January 21, 2009 6:32pm EST
When award season rolls around there’s only one show that no one in Hollywood wants to be a part of ... the Annual Razzie Awards. The only competition honoring the best of the worst in film.
Even the biggest stars can’t dodge the occasional stinker and this year Mike Myers’ was no different. His summer flop The Love Guru received seven nominations, including worst picture, worst actor and worst screenplay for Myers. Ouch!
Myers shouldn’t feel too bad, Paris Hilton didn’t fair much better with nods for worst actress and worst screen couple for Hottie and the Nottie and worst supporting actress for Repo! The Genetic Opera.
Hilton’s Hottie and the Nottie will also compete for worst pic alongside The Love Guru, The Happening, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale and spoof flicks Disaster Movie and Meet the Spartans.
The 29th Annual Razzies, determined by the 687 members of the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation, will be announced Feb. 21, the morning before the Academy Awards.
And the nominees are:
Disaster Movie and Meet The Spartans
The Hottie and The Nottie In The Name of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
The Love Guru
Larry the Cable Guy, Witless Protection
Eddie Murphy, Meet Dave
Mike Myers, The Love Guru
Al Pacino, 88 Minutes and Righteous Kill
Mark Wahlberg, The Happening and Max Payne
Jessica Alba, The Eye and The Love Guru
Cameron Diaz, What Happens in Vegas
Paris Hilton, The Hottie and the Nottie
Kate Hudson, Fool's Gold and My Best Friend's Girl
The entire cast of The Women (Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith and Meg Ryan)
Uwe Boll, 1968 Tunnel Rats, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale and Postal
Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer for Disaster Movie and Meet the Spartans
Tom Putnam, The Hottie and the Nottie
Marco Schnabel, The Love Guru
M. Night Shyamalan, The Happening
Worst Supporting Actor
Uwe Boll (as himself), Postal
Pierce Brosnan, Mamma Mia!
Ben Kingsley, The Love Guru, War, Inc. and The Wackness
Burt Reynolds, Deal and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
Verne Troyer, The Love Guru and Postal
Worst Supporting Actress
Carmen Electra, Disaster Movie and Meet the Spartans
Paris Hilton, Repo! The Genetic Opera
Kim Kardashian, Disaster Movie
Jenny McCarthy, Witless Protection
Leelee Sobieski, 88 Minutes and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
Disaster Movie and Meet the Spartans (jointly) - written by Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer
The Happening - written by M. Night Shyamalan
The Hottie and the Nottie - written by Heidi Ferrer
In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale - screenplay by Doug Taylor
The Love Guru - written by Mike Myers & Graham Gordy
Worst Screen Couple
Uwe Boll & any actor, camera or screenplay, 1968 Tunnel Rats, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale and Postal
Cameron Diaz & Ashton Kutcher, What Happens in Vegas
Paris Hilton & either Christine Lakin or Joel David Moore, The Hottie and the Nottie
Larry the Cable Guy & Jenny McCarthy, Witless Protection
Eddie Murphy & Eddie Murphy, Meet Dave
Worst Rip-Off, Prequel or Remake
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Disaster Movie and Meet The Spartans (jointly)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
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Two orphaned kids Andi (Emma Roberts) and her mechanical whiz of a younger brother Bruce (Jake T. Austin) live in a foster home with a couple of aging wannabe rock stars (Lisa Kudrow Kevin Dillon) who are vehemently anti-pet. Running out of ways to keep their stray pooch Friday hidden in plain sight they stumble on to an abandoned hotel that turns out to be the perfect shelter for Friday – and transform the place into luxury accommodations for all sorts of unwanted pets they spring from the local pound and the streets. But can they stay one step ahead of the law while keeping this United Nations of dogs in line? Human actors don’t have a chance against the gifted assortment of canines. With dogs of every breed from a border collie who loves to herd sheep (don’t ask) to an English bulldog obsessed with chewing stuff the trainers deliver a cast that flawlessly pulls off every dog trick in the book. Fortunately Roberts (Nancy Drew) and Austin are winning and likeable as the two main kids who share a need for family with their four-legged counterparts. Kudrow and Dillon don’t get a whole lot to do in strictly stereotyped roles but Don Cheadle as the kids’ social worker adds a nice touch of dignity and warmth to the story. For his first American feature German director Thor Freudenthal got the supreme challenge: working with kids and animals. Getting this furry menagerie to act on cue could not have been easy but Freundenthal and his talented trainers make it look so. Particularly amusing are the various gadgets and elaborate contraptions Bruce builds to keep the doggies occupied and quiet -- including simulated car windows they can stick their heads out of portable toilets complicated feeding machines and on and on. Just like the current hit Marley & Me it’s a funny and heartwarming family comedy.
Spanning from WWI to the 21st century Eric Roth’s screenplay (based loosely on a 1922 short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald) tells the unique story of a man named Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt). He is born in New Orleans as a very old baby the equivalent of a man in his 80s who then ages backward into youth over the better part of a century. The film is told in flashback by a very old dying woman Daisy (Cate Blanchett) who recounts her tale to her daughter (Julia Ormond) from a hospital bed during Hurricane Katrina. Left on the doorstep of a retirement home one night by his father (Jason Flemyng) Benjamin is brought up by Queenie (Taraji P. Henson) who runs the place. While there he meets a young girl Daisy who will become a key figure -- romantically and otherwise -- in his life. Ben does have some grand adventures: He goes to work on a boat sees sea battles during WWII finds love with an older married woman (Tilda Swinton) -- and gets progressively younger as the decades fly by. It all manages to be alternately haunting romantic funny epic emotional and incredibly moving and will likely to stay with you a lifetime. Brad Pitt manages to deliver a thoughtful and subtle performance through all the special effects makeup and CGI. He does so much just by using his eyes. Cate Blanchett is equally fine as she plays Daisy from a teenager to an old woman and matches Pitt in bringing an entire lifetime skillfully to light. Her aging makeup is completely natural and she’s very moving in the hospital scenes opposite Ormond. Henson is just marvelous as Queenie a warm and understanding soul. Swinton is elegant and memorable in her few crucial encounters with Ben and plays beautifully off Pitt. Jared Harris (TV’s The Riches) as the colorful Captain Mike who hires Ben on his tug boat and Flemyng (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) as Ben’s father are also effective in their brief screen time. Interestingly Benjamin Button has been gestating for decades in the Hollywood firmament but needed time for the proper technology to catch up to it. Director David Fincher (Zodiac Fight Club) with his early background at George Lucas’ ILM proves to be the perfect choice to marry a compelling story with spectacular visual effects achievement. He did not want to do the film unless the technology allowed one actor to play the role throughout the course of the film. Remarkably they were able to achieve this superimposing Brad Pitt’s face and eyes into all the incarnations of Ben Button. In one sequence Pitt looks just like he did in Thelma and Louise. It’s an amazing feat. He has seamlessly created a unique universe without ever bringing attention to it advancing the art of screen storytelling leaps and bounds ahead of everything else that has come before. Benjamin Button is a plaintive and provocative meditation of life death and what we do while we are here. It’s the stuff of dreams.
Hilton plays Hottie Cristabel a woman with few personality traits other than that she is beautiful and irrationally loyal to her ugly friend Nottie June (Christine Lakin). Cristabel is two-for-two in the looks/personality department--and she's the object of affection of a helplessly clumsy schlub Nate (Joel David Moore). After an unhealthy two decade-plus crush on Cristabel Nate uproots and moves to L.A. to pursue her only to be diverted by Cristabel with a distracting rule: June needs a boyfriend. Cristabel may just be blowing Nate off but he goes with it and in a Queer Eye moment he gives June a make-over. Of course he ends up embracing the inner beauty of The Nottie while Cristabel falls into the arms of a 12-packed European model Johann (Johann Urb). He looks like many of Hilton's real-life arm candy. All eyes are on Hilton to see how (if at all) she's matured as an actress since her big screen debut in 2005's remake House of Wax. Not much folks. It's as though she intentionally seeks ultra-campy roles. Hilton is simply a media creation a self-aware businessperson masquerading as an actress. Solid workman comedy actors Lakin (Mean Girls) and Moore (Grandma's Boy) who have cut their teeth in numerous industry productions support Paris as best they can. Lakin dons an impressive array of make-up techniques including thinning hair moles facial hairs bad teeth--modeled after what some have called the Geico caveman. She plays it well though her appearance frankly isn't funny; her comic timing is and compensates when the disaster could be even worse. Director Tom Putnam a USC film grad attempts his first feature film with The Hottie and the Nottie. While fluidity is constant and the movie feels like a familiar romantic comedy á la 1980s John Hughes there is an underlying crassness that tries to push boundaries robbing the film of its likeability. To see this movie is a packed theater is similar to watching an amateur stand-up comedian bomb onstage group discomfort and all. The comic concept of a "Nottie" looking like a half-Aborigine freak is a bizarrely pitched joke and the laughs are lazy. Sets and costumes are like a parallel universe of reality where clothes video games and interiors are stuck in the ‘70s ‘80s and 90s. The ultimate compliment to Putnam's voice no doubt is producer Paris Hilton who is known to be hands-on with her projects. We can only guess what she said. Here's a clue. One of her lines of dialogue is "A lifetime without orgasms is like a world without flowers."
Misery loves the Savages--always has. Ever since they were kids Wendy (Laura Linney) and Jon Savage (Philip Seymour Hoffman) have been plagued by the blasé blues. Even though they went their separate ways the siblings have remained somewhat close geographically--she lives in Manhattan he in Buffalo--and in their discontentment. But what made them this way in the first place their father (Philip Bosco) is about to reunite them. After losing his mind to dementia and his longtime girlfriend (Rosemary Murphy) to well death the old man officially needs to be looked after and that’s where Jon and Wendy reluctantly come in. Despite having not seen their estranged father in ages they fly out to his Arizona senior-citizen-friendly community immediately upon word of his downfall. What they didn’t plan on however is staying more than a couple days. Ultimately they take him back to Buffalo and place him in a nursing home about which Wendy constantly feels guilty. Now forced to live together and look in the metaphorical mirror the siblings Savage learn about self-discovery mortality each other and how to revive a decades-old rivalry as though it had never gone away. Given the way Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman constantly one-up each other in The Savages you’d think there was a real sibling rivalry at play. Of course it’s merely two of today’s very best actors giving par-for-the-course flawless performances. In so doing they create something beyond chemistry: a relationship so fractured and imperfectly perfect that it could only exist between an aging brother and sister. Whether the scene calls for fireworks or subtlety solo or together Linney and Hoffman are always up to the task. Linney is especially wide-ranging as Wendy still fights her midlife crisis. The veteran actress is often heartbreaking because Wendy is often heartbroken even when she tries to convince herself otherwise but Linney still manages to leave the window of hope cracked open--for us and her character. She truly encompasses everything in this her best performance to date. Hoffman is slightly more of a supporting player here but no less impactful. The Oscar winner is apathetic through much of the film but his terse outbursts of anger and/or sadness are stark reminders of his awe-inspiring range as an actor. Perhaps the most savage Savage is the patriarch played with grace by longtime actor Bosco. But instead of vilifying Lenny or making him worthy of all your pity Bosco makes him a rollercoaster of emotion as per Lenny's dementia. It’s been nine years since writer-director Tamara Jenkins’ last--and only other--feature-length film the twisted coming-of-age tale Slums of Beverly Hills which has given her plenty of time to think grow older and think about growing older. She philosophizes aloud in The Savages a movie that addresses everything you don’t want to but with a sardonic edge to it; in fact maybe this is as much a coping mechanism for her as it is an artistic endeavor. While the movie is primarily about the title siblings it essentially explores the human condition under their guise. But Jenkins does so in a way that is never preachy never obnoxious never sappy and always astutely observed. It’s her naturalistic approach to moviemaking that will turn what is ultimately a sharp dramedy into too much of a downer to please casual moviegoers looking for lighthearted fare in wintertime--this is NOT Little Miss Sunshine--but those who go in looking for a drama will be moved occasionally to laughter. Because The Savages is that rare deep movie: heavy on symbolism and meaning light on pretense and contrivance.