There was one movie that my movie critic peers and I were looking forward to seeing in these dog days of winter, and it was Be Kind Rewind, Michel Gondry’s wacko tale of a video clerk and his oddball friend who shoot their own versions of hit movies. Then, without a word, the movie disappeared from our screening schedule. Further research revealed that New Line was yanking all screenings from certain markets, and we lived in one of them. Considering that they had just shown us Over Her Dead Body, a movie that they should have set on fire, flattened with a steamroller and buried 50 feet below ground level, the decision to screen that but not this struck us as curious, to say the least.
Ah, but good news! The rep has passes for us to see the movie for free…but they’re only good beginning the following Monday after it opens. Whaaa? Surely the rep knows that we need to get our reviews up as soon as possible and will be seeing the movie at a Friday matinÃ©e, right? Why is the studio trying so hard to discourage us from seeing this?
Iâ€™ve now seen it, and I think I get it. Be Kind Rewind does not live up to the fragmented genius that is Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and is closer in spirit and tone to The Science of Sleep, his maddeningly loopy 2006 movie about a delusional dreamer. When the movie works, it is delightful. The problem is that those moments are far too infrequent.