Geoff Cox’s DVDs: Parker, The Guilt Trip, The Wee Man, This Is 40
Revenge thriller PARKER (15:E1 Entertainment) has a certain gloss, but beneath that surface sheen it’s standard Jason Statham stuff.
Directed by Taylor Hackford and co-starring Jennifer Lopez, this daftly watchable flick sees Statham playing the eponymous crook who’s double-crossed and dumped by his gang mates.
Despite being beaten, shot, thrown from a moving car, then shot again, Parker’s up and after them within hours.
He learns they are planning a diamond heist in a wealthy Florida neighbourhood, so poses as a millionaire Texan wanting to buy a house in the area. Parker co-opts the help of a cash-strapped real-estate agent (Lopez), who predictably falls for our hero, even though he’s now wearing a stetson.
The film has some bone-crunchingly good action sequences and decent one-liners, but one suspects that this is more of a career high point for Statham than Hackford, whose CV includes An Officer And A Gentleman and Ray.
> Gently humorous road movie THE GUILT TRIP (12: Paramount) sees Seth Rogen playing a chemist who embarks on a make-or-break journey across America to pitch a wonder cleaning product he’s invented.
When his overbearing mother (Barbra Streisand) reveals she still harbours thoughts of her first love as a teenager, Rogen decides to take her along, secretly tracking down her former beau in the hope she may find happiness in her autumn years.
But he soon has cause to regret spending eight days on the road with his domineering parent.
The tale motors along at a brisk pace, albeit fairly predictably, and stops off to fill up at the requisite comic points.
Streisand shows she hasn’t lost her intuitive comedy touch, yet despite the sharp-tongued sparring between the two leads, it never quite delivers juggernaut-sized laughs.
> Low-budget crime drama THE WEE MAN (18: Metrodome) wheels out a lot of tired old gangster movie cliches, with psychotic killers, bent coppers and villains trying to go straight. At least writer/director Ray Burdis has the excuse that it’s all true.
In 1970s Glasgow, Paul Ferris (Martin Compston) is a bullied kid whose dad (Denis Lawson) advises him to keep his head down and not fight back.
He rejects that advice and takes bloody revenge on his tormentors, going on to become an enforcer for gang boss Arthur Thompson (Patrick Bergin) through the ‘80s and ‘90s.
But when Thompson’s son, envious of Paul’s relationship with his dad, secretly teams up with a rival gangster (John Hannah) loyalties are tested.
Burdis avoids aping Guy Ritchie or Quentin Tarantino, so there’s no fast-talking, wisecracking or funky soundtrack. He has, however, created a solid, serious-minded film that starkly portrays a violent, corrupt world.
> Sold as a sort-of Knocked Up sequel, Judd Apatow’s mid-life comedy THIS IS 40 (15: Universal) follows a likeable LA married couple (Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann) who have 40th birthdays on the horizon.
They turn to family and friends for help in coping with the challenges of work, parenthood, age and debt.
Regular belly laughs help the medicine go down, although it’s about 20 minutes too long.