Big names like Adams Sandler, Steve Carell and Mike Myers dominate this spring’s raucous comedies. Sandler and Myers go back to formulas that have worked for them before, while Carell attempts a big-screen version of a TV comedy (let’s hope it’s better than “Bewitched”). Only one sequel in this year’s comedies, but since it’s “Harold and Kumar” expectations are, no pun intended, “high” (look for that special 4:20 showing near you).
“The Love Guru”
Starring: Mike Myers, Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake, Ben Kingsley, Meagan Good, John Oliver, Verne Troyer, Romany MalcoDirector: Marco SchnabelStory: “Love Guru” Pitka (Myers) is hired to settle a rift between Toronto Maple Leafs hockey player Darren Roanoke (Malco) and his wife (Good). Roanoke’s wife is dating the sexy Jacques Grande (Timberlake) out of revenge, which is affecting his hockey skills. Can Myers turn things around so the Maple Leafs have a chance at the Stanley Cup? And will team owner Jane Bullard (Alba) draw his eye?One to watch? It may feel like déjà vu, but the film will probably be enjoyable. Another broad character along the lines of Austin Powers, Myers seems to be recycling his humor here — how very environmental of him. In the trailer, there’s even a joke reminiscent of the “mole” gag in the “Powers” flicks, except with a little person. This is Myers first live-action film since 2003’s “View from the Top.” He told USA Today, “I’ve written and created everything I’ve done, and it takes me a year to reflect on what I’ve done, a year to let the idea incubate, and a year to create a new character.” He added, “It’s been fascinating combining comedy with a nice life-affirming message. Coming: June 20Web site: http://www.paramount.com/
“Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo”Starring: John Cho, Kal Penn, Rob Corddry, Roger Bart, Neil Patrick HarrisDirector: Jon Hurwitz, Hayden SchlossbergStory: Harold (Cho, now John instead of Johnny) and Kumar (Penn) get in trouble trying to sneak a bong onto a flight to Amsterdam and are sent to Guantanamo Bay by an overzealous Homeland Security agent (Corddry) who thinks they’re terrorists. They escape, leading them to cross paths with Neil Patrick Harris and George W. Bush. One to watch? Yes, but... It’s great to see the return of everyone’s favorite stoners, but part of what made the first film so fun was that there really wasn’t a “concept,” other than they wanted White Castle burgers. This film feels a little concept heavy. The original writers Hurwitz and Schlossberg return and this time they take the director’s seat, too. Hurwitz told The Vulture, “The ‘Harold & Kumar’ movies have a lot in common with what Trey Parker and Matt Stone do with ‘South Park.’ They take things that are actually going on in society and find a fun way to expose the ridiculousness, and generally in a pretty non-partisan way.”Coming: April 25Web site: http://whatwouldnphdo.com/
Starring: Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Alan Arkin, Terence Stamp, Terry CrewsDirector: Peter SegalStory: In this big screen version of the classic TV series, Control Agent Maxwell Smart (Carell) and his partner 99 (Hathaway) take on the evil head of KAOS (Stamp). Smart gets help from superstar agent 23 (Johnson). Arkin co-stars as the chief of Control. One to watch? Missed it by that much (expect to see this phrase in every review). Carell recently said on “Live with Regis and Kelly” that he had no plans to do an imitation of Don Adams, but in the trailer, his performance doesn’t seem distinctive enough to reinvent Smart. Add to that the fact that Mel Brooks and Buck Henry created the original series and neither of them is involved in this remake. Instead, Tom Astle and Matt Ember (co-writers on “Failure to Launch”) penned the screenplay, while Segal (“The Longest Yard,” “50 First Dates”) is in the director’s chair. Director Segal realizes the legacy he’s dealing with. He told About.com, “We can never do as well as the TV show. I mean it's a tough act to follow Mel Brooks and Buck Henry. But if we can do half as well as them...” He added, “It’s kind of a remedial ‘Get Smart.’”Coming: June 20Web site: http://getsmartmovie.warnerbros.com/
“You Don’t Mess With the Zohan”
Starring: Adam Sandler, John Turturro, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Nick Swardson, Rob SchneiderDirector: Dennis DuganStory: An Israeli soldier (Sandler) fakes his own death so he can go to the United States and become a hairdresser. His skills as a commando come in handy on the streets of New York. One to watch? Looks promising. Sandler co-wrote the screenplay with Judd Apatow (“Knocked Up”) and Robert Smigel (the brains behind Triumph the Insult Comic Dog), which means at least the script is funny. The humor will most likely be broad with a lot of bad accents (Schneider, I’m looking at you) and pratfalls, and director Dugan has some clunkers in his past with “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” and “The Benchwarmers.” Still, it’s nice to see Sandler embrace a completely silly idea, which hopefully won’t have some kind of family friendly message. Coming: June 6Web site: http://www.youdontmesswiththezohan.com/
Starring: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Greg Kinnear, Dax Shepard, Romany Malco, Maura Tierney, Holland Taylor, Sigourney WeaverDirector: Michael McCullersStory: When 37-year-old, single and successful Kate Halbrook (Fey) realizes that she wants to have a baby but can’t, she turns to blue-collar girl Angie Ostrowiski (Poehler) to be her surrogate. But when a pregnant Angie winds up on Kate’s doorstep with no place to live, Kate finds out just how different the two of them are. One to watch? Maybe. If Fey (“30 Rock”) had written the screenplay, it would be easier to have more confidence; instead it’s penned by director McCullers (who wrote the second two “Austin Powers” films), which means the humor is likely to be broader. Still the “Saturday Night Live” gals should be fun to watch — let’s just hope this isn’t a “isn’t it sad to be single and alone” movie. Who needs another one of those? The New York Post’s Page Six got some early gossip on the film; a spywitness said, “Amy Poehler was the best thing in the movie.”Coming: Apr. 25Web site: http://www.babymamamovie.net/