COMEDY; 1hr 40min
STARRING: Jack Black, Mos Def
Video busters: from left, Black and Def
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, director Michel Gondry was in dizzying form — but he did have screenwriter Charlie Kaufman to play off. For better and for worse, Be Kind Rewind is all Gondry’s own work.
Black is blowhard mechanic Jerry, who lives in a trailer in Passaic, New Jersey, and whose brain becomes magnetised when he monkeys with a power station. Straight man Def is video-store manager Mike, who faces the potential wrath of the owner (Danny Glover) when all the tapes are wiped after contact with the magnetised Jerry. The two friends set out to remake the obliterated classics — Ghostbusters, Driving Miss Daisy, The Lion King… — with superbad success.
Gondry is clever and quirky — but a little quirk goes a long way. Maybe too far, I found myself thinking, before the sophomoric screenplay pulls back a notch and the scrappy characters start to make more sense. So three cheers to the little guys and the Method in their madness. For barefaced audacity, Gondry is still the man to beat.