tape with his body, forcing Jerry and Mike to reshoot the movies themselves. And this is where the film hits it's peak. The reshot movies (known as "sweded" in the film - Jerry says the films come from Sweden to justify the long waiting times), and their dubious special effects, are nothing short of inspired. Far from the crass, merciless, soulless lampooning of films like Scary Movie or Meet The Spartans, these remakes are lovingly performed and captured, while the "special" effects are frequently more inventive than the original effects they are supposed to emulate. For instance, in mimicking a scene from Rush Hour 2 in which Jackie Chan hangs over the edge of a tall building, Jerry hangs from children's monkeybars, his feet dangling six inches above a mat made to look like the street below.

And they continue - Jack Black's Robocop suit is pure gold - scavenged from bits of scrap in his junk yard; Jerry's rendition of how he remembers the Ghostbusters theme; the driving-on-the-roof-of-the-tunnel scene for Men In Black. Make no mistake - when this film is funny, it's funny as hell. But it also has a something to say about community and friendship, and this more than anything else it what saves this film from being compared to the likes of Epic Movie.

A very funny film, with a heart. B+.

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