No awards season would be complete without the Golden Raspberry Awards (AKA The Razzies), awarded each year to the very worst movies to hit Hollywood. This year’s winners will be announced on Oscar weekend; could multiple-nominee The Love Guru take home top honors? See the full list of nominees below.
This year, a few standout films and filmmakers nabbed multiple nominations, making for really good odds come February 21, when the Golden Raspberry winners will be announced. Leading the pack is Disaster Movie (2 percent on the Tomatometer), which managed to earn six nominations; The Hottie & the Nottie (5 percent), up for honors in five categories; and Uwe Boll’s In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, which also earned the Teutonic Terror a Worst Career Achievement Razzie.
The complete list of nominees:
Worst Picture Nominations
Worst Actor Nominations
Mike Myers, The Love Guru
Worst Actress Nominations
The cast of The Women (Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Meg Ryan)
Paris Hilton, The Hottie & The Nottie
Worst Supporting Actor Nominations
Verne Troyer, The Love Guru & Uwe Boll’s Postal
Worst Supporting Actress Nominations
Carmen Electra, Disaster Movie & Meet the Spartans
Paris Hilton, Repo! The Genetic Opera
Kim Kardashian, Disaster Movie
Jenny McCarthy, Witless Protection
Leelee Sobieski, 88 Minutes & In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
Worst Screen Couple Nominations
Uwe Boll and any Actor, Camera, or Screenplay
Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher, What Happens in Vegas
Larry the Cable Guy and Jenny McCarthy, Witless Protection
Eddie Murphy and Eddie Murphy, Meet Dave
Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off, or Sequel Nominations
The Day the Earth Blowed Up Real Good
Disaster Movie and Meet the Spartans
Worst Director Nominations
Uwe Boll, 1968: Tunnel Rats, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale and Uwe Boll’s Postal
Tom Putnam, The Hottie & the Nottie
Marco Schnabel, The Love Guru
M. Night Shyamalan, The Happening
Worst Screenplay Nominations
Disaster Movie and Meet the Spartans
The Hottie and the Nottie
In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
The Love Guru
Worst Career Achievement
Check out Ed Harris’ Certified Fresh Western, Appaloosa, but do try and avoid certified stinkers like My Best Friend’s Girl, Mirrors, and Seann William Scott’s direct-to-video vehicle, Balls Out: Gary the Tennis Coach. After all, there are surprises in store, especially if the Japanese title Tokyo Gore Police catches your fancy…
Another Certified Fresh new release this week is Appaloosa, which comes courtesy of actor/director Ed Harris (who previously starred in and directed the Oscar-winning biopic, Pollock). Harris moseys into the Western genre with a relatively straightforward drama about two lawmen (Harris and Viggo Mortensen) whose tenuous friendship is tested by an evil entrepreneur (Jeremy Irons) and a comely widow (Renee Zellweger). Action packed it ain’t; this Wild West bromance is for fans of the quiet, character-driven Western. However, the disc is rounded out nicely with special features on historical accuracy and the usual making-of experience, as well as a feature-length commentary by Harris and actor/screenwriter Robert Knott (who played Harris’ brother in Pollock).
2. Mirrors — 14%
Apparently, Jack Bauer can’t save everything. Despite starring erstwhile 24 hero Kiefer Sutherland, this lethargic Korean horror remake about — you guessed it! — demonic mirrors never reached above #4 at the box office last summer. The spooky tale, directed by French horror director Alexandre Aja (High Tension), should have yielded much more; instead, Mirrors barely out-grossed Aja’s previous slasher, The Hills Have Eyes, and is his worst-reviewed film to date. Horror devotees may still want to check out the Unrated DVD release for an alternate ending and Aja’s commentary on select scenes; we might recommend a Blu-ray rental just to see Amy Smart’s head ripped apart in HD.
Next: Brideshead Revisited
3. Brideshead Revisited — 64%
Brits may consider Evelyn Waugh’s 1945 novel Brideshead Revisited among their best 20th century works of literature, and its 1981 television serial among their most beloved original programs, but they’ll probably be much harsher on this 2008 adaptation. A decent retelling with a stellar cast pedigree, Julian Jarrold’s (Kinky Boots) Brideshead stars Ben Whishaw, Emma Thompson and Matthew Goode (in the role that made Jeremy Irons a star in the 1981 miniseries) in a story about a young man involved with a family of aristocrats in the years before and during World War II. A few featurettes and a feature-length commentary with the filmmakers provide insight into how and why they chose to focus on certain elements of Waugh’s novel over others in order to create a unique adaptation.
Next: My Best Friend’s Girl
Employee of the Month. Good Luck Chuck. And now, My Best Friend’s Girl. What single factor unites these three abysmal wastes of celluloid? Dane Cook. The comedian-turned-romantic comedy star did nothing to correct his rotten run on the Tomatometer with his most recent flick, My Best Friend’s Girl, in which he starred as a sleaze-for-hire who accidentally falls in love with his pal’s lady friend (Kate Hudson, who has also been stuck in rom-com hell for years). This DVD release contains more MBFG special features than any decent person should ever be allowed to watch, including a feature-length commentary in which supporting actor Jason Biggs (who’s building his own “What the Hell Happened” niche) gets stuck in a room with a producer and the screenwriter to wax poetic while drinking in the recording studio.
Next: Swing Vote
Imagine if the Presidential election came down to a single vote, and that vote belonged to the most ignorant, irresponsible, apolitical man in America. While it’s hard to laugh at the 2000 Florida recount fiasco, producer/star Kevin Costner thought it made for compelling movie making; audiences, however, may have found the mix of political satire with still-raw sentiment to be like oil and water. It’s a shame, since Costner’s “aww shucks” performance as Bud, who may as well have been named after his favorite beer, is one of his most charismatic performances in years. Deleted scenes, a making-of featurette and a commentary with writer/director Joshua Michael Stern and his co-scripter Jason Richman comprise the bonus menu.
Next: Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys
Tyler Perry knows his niche, and it has served him well. His latest — a Medea-free drama full of infidelity, backstabbing, and, yes, strong black women — is not only a semi-departure from his usual niche comedies, it’s also his best-reviewed film to date. (It’s still rotten, but an improvement nonetheless.) Kathy Bates, Alfre Woodard, Cole Hauser, Sanaa Lathan, and Taraji P. Henson join Perry himself as various members of two dramatically-linked families; featurettes and deleted scenes supplement the disc.
Next: Seann William Scott in…Balls Out: Gary the Tennis Coach
As we wind down this edition of RT on DVD, we make a brief stop in Direct-to-DVD Land, where we find poor former American Pie-er Seann William Scott wallowing in low budget “comedy” hijinks. Competing for Worst Release of the Week with the direct-to-DVD sequel Without a Paddle: Nature’s Calling (which inexplicably stars Number 80 himself, Jerry Rice) is Balls Out: Gary the Tennis Coach. One might suppose director Danny Leiner nabbed poor Seann William Scott because of their prior relationship making the modern classic, Dude, Where’s My Car? (“Where’s your car, dude?”) or even Leiner’s major breakthrough feature, Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle. Is Direct-to-DVD Hell not far beneath the likes of Stifler? Oh, how we long for the days of watching Seann William Scott being peed on from on high. At least there was dignity in that.
Next: Humboldt County
Support indie film by checking out this stoner comedy from first-time directors Darren Grodsky and Danny Jacobs (who appear in a charmingly comic promo video for their film on the DVD release). Grodsky and Jacobs nabbed a solid cast for their tale of a straight-laced med student stuck for a summer on a pot farm in Humboldt County (“the northern part of Cali”), including Frances Conroy, Peter Bogdanovich, Brad Dourif, and Fairuza Balk; behind-the-scenes footage and more bolster Humboldt County‘s DVD release, which you can rent or buy directly from the filmmakers here.
Next: Tokyo Gore Police — 100%
Horror hounds need not settle for this week’s tepid thriller, Mirrors — why settle for subpar studio remakes when much more exciting and unique films are at hand? The 1981 cult slasher My Bloody Valentine gets a Special Edition (timed to coincide with Lionsgate’s upcoming remake, My Bloody Valentine 3D) which means a remastering, re-inserted gore (originally cut out to avoid an X rating), and never-before-seen deleted scenes! But if that tale of a crazed, pickaxe-wielding miner isn’t enough to get your bloodlust going, take a gander at the new import Tokyo Gore Police, from the makers of Machine Girl. In Tokyo Gore Police, a wave of mutated humans are able to create weapons from any wound inflicted upon them — the results, as you might imagine, are grotesque , gory (and thus, awesome) in equal measure. Early festival reviews have TGP pegged at 100 percent on the Tomatometer; V.A. Musetto of the New York Post calls it “quite possibly the goriest, craziest, most eye-blowing, chunk-spewing, head-exploding sci-fi movie of all time.”
Moviegoers were in the mood for suspense as the Samuel L. Jackson cop thriller Lakeview Terrace easily topped the North American box office beating out three new comedy openers. Dane Cook’s latest My Best Friend’s Girl disappointed, the animated pic Igor bowed respectably, while the Ricky Gervais starrer Ghost Town played to empty auditoriums. The debuting films joined forces for just $37M in ticket sales falling short of the $63M pumped in last weekend by that frame’s four-pack of new titles. Still, the top ten managed to match year-ago levels.
Sony scored its fifth number one opener of the year with Lakeview Terrace which debuted with a solid $15.6M, according to estimates. The PG-13 film about a veteran cop that terrorizes an interracial couple that moves in next door to him played in 2,464 theaters and averaged an impressive $6,331 per site. Produced for about $20M, Terrace connected with adult audiences despite stiff competition in the marketplace for mature moviegoers. According to studio research, 69% of the crowd was over 25 while 56% was female. For Jackson, it was a chance to flex some solo muscle at the box office as the film had no other stars in it. An effective marketing campaign by the studio’s Screen Gems unit also helped to deliver results. Reviews were not too positive, but ticket buyers instead responded to starpower and a good promotional push.
Last weekend’s number one film Burn After Reading held up well in its second frame. The caper comedy from the Coen brothers grossed an estimated $11.3M falling a reasonable 41% and lifted its ten-day cume to a solid $36.4M. The George Clooney-Brad Pitt pic enjoyed a smaller decline than those seen by other wide releases from the Oscar-winning filmmakers. 2003’s Intolerable Cruelty, which also starred the former Batman, dropped 48% in its second weekend while 2004’s Tom Hanks starrer The Ladykillers fell by 44%. Focus looks to ride Burn to the vicinity of $65M.
Dane Cook’s newest comedy failed to live up to the numbers posted by his previous efforts. The romantic comedy My Best Friend’s Girl, which also stars Kate Hudson and Jason Biggs, bowed to an estimated $8.3M from 2,604 theaters for a weak $3,187 average. That was a hefty 39% below the $13.7M of Cook’s Good Luck Chuck from this same weekend last year, and 27% behind the $11.4M debut of Employee of the Month from October 2006. All three were released by Lionsgate in roughly 2,600 locations. Girl carried an R rating and earned the same negative reviews the comedian routinely sees from critics.
Debuting to respectable results in fourth place was the new animated comedy Igor with an estimated $8M from 2,339 playdates. The PG-rated film averaged $3,425 and faced no competition in its quest for family audiences. Pre-release expectations were low since it is not based on any popular brand name property. The MGM release has no other kidpics to face next weekend so it may avoid the large drops seen by most other films.
Three sophomore titles followed. The Robert De Niro-Al Pacino cop flick Righteous Kill tumbled 53% in its second weekend to an estimated $7.7M ranking fifth. With $28.8M taken in across ten days, the Overture Films release should eventually reach $40-45M. Kill has already become the top-grossing film for the new distribution company which made a name for itself this summer with the indie smash The Visitor.
Tyler Perry’s latest hit The Family That Preys took a tumble in its second weekend falling 57% to an estimated $7.5M. The drop was nearly identical to the sophomore slides of 58% and 57% for past films Madea’s Family Reunion and Daddy’s Little Girls, respectively. Lionsgate has banked $28.4M in ten days with Family and should find its way to around $40M by the end of the run. Picturehouse witnessed a sharp decline for its chick flick The Women which fell 48% in its second outing to an estimated $5.3M. With $19.2M collected in ten days, the ensemble film could reach the neighborhood of $30M.
Good reviews meant nothing to the new Ricky Gervais comedy Ghost Town which opened poorly in eighth place with an estimated $5.2M. Averaging a mild $3,436 from a subdued wide release in 1,505 locations, the PG-13 film about a dentist that can see and speak to spirits also stars Greg Kinnear and Tea Leoni. The target audience of mature adults had many other options to choose from so competition was tough, plus Gervais has yet to prove himself as a box office draw who can sell tickets. The DreamWorks production was released by Paramount.
Warner Bros. spent its tenth weekend in the top ten with The Dark Knight which grossed an estimated $3M, off just 29%, for a towering $521.9M domestic total. Overseas, the gargantuan smash raised its cume to $455.7M giving the superhero blockbuster a stunning $977.6M worldwide. That puts Knight at number four on the all-time global blockbusters list after Titanic, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest which all topped the $1 billion mark. Bruce Wayne should become a box office billionaire in early October. Sony’s leggy hit The House Bunny rounded out the top ten dipping 33% to an estimated $2.8M pushing the cume to $45.7M.
September is when top distributors start rolling out their awards contenders and this weekend saw two of them generate sensational launches. Paramount Vantage unveiled the Keira Knightley costume drama The Duchess in seven theaters in New York and Los Angeles and grossed an estimated $203,000 for a sizzling $28,932 average. Attracting mostly good reviews, the PG-13 film will expand into the Top 20 markets this Friday. Warner Bros. rode into twice as many theaters with its Ed Harris-directed Western Appaloosa which collected an estimated $258,000. Averaging a sturdy $18,429 from 14 sites, the R-rated pic stars Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Renee Zellweger, and Jeremy Irons and will expand nationally on October 3.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $74.6M which was off only 1% from last year when Resident Evil: Extinction opened in the top spot with $23.7M; and down 3% from 2006 when Jackass: Number Two debuted at number one with $29M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya,
This week at the movies, we’ve got an angry cop (Lakeview Terrace, starring Samuel L. Jackson); a disgruntled hunchback (the CGI Igor, with voice work by John Cusack and Molly Shannon); a haunted dentist (Ghost Town, starring Ricky Gervais and Greg Kinnear); and a date from hell (My Best Friend’s Girl, starring Dane Cook and Kate Hudson). What do the critics have to say?
Say what you will about the films of Neil LaBute, but give him this: while he rarely delivers a fun time at the movies, he’s no slave to convention. Unfortunately, critics say Lakeview Terrace offers an intriguing setup before devolving into a routine thriller finale. Samuel L. Jackson stars as a strict, emotionally damaged LAPD who objects to his new neighbors’ interracial marriage; after extensive harassment, the young couple (played by Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington) fights back. Pundits say the problem with Lakeview Terrace is that it presents a realistic, charged scenario before jumping the rails in the final act, substituting smart characterization with generic vigilante tropes. At 36 percent on the Tomatometer, you may not want to visit Lakeview Terrace.
“Ugh, Sam’s at it again…. chewing the scenery at three in the morning…”
It’s one thing to make a macabre children’s film; it’s another to make one that doesn’t deliver much entertainment. Critics say the film is something of a Frankenstein’s monster, stitching together recycled parts from Shrek and The Nightmare Before Christmas. The titular hunchback (voiced by John Cusack) is tired of being a lowly lab assistant; he wants to be an evil scientist in his own right. But when one of his creations, a monster named Eva (Molly Shannon) turns out to be really sweet at heart, Igor begins to rethink his priorities. While the pundits say Igor has moments of Tim Burton-esque visual invention, it’s a pretty mediocre affair, filled with shopworn pop-culture references and manic action but few laughs; plus, it’s probably a bit too dark for the wee ones. At 20 percent on the Tomatometer, Igor could use more brains.
“You too can have your very own Contour Chair.”
Ricky Gervais is a very funny man, but thus far, his movie career has consisted of supporting roles. However, with Ghost Town, the man who brought so much cringe-worthy wit to The Office and Extras takes center stage — and the pundits say the result is delightful. Gervais stars as Bertram Pincus, who has a near-death experience and discovers he can see ghosts — and they’re pretty annoying, especially the caddish Frank (Greg Kinnear). But those specters are of some help, as Bertram learns to be a better person — and find love in the process. The pundits say Ghost Town is a perfect fit for Gervais’s talents, and the film emits awkward laughs and warmth without devolving into schmaltz. At 84 percent on the Tomatometer, Ghost Town has plenty of blithe spirit. (Check out this week’s Total Recall for a ghoulish compendium of some of our favorite cinematic apparitions.)
“For the last time, I am not pug-nosed!”
Given that it wasn’t screened prior to release, it’s unlikely critics will be BFFs with My Best Friend’s Girl. Dane Cook, Kate Hudson, and Jason Biggs star in this romantic comedy about a guy who’s so obnoxious he convinces potentially straying women to stand by their men — before falling for his main homey’s boo. Kids, call up you best friend’s girl and ask her for insight in guessing the Tomatometer! (And don’t forget to check out Dane Cook’s five favorite movies here.)
“The woman you’re replacing is very special. She won the GE Followship. Now send Tracey in.”
Also opening this week in limited release:
Fraulein, a story of complex friendship set against the backdrop of a changing Yugoslavia, is at 83 percent.
Virtual JFK, a documentary that explores how the assassinated president would have handled the Vietnam War, is at 75 percent.
The Western Appaloosa, starring Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen as two lawmen who must get past their mutual appreciation of the same woman (Renée Zellweger) in order to save their town, is at 71 percent.
The Brazilian import Elite Squad, about the pressures of working the police beat in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, is at 58 percent.
Finally, quasi-props to fullmetal_medji for coming the closest to guessing Tyler Perry’s the Family That Preys‘ 52 percent Tomatometer.
Recent Samuel L. Jackson Movies:
Another four-pack of films heads into the multiplexes on Friday only this time there are some choices for the under-25 set. Leading the way are the Samuel L. Jackson cop film Lakeview Terrace and Dane Cook‘s romantic comedy My Best Friend’s Girl. Adding to the mix, but expected to pull in smaller numbers, are the animated pic Igor and the Ricky Gervais laugher Ghost Town. Combined sales for the new titles are not likely to come close to the $63M pumped into last weekend’s session by that frame’s four openers, but the North American box office does look to match up with year-ago numbers.
Mace Windu hits the big screen headlining the suspense thriller Lakeview Terrace from Sony’s Screen Gems unit. The PG-13 film features Jackson as a tough cop terrorizing his new neighbors, a young interracial couple. Marketing materials have been compelling and early fall is a good time for a tense thriller. There are no fright films in the top ten right now so those looking for a scare during this pre-Halloween month will have only this to see. And appeal could reach many different groups. But the one big question mark is Jackson who always adds value in supporting roles, but has an inconsistent record as a headliner. Openings for recent misfires include $1.7M for Resurrecting the Champ, $4.1M for Black Snake Moan, $5.8M for Freedomland, and $4.1M for The Man. Terrace is a more appealing film and its promotional push has been strong so look for a much better turnout. Lakeview and My Best Friend’s Girl should come very close to each other on the charts this weekend, but the former could have the edge thanks to its more commercially-friendly rating and the solid track record of Screen Gems with marketing thrillers. Attacking roughly 2,400 theaters, Lakeview Terrace may debut with about $13M this weekend.
Tyler Perry also has a way of drawing most of his fan base on the first weekend. Sophomore declines for his recent hits include 63% for Meet the Browns (on the post-Easter frame) and 43% for Why Did I Get Married? Lionsgate may witness a drop of 45% to around $9.5M leaving the Perry pic with $30M in ten days.
The cop thriller Righteous Kill bowed at number three over the weekend but has been running at number two during the mid-week period. De Niro and Pacino may find themselves losing 45% of the crowd this weekend. That would give Overture Films roughly $9M over three days pushing the overall tally to $30M as well.
LAST YEAR: The latest videogame thriller Resident Evil: Extinction debuted at number one with a solid $23.7M for Sony on its way to $50.6M. Lionsgate followed with its romantic comedy Good Luck Chuck which opened to $13.7M before closing up shop with $35M. Rounding out the top five were The Brave One with $7.3M for Warner Bros., Lionsgate’s 3:10 to Yuma with $6.2M, and Eastern Promises from Focus which expanded nationally and placed fifth with $5.6M. Bowing poorly in sixth was the teen flick Sydney White with just $5.2M for Universal on its way to a weak $11.9M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
only roast the ones you love,” Dane Cook explained to Rotten Tomatoes
his colorful comments about
Best Friend’s Girl‘s poster, in which he compared his Photoshopped
face to a section of Britney Spears’s anatomy. “If you really, really are
pissed or whatever, you don’t say anything. You just tuck your tail between
your legs and you walk away.”
So Cook loves his upcoming movie (opening this Friday), in which he co-stars
with Jason Biggs, Kate Hudson, and Alec Baldwin as a jackass-for-hire who
takes women on legendarily bad dates and sends them running back to their
exes. What are the other movies the comedian/actor loves, namely his five
favorite of all time? RT puts Cook under the spotlight.
I know three right off the bat.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. How’d it influence me? Big Steve Martin fan. Knew I wanted to be a comedian when I was very young. And my sister brought the Wild and Crazy Guy album home, which I still have in my office. When
Planes, Trains came out, that was the first film that really I looked at and said, “I’d love to, someday if I’m lucky enough to have a comedy audience, bring them into film and make that kind of movie.” Big heart, big laughs. And, of course, Steve Martin at the car rental shop, you know, “I want my f–king car right f–king now.” Unbelievably funny movie. Of course, John Hughes, John Candy, one of my favorites ever.
Can I take two minutes to tell a story? Awesome f–king John Hughes story. [My Best Friend’s Girl director] Howie [Deutch] was directing
Some Kind of Wonderful and the studio wanted a four-page rewrite on a scene. So Howie’s all, “I can’t figure out what to do.” Calls John, says, “Can you come over and help me write these four pages?” For two-and-a-half hours they’re just pacing around, John is just smoking incessantly. Howie says, “I need to lay down. I’m beat. I’m going to sleep a few hours and then we’ll finish it.” Then he says, “Dane, I wake up at about five in the morning and John is scribbling like crazy. He hands it to me and says, ‘Read this. It’s only 50 pages right now, but read it. I’m calling it
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.’
Absolutely blown away by the world of
Star Wars, Empire and Jedis. [But] my favorite moment of the three is actually in
The Return of the Jedi. And I argue this with people who are real Star Wars freaks. “Ewoks ruin the movie.” If you’re going to trifle over Ewoks, and you’re not going to talk about how great the speeder bike scenes through the redwood forests are, then f–k off. Those are some of the greatest action sequences… Okay, yeah, there’s some cute critters to sell merchandise. [But there’s] some [scenes] that I couldn’t even dream up with these unbelievable hovercrafts and modern-looking Stormtrooopers.
And Jedi has the best moment. [It’s] at the very end when the Emperor is trying to pull Luke over and, of course, Luke is getting the s–t kicked out of him and getting electricity blown at him. And Luke finally takes his lightsaber and throws it aside and says, “No. I’ll never join you. I’m a Jedi like my father before me.” And the Emperor says, “So be it…Jedi.” And it was the fact that the f–king devil himself gave Luke props and called him by [who] he was. It empowered him. That always gets by people, but that’s my stand-out moment.
But Empire, when that movie ended in a cliffhanger, my life was a cliffhanger. Until the next one came out, you couldn’t talk to me, you couldn’t talk to me, dude. I was hanging out with my Ungnaught action figures. Everything in my life went back to, “What do you think is going to happen next to Han Solo?” I promise you, you talk to my family and they will go, “Dane was bananas.”
Goodfellas is a movie that you can watch a million times in a row and there’s always a scene where you go, “Whoa, wait a minute, is this another director’s cut. Where did that scene come from? When did that scene get so amazing?” Just a classic. Love Scorsese. But this movie to me is just the cream of the crop when it comes to dramas.
I’m going to put this on the list. It’s a new movie. It’s a movie that’s making history. It’s one of the greatest crime dramas out there. And when Kevin Smith lovingly compared it to
Godfather II, it was before I had seen the movie and I thought, “Okay, this is jumping the shark. Kevin Smith, if I see him, I want to punch in the mouth. Because he has taken the hype machine and he’s cranked it up to 11 via
Spinal Tap.” And I was unhappy with [his] statement.
Now that I’ve sat through the movie, I want to French kiss Kevin Smith. He f–king nailed it. And this movie,
The Dark Knight, it deserves the money its making. It’s epic, it’s classic, Heath Ledger would be amazing whether it was a posthumous performance, whatever. He’s awesome in it. I. Love. This. Movie.
Let me really rattle my brain here. I want to go back. I’m going to say Halloween. When Mike Myers walks out of the backyard… It’s an establishing shot of the front of the house, and you think it’s just a standard exterior, night, Halloween, porch. [But] then the music goes [imitates Halloween theme]. And then [Myers] walks out of the shadow of the backyard. I, to this day, don’t look into a shadowy night yard situation without seeing him walk out.
The same way that when I’m in a very sudsy bathtub — and, yes, I do take baths, don’t judge me — when my f–king toe comes out of the water — my number six pick would be
Jaws — I still look at my toe and I still become frightened of Amity Beach and all the things that happened to the poor people in the Steven Spielberg epic.
I grew up in a family that loved film, loved music, loved comedy. Thirsty for the how-to’s. Some kids liked to take apart radios. I wanted to know how Johnny Carson set up punch. I wanted to know how Burt Reynolds jumped over the bridge in
Cannonball Run. I really have a love of film. And although I wanted to be a comedian primarily, I certainly wanted to, with a smidgen of success, be behind the camera and
live that incredible world.
Supernatural encounters with a deceased bridezilla are the name of the game in Over Her Dead Body. While run-ins with jealous spirits are unfamiliar territory for most mortals, moviegoers can find solace in Jason Biggs’ big screen return to his physical comedy roots. A few films and ravaged baked goods away from his role as Jim Levenstein in the American Pie series, Biggs plays Dan, a clumsy, well-intentioned, catering business partner with a cloudy sexual orientation that has stumbled deep into the “friend zone” of the film’s main love interest, Ashley [Lake Bell].
RT had the opportunity to sit down with Biggs at a roundtable interview about the film where he discussed his character’s sexual survival, his post-American Pie career, an impressive list of hottie co-stars, and upcoming films that could add a few more memorable, some might say outrageous, scenes to his cinematic CV.
What attracted you to the Over Her Dead Body script?
Jason Biggs: Well, for comedies, if you read a script and you laugh, it’s funny. If you don’t laugh, it’s not funny. I laughed a lot and that’s a good starting point. I thought for romantic comedies, there is a certain formula that you generally need to stick to and the best romantic comedies will play with that formula a little bit. They’ll do their best to be original where they can be and play with things.
While this may be a recurring theme, I feel like Jeff [Lowell, writer/director] put a lot of original ideas and original comedy into it and it just stood out. Part of that is that he [Jeff] is just so smart and edgy. The first scene is Eva [Longoria Parker] getting crushed by an ice angel and it’s pretty morbid and dark. You could be like “Is this movie going to be too extreme, too edgy?” But he was able to keep the right amount of edge but keep it accessible, fun, and entertaining I thought.
The role was really interesting for me because it actually was one of the toughest roles that I’ve done because it was really layered. I’m playing a straight guy who’s playing a gay guy because he’s in love. I had to figure out what Dan’s impression of homosexuality was or how he would want to perform it. It had to be credible. I didn’t want to go over the top with it. I didn’t want to go stereotypical clichéd places where you’d wonder, “How could you keep up that ruse for five years?” There had to be a bit of ambiguity so it was actually really tough. So the director and I kept talking about it. I kept soliciting his advice and asking his opinion because I was concerned that I either wasn’t doing enough or was doing too much. In the end, we decided that less was more and the more subdued the better… The role was interesting for me, I just thought this could be a really, really fun role to play.
Did you do much back story? This guy is in love with this woman for five years, what did he do when he wasn’t around her? Swoon?
JB: That’s a really good question. I didn’t really think about that actually, maybe I should have. Are you saying I should have? What about when he was not with her? Did he have to keep that up? At a certain point did it come habitual for him and he just kept it up everywhere he went? Also, what about how many people did they have in common? How many thought he was gay in her circle or their circle? Interesting… I didn’t think about any of that.
What about the sex?
JB: The sex! Is this guy masturbating for five years? Or did he decide, “You know what? What’s wrong with a little homosexual sex? Might as well do it, I’ve got to get some.” I mean, what did he do? That’s a great question. I’m assuming he just masturbated to Ashley just non-stop. I’m assuming he had plenty of material because they’d go shopping together and she’d be wearing a g-string. I’m assuming he had enough to work with that got him through his five years of abstinence.
One of the great things about the movie is having the surprises of Lake [Bell] and Lindsay Sloane.
JB: Lindsay is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. She and I have such an amazing back and forth. We’re trying to work with each other again [on a television show]. She’s hilarious and I had seen her work before.
Lake, this movie for her could be the sky’s the limit. She’s got this Julia Roberts quality, you know? Very funny, very pretty, approachable, relatable, sort of not afraid to make a fool of herself. Lindsay is the same way. Lindsay is so much fun. There really is a dearth of funny, pretty, young actresses out there. I mean there’s not too many. If you are that? You’re psyched. I wish I was a funny young actress.
You do a lot of physical comedy, which is what people have got to know you for from the American Pie movies, are you looking for that in scripts? Or are you trying to get away from that?
JB: No, physical comedy is my favorite thing to do in the world, without a doubt. I was so excited for that scene. I came in that day and Jeff is such a great collaborator and he wanted your ideas and improvisation. He really respected all of his actors and respected the fact that I do physical comedy and love doing physical comedy.
So when I came in that day, we went over the objectives of the scene, but then, he gave me the freedom. In the fall, afterwards, and all of that, he was like, “I’ll be back here shooting.” I’d be like, “I think I might fall and we’ll have the camera pan down.” He just gave me that freedom because I love physical comedy.
I love falls and stuff. It’s so much fun for me, but I take it seriously. It’s a whole choreography that needs to be done and I like going in a little early and scoping out the lay of the land to figure out what I can do and what I might be able to add to it. He [Jeff] gave me that freedom and it was really cool. I love, love, love, physical comedy.
So we can always expect to see doing something like superglue-ing your hand to your balls or something like that in every movie?
JB: Something close to it! Ideally, yes. I imagine there will be films that I don’t, but it will probably be a film that I only did for the money.
In the next two movies I’m in, in one, my character shaves his eyebrows off. In another movie, I, among other things, masturbate into a sink. You know, it’s what I do. It’s my bread and butter.
What are the names of those upcoming films?
JB: My Best Friend’s Girl with Dane Cook, Kate Hudson, Alec Baldwin, my character shaves his eyebrows off accidentally. Well, the first one accidentally, the second one… well, you’ll see. Then, Lower Learning, with Eva Longoria Parker, we re-teamed and I, among other things, during a flashback to my high school days – ugly prom tux with pimples all over my face – am masturbating into a sink while crying hysterically.
In addition to the physical comedies, you’re always in movies with really hot women.
JB: I know.
Is that a coincidence? Or is that you living the best life ever?
JB: That’s being the luckiest son of a bitch in this hotel.
Are you and Lindsay an item?
JB: Me and Sloaney? No, she’s married. I’ve got a serious girlfriend. But if not, I would bang her anyway, I think. No, I’m actually really good friends with her husband. So I’m thinking a four-some, a little orgy style might be in order. For now, nothing’s happened.
Is your girlfriend in the business?
JB: She is. Her name is Jenny Mollen. She was on Angel for a little while, kind of a sci-fi girl. She’s got a couple movies coming out. She’s in My Best Friend’s Girl as well, has a cool little part in that.
How do you feel about your transition from the American Pie guy to actor Jason Biggs? Are you always going to be proud of the American Pie guy?
JB: I’m totally proud of being that guy. The comedic muscles that I used in those teen movies, I still want to use today in my physical comedy – playing the sort of underdog, all of that stuff I feel like is going to part of my career for as long as people keep hiring me. As far as the genre, the teen movie genre, I’m at an age now where I can’t really be a part of that anymore. I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to make that transition into more young adult or adult comedy, that people are actually hiring me now as a 30 year old as opposed to a 17 year old. So that’s good news. As far as the kind of comedies, there will always be a bit of the sophomoric comedy in me. I love that stuff.
Are you keeping in touch with that ensemble cast?
JB: Eddie Kaye Thomas [Finch] is one of my best friends. Chris Klein and I still chat occasionally. He’s a great friend. The rest of the cast, I don’t talk to as much. My girlfriend is actually friends with Alyson Hannigan from that Buffy/Angel world, so I saw her recently, which is cool because I hadn’t seen her in a long time.
For the most part and it’s a good thing I guess, everyone’s busy kind of doing their own thing and living where they’re living, that happens. But whenever we do reconnect, we’ll always have that bond. I mean, that was crazy and we all have it shared.
In terms of expectations, when you’re going to the movies with your friends, are they expecting you to raise the bar every single time they see you on screen?
JB: I don’t know if they’re expecting it. They’re hoping. I haven’t always done that. I think the reality is that the bar was set really high with American Pie. Any movie I’ve done after that, that people are like, “That was funny,” I’m psyched because I know for myself as well, I’ve set the bar really high and people set it for me.
American Pie, people loved it! I’m so fortunate and if some peoples’ opinions are that nothing else holds a candle to that, that’s ok with me. I’m proud of that movie. I’ve since had people come up to me and compliment me and say something like “Saving Silverman is my favorite movie you’ve done” or this or that, and it’s just awesome. That’s so cool, you know? As long as I stay employed. I just want to keep working. It hasn’t been a hindrance. People asked about being pigeon-holed or type cast, I’m still working. So, I’m lucky. I can’t complain.
So you see a steady stream of scripts?
JB: Yeah, some of them are incoming. Sometimes, I have to go after them. The best things, I go after. The things that I really want, I go after them. I’m not afraid to do that or afraid to audition. I grew up doing it since I was five years old, I don’t expect anything otherwise. I love it. It’s part of my job. It’s my livelihood.