MOVIES: Its a guy thing, you wouldn’t understand

National Security
by Jeff Frost

MARTINNNNNNN Lawrence had a neighbor, “Bro Man,” on his self-titled FOX sitcom not so many years ago. Bro Man couldn’t figure out how to use the door, so he came in through the window. My theory: Bro man wasn’t stupid, he’d just read an advance script for National Security and couldn’t bear to look Lawrence directly in the eye.

In this new comedy, released by Paramount, Lawrence stars as Earl, an over-zealous would-be cop who has to settle for security guard status. Hank (Steve Zahn) is an actual police officer who just saw his partner gunned down by the bad guys. After Earl accuses Hank of police brutality, the officer loses everything.

But it’s not long before the conflicted duo must team up to stop a predictably evil group of cop killing smugglers, led by a mean-sounding villain named Nash (Eric Roberts, Sibling Rivalry). What follows is a foreseeable barrage of bullets, beer kegs and dirty cops.

National Security’s strong stars inspire a few good laughs. The entire police brutality setup is comical, if not effectively satirical. But the film peaks within the first 15 minutes. From there, the audience is treated to one or two well-done action sequences and a dozen more that are simply mediocre. The greater part of the film is a collection of flat jokes centered on a been-there-done-that plot.

Both Lawrence and Zahn are above this film. If Lawrence aims to be effective, he needs to be in R-rated, adult oriented fare. His role as tough talking, shoot-first Marcus Burnett in Bad Boys (and its upcoming sequel) shows what Lawrence can do when given the right material and the right co-star.

Zahn is a comedic actor miscast in his role. Both actors are stuck in a predictable “mismatched buddy cop action comedy” that allows no room for chemistry and no space for originality.

A Guy Thing</B
By Lauren Spitzer

Why do guys do or say the things they do? Women are doomed to never quite get it because it’s a “guy thing.” A Guy Thing, directed by Chris Koch (Snow Day), takes its characters down bumpy and adventurous roads to help them discover that some things do not work out as planned. The characters may meander a bit, but the laughs are straight on making the film an amusingly successful new comedy.

The film’s first “guy thing” begins with Paul’s (Jason Lee, Mallrats) bachelor party, as he prepares to wed Karen (Selma Blair, Cruel Intentions). Paul’s attempt to be well behaved goes amiss when he finds himself in bed the next morning with a “tiki girl,” Becky (Julia Stiles, Ten Things I Hate About You), from the party.

The film’s surprises are non-stop when Paul is confronted with constant obstacles to keep his fianc? from discovering the truth. Just as Paul thinks he has solved the problem, he realizes he cannot avoid Becky and the night that started it all. The intertwined and complicated love story is a perfect fit with the constant predicaments that Paul must overcome.

The comedic characters become fully developed during the film and represent the quirkiness in all of us. Director Chris Koch and actor Jason Lee are able to explore their imaginative side through Paul’s responses and actions. Paul’s wild stories, such as when his “mugger” demands that he “give me those groceries, whitey” involves quandaries we’ve all found ourselves a part of in some way.

Paul ultimately realizes the biggest dilemma he must tackle is which love he will choose.

The film’s supporting roles, including quirky characters like Becky’s psycho stalker ex-boyfriend and Karen’s older alcoholic aunt, provide laugh out loud moments.

The young and talented cast nicely adds their personal touches to each of the characters. The film’s plot is humorous enough to appeal to most everyone.

“Take a chance,” as Becky says, and see the film. It “was a hoot” and surprisingly is not just a girl’s thing.

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