Be Kind Rewind (2008)
Reviewed on 2009 June 16
I didn’t know what to think of this when we started watching this, and almost gave up on it within the first twenty minutes. That would have been a mistake, because I would have missed out on a novel idea, and those seem to be getting drowned in a sea of remakes.
Elroy Fletcher (Danny Glover) owns the faltering Be Kind Rewind, a little video store in Passaic, New Jersey that has only VHS tapes. His employee Mike (Mos Def) is given only one instruction when Elroy leaves the shop for a vacation: keep Jerry out. Jerry Gerber (Jack Black) is Mike’s buddy, and someone who’s been exposed to too many conspiracy theories — he thinks the town’s power plant is responsible for many ills, including his headaches. Jerry, being a human disaster, magnetizes every tape Elroy has. Mike is horrified until they come up with a plan: re-enact and refilm every single tape he destroyed. Hey, how hard can it be?
This is not the ridiculous (in a good way) comedy that I expected. This is a movie that takes a while to get going — at first, I thought I made a mistake bringing the DVD home — but once the tapes are magnetized it gets going. Mr. Shukti and I both had to pause the thing when we saw the “special effect” used for a “sweded” gunshot scene, because we were laughing too hard to hear the rest of the dialogue. That was a rare bit and most of it is quieter humor than that. But anything that can sneak in a Hieronymus Bosch joke deserves a little love.
Two chocolate morsels and… well, since you can’t really classify this neatly, anything. It’s something I have to be in the mood for, but it’s a unique idea.