Jack’s home movies

BE KIND REWIND Di­rected by Michel Gondry. Star­ring Jack Black, Mos Def, Danny Glover, Mia Far­row, Sigour­ney Weaver 12A cert, gen re­lease, 94 min

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film Reviews - DON­ALD CLARKE

WHEN Michel Gondry, the French di­rec­tor of de­ranged pop videos, fol­lowed up Eter­nal Sun­shine of the Spot­less Mind with the amus­ing but hope­lessly mud­dled Science of Sleep, many ob­servers de­cided that, though un­doubt­edly a di­rec­tor of strange ge­nius, he might be best ad­vised to leave the screen­writ­ing to oth­ers. In­deed, some cyn­ics sug­gested that Char­lie Kauf­man, co-writer of Eter­nal Sun­shine, was the true au­teur of that fine film.

Be Kind Rewind finds Gondry work­ing from his own script once more. But, hap­pily, the film – though it looks like the work of cer­ti­fi­able lu­natics – is some­what more di­gestible than The Science of Sleep. Jack Black and Mos Def play video store em­ploy­ees who, fol­low­ing a failed at­tempt to break into a power sta­tion, ac­ci­den­tally erase all their em­ployer’s tapes (yes that’s right chil­dren, films once came on just such a quaint medium).

When ec­cen­tric old Mia Far­row calls in look­ing to rent Ghost­busters, they de­cide to re­make the film them­selves. Their film, whose spe­cial ef­fects are fash­ioned from found rub­bish, is a hit with the cus­tomers and soon they’re re­mak­ing the en­tire stock.

Fans of Gondry will dis­cern an el­e­ment of au­to­bi­og­ra­phy in that sum­mary. The di­rec­tor has al­ways pre­ferred the Blue Peter approach to film-mak­ing – plenty of sticky-backed plas­tic and wash­ing-up liq­uid bot­tles – over a reliance on too much com­puter-gen­er­ated im­agery. Here, he and his team find end­lessly hi­lar­i­ous ways of rein­ter­pret­ing such un­likely pic­tures as When We Were Kings and Rush Hour 2 while nudg­ing along a plot that, de­spite its thin­ness, ex­hibits an agree­able Capraesque arc.

Be Kind Rewind may play to the Now crowd, and it may fea­ture a very arch take on con­tem­po­rary re­al­ity, but, at its core, it is a sen­ti­men­tal piece that sets out to cel­e­brate good old-fash­ioned val­ues such as neigh­bourli­ness, gen­eros­ity and the im­por­tance of rewind­ing the VHS be­fore you re­turn it to the store. Both hip and heart­warm­ing.

Driv­ing Miss Daisy Re­dux: Mos Def and Jack Black

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