15 June 2012

The Road to a Blockbuster: 80s Rock & Adam Sandler

Ah, so another Friday is upon us. More than that - it's a Summer Friday, baby. This means that a new crop of flicks are hitting the theaters with the hope of emerging with not only some great immediate cheddar but a sustainable cultural mark that will ensure quotes, DVD purchases, and Weekend Specials on F/X for decades to come. This week we have a pair of lighter fare after a couple of fairly self-serious entries: Rock of Ages (2012) and That's My Boy (2012).

Both of these flicks have had some great advertising campaigns over the past few weeks. That's My Boy has relied heavily on "Shots" by Lil Jon ft. LMFAO, which may be the greatest Party Drinking Song ever. When I hear that song all I want to do is take shots, followed by shots, shots, shots, shots, shots. It's been such a successful pairing that one makes you think of the other. If you're in the other room and you start hearing "SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS!!" you think, "Hrmm, I might go see That's My Boy this weekend." Of course, Samberg is no stranger to wild nights. That's real.

The inclusion of Samberg in a Sandler film is a great benefit. It helps him get away from some of that Happy Madison fare that has been pretty universally awful lately. It's rare that he's paired up with someone who's not Kevin James these days, and Samberg playing the straight man who indulges his wild side looks promising. It also has a fantastic release date on Father's Day - what better bonding can you ask for?

The same weekend we have Rock of Ages. This is apparently a successful musical, but I can't really fathom why. Oh, I guess it's because the kind of Arena Glam Rock that fills this film is still massively popular with the aging population who actually enjoyed that era. It seems tremendously specific, counting on the fact that everyone wants to hear Tom Cruise sing some of the worst songs ever sang. Advance reviews indicate that the film has no idea how stupid it actually is, which is a big problem. Still, this has enough Star Power, a rarity in this age, to do well, although Tom Cruise's presence way off type hasn't really been played up, and nothing is guaranteed anymore. Still, musicals tend to perform well in Summer and this has a great chance to do well.

But what of their lasting legacies? If That's My Boy is indeed funny it has the potential to join a pantheon of recent successful R-Rated comedies like 21 Jump Street (2012), Bad Teacher (2011), and Horrible Bosses (2011). The depravity really needs to be ratcheted up, though - if it holds its promise of blood, drugs, & titties, it should turn into traditional Father's Day viewing for years to come. Clearly.

So what of Rock of Ages? Does anyone under 30 care about this music anymore? That's about how well this thing's legs will carry.

Both films open today - hooray!

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