Friday, March 14, 2014

Need for Speed Movie Review

Aaron Paul tries to look tough in Disney's Need for Speed

No Need for This Wreck

'This is going to be the longest 44 hours and 11 minutes of your life,' warns Aaron Paul's Tobey in Scott Waugh's action dud Need for Speed. While it's not quite that long (130 minutes) it feels even longer: NFS, the movie is an exercise in moronity, the likes I haven't seen since M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening. Poorly acted, an hour too long and implausible to a fault, NFS can start counting its Razzies this weekend: Even Adam Sandler couldn't top this hot mess.

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: Based on the most successful racing video game franchise ever with over 140 million copies sold, DreamWorks Pictures' "Need for Speed" captures the thrills of the game in a real-world setting. An exciting return to the great car-culture films of the 1960s and '70s, when authenticity brought a new level of intensity to the action, "Need for Speed" taps into what makes the American myth of the open road so enticing. The story chronicles a near-impossible cross-country race against time - one that begins as a mission for revenge, but proves to be one of redemption. In a last attempt to save his struggling garage, blue-collar mechanic Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) - who with his team skillfully builds and races muscle cars on the side-reluctantly partners with wealthy, arrogant ex-NASCAR driver Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper). Just as a major sale to car broker Julia Bonet (Imogen Poots) looks like it will save the business, a disastrous, unsanctioned race results in Dino framing Tobey for manslaughter.

What’s Best: I remember playing the (far superior) video games back in the late 90's; so it's with some chagrin that I roast this cinematic turkey over the hot coals. There is nothing good about this film. Nothing.

What’s Not: Pull up a chair: This may take a while. Let's begin with the acting, which borders on/eclipses atrocious. If this is Paul's first big step since Breaking Bad, he should consider a refresher course in acting. When you're 5'8 and resemble David Arquette (only three inches shorter) you need more than a deep voice and a racing jacket to convey toughness on the big screen. His stare-down with Dino (love these names... I'm guessing Bam-Bam was already taken) is akin to two toddlers fighting over a blanket. But even that pales in comparison to Paul's laughably emotional explosion after his pal's death early on. "Petey!"

Sadly, Paul isn't the only one who can't seem to act their way out of a paper bag in this one. Poots is a bore as Paul's love interest (from England no less - Pip pip, cheerio! Who wants fish & chips?) while Michael Keaton struggles with baldness, extreme close-ups, over-zealous lines and a room all by his lonesome as podcaster/race organizer Monarch. Cooper escapes relatively unscathed; but the same can't be said for Kid Cudi, who flies around town while dropping hip phrases like 'homey,' and 'word!' No "true that" or "yo, yo, yo?"

Last (and certainly least) "kudos" to George Gatins for one of the worst screenplays ever. Hey dum-dum, this isn't a video game: There's no need to glorify illegal street racing, knocking over a homeless man's shopping cart (BTW, how original) or driving down the wrong side of the road for extended lapses of impossibility. I won't even mention seat beats (who needs 'em anyhow, right?)

Best Line: Benny (Kid Cudi) stops his overpriced GPS routine long enough to deliver, "Looks like a scene out of Speed down there." No Kid, it doesn't. Speed was a good movie.

Overall: Is it just me, or has Hollywood dropped its limbo stick for quality to a new low? It's only March, but I'm already afraid to show up for the next disaster screening. NFS is hands down, the worst movie of 2014; and it's going to take a new level of awfulness to supplant it before year's end. It's obvious that someone wanted to "cash in" on the success of the Fast & Furious series, but NFS doesn't deserve to be on the same planet... yet alone road. Pathetic.