Movie Review: 'Monster House' positively scary

7/18/2006

By Phil Boatwright
The Movie Reporter

Monster House
Stars: Voices of Steve Buscemi, Nick Cannon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kevin James, Jason Lee, Catherine O’Hara, Kathleen Turner, Fred Willard, Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner and Spencer Locke
Director: Gil Kenan
Rating: PG
Opens: July 21 

In this digitally animated spooky comedy, three kids battle a mysterious house that supernaturally comes to life and threatens anyone who crosses its path. 

Witty, scary, it’s a graveyard smash. With this anthropomorphic house putting children in constant peril, Kenan crams in as much scariness as the PG rating will allow.

Though it’s a wild ride for older kids, it isn’t for preschoolers. It’s a good film that teaches positive lessons about caring for others and doing the right thing. 

You, Me and Dupree
Stars: Owen Wilson, Kate Hudson, Matt Dillon, Seth Rogen, Amanda Detmer and Michael Douglas
Director: Joe Russo and Anthony Russo
Rating: PG-13 

Every time a reviewer enters a theater, he’s filled with the promise of what movies can be. The Christian critic hopes against the odds that a humanist moviemaker will include a biblical principal that overshadows content meant for our baser instincts.

Sad to say, all that hope was wasted on You, Me and Dupree 

I can’t decide which was more disappointing: the performances, the stupidity and crudeness of the script or the film’s overall insincerity. True, no one sets out to make a bad movie, but evidently there are a great many people in Hollywood more concerned with how they look than their script choices. Case in point: Kate Hudson.   

Here we see Hudson in her underwear and later in a  bikini. Hudson has to be spending a great deal of time in the gym and must employ a dietician. I just wish she would apply as much effort when selecting film roles. Then again, maybe You, Me and Dupree was the best she was offered. That’s a depressing thought. 

Everyone involved is capable of better work and has proved it, but their attempts here are routine, resulting in performances that are not very funny and certainly not touching. The script is not just silly, which we accept in screen comedies, but annoying as well. These characters are dumber than a bag of hammers.   

Though the concept was bright, the dim script is riddled with crudity and a lead performance more exasperating than Beetlejuice. There’s no heart, no genuineness. Its drama, like the humor, is forced, sappy and disingenuous. The result – a flat, mediocre and stunningly disappointing spectacle the leads should leave off their resume.