Romantic comedies often rely on a specific formula to dole out warm fuzzy feelings and fantasy wish fulfillment, so it’s no wonder they’re frequently dismissed as disposable fluff. Sometimes, though, that’s exactly the sort of undemanding entertainment you’re in the mood for, and when that mood strikes, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as some familiar comfort food, even if it amounts to empty calories. This isn’t to say all rom-coms are bad; some of the best movies ever made fall into the genre. But we all have our guilty pleasures, and as Valentine’s Day rolls around, we invite you to bask in some personal favorites that, for one reason or another, failed to enrapture the critics. Snuggle up with your dearly beloved — or a gallon of your favorite ice cream — for these Rotten rom-coms we love anyway, and let us know what you’d put on the list.


27 Dresses (2008) 41%

Always a bridesmaid, never a bride… until you fall for a newspaper columnist who writes a piece about your dilemma, that is. This one’s got everything you’d expect from the genre — the unrequited love, the wacky sibling, the good-looking red herring, the explosive misunderstanding, the subsequent self-realization and redemption — and it even sort of mirrors the plot of another movie on this list (Runaway Bride). But writer Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) infuses the admittedly familiar proceedings with wit and heart, and the world hadn’t quite learned to hate Katherine Heigl just yet.


50 First Dates (2004) 45%

If you need someone to play a guileless sweetheart who rises every morning with a sunny disposition and absolutely no memory of the previous day, you could do a lot worse than Drew Barrymore, who helps ground this Adam Sandler vehicle even as she perpetually suffers a reverse Groundhog Day of sorts. To his credit, Sandler manages to tone it down a notch, and Rob Schneider is great in the only type of role he should ever play: the goofy sidekick. Yeah, it’s crude in spots and the high-concept premise is a bit of a stretch, but it’s also genuinely charming if you let down your guard.


America's Sweethearts (2001) 32%

Considering the cast of America’s Sweethearts, there probably isn’t a more appropriate title for any film on this list. Catherine Zeta-Jones may never have scored anything quite as iconic in the genre as When Harry Met Sally, Say Anything, or half of Julia Roberts‘ filmography, but the combination of Roberts, John Cusack, and Billy Crystal in an outsized romantic farce set in Hollywood? Come on. It’s a little uneven and not as funny as it should be, given the wackiness of its story, but it’s got some hilarious bits, and it skewers the industry pretty thoroughly while offering a reason for Cusack and Roberts to combine their rom-com powers for once.


French Kiss (1995) 48%

She’s the betrayed fiancée on her way to France to win back her lover; he’s the gruff, “hygiene-deficient” Frenchman who uses her as an unwitting mule to smuggle the goods he needs to start his own vineyard. Do they bristle at each other at first? Yes. Do they eventually fall for each other? Yes. Does he rush to the airport to declare his love for her? Yes. Is it all wonderful? Yes. Chemistry can go a long way, and in French Kiss, Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline make such a convincing odd couple that it makes up for some of the film’s other shortcomings.


Head Over Heels (2001) 10%

It’s reasonable to assume the premise of Rear Window might not make for a jaunty romantic comedy — and a lot of critics would largely agree with you — but there’s something to be said about a movie that utilizes a murder (albeit staged) as the catalyst for a meet-cute. Specifically, it’s a ballsy move, and it only works becaue Freddie Prinze Jr. is at his heartthrobbiest here and Monica Potter flusters with grace. Mix them together with a bit of action and you’ve got a Grosse Pointe Blank for the teenage set.


The Holiday (2006) 49%

Sometimes, all you need to put a little spark in your love life is a change of scenery. That’s the idea behind The Holiday, which stars Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet as two women from opposite sides of the Atlantic who agree to swap houses for Christmas and end up in relationships (one with Jude Law and the other with Jack Black). It’s a simple premise that plays out as you might expect, but it benefits tremendously from its cast, Nancy Meyers‘ directing, and the kind of earnestness frequently absent from modern rom-coms.


Just Friends (2005) 42%

Ah, the friend zone, the relationship quagmire that slowly engulfs and suffocates the best of us before we even realize we’re in it. Back in 2005, a pre-Deadpool Ryan Reynolds fled this platonic impasse in Just Friends as Chris, an overweight nerd who returns to his 10-year high school reunion with a slimmer bod and a pop star on his arm, only to find he still has feelings for his childhood crush and BFF (Amy Smart). It’s not the first time we’ve seen this story play out, but Reynolds is in prime goofy-leading-man mode here, and the supporting cast, which includes Anna Faris, Chris Klein, and Stephen Root, is golden.


Just Wright (2010) 46%

Like a lot of the films on this list, Just Wright fell victim to its own overreliance on genre cliches. Also like a lot of the films on this list, Just Wright is entirely enjoyable if you can look past those cliches. Queen Latifah and Common — two stars previously better known for their musical talents — prove they can hold a film together, and their easy interplay elevates an otherwise predictable film. It also doesn’t hurt that the cast is rounded out by people like Paula Patton, Phylicia Rashad, and Pam Grier.


Maid in Manhattan (2002) 38%

Jennifer Lopez entered the rom-com game a bit later than some of her contemporaries, but films like Maid in Manhattan paved the way for a long career as a big-screen sweetheart that continues to this day. Here she plays the titular hotel housekeeper, who’s mistaken for a high-profile socialite by a senatorial candidate (Ralph Fiennes) and begins a romance with him under false pretenses. You can pretty much guess where it goes from there, but thanks to Lopez’s bubbly charisma, it’s a breezy Cinderella story with a lot of heart.


The Proposal (2009) 45%

Ask anyone to name their top five underrated rom-coms and The Proposal is likely to make the list. This fan favorite pairs immensely likable stars Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds in a comedy about a publishing exec from Canada facing deportation who makes a deal with her assistant in exchange for his hand in marriage — and the accompanying citizenship status that comes with it. Of course they discover feelings for each other that weren’t there before, and it all culminates in a last-minute desertion and a public declaration of love, but with Bullock and Reynolds leading the way and a supporting cast that includes Mary Steenburgen, Betty White, Craig T. Nelson, and a scene-stealing pup named Kevin, it’s so much better than it has any right to be.


Runaway Bride (1999) 46%

Pretty Woman is widely recognized as the standard-bearer of modern romantic comedies, so it’s not surprising that the director (Garry Marshall) and stars (Julia Roberts and Richard Gere) of that film decided to give it another go. Is it as charming? Not exactly, but the familiarity feels like a warm blanket, and Roberts and Gere are such pros that they make it work. The film gets docked a few points for following formula, but that’s par for the course here, and at the end of the day, it’s just so damn likable that it doesn’t really matter.


Sweet Home Alabama (2002) 39%

One thing Sweet Home Alabama has over its peers from the get-go is that its central romance takes place between a couple who are already married. There’s no awkward first meeting, no getting-to-know-you phase, and no secrets to unravel… save for the fact that Melanie, played by Reese Witherspoon, is hiding her Deep South roots and estranged husband (Josh Lucas) from her new fiancée (Patrick Dempsey). In other words, this is a reconciliation rom-com, which puts a slightly different spin on the proceedings, and it’s populated by a killer cast that includes Candice Bergen, Fred Ward, Jean Smart, and Mary Lynn Rajskub, among others. Thanks to that cast — and Witherspoon’s effortless charms — the film is tender and funny in all the right ways.


The Sweetest Thing (2002) 26%

The Sweetest Thing is road-trip rom-com about three club-hopping besties banding together to reunite one of them with the hot guy who got away. It’s also a movie that stops midway through for an impromptu musical number about penis size in the middle of a Chinese restaurant. Does it have many insights to offer about love and singlehood? Maybe not, but in a pre-Bridesmaids era, seeing a trio of capable actresses carry a raunchy comedy from the female perspective is something of a revelation.


Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! (2004) 55%

Nothing in Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! is overtly nasty, which is why it endures as a good-natured exemplar of the rom-com genre. Even when Josh Duhamel is playing the cad, he’s kind of charming, and you can’t help but sympathize with Topher Grace‘s Pete a little. But it’s Kate Bosworth who carries the film on her shoulders with her wide-eyed wonder and makes you root for her every step of the way, no matter who she ends up with. Throw in a great cast that includes Nathan Lane, Ginnifer Goodwin, Sean Hayes, and Gary Cole, just to name a few, and you’ve got yourself a cute little romance to cuddle up with, even if it sometimes feels like it’s just going through the motions.

 

In The Boss, a titan of industry is sent to jail for insider trading and, upon release, discovers not all her peers are keen on welcoming her back. The Melissa McCarthy comedy inspires this week’s 24 Frames gallery, the best and worst bosses from movie history.

After years of fan outcry, Ryan Reynolds finally gets the chance to topline a solo Deadpool movie this weekend — and if early critical returns are any indication, it was well worth the wait. In honor of the occasion, we decided to take a fond look back at some of the best and brightest moments from Mr. Reynolds’ film and TV career, and the results add up to a list that includes big box-office hits and left-field choices from across the spectrum. It’s time for Total Recall!


Two Guys and a Girl (1998-2001)

TwoGuysAndAGirl

After getting his first big break in the Canadian soap Hillside, Reynolds picked up a handful of TV appearances (including a gig on Sabrina the Teenage Witch) before landing a co-starring role on the ABC sitcom Two Guys and a Girl, which lingered on the network’s lineup for an 81-episode run between 1998-2001. Initially part of a Wednesday comedy block that included The Drew Carey Show, the series was initially something of a midsized hit, but it was eventually doomed by a move to the Saturday TV graveyard — not to mention a glut of Friends-inspired shows about the travails of twentysomething urbanites. Still, for fans wanting an early glimpse of Reynolds (not to mention a pre-Firefly Nathan Fillion), it’s worth a look.


National Lampoon's Van Wilder (2002) 18%

VanWilder

There’s no denying that Ryan Reynolds is genetically well-qualified to play feckless, handsome charmers — or that, by 2002, the world was ready for a fresh take on the slobs-vs.-snobs story that National Lampoon perfected into an art form with Animal House — so National Lampoon’s Van Wilder, starring Reynolds as a legendarily shiftless college student scrambling to preserve his cushy lifestyle after being cut off by his dad, could have been a lot of fun. The problem, as most critics saw it, was that instead of being a schlubby, disadvantaged outsider with an axe to grind against the Man, Reynolds’ character was simply lazy, and thus inherently hard to root for. Still, it gave him an early chance to carry a film, and it’s become something of a cult comedy classic — which is just fine with John Patterson of the L.A. Weekly, who called it “An effervescent campus gross-out comedy that’s true to the amoral, anarchic spirit of Lampoon founder-editor and screenwriter Doug Kenney.”

Watch Trailer


The Nines (2007) 65%

TheNines

Whatever problems The Nines might have, lack of ambition isn’t one of them. This heady sci-fi fantasy, which marked the feature directorial debut of screenwriter John August, stars Reynolds in a triple role as three men struggling to understand the truth behind unusual occurrences in their lives — lives that occasionally intersect — while in the midst of fraught encounters with mysterious women (all played by Hope Davis, in another triple role). It’s the type of trippy metaphysical drama that demands a viewer’s complete concentration, and even then, the answers to the questions it poses are open to interpretation. Still, if you’re in the mood for a less-than-straightforward film, you could do far worse. “Confusing? Yes, and intentionally so,” wrote Christy Lemire for the Associated Press. “But it’s never boring.”

Watch Trailer


Definitely, Maybe (2008) 70%

DefinitelyMaybe

A romantic comedy with a twist, Definitely, Maybe finds its protagonist looking back on the love affair that led to marriage and a child — by telling the story to his young daughter, with some names changed and facts adjusted, while in the midst of a divorce. Thanks in part to those narrative curveballs, most critics applauded Maybe — and even if it still ultimately traced a rather familiar arc, it was difficult to find too much fault with a resolutely charming production that made smart use of a likable ensemble cast that included Reynolds, Abigail Breslin, Elizabeth Banks, Isla Fisher, and Rachel Weisz. “As the movie is about a character’s growing into his own truth rather than discovering some preordained truth, Definitely, Maybe is hard to outguess,” wrote Mick LaSalle for the San Francisco Chronicle. “For once in a romantic comedy, you won’t be able to tell after five minutes who will end up together.”

Watch Trailer


The Proposal (2009) 45%

Proposal1

It’s a special occasion when critics really go nuts for a romantic comedy — or when rom-com fans care enough about critics’ opinions to stay away from the cineplex even when a new entry in the genre is supposed to be subpar. For proof, look no further than 2009’s The Proposal, which endured a heap of critical brickbats on its way to theaters, yet still managed to roll up an impressive $300 million-plus gross — thanks in no small part to the chemistry between stars Sandra Bullock (as a publishing company’s abrasive editor-in-chief) and Reynolds (as the hapless assistant who’s browbeaten into marrying her to keep her from being deported). It definitely isn’t revolutionary stuff, and you know exactly where the movie’s taking the relationship, but that formula is a big part of the romantic comedy’s appeal. “The Proposal is just a good old-fashioned romance, one in which people actually bring out the best in one another rather than the worst,” wrote Betsy Sharkey for the Los Angeles Times. “How novel is that?”

Watch Trailer


Buried (2010) 87%

Buried

It takes a special kind of creativity and filmmaking discipline — to say nothing of actorly chutzpah — to pull off a film centered around a single person in a single space, and when Reynolds read the script for 2010’s Buried, he had to know he was facing an immense challenge. Both he and director Rodrigo Cortés deserve a ton of credit, then, for making the most out of screenwriter Chris Sparling’s tightly focused story about a military contractor who wakes up imprisoned in a coffin, and turning its seemingly limited premise into a 95-minute white-knuckle race against time. As Rex Reed argued for the New York Observer, “Nothing this underrated actor has done previously measures up to the emotional diversity, focus and self-control required of him in a one-man exercise in underground suspense that Alfred Hitchcock would envy.”

Watch Trailer


Safe House (2012) 53%

SafeHouse

Reynolds got the chance to go toe-to-toe with Denzel Washington in 2012’s Safe House, an action thriller from director Daniel Espinosa about a rogue CIA operative (Washington) whose interrogation is interrupted by a team of mercenaries that attacks and sends him back into the wind with a low-level field agent (Reynolds). It’s a premise rich with possibilities for cool set pieces and odd-couple bickering, but Safe House never really takes full advantage of those possibilities, settling instead for frenetic editing that can’t quite move fast enough to mask the clichéd plot developments along the way. Still, when the movie gets going, it does have its pleasures; as Colin Covert wrote for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “I won’t deny that the movie hooked me with sheer brute energy and dragged me along with it most of the way.”

Watch Trailer


The Voices (2014) 74%

Voices

For most films, making your main protagonist an employee at a bathtub factory would more than fulfill the weirdness quotient. But for 2015’s The Voices, that’s just the beginning of a surreal odyssey into bloody violence and black comedy — oh, and talking pets. Directed by acclaimed graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi by a script from Paranormal Activity 2 co-writer Michael R. Perry, The Voices gives Reynolds free rein to indulge in all manner of strange behavior, but for the most part, critics agreed that the movie stays on the right side of the line between refreshingly different and quirky for quirky’s sake, and while its main character’s warped descent into a bleak, chaotic psychological abyss definitely isn’t for all viewers, those with a taste for the strange might find the end results intoxicating. As Sara Stewart wrote for the New York Post, “Ryan Reynolds is chillingly perfect as a nice-guy factory worker struggling with schizophrenia and murderous impulses in this tonally wild indie, which is nearly too horrifying to be funny — but not quite.”

Watch Trailer


Woman in Gold (2015) 57%

WomanInGold

Woman in Gold has an awful lot going for it, including a fascinating real-life story and a talented cast topped off by the mighty Helen Mirren. Unfortunately, while there’s plenty of drama to be wrought from the tale of a Jewish refugee battling the Austrian government for ownership of a Gustav Klimt painting of her aunt, much of it went missing on its journey to the big screen. Although critics were quick to praise Mirren’s work, and had kind words for Reynolds’ portrayal of a rookie lawyer enlisted to help win back the painting, many critics felt Woman in Gold lacked the depth and dramatic pull its story deserved — which is not to say the movie didn’t have its fans. “Sometimes you know a movie is going to work in about the first three scenes,” wrote Wesley Morris for Grantland. “This one really works.”

Watch Trailer


Mississippi Grind (2015) 91%

MississippiGrind

A number of his more successful films have found him playing characters that might be described as blandly pretty, so the idea of Ryan Reynolds playing an emotionally stunted drifter with a gambling problem might seem like a bit of a stretch. With his work in Mississippi Grind, however, Reynolds offered an excellent reminder that when given the right script, he’s more than capable of delivering a finely layered performance — and going toe-to-toe with Ben Mendelsohn in a melancholy road movie about a pair of aging losers who can’t quite seem to grow up no matter how many chances they’re given. “Mendelsohn plays Gerry as a stringy, sweaty hunk of pure desperation,” wrote Mike D’Angelo for the A.V. Club, “while Reynolds, as the ostensibly more stable partner, demonstrates yet again that he’s much more than a ridiculously pretty face.”

Watch Trailer

Time for the weekly update, folks. As always, thanks to everyone who has submitted reviews and helped contribute to the show. Every week, we continue to bring you a lively, upbeat, and fun perspective on movies, and participation from RT and Current users, as well as viewers of the show, has been a big part of it. We do, of course, need more people to take part in the show each week, and that’s why we’re here to tell you how you can contribute! If you’ve watched the show at all and thought to yourself, “Wait, I can do what these people are doing! And I have much more interesting things to say than that!”, then you need to head on over to the Current website to see how you can offer your Webcam reviews for the movies they’ll be tackling in next week’s episode: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, My Sister’s Keeper, and The Hurt Locker. What’s more, if Current uses your review on the show, you’ll get a crisp Benjamin in your wallet. That’s right, $100 just for telling us what you thought about the movie you saw! The submission form itself can be found on the right hand side of the Current page linked above, and remember, the deadline for webcam reviews is Sunday at midnight!

If you missed the last episode, which featured this week’s reviews as well as the top 5 movie Summer Camps, you can see it here:




If you’ve never submitted a webcam review to The Rotten Tomatoes Show before, we have just the thing to help you out. Below, you’ll find two instructional videos featuring Brett Erlich from RTS and our Editor in Chief, Matt Atchity, that will help guide you through the process of creating and submitting your reviews. Give them a look, and prepare to stun the masses with your filmic knowledge!

In the first video, Brett and Matt explain exactly how you go about submitting your video review, offering tips on different cameras you can use, lighting, and setting. You can see it here:

Submission Tutorial Video #1:


The second video goes into more detail about the actual content and execution of your video, including what to talk about, how to say it, and how you can tailor your sound bites to fit nicely with the pace of the show. Check it out, and then click the link below the article when you’re ready to submit yours!

Submission Tutorial Video #2:



Click HERE to submit your webcam review!

This week, the Rotten Tomatoes Show will be looking at the movies that opened over the weekend, including The Proposal and Year One, with help from you (the Rotten Tomatoes community), the Current TV community, and the viewers of the show. The cutoff for webcam reviews
has already passed (midnight on Sunday), but the good news is that you can still contribute your Haiku Reviews of the last movie you saw. In order to submit your beautiful Haikus, click here.

Otherwise, be sure to tune in to our show this Thursday (10:30pm on Current TV), and if you missed the last episode, you can either download the podcast on iTunes or watch it here:


.[rtimage]MapID=1206888&MapTypeID=2&photo=16&legacy=1[/rtimage]

Proof of the power of the cougar-com in this season of blockbuster action and man-movies, Sandra Bullock’s The Proposal mirrored its US success and wooed Australian audiences to debut at number one at the box office. Who knew she still had the star power?

The rom-com, which co-stars Ryan Reynolds, charmed up a healthy $4 million for the week, ousting The Hangover from the top and wiping out the other big new release, the Jack Black-Michael Cera comedy Year One. Harold Ramis’ ramble through ancient times drew largely scathing reviews — including a deeply unimpressed one star from David Stratton — and landed in third place, suffering a similar fate to Will Ferrell’s recent low brow/high concept comedy Land of the Lost.

Despite strong reviews from local critics, new Australian film Disgrace — starring John Malkovich — had to be content with opening at number 11, drawing in a little over $200,000 in receipts.

Expect them all to be decimated by the onslaught of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which opens this week.

Sandra Bullock showed North America who’s boss with her return to romantic
comedy in The
Proposal
which gave the actress the biggest opening of her career and
her first number one hit in over a decade. Rival comedy
Year One enjoyed a
respectable debut in fourth place while holdover sensations
The Hangover

and Up continued their
amazing runs with small declines once again. Thanks to four funny films topping
$20M a piece, the overall marketplace inched ahead of last year’s levels for the
first time in four weeks putting the industry in a good position with Megan Fox
and the Autobots on the horizon.[rtimage]MapID=1206888&MapTypeID=2&photo=13&legacy=1[/rtimage]
Moviegoers gave a very loud yes to Bullock this weekend as
The Proposal

powered ahead of expectations to open to an estimated $34.1M to easily lead the
box office race. The bow nearly doubled the $17.6M of her 2007 thriller
Premonition
to set a new record for the actress who since the mid 1990s has
routinely opened films in the $13-17M range. It was also the largest opening for
any romantic comedy this year beating the $27.8M of February’s He’s Just Not
That Into You
which boasted more starpower with Jennifer Aniston, Ben
Affleck, and Drew Barrymore. Proposal averaged a scorching $11,163 from 3,056
locations.

With many male-skewing comedies and action pics this summer, Buena Vista found a
great slot on the calendar to target women and was rewarded with a potent debut.
Studio research showed that 63% of the audience was female and 86% was 18 and
older. Couples made up 71%. Reviews were mixed, but ticket buyers responded to
the starpower of the extremely likable lead, good marketing, and the story.
Bullock plays a Canadian-born book editor who must pretend to be engaged to her
assistant (Ryan Reynolds) in order to avoid deportation. The studio offered
sneak previews last weekend which helped to get buzz going among adult women and
the date crowd.

Bullock has avoided romantic comedies for much of this decade and audiences
clearly missed her. The last time she reached the top of the charts was in March
1999 with Forces of Nature co-starring Ben Affleck which spent two weeks
at number one. Proposal performed much like the studio’s 2002 blockbuster
Sweet Home Alabama
, another star-driven rom-com about an uptight New York
City big shot who must travel to small town America to fix her wedding dilemmas.
That Reese Witherspoon hit opened to $35.6M on its way to a stellar $127.2M.[rtimage]MapID=1206888&MapTypeID=2&photo=14&legacy=1[/rtimage]
Though booted from the top spot, the runaway comedy smash
The Hangover

still attracted strong business in its third weekend slipping a mere 18% to an
estimated $26.9M propelling the cume to an eye-popping $152.9M. After just 17
days, the Warner Bros. hit has already surpassed the total grosses of recent
R-rated summer comedy hits like Sex and the City ($152.6M), Knocked Up
($148.8M), Superbad ($121.5M), and The 40-Year-Old Virgin
($109.2M). This weekend, the men-behaving-badly smash also passed Clint
Eastwood’s Gran Torino ($148.1M) to become the highest-grossing R flick
since 300 which launched in March 2007 on its way to $210.6M. All three were
distributed by Warner Bros. Hangover now looks set to pass $225M and could even
reach the $250M mark although with its incredible durability, the sky’s the
limit.[rtimage]MapID=1207417&MapTypeID=2&photo=33&legacy=1[/rtimage]
For the third straight session, Pixar’s
Up
followed Hangover
on the charts and collected an estimated $21.3M in its fourth weekend. Down only
31%, the Disney release shattered the $200M barrier on Thursday and boosted its
24-day total to $224.1M. Up is performing very much like Pixar’s biggest fish
Finding Nemo
which dropped 26% to $21.1M in its fourth weekend putting its
total at $228.5M. With help from higher ticket prices and surcharges for 3D, Up
is running only 2% behind Nemo‘s pace. But the road ahead will get tricky
as Fox will steal away most of Up‘s 3D screens when it launches its
animated sequel Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs on July 1 leaving the
flying house flick with mostly 2D runs. Fox held sneaks of Ice Age on
Sunday nationwide in select theaters for Father’s Day.

More comedy could be found in the number four spot. The Jack Black-Michael Cera
vehicle Year One bowed
with an estimated $20.2M from 3,022 locations for a solid $6,684 average. Young
guys were the primary audience for the PG-13 tale of two slacker hunter-gathers
from ancient times who go out and explore the world. Studio research showed that
males made up 57% of the audience while 47% were under 21. With other comedies
targeting adult women, older adults, and small kids, Sony found an opportunity
to connect with its target demo. But the road ahead will get difficult very
quickly with a gargantuan debut expected for Transformers: Revenge of the
Fallen
starting Tuesday night at midnight.[rtimage]MapID=1206892&MapTypeID=2&photo=18&legacy=1[/rtimage]
Audiences didn’t take to Denzel Washington in the second weekend of his hostage
thriller
The
Taking of Pelham 1 2 3
. The Sony release tumbled 52% to an estimated $11.3M
putting the ten-day tally at $43.3M. It was a bigger sophomore drop than those
the Oscar winner saw with previous R-rated pics like Man on Fire (34%),
Inside Man (47%), and American Gangster (45%). Budgeted at more
than $100M, Pelham should finish its North American run with $65-70M and
will need a strong international run.

Two franchise films with strong legs followed. Fox’s

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
grossed an estimated
$7.3M, down 24%, for a $156M cume to date. Ranking as the year’s top-grossing
film for possibly the last weekend,
Star Trek
dipped
only 14% to an estimated $4.7M and has collected a stellar $239.4M thus far.[rtimage]MapID=1186973&MapTypeID=2&photo=52&legacy=1[/rtimage]
Rounding out the top ten were some of the summer’s unlucky films. Crashing 56%
in its third weekend, Will Ferrell’s
Land of the
Lost
fell to eighth place with an estimated $4M and a total of $43.7M
for Universal. Fellow SNL alum Eddie Murphy followed with his latest box office
stinker
Imagine That
which grossed an estimated $3.1M for Paramount, off 44%,
putting the sum at a pitiful $11.4M after ten days.
Terminator
Salvation
dropped 36% to an estimated $3.1M giving Warner Bros. $119.5M
domestically.

Woody Allen’s latest
Whatever Works

enjoyed a sparkling debut in limited release grossing an estimated $281,000 from
only nine locations for a muscular $31,222 average. The Sony Classics release
attracted mixed feelings from critics but the PG-13 film will continue to expand
to more markets in the weeks ahead.[rtimage]MapID=1209569&MapTypeID=2&photo=19&legacy=1[/rtimage]
The top ten films grossed an estimated $136M which was even with last year when
Get Smart opened
in the top spot with $38.7M; but up 12% from 2007 when Steve Carell also ruled
with Evan Almighty
which debuted at number one with $31.2M. The Top 20 grossed $144M this weekend,
up 2% from a year ago.

Author Gitesh Pandaya runs Box Office Guru.

Five of the top six films are comedies right now but Hollywood believes that’s not enough so two new laughers open on Friday to give moviegoers even more options. Sandra Bullock headlines the phony engagement pic The Proposal while Jack Black and Michael Cera star in the lowbrow flick Year One targeting an audience that is younger and more male. The overall marketplace will need to work hard to avoid posting its fourth consecutive down weekend versus last year.

Sandra Bullock returns to her most profitable genre with the new romantic comedy The Proposal hoping to score her first number one hit in over ten years. The PG-13 pic finds the actress playing a Canadian-born book editor who forces her male assistant (Ryan Reynolds) to marry her in order to dodge deportation. Few in Hollywood would think to pair Miss Congeniality with Van Wilder, but the Buena Vista release does just that and will appeal to a core audience of adult women due to the main star and the subject matter. Despite the misleading title, the film should attract decent male business and score points with the date crowd.

Bullock and fellow A-lister Two Weeks Notice with Hugh Grant, which bowed to $14.3M in December 2002 on its way to $93.4M. If Proposal breaks $20M this weekend, her publicists will be touting a new career high. What they’ll leave out is that she’s been absent from the number one spot this entire decade last reaching the top in March 1999 with Forces of Nature co-starring Ben Affleck.

Father’s Day weekend isn’t usually a time when chick flicks open, but the timing is actually quite right for The Proposal. Adult women have had little offered to them this summer and it’s been a good seven weeks since the last major romantic comedy Ghosts of Girlfriends Past opened. Direct competition will be light, but The Hangover will still be a factor for adults while Year One should take away some teens looking for a laugh. Opening in 3,056 locations, The Proposal could debut with about $22M.


Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock in The Proposal

Teen boys not interested in fake engagement hijinks will get to line up for the comedy Year One starring Jack Black and Michael Cera. The PG-13 pic about two slacker hunter-gatherers that venture out of their village to explore the ancient world is aimed squarely at teenagers looking to switch their brains off after a long school year and sit and laugh at mindless fun. Both leads carry some starpower with this crowd and teen girls may also take some interest.

The recent flood of comedies of all types will provide substantial competition. Fearing being crushed by Optimus Prime, studios avoided programming any big action tentpoles in June opting instead for an endless string of laughers. Opening two star-driven comedies on the same day is never a good idea, but Sony is hoping that there is room for Year One to service its audience while Ms. Bullock taps into her crowd. But that puts a limit on the grossing potential since neither has must-see buzz. Young males are pretty reliable at this time of year so those not saving their cash for Transformers on Imax could give the pre-historic comedy a try. Year One makes its way into over 2,900 theaters on Friday and might collect about $20M this weekend.


Jack Black and Michael Cera in Year One

Fox hopes to get early buzz going for its 3D toon Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs with sneak previews this Sunday for Father’s Day in 330 theaters nationwide. The threequel opens on Wednesday, July 1, ahead of the long Independence Day holiday frame and will steal away most of Up‘s 3D screens.

Two-week leader The Hangover will try to score that rare three-peat, but it won’t be easy with two new competing star-driven comedies entering the scene. The men-behaving-badly pic has been showing remarkable strength with its 27% dip in the sophomore frame. Direct competition is much tougher this weekend so sales may fall by 30% to about $23M. That would give The Hangover a sensational $148M in only 17 days for Warner Bros.

Up has been neck and neck over the last two frames and this weekend should continue that trend. The Pixar smash could crack the $200M mark on Thursday in its 21st day of release becoming the animation company’s eighth consecutive blockbuster to join the double-century club. New releases should not steal away too much thunder from the flying house adventure so a 30% decline would give Up around $21.5M boosting the cume to an eye-popping $223M.

Denzel Washington saw a decent but not spectacular bow for his hostage thriller The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 last weekend. Adult audiences are coming out, but are not exactly rushing with excitement. Look for a 45% drop this weekend giving the Sony release roughly $13M for a ten-day tally of $44M.

LAST YEAR: Proving that a remake of an older TV series anchored by a popular funnyman can work if done right, Steve Carell hit the top spot with Get Smart which debuted with $38.7M, or more than twice the opening of Will Ferrell‘s Land of the Lost this month. Warner Bros. found its way to a solid $130.3M with Smart. Tumbling 60% in its second weekend was Universal’s comic actioner The Incredible Hulk which grossed $22.1M which was an improvement on 2003’s Hulk which collapsed by 70% to $18.8M in its sophomore session. Kung Fu Panda held up well in third with $21.9M for Paramount and DreamWorks. Opening in fourth to disappointing results was eventual Razzie champ The Love Guru with $13.9M on its way to just $32.2M for Paramount. Fox rounded out the top five with the thriller The Happening which lost two-thirds of its opening weekend audience grossing $10.5M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week at the movies, we’ve got Biblical bloopers (Year One, starring Jack Black and Michael Cera) and an engagement of convenience (The Proposal, starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds). What do the critics have to say?



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Year One

On paper, Year One sounds so promising; it’s an Old Testament goof starring Jack Black and Michael Cera (as well as an embarrassment of other top comedic talent) directed by Harold Ramis. Unfortunately, critics say the film’s jokes are nearly as ancient and musty as its protagonists. Black and Cera star as a pair of lazy hunter-gatherers who have been banished from their tribe. They become nomads and unwittingly provide a guided tour of the Book of Genesis, meeting the likes of Cain and Abel and visiting Sodom along the way. Critics say that as a satire, Year One is more profane than sacred, lacking the smarts of such previous historical comedies as History of the World: Part 1 or Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Worse, as a comedy it’s undisciplined, relying too much on the actors’ mugging at the expense of funny situations or dialogue. (Check out our collection of some of Jack Black’s most memorable movie faces.)



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The Proposal

No one attends a romantic comedy expecting a reinvention of the wheel; what they want is a fresh take on the familiar. So while some critics find The Proposal sweet and charming, others say it’s formulaic to the point of tedium. Sandra Bullock stars as a high-powered (but ice-cold) book editor who’s in a pickle: as a Canadian citizen, her work visa is about to expire. So she enlists her assistant (Ryan Reynolds) to marry her to stay in the country, and travels with him to meet his wacky family in Alaska. Will these crazy kids make it? Some pundits say The Proposal is better than most of its genre, with good chemistry from its leads and a scene-stealing supporting turn from Betty White. Others, however, say it squanders its actors with increasingly farcical proceedings and generic plotting. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down Bullock’s best-reviewed movies, as well as our interview with Betty White, where she tells us her Five Favorite Films.)


Also opening this week in limited release:

  • $9.99, aa stylistically bold stop-motion meditation on the meaning of life, is at 86 percent.
  • Under Our Skin, a documentary about the threat of Lyme disease, is at 83 percent.
  • End of the Line, a doc about the perils of overfishing, is at 81 percent.
  • The Windmill Movie, an autobiographical film by film professor and director Richard P. Rogers that was completed after his death by one of his students, is at 63 percent.
  • Dead Snow, a Norwegian horror/comedy about an army of Nazi zombies, is at 61 percent.
  • Woody Allen‘s Whatever Works, starring Larry David and Patricia Clarkson in the tale of an upper-crust New Yorker who longs to lead a bohemian existence, is at 53 percent.

  • Betty White

    In this week’s romantic comedy The Proposal, Betty White steals scenes as Grandma Annie, the spunky, slightly daffy grandmother who welcomes her grandson (Ryan Reynolds) and his boss — an uptight exec who has secretly blackmailed him (Sandra Bullock) into marriage — into her Alaskan home. (Naturally, hilarity ensues, most often when White is onscreen befuddling her future granddaughter-in-law.)

    Rotten Tomatoes was honored to sit down with Betty White to discuss her Five Favorite Films (hint: she’s a romantic at heart) and to revisit her incredible career in Hollywood — an impressive body of work that includes hosting her own self-titled talk show, her own variety show, creating iconic characters like “The Happy Homemaker” Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls, and winning five Emmys — all before jumping headfirst into movie roles. Read on to learn Betty White’s Five Favorite Films and hear her insights into great television writing, silly moments on the set of The Proposal, and her take on the art of the conversation.

    Naughty Marietta (1935,
    N/A)



    Naughty Marietta
    I don’t think I’d be in this business if it wasn’t for Naughty Marietta, with Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald. I was 14 and I was SO in love with Nelson Eddy I thought it was the end of the world, and I didn’t just like Jeanette MacDonald, I was Jeanette MacDonald! You know, at 14. And at 14 I also thought, Nelson Eddy married somebody and I thought he needed a much younger woman. I think I saw Naughty Marietta 48 times. I wasn’t even interested in show business until then; I did school plays and that kind of thing, but I hadn’t thought of it as a career until I got hooked.

    Out of Africa (1985, 63% Tomatometer)



    Out of Africa
    I think it’s one of the love stories of the world. The music — I think it’s the most evocative score in the world, it’s just so beautiful.


    Lost Horizon (1937, 100% Tomatometer)



    Lost Horizon
    Lost Horizon is also one of my top, top favorites… it’s a James Hilton book; Frank Capra made the first one and they remade it. It’s set up in the Andes, where Shangri-La is a valley unlike any place on earth. Jane Wyatt and Ronald Coleman starred in the first one. Again, it’s terribly romantic; I’m a romantic nut!


    The Bridges of Madison County (1995,
    90% Tomatometer)



    Bridges of Madison County
    Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep; again, I thought it was a love story where you cared about [the characters]… I guess it just boils down to chemistry, Jennifer; when they deal you in, you get involved.

    Rotten Tomatoes: I love this romantic streak! One of my favorite films is also a romance: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

    Oh, yes, it’s beautiful! There’s something about that film, Out of Africa, and even Bridges of Madison County — it’s that lovely, warm love story with a sadness at the end that just stays with you. [These are movies I watch over and over] or get the DVD when you want a fix; you put it in and just relax and enjoy.


    Kramer vs. Kramer (1979, 88% Tomatometer)



    Kramer vs. Kramer
    It was seeing Meryl Streep for the first time, seeing that performance. You don’t often see somebody just come out from the screen, grab you by the shoulders, and bring you back in. I think it was that that got me about it.


    Next: Betty White shares silly moments on the set of The Proposal, reminisces about The Golden Girls, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and her own unscripted talk show, and examines the art of the conversation

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    In The Proposal we get to see you in a really fun role; Grandma Annie is sort of a naughty grandmother.

    Betty White: Well, she’s not naughty, she’s just a very strong lady who wants to get these two people together. She’s the only one in the beginning who sees the good side of Margaret (Sandra Bullock) in the film. We had such fun doing it… from a personal standpoint, you don’t get parts like that very often, at this age, and we had such a good time. When I heard Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds were going to do it, and the chemistry was just such fun, it was like going to a party.

    You can tell by watching the film that the whole cast has good chemistry.

    BW: Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson — well, Craig is the funniest man on two feet. I had seen him on Coach, but I’d never thought of him as that funny. We finally got to the point — we just hit each other funny — so we couldn’t ever lock eyes. We’d be talking to each other and I’d have to look past him, and he’d have to look past me, because if we’d ever caught each others’ eye we’d just break up, and we couldn’t explain it! It was just silly, but it was fun.

    Speaking of fun, I think members of my generation know you best for your role as Rose on the long-running sitcom The Golden Girls, which coincidentally all of the journalists were just watching here while waiting to speak with you.

    BW: You’re kidding! You haven’t heard enough of us yet, God bless your heart! The Golden Girls was such good writing, it holds up. I think so many of these things go right back to the writing; Golden Girls is a classic example of that, that and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. We were like four points on a compass. Our characters were all so different but we had plenty to do in every show. The writers would throw a situation in the middle of the table and the audience would wait to see how each character reacted to it. Made it fun to do.

    [rtimage]MapID=1206888&MapTypeID=2&photo=13&legacy=1[/rtimage]

    I loved the show growing up. That and Mama’s Family, too. But your career started way before those shows; you did radio and even hosted your own television show…

    BW: Oh, there were five “Betty White” shows altogether! I started five and a half hours a day, six days a week, ad-libbing with no script. That’s like going to television college, because whatever happens, happens on camera! You’ve got to handle it. So I’ve always been grateful for that.

    Back then, how difficult was it as a female performer to get to that level in Hollywood?

    BW: What was really hard was that on my first series, Life with Elizabeth, I was also the producer. And for a woman to be in the production side of it was very unusual. But again, it was a great experience — and sheer blind luck. [Laughs]

    Also, I had an NBC half-hour talk show in 1954 where I’d sing a couple of songs and then interview a couple of people. When you’ve been in the business for 60 years, you’ve done a little bit of everything! I did commentary on the Rose Parade for 20 years. It’s just been a lovely go. But I didn’t do movies, I was always in television. Just in the last five years I’ve done movies, and it’s a whole different ball game. With television, you do it, you go home and watch it, and it’s done. With movies, you go and you work, and then it disappears, and then a year later it comes back after it’s edited and you talk about it!

    [rtimage]MapID=1206888&MapTypeID=2&photo=4&legacy=1[/rtimage]

    Given your experience as an on-the-fly interviewer, what advice could you give me from your days on that five and a half hour interview show?

    BW: I’m a baboon to give advice to anybody, Jennifer. [Smiles] But I think the biggest problem sometimes that you have in being interviewed is that people will ask you a question, but they’re so busy thinking about the next question that they never hear what you say. The good interviewers do what you’ve done, what Jack Parr and Johnny Carson did — Jack Parr maybe even better than Johnny; they’ll listen to the answer, and find something in the answer. They won’t go where they were going to go next; they’ll follow that through and go down a whole other alley. And that’s when an interview gets interesting — both for the people involved and the audience.

    Of course; it’s more conversational, more natural.

    BW: That’s right. As happens in a conversation!

    And that makes a lot more sense for a live, on-air interview, for an audience to be able to watch a conversation unfold.

    BW: But now with TV shows they do a “pre-interview.” Somebody will call, and they’ll ask you all the questions that you used to answer on the show, and when you get to the actual interview the host will go down those questions. So all the spontaneity is gone. When I was doing my talk show, I wouldn’t talk to the people before the show, because otherwise they’d leave their interview out in the hall! It was more fun that way.

    Catch Betty White opposite Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock in The Proposal, directed by Anne Fletcher (Step Up, 27 Dresses), in theaters this Friday! For more Five Favorite Films, visit our archive.

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