So let’s read some polls — the Metacritic and Tomatometer ones — read some tea-leaves and read between the lines about what people are saying about this weekend’s potential blockbusters.
After that first trailer came out, the talk about “Ghostbusters” has been about how some “sexists” aren’t going to like it. That’s the narrative for this movie, thanks in part to the spin its director Paul Feig is giving it. Yeah, he was legitimately reacting to some extreme comments about the trailer (s). But the comments he was ignoring are the more telling ones.
Because the trailers told this one truth. It wasn’t very funny. The script doesn’t give a promising cast much to do, and if it wasn’t for Kate McKinnon’s trying ever-so-hard and Leslie Jones doing what Leslie Jones always does — teaching Tyler Perry how a REAL “Angry Black Woman” cliche acts — the leads would have landed none of the big laughs. Cameos by Dan A., Sigourney W., and Steve Higgins and Andy Garcia score. McCarthy? Not so much.
But cowed critics are giving the rebooted “Ghostbusters” a pass. Barely. So, fine. A Few laughs, a different feminine spin on the material, I hope it makes a lot of money and that maybe they spend some of it on better screenwriters if they make another. IF.
Then there’s the other wide release previewed for critics — “The Infiltrator.” It’s routine and generic and the cast is entirely too old, overall, in this “Miami Vice” era undercover drug bust drama. Most critics agree. But in reading those who raved about this mediocrity on Metacritic, I developed a theory. They’re the “Mostly, I just stay home and watch cable” crowd. Richard “Still Not a Real Movie Critic” Roeper single-handedly bent the Metacritic rating on this for a couple of days with his ringing endorsement. He’s shamelessly surfing the last few feet of America’s “Love that Bryan Cranston” wave. And he’s endorsing a dull movie.
Convicted felon and Conservative Pied Piper Dinesh D’Sousa has another “documentary” pandering to the “We hate Democrats” movie demographic. Not previewed, and it’s about Hillary Clinton. So people who mistrust foreigners and despite criminals will be led over the cliff by a race-baiting Indian with a prison record. Go figure. I’ll get to that one. Eventually.
Take away the overwhelming success of the good-not-great “Finding Dory,” the shocking opening of “The Secret Life of Pets” and the worldwide triumph of a middling “Captain America” installment, and this looks like the worst summer for summer movies in a generation. Bombs litter the landscape, little is worth having a conversation about and even the hate mail — over “Warcraft” or “Tarzan” — is half-hearted. Maybe late summer will produce some winners — “Suicide Squad,” maybe the “Bourne” sequel. No hope at all for “Star Trek.”