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Movie Review: Michel Gondry's Be Kind Rewind (2008)

[L-R]: Melonie Diaz, Jack Black, and Yasiin Bey work the video store in Be Kind Rewind.
Photo: New Line Cinema.

I expected Be Kind Rewind to be a seriously funny movie. I find anything Jack Black says to be funny. And I don't just mean the regular "funny" here. I mean laughing on the ground, snorting-through-your-nose-type funny. I was surprised that, in addition to being funny, it was also a heartwarming tale of a community and the way it comes together to support one of their own against that Big Bad Wolf called consumerism. 

It is set in one of those neighborhoods where everyone knows everyone. There are crazy, quirky characters. They tolerate each other and even feel fondness for one another. On the corner is the little video shop where you can rent a video for a dollar a day.

The video shop is owned by Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover), an aging man who is proud of his shop. He is equally proud of the history and tells everyone how Fats Waller was born in that building. The loyal clerk is Mike (Yasiin Bey). Jerry (Jack Black) is Mike's friend who is always talking him into doing stupid stuff. On one such occasion, Jerry gets electrocuted, and his brain is magnetized. Mr. Fletcher is "out of town" doing research at the chain video store (think Blockbuster). When Jerry comes into work the next day, his magnetized brain erases all the videotapes.

Mike and Jerry decide to "remake" Ghostbusters to keep one of their regular customers happy. The re-made videos are shot like home movies with cheap special effects and lousy versions of the theme song. The two know they are in big trouble . . . but then . . .the unthinkable happens. People like the videos, and they want more. Mike and Jerry, along with some new friends, start re-making movie after movie. It becomes a pet project. They are raking in the cash. Will it stop the big, bad city builders from tearing down their beloved shop?

This was a cute film. Not a great one, but it shows the power of movies to bring people together. I found the end to be the best part.


Did you know that Phaedra loves Jack Black?
He makes her laugh like that too.