SHREK FOREVER AFTER 3D * * *
Cert U, 93 mins
If watching England capitulate in the World Cup wasn’t enough to give you a sense of deja vu, wait until you’ve seen the latest animation from Hollywood’s recycling machine.
Yes, Wayne Rooney is back.
And, while he might have lost his mojo in South Africa, on the silver screen it’s entirely appropriate that he’s looking greener than ever.
Now in the midst of a mid-life crisis with Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and their tiresome belching babies, Shrek signs a Faustian pact with the devil’s dastardly agent, Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn).
With no thought for the consequences, Shrek foolishly accepts the chance to be a wild ogre again in return for El Rump to have one day of his childhood.
Losing the day he was born, though, could erase the future prize-winning adventures we’ve already seen.
If Shrek can’t get Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Puss In Boots (Antonio Banderas) to help him, how will he ever live to win the heart of the woman he came to love?
Trouble is, since Donkey doesn’t recognise him and Puss is now obese what are the chances of playing like a team?
Clearly, the ogre who became a proud father but then couldn’t appreciate his good fortune now seems to be out of position.
Like Rooney, he’s lost in the centre circle looking for a killer pass.
To try to freshen things up, DreamWorks has given Shrek’s new adventure a flavour-of-the-month dimension.
In football terms, this would be called playing three at the back.
But while bringing 3D into Shrek’s cinematic life is designed to trick some viewers into believing this is the only third movie, it is of course the fourth after the instantly forgettable Shrek The Third (2007) – and the whole premise is wearing decidedly thin.
Shrek Forever After borrows heavily from It’s A Wonderful Life.
Yet it has no more chance of matching the timeless quality of Frank Capra’s 1946 classic than Rooney had of repeating the success of the class of ’66.
Like the England team, Shrek is literally going backwards. Not to the depths of Steve McClaren/Shrek The Third eras, but backwards all the same.
Now is the time for DreamWorks to return to the drawing board; to use this $2.5 billion series to invest in something as thrilling and adventurous as the original Shrek.
Only then might it ever beat the mighty Pixar at the Oscar World Cup. GY
HEARTBREAKER * * * *
Cert 15, 104 mins
There has been a dearth of good films during the World Cup, but here’s a fabulous film to cheer us all up. Even if it is French (at least it’s not German).
Romain Duris plays Alex Lippi, who earns his living by breaking up couples. He is paid by a woman’s concerned family or friends to woo her and make her see she’s too good for the ‘jerk’ she’s dating.
He goes to extraordinary lengths to meet and seduce the women, carrying out research on their lives and worming his way into them with the help of his sister Melanie (Julie Ferrier) and her husband Marc (Francois Damiens).
His latest project is to persuade beautiful socialite Juliette (Vanessa Paradis) that she shouldn’t marry nice, but boring, banker Jonathan (Andrew Lincoln) in ten days’ time.
Alex poses as her bodyguard as she prepares for the wedding in picturesque Monte Carlo.
At first, his heart’s not really in the task. They seem a happy couple and he thinks Juliette is a stuck-up cow.
But of course he gradually falls for her, although this isn’t as predictable as most romcoms.
Full of stylish French flair, it boasts a smart and witty script and looks gorgeous, not least in the scenes featuring Mrs Johnny Depp.
There are many laugh-out-loud moments – one featuring Dirty Dancing is brilliant – and the film is a delight from start to finish. RL
LYMELIFE * * *
Cert 15, 94 mins
This low-budget film is worth seeing for its strong cast and the way it builds to a shocking climax.
But, be warned, it’s a little dull. I reckon people like being taken out of their humdrum lives at the cinema, not reminded of them.
Set in the late 1970s on rural Long Island, it’s a coming-of-age drama featuring 15-year-old Scott (Rory Culkin).
The marriage of his parents, Mickey and Brenda (played by always-watchable Alec Baldwin and Jill Hennessy), is crumbling.
Mickey is having an affair with neighbour Melissa (Cynthia Nixon), whose husband Charlie (Timothy Hutton) has been unemployed since falling victim to Lyme Disease.
They have a daughter, Adrianna (Emma Roberts), whom Scott fancies but she’s dating someone else.
He’s a bit of a bullied geek, though his older brother Jimmy (Kieran Culkin) is happy to fight his battles for him.
I found my interest in their small-town affairs often waning. Watching people row and marriages fall apart isn’t pleasant viewing.
Still, it’s quite touching in parts and amusing in others, and it’s saved by the excellent cast.
It’s a particularly good performance from Rory, the youngest of the seven Culkin children. RL