So, as of today, I’ve finally seen “Be Kind Rewind.” And I have to say… I was underwhelmed.
For those who don’t know this movie, it follows Mike (played by Mos Def) and Jerry (played by Jack Black), who through shenanigans on Jerry’s part accidentally erase every VHS tape in Mr. Fletcher’s (played by Danny Glover) video store. To try to keep the store afloat, they attempt to remake or, as Jerry puts it, “swede” the films themselves.
Going into this movie, I was expecting a lot of comedy mostly from the absurd premise. Unfortunately, the movie lacked a lot of humor for me. I found most of it was derived from offhand jokes and the movie remakes themselves. The main plot point that involves the tapes being erased is solved rather early, which made me feel like it was a cheap, illogical way to kick things off. This isn’t helped by the fact that the movie throughout felt weakly scripted, and some scenes tended to drag as a result.
The main leads felt weak to me as well. Mos Def carries himself through his scenes as the straight man to Jack Black, but he tends to speak in an almost mumbling/sighing matter. It took me out of his character most of the movie. Jack Black himself plays essentially one of those annoying characters he plays in many of his movies. It just felt like the usual Jack Black hamminess. A few minor characters, probably because of the script, came off really jerkish to me as well.
On the plus side, there’s a female character named Alma who’s introduced as a new actor/teammate for the films, and she’s portrayed decently. She’s more intelligent than you’re lead to believe initially. And Danny Glover’s Mr. Fletcher easily kept me the most invested. He’s an older man who’s been in the VHS business for a long time, but ends up seeing the benefits to updating with the times to DVD. His character was really likable and charming.
I did like a few other things in this movie. The scenes where famous movies were remade were entertaining and full of charm. There is acknowledgement of the existence of VHS in a DVD world and how it’s been affected over the last couple decades. The remakes themselves being victim of copyright, which is portrayed realistically in all its unfortunate ways, but this paves the way for original material to be made by the characters and give the VHS store an ambiguous “last” hurrah.
Overall, this film was decent, but it ultimately suffers from a weak script. In turn, that kinda screws with the characters and pacing, in my opinion. However, the movie does have quite a few charming, heartfelt moments. You really get a sense of how this film tries to be a love letter to films and the film-making process.
My rating for this movie: 5/10. A decent film at best, but definitely not recommended for those who expect lots of humor and those who despise Jack Black.