The final weeks of the summer do not often bring decent movies. Traditionally, they’re where studios leave pictures to die — which appears to have been the Weinsteins’ strategy on “The Nanny Diaries“.
Which is really too bad, because it’s a pretty good little movie, for what it is; the story is fluff, but the caricaturing is kept to a minimum, Scarlett Johansson is entirely tolerable, and with a smart campaign, Laura Linney and Paul Giamatti have a decent shot at Oscar nominations for their supporting roles; Giamatti, particularly, is as good as I’ve ever seen him.
Anyway, it doesn’t suck. And it’s easily the week’s strongest entry. I mean, consider the alternatives:
“The 11th Hour“: Leonardo DiCaprio lends his celebrity cred to a dour documentary about the sorry state of our environmental stewardship. Effective and grim, if about as cinematic as a high-school science-fair presentation … but hey, if it gets more people taking mass transit and thinking about all the plastic bags they’ve used in their lives, it’s done its job.
“Mr. Bean’s Holiday“: I’ve never been a fan of Rowan Atkinson’s bug-eyed gurning — I much prefer it when he uses his words — but I will admit that this latest heavy-footed romp is a slight improvement on the character’s last appearance in the virtually unwatchable “Bean”. When it gets to DVD, watch the Willem Dafoe chapters and call it a day.
“War“: Jason Statham and Jet Li face off in a movie that feels ripped from 1994, with Triads and Yakuza and cops and honor and betrayal and pointless subplots and threadbare action scenes … it’s utterly mediocre stuff until the screenwriters throw down one of the least credible plot twists since, um, the ending of “The Devil’s Advocate”. Wait for the DVD, and then just watch “Crank” instead.
Oh, and “Resurrecting the Champ” is also opening today, but Chris took that one. Here’s his Metro review, if you’re curious.