Movie Reviews! Wanderlust, Bridesmaids, and the Lorax

I've been watching a bunch of movies with my partner recently, and I don't feel like I have enough to say about any of them to constitute their own post.  But I do have some thoughts on each of them.

Wanderlust (2012) - 3.5/5

I enjoyed this movie.  It was funny, pleasant, and just-sub-painfully awkward.  Long, drawn-out, awkward scenes that dwell on the characters' embarrassment are among the things I like least about contemporary comedy -- which is why I can't watch most Ben Stiller films -- and, several times, it looked like this movie was going to go there.  Ultimately, it only ended up doing it once.

I also liked that the hippie culture wasn't portrayed as categorically wrong about everything.  Except that one guy.  But he was a dick.

Bridesmaids - 3.5/5

This one had a bit more of the above-mentioned painful awkwardness.  But, like Wanderlust, Bridesmaids managed to subvert a lot of the traditional format for the kind of film that both of them are.  (Life-affirming comedies that argue there's something wrong with multiple segments of society.)  It also undercut the pain element of the awkwardness by consistently either pushing it way over the top, or letting more than one character make asses of themselves at once -- so it's not just like watching a home video of a nightmare I had once where everyone was watching, staring, judging me.

The Lorax - 4.5/5

I would like to start by saying that, yes, it's super-preachy.  Furthermore, I cried through like half of the movie.  Watching this movie reminded me (a.) of how preachy Dr. Seuss books really were, (b.) of how preachy all the stuff I read or watched when I was a kid, that influenced my worldview, was, and (c.) that it really is necessary to be that preachy to get through to kids.  Watching the Lorax reminded me that the culture of the United States, the one that's made of movies and TV shows and magazines, is constantly, aggressively, preaching a certain kind of mythology.  That mythology showed up in Bridesmaids and Wanderlust -- that nature isn't really the most important thing, that people who are rich aren't necessarily happy, but, mainly, that if there's anything wrong in your life, it's your fault, and you are the only one with the power to fix it.

Oh, and the way to fix things is by opening small businesses.

I'm not saying small businesses are intrinsically bad.  But there's a counterpoint to be made.  The world needs activists.  It needs nature.  It needs people who are willing to give up their own comfort to try and make the whole world a little better for everyone.

And it needs holes punched in those narratives, that legal equals good and success equals money.