So, I saw Taxi and Shark Tale, two wacky comedies, and to be honest, I rarely laughed. Whatever happened to the good ol' Groundhog Days comedy? "Come on, all the long distance lines are down? What about a satellite? Is it snowing in space?" Aaaaaaah, that's the good stuff. Funny with sauce on it. I'm watching these, readily digesting what I understand is SUPPOSED to be funny, and yet not feeling. Maybe I need a good hard slap in the face. Maybe I'm just emotionally constipated, and need a laxative.
No matter my personal dysfunction, what is obvious to me is that in both of these movies I wasn't really given a glimpse into why I should care about what happens to any of these characters . . . er, besides them being sentient life-forms. Maybe I'm asking too much of a comedy? I know I identify w/ Phil Connors, a curmudgeon of a weather-man, "ego-centric," mean-spirited, etc. who undergoes a transformation via his supernatural experience and falls for the only woman who isn't suckered by his lackluster ploys. So, what gives?
If identifying w/ the characters is my criteria, I'll most certainly never identify with anyone played by Jimmy Fallon, because of some strange aural perception of him that weirds me out. It's the vibe. He was great on SNL, but my guess is that he should have stayed there. Metaphysics aside I appreciate Queen Latifah's stellar energy and sense of timing. Her performance was the only thing keeping me from writhing in my seat (again, Mr. Fallon), and the reason the movie is worth watching. "Buckle up for safety, mother (tires squealing as she peels out). . .?"
Using the same criteria for Shark Tale, I certainly can appreciate a desire for fame and fortune, but not so much that I would turn a blind eye to a "fish" ---(okay, so I'm a hopeless romantic, even if it is CGI!) w/ Rene Zellwegger's beauty, vulnerability and sweetness. And I certainly cannot relate to so tasty a morsel wanting me the way this er, fish wanted Will Smith's Oscar. However, on the whole it's at least worth seeing if only for the entertaining mafia mien of the shark side of the story, which brings me to an aside. Why call it Shark Tale when it's really about Oscar, not the shark? I wonder if Oscar's species name wasn't catchy enough . . . like Anthias tale? ooh, or Blenny tale?
At any rate, the gas that fuels good family entertainment is more than a couple drops low in Shark Tale, if only because it, like other copies that Dreamworks makes (remember Ants?) tries to guise kid stuff in all too adult clothing. Pixar and Disney seem to have the tried formula. David Thomas at filmcritic.com shares my sentiments: "Ultimately, though, to blame the shortcomings of this movie on the rating is a losing battle. Finding Nemo manages to be funnier and more entertaining with a G rating. That’s not to say that Shark Tale isn’t funny, or entertaining. It’s just much more forgettable."
In not so short, may I say that if you really love to see movies in the theaters as I do, you may want to take these in at a dollar theater if you weren't really excited about them anyway. They've got both good (Latifah, foxy fish) and bad (Fallon, not so funny---they do go together!) elements, but none that makes them worth seeing them again.