Be Kind Rewind

2008-08-12 14:12
What it's about:

Mike (Mos Def) is left in charge of the Be Kind Rewind video store while his boss (Danny Glover) takes time off. It's an important task, but when his paranoid friend Jerry (Jack Black) becomes magnetised after failing to sabotage a power station, disaster strikes. All the tapes are erased and have to be replaced somehow. After trying to fool an elderly customer with their own version of Ghostbusters, Mike and Jerry are tempted to film another remake. And another. Soon, customers flock to the store for the now-famous "sweded" versions of Hollywood favourites. But with the building about to be condemned, the fun may not last.

What we thought of it:

Be Kind Rewind is unconventional in being both a movie about movies and, honestly, quite cute. Far too often art about art is overly complex and boring, but this is no torturous snooze fest by some Scandinavian director. It's a silly little movie with a heart of gold.

Mos Def, who plays the conscientious video store clerk Mike, gets another pat on the back for being the only rapper in the world that can act (sorry, Eminem). His co-star Jack Black, however, has dug his own typecast hole even further as Jerry, and although it works, we're still waiting for him to stop playing himself in movies.

The best parts of the movie are Mike and Jerry's "sweded" filmmaking exploits. Their stopgap solutions to shooting difficult scenes are hilarious and really make you want to try it yourself. (Tip: putting a pizza behind someone's head makes it look like they were shot) And so many people have. Yep, sweding is now an Internet craze and you can find sweded versions of Star Wars, Jurassic Park and more here and elsewhere on the net.

For people who have seen the real Ghostbusters (1984) and Rush Hour (1998), for people who love movies and remember VHS tapes with fondness, Be Kind Rewind will tickle you to a rosy fondness for this lovable comedy. It's a love letter to film; a reminder that all around us are stories worthy of the big screen.

For all its originality, Be Kind Rewind is not some kind of indie Citizen Kane (1941). It's not afraid of familiar plot conventions and gags, and leaves its most interesting theme, preserving history, a little underdeveloped. But gosh darn it, ain't it cute?

- Niel Bekker

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After all the tapes in their video store are erased, two friends make and start renting out their own low-budget versions of famous flicks.

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