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New on DVD – August 10, 2010 – Date Night and Crumb

From Steve Carell and Tina Fey’s not-so-madcap adventures in Date Night to the Criterion edition of the landmark comic documentary Crumb, here’s a look at the great and the less-than-great films out on DVD and Blu-ray this week.

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NBC sitcom stars Steve Carell and Tina Fey play a dishwater-dull suburban couple who get caught up in an evening’s worth of shoot-outs and other supposedly exciting things too boring to mention. We couldn’t find hardly anything nice to say about this action comedy, calling it a “boring movie made for boring couples who want to be told that not only is it okay to be boring but it actually makes you better than everyone else.”

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Zwigoff’s landmark 1995 documentary about America’s comics
genius R. Crumb — back then we said it was an “eye-popping shocker,
delving unflinchingly into questions of Crumb’s hatred of females,
questions of racism, his traumatic childhood, and his extremely twisted
family” — gets a welcome Criterion release, including nearly an hour of
unused footage and commentaries from Zwigoff and Roger Ebert.

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In what should have been a home run, director Neil LaBute rounds up a stellar cast — Danny Glover, Chris Rock, Peter Dinklage, Tracy Morgan — for this remake of the 2007 British comedy about raucously inappropriate goings-on at a funeral. All the subtlety and dark humor of the original is lost, our critic thought, in a cliche-ridden film that “becomes its own unwelcome wake.”

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David Duchovny and Demi Moore play a conspicuously consuming suburban couple in this comedy with a smart satirical twist: the Joneses are actually not a family but a living, breathing product placement. Though our critic thought the story eventually succumbed to some soap-opera-style plot twists, the film as a whole was an “interesting cross of market research and social experimentation.”

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Brian Cox plays a wisdom-spouting, almost-dead old bartender who befriends a depressed and homeless Paul Dano in this talky, Soho-bar-set drama. Our critic took a shine to the two leads — previously paired in Michael Cuesta’s dark L.I.E. — and was moderately impressed with the film overall, saying “even when it’s slumming in sentimentality, it never offers you exactly what you’re expecting, and that is admirable.”

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