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March 24, 2008
Review - " Be Kind, Rewind " (in theatres) - By Ken Ellis
A New Line Cinema release. Directed and written by Michel Gondry. Starring Jack Black, Mos
Def, Danny Glover and Mia Farrow.

A video store renting VHS tapes of older Hollywood hits in a blighted Passaic, NJ
neighborhood is the scene for this 'Hollywood laughs at itself' comedy. The video store is
owned by Elroy Fletcher (Glover), a nice old man who claims that jazz legend Fats Waller was
born at the site of where his store now stands. That might actually help him a bit, because his
store is slated for demolition under a 'urban renewal' project unless he can upgrade the place
to meet code requirements. Feeling depressed and dejected over this news, he chooses to
take a short trip just to get away and leaves the store in the less-than-capable hands of his
employee Mike (Mos Def). Mike's friend Jerry (Jack Black) has 'issues', not the least of which
are his paranoia over a nearby power plant. In a very comical scene in which Mike & Jerry try
to sabotage the plant, Jerry becomes magnetized. Later it's discovered that he is, in fact, so
magnetized that he erases all the VHS tapes in the store. The two decide that in order to keep
the business operational, they'll recreate the movies themselves. Through a series of very
funny satire, we see the pair recreating such films as "Ghostbusters", "Driving Miss Daisy",
"Rush Hour 2" and "King Kong" (ironic since Black was in the 2005 remake).
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area. "I want a trailer!" he demands. When it's pointed out to
him that he already, in fact, lives in a trailer, he amends his
demands. "I want a trailer next to my trailer!". The films
themselves are decent, funny little spoofs of their originals;
Black butchers the Ghostbusters theme and then plays
"Robocop" even campier than the original. Watching them
create their last film is really a pleasure as well. They get
everyone in the neighborhood involved and even create
cheesy special effects not seen since the days of Super 8

All in all, a good, fun way to spend 90 minutes.

I'll give it a 6.5.
Their shoddy little remakes are, surprisingly enough, an instant neighborhood hit, spawning long customer lines at the store
and local celebrity stardom for Mike & Jerry. With some local support from friends, the films take on a life of their own and
people come from as far away as Manhattan to rent at their store. Of course studio copyright hacks come to spoil the party (in
great cameos by Sigourney Weaver and 'Strangers With Candy' star Paul Dinello). What follows is a funny and somewhat
touching turn the story takes to allow the characters to redeem themselves and the film as well.

Speaking as a frustrated filmmaker / Hollywood fan, I must admit I do connect with a film like this, so it started with a few points
spotted. I mean, what true movie buff has never dreamed of performing in or directing his own blockbuster? These two losers
pull it off almost accidentally and make us laugh a lot while doing it. Black and Def make an affable comedy team, in the
tradition of the old teams of the 1930s and 40s like Laurel & Hardy or Abbott & Costello. Glover and Farrow are welcome
supporting additions (a "Lethal Weapon" or "Rosemary's Baby" spoof might have been a good idea) .Also included in this is
the spoof of Hollywood culture itself with Black playing the star tripped actor as his popularity grows around the
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