Weekend Movies: “Wish I Was Here” is the best of a pretty poor new lot


Rare is the weekend when every single new movie opening carries no bragging rights or “fresh” ratings on Rottentomatoes or passing grades on Metacritic.

I liked “Wish I Was Here” more than most. Here’s a movie being criticized for its funding and the self-indulgence of its star/co-writer/director. Seriously, the fact that his fans felt like funding his not-quite-vanity project shouldn’t enter into it. And you have to judge every Kate Hudson performance on its own merits, not hold a lot of best of a series of bad choices roles in bad rom-coms against her. She’s very good in “Wish I Was Here,” the kids aren’t bad. It’s all over the place, Braff leans on his “Scrubs” timing a bit too much. But funny and watchable.

Then there is “Planes: Fire & Rescue,” a sequel that improves on an AWFUL original “Cars” spinoff. This one has more jokes, John Ratzenberger (Pixar good luck charm) and a better story. It’s better, not good. Reviews overall reflect this. Another “fail” from Disney animation, which is in quite a slump (as is Pixar).

“The Purge: Anarchy” is a different spin on that one percent having to face an annual “purge” of legalized slaughter. This time, it’s the poor, in the form of a no name cast, out to survive a game that the rich have rigged against them. Preachier and worse, I thought. Split reviews on this one.

“Sex Tape” is a raunchy erotic comedy where the erotica is at a minimum, the raunch is tepid and tame (explicit, but not “hot” despite the presence of Cameron Diaz). A few laughs, a weak supporting cast (Rob Lowe scores, Rob Corddry doesn’t) — poor to mixed reviews for “Sex Tape.”

Limited releases “I Origins” and “Mood Indigo” aren’t landing a lot of love, either. I really liked the former and did not care for the latter, but neither is rating as “fresh.”

“Persecuted” is earning the worst reviews of the year, a faithless faith-based rant (government conspiracy frames a famous TV preacher).

“Purge” could manage $30 million at the box office, based on the brand name and pent up demand for horror. “Planes2” could manage $22 and “Sex Tape” $24.

Box Office Mojo predicts $30, Box Office Guru figures $24 for “Purge” $22 and “Planes” $16.



About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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