This week's DVD selections include one movie about weddings and two films about aliens.
"Jumping the Broom," Grade B-plus: Two families battle over wedding traditions. Angela Bassett stars.
If you only look at the cast, it might appear this is a comedy aimed at an African-American audience. But this sweet and funny story about how it's possible for two people to fall in love without falling into bed has universal themes. It shows how love conquers all.
Elizabeth Hunter's script is a smooth blend of tough emotional moments with light-hearted comedy. It avoids almost every wedding movie cliche. Loretta Devine's role comes the closest to being a film stereotype, but she never goes over the parody edge.
The emotional elements may make "Jumping the Broom" sound like a downer, but it's presented in such a loving way it's one of the better romantic comedies to come along in years.
"Mars Needs Moms," Grade C-plus: Visitors from the red planet are kidnapping mothers to take care of Martian children in this animated adventure.
Milo (performed by Seth Green and voiced by Seth Robert Dusky) is a 10-year-old who boldly announces he'd be better off without his mother. That night, a spaceship arrives to transport Mom (Joan Cusack) to Mars. She's part of an alien abduction program that snatches moms and drains them of their mom-ness. That maternal essence is installed in robot nannies who tend to Martin children because the female Martians are too busy running the planet.
"Mars Needs Moms," from the motion-captured animation to the 3-D effects, is out of this world. Too bad the story fails to get off the ground.
"Paul," Grade C-plus: Two Earthlings (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) help an alien who has escaped from a government facility.
"Paul" starts with the absurd and has no place to go except down. So instead of smart humor, the film keeps falling back on such immature jokes as having a deeply Christian woman (Kristen Wiig) find a new passion for profanity. The joke works the first five or six times, but by the 58th variation, any potential humor has been beaten into the ground.
The film is most funny when it references classic sci-fi — from the tune being played by a band at a biker bar to Paul's choice of candy treats. There's even a voice cameo by a famous director that's hilarious.
Also new on DVD Tuesday:
"Yo Gabba Gabba: Music Makes Me Move!": Four episodes about how it's OK to be different.
"Top Gear: The Complete Season 16": British series about the love of cars.
"Webster: Season 3": Emmanuel Lewis stars in the TV family comedy.
"The Last Godfather": Harvey Keitel headlines this organized-crime comedy.
"Secret Diary of a Call Girl: The Final Season": Billie Piper plays the celebrity prostitute.
"Your Highness": Danny McBride and James Franco portray two princes on a mission to save their land.
"Hey Arnold!: Season One": Includes all 20 episodes of the first season of the animated Nickelodeon series.
"Tactical Force": Steve Austin stars in this story of an elite police unit with its own rules.
"Marvin Hamlisch Presents the '70s, The Way We Were": Marvin Hamlisch performs with BJ Thomas, Three Dog Night, Debby Boone, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. and Ray Stevens.
"Evil Things": A birthday party turns deadly.
"M.A.S.K.: The Complete Original Series": Contains 65 episodes of the animated-action series.
"The Wiggles: Ukulele Baby!": Features 21 new songs set to the sound of ukuleles.
Rick Bentley: firstname.lastname@example.org
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