One of the more elaborate and creative titles in movie history The Man is yet another anti-buddy-cop flick--a grain of sand on a desert at this point. The story revolves around Special Agent Derrick Vann (Jackson) who is out to get the man (get it?) that killed his partner. But a case of mistaken identity leads him to Andy Fidler (Eugene Levy) a chatty dental supply salesman with too many questions. Of course it's not match made in heaven. Vann and Andy's contrasting personalities--Vann's is hard-edged and no-nonsense; Andy's is affable to a fault--set into motion constant obstacles to overcome and more importantly the obligatory hijinks. Andy's nice-guy clumsiness leads them to the killers and then invariably away from the them. It also drives Vann crazy but he knows that Andy is a necessary evil if he wants to pin the bad guys. Ultimately what started off as (comedic) hatred for one another winds up mutual respect. Can you say sequel? Neither can we.
Jackson yells scowls furrows his brows evokes his Pulp Fiction cool (briefly) and yells some more. No doubt he can yell with the best of 'em and even the granddaddy of yellers Al Pacino would be proud of this performance. The yang to Vann's yin of course is Levy's Andy. The two actors sure did their best to cultivate the most divergent characters possible and at least to that end they succeed. There is an engaging interplay between the two but it's just been done so many times. On his part Levy has now gone from playing one crazy kook after another in Christopher Guest's offbeat-but-hilarious comedies to almost dare we say leading-man status. But unfortunately as a character actor he is much more enjoyable and his talents better utilized when he isn't in every scene.
Director Les Mayfield has a history of making minor hits out of bad movies. He did so with 1999's Blue Streak 1997's Flubber and 1992's Encino Man (yes one man's guilty pleasure is another man's fruit of his labor). But his luck too might've run out with The Man. You can just see the desperation. When the fart jokes are the movie's best laughs it's safe to say you're in trouble. Fart jokes aside there are at most three genuinely funny scenes in the film for those who haven't yet dozed off. The director and writer clearly choose to play it safe in every facet. In fact the infants bawling in the front row are doing so because they too feel like they could've seamlessly written and directed The Man--and on a smaller budget.
Top Story: Two More Academy Screeners Online
Hot on the heels of the revelation that two screeners intended for Academy members' use only were available online comes the news that two more screeners have been found floating around on the Internet, Associated Press reports. A VHS copy of House of Sand and Fog was found up for sale on eBay, and Cold Mountain was found available for download. The Los Angeles Times reports that while the latter has not been traced, House was found to belong to Ivan Kruglak, an Academy member who firmly denies putting the video on eBay, blaming the duplication house that made his copy. The DVD/video screeners, so dubbed because they allow Academy members to screen and judge Oscar contenders without having to attend theater screenings, have been the subjects of vociferous debate since their ban and its subsequent repeal last year. The Academy added tracking codes to each tape so any Academy member's copy found for sale or online for download could be easily traced back to its owner. Earlier in the week, the Academy said copies of Something's Gotta Give and The Last Samurai had been posted online.
Law Is Stronger and Happier Post-Divorce
In the wake of his breakup with Sadie Frost, his wife of nearly seven years, Jude Law says he is happier and stronger than before, AP reports. The 31-year-old star of Cold Mountain is looking on the bright side when it comes to his divorce: "It changes your life, I think, when you enter into a marriage and it can change it just as much as when you're part of a breakup," he said on British TV, "But I certainly feel stronger emotionally and happier in myself, if not a little battered and bruised." Frost cited Law's "unreasonable behavior" for adding to her post-natal depression after the birth of their third child, Rudy. They were divorced in October of last year.
Spears Blames Vegas Vibe For Wedding
Speaking on MTV's Total Request Live, Britney Spears claimed it was the atmosphere of Las Vegas that made her marry her childhood friend Jason Alexander in a late night ceremony, AP reports, and her belief in the institution of marriage remains unshaken. "I do believe in the sanctity of marriage, I totally do," said Spears, "(But) I was in Vegas, and it took over me." The marriage between the 22-year-olds was annulled two days after the January 3rd ceremony at the Little White Chapel. Spears declined to comment on her feelings for Alexander saying that information was "personal."
White Stripes Singer Pleads Innocent
Jack White, lead singer of the band the White Stripes, pleaded innocent in the misdemeanor aggravated assault case against him, AP reports. The Detroit native is charged with assaulting Von Blondies singer Jason Stollsteimer at a Detroit concert last month. White reportedly punched Stollsteimer in the face seven times, leaving him with a swollen eye and a bloody nose, according to police. White claims he struck in self-defense. The 28-year-old faces up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted. White is currently appearing in a small role in the film, Cold Mountain and will soon attend the Grammy Awards where he and fellow Stripe Meg White are nominated for three Grammys.
Diana Ross' Ex-Husband Killed
Diana Ross' ex-husband, avid mountaineer Arne Naess, was killed Tuesday in a mountain climbing accident in South Africa, AFP reports. Naess, who was in his 60s, fell to his death sometime around 12:30 p.m. in the Western Cape Province town of Franschoek where he was visiting. The Norway native was married to Ross for 13 years in a union that produced two sons. The couple divorced in 1999. A formal inquest will be held to determine what lead to Naess' death.
The Passion To Open on 2,000 Screens
In an unusual move for a partially self-financed non-studio film, Mel Gibson's directorial effort The Passion of Christ will open in 2,000 theaters on Feb. 25, Reuters reports. The film, which depicts the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus and features Latin and Aramaic dialog, had trouble even finding a distributor due to its controversial subject matter. Gibson's own Icon Productions and independent distributor Newmarket Films will distribute the film, which has been praised by Christian religious groups for its accuracy. Some Jewish groups have expressed concern that the film might promote anti-Semitic feeling with its depiction of Jesus' death according to the New Testament.
MTV Reality Shows for Diaz, Duff
After the recent shuttering of Ashton Kutcher's successful Punk'd, MTV is ready to find new reality programming. MTV will begin airing a new round of programming this year starring such teen and teen-friendly stars as Cameron Diaz, Hilary Duff and Frankie Muniz, Variety reports. Diaz will be featured traveling the world, while Duff's project remains unspecified. Frankie Muniz of Fox's Malcolm in the Middle will co-create and star in a show in which high-school students get to live out their fantasies. All the projects are still listed as being in development.
Trump Slams CBS Boss Moonves
Real-estate mogul and newly minted reality star Donald Trump lashed out at CBS head Leslie Moonves Wednesday at a press conference to promote his NBC show, The Apprentice, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Trump, whose first attempt at reality programming seems to be a hit, attacked Moonves repeatedly during the press conference, calling CBS top dog, "the most highly overrated person in television." Moonves apparently incurred Trump's wrath when he failed to renew his contract to air Trump's Miss Universe pageant as well as two other beauty pageants also owned by the tycoon. "If Les Moonves was a contestant [on Apprentice], he would have been fired by the third episode," Trump told reporters, who responded with a mixture of gasps and nervous laughter.