Sunday, March 27, 2005

Stop them before they produce again

I'm all for people taking control of their destiny and having artistic decisions made by artists, not guys in expensive suits. But too often we get the worst of both worlds when artists become businessmen. Three recent films show what happens when the deal and the brand become more important than the story and the characters. Miss Congeniality 2, Guess Who, and Beauty Shop all suffer from "Emperor's New Clothes" syndrome.

Because the stars were signing the checks, no one was in a position to tell them that the movies, while designed around their talents, were just not very good. It's not a coincidence that they are a sequel, a remake, and a spin-off rather than anything fresh or creative.

And while it's not strictly speaking a sequel or a remake and he doesn't strictly speaking produce his own films, the same applies to Woody Allen and his latest, Melinda and Melinda. It's great that he has found a group of people to work with that he respects and who make him feel comfortable, but he is feeling too comfortable these days. This is just a tired rehash of his previous themes. A couple of good wisecracks and a great premise can't compensate for the failure to include even one appealing character. It makes

Sort of makes you wish for the good old days when the studios ran things. Yes, they treated the talent like commodities, but it was better for audiences than having the talent treat themselves that way.

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