Cougar Club, Nearing Grace, Sun Dogs *UPDATED* — dvd movie reviews
Posted on October 11, 2007 by Chris Nelson
Our second issue of Dreamlogic.net’s DVD Drop-Box brings us two titles from Vivendi Universal: Cougar Club and Nearing Grace. On with the show.
*UPDATE* And one from Palm Pictures: Sun Dogs.
Edit: It has been brought to my attention that Cougar Club is not a National Lampoon’s movie. Not sure where I picked that up, but I’ve made sure to correct the review.
Cougar Club . And the award for worst film of the year goes to Cougar Club. This is a criminally unfunny, annoying, obnoxious little film that had me hitting the fast forward button as if my sanity depended on it. The basic story revolves around a couple of young guys (one a coward, one a “milf” hunter) who through a series of events find themselves in the good graces of a large number of boy-hungry old ladies, called cougars (I only recently learned this term through Ocean’s Thirteen). The two then set up a business to help horny guys meet up with the cougars at private parties. Asinine situations ensue. The film will be of interest to wrestling fans and Bond fans, as both Chyna and Izabella Scorupco make appearances, proving once and for all that there is no life to be had for women after starring in either of these franchises. Is there anything good about the film? Well, the dvd’s menus feture the acting talents of Jennifer “Loma” Lee, who looks 10 times better, and a good 20 years younger than any of the women in the actual film. Other than that, this disc is a coaster.
Nearing Grace . Believe it or not, I was actually kind of interested in this one. Being one of the feture titles of Vivendi’s independent branch (the one that brought you the underrated Edmond), and given some decent festival praise, and the fact the script was handled by Mean Creek‘s Jacob Aaron Estes, I figured it might be interesting. Nearing Grace is a coming of age drama concerning a teenage boy, Henry (Gregory Smith) who, following the death of his mother, finds himself pondering life, his future, all while lusting after the “hot” slutty girl in his school (the Grace of the title, played by Jordana Brewster). When she takes a liking toward him, he finds himself becoming sidetracked by his raging hormones. He soon finds out that,as the box copy suggests, “sometimes what you want is not always what’s best for you.” I have no problem with pretentious philosophizing (hey, I love Linklater), but the kind found here, though gussied up in the prettiest of superfluous adjectives, amounted to the most droll and pedantic of navel-gazing. Compounding the problem is the fact that through all this dialog, we’re never once given an insight into the reasons characters do what they do. Why does Henry like Grace? Well, she’s “hot,” albeit in a Ethan Hawke “I don’t shower and that’s okay” kind of way. Why does she respond to him the way that she does? Who knows. Maybe she’s bored. In any event, she hardly is allowed a chance to speak. Which brings me to another thing: the singular voice shared amongst all the characters, from the 17 year old main character to the rotund highschool principal, was as offputting as it was unbelievable. The acting is decent , however, and those involved do make an admirable attempt towards making their awkward monologues sound plausible (special nod to David Morse). In the end, It wasn’t so much that Nearing Grace is a bad film, it’s just bit uninteresting, self-obsessed, and inconsequential.
Sun Dogs . This one I actually enjoyed. Sun Dogs documents the formation and training of the first Jamaican Dogsled team. At first I was thinking this was a kids film, intended to complement both Cool Runnings and the Cuba Gooding Jr. Snow Dogs, but what I found was a thoughful and informative documentary that covered a bit of everything, from Jamaican culture and societal struggle, animal rights and rescue, the importance of raw determination and self improvement, and finally, the integral nature of tourism and marketing to the island country. Indeed, a lot of this would go over a child’s head, but Sun Dogs should prove interesting for an entire family. The dogs themselves, a band of JSPCA (Jamaica’s SPCA) rescues, are very cute, and will definitely win them over (in particular the ever grinning Smiley). The picture also has a few moments about owning up to mistakes, and the integrity neccessary to do so, which can (hopefully) help teach them a few moral lessons. All in all, Sun Dogs was a nice Sunday afternoon Documentary, and definitely the best out of the three on this list.
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