I apologize for the lack of review on Friday. I actually did managed to see 21 Jump Street but really wasn’t sure what I felt about it. It actually wasn’t as bad as I thought, but I felt it was overrated. Nonetheless, I tried to sit down on Saturday to write it (as I mentioned I wasn’t able to on Friday) and I realized that I had this completely biased opinion about it (not a Channing Tatum fan whatsoever) and I wasn’t sure if the negative points were me being a sour puss or me being realistic. I’m going to watch that one again and get back to you. In the mean time, Hunger Games will for sure be reviewed for Friday, so look out for that.
To make it up to you, here’s a review for your Monday about a film you won’t even begin to believe exists. It’s called North, and it’s by Rob Reiner.
Wait, Rob Reiner? You mean the guy that directed A Few Good Men, When Harry Met Sally, The Princess Bride and even Ghosts of Mississippi? But those are all fantastic films! Yes, Andy, for some reason I am talking to you/myself, it’s probably the movie making me go nuts, but yes that very same Rob Reiner. While a lot of his films are full of Hollywood cheese, it’s harmless and it only adds to the magic a lot of his films carry, especially When Harry Met Sally and Princess Bride. North on the other hand is anything but a film that goes up. It puts so many nationalities and ethnicities down whilst being formulaic, non sensical and just past the line of unbelievably stupid. The film stars Elijah Wood, Bruce Willis, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Dan Akroyd, Kathy Bates, Abe Vigoda, Ben Stein, John Ritter, Reba McEntire, and even Scarlett Johansson in her very first role. Well, that doesn’t sound too bad (well, except Reba. God help us), so what is the problem here? There’s a pretty good director and a loved cast, so what makes this film one of the worst of all time? The story and everything to do with it.
Basically the kid, played by Wood, is named North. You know you have a brilliant script when the main character’s name is a god damn direction (I bet the screenplay read like one of those old “choose your path” games for your computer back in the day). North is the best kind in America. No, really. He’s shown being good at school, being a great theater actor, doing well with sports, everything. All of the kids are compared to North by every pair of parents from here to Pandora (where the parenting, frankly, sucks). Why do we see this? Well, North’s parents are being bossy as usual, and are always fighting with each other. They’re fighting about something remotely interesting, and North starts to have a panic attack. Yep. There isn’t any yelling or throwing of plates or abuse of any kind. In fact, Jason Alexander (North’s dad) has a bit of a chuckle mere seconds right before North starts losing his shit. From here on in, you probably have gathered that everything is taken to the extreme.
The basic premise is that North has gone on a world wide search for new parents. Wait wait wait. I’m sorry, I missed a bit that would clarify why this will make sense. North goes to a furniture store to sit down and escape when he is visited by a man (played by Willis) in a bunny costume. Crap, I’ve done it again, let me back track. Oh wait… No, that’s about it. Man in costume influences kid to cross the world and look for new parents in every country, despite having money to do so, while the whole of America is kept up to date via newspaper, and his parents are frozen stiff from shock and are comatose, while a classmate of North’s tries to make a scheme to take over the world by getting kids to rebel against their parents too. This run on sentence is 100% what this movie is about, and not only is that sentence not as stupidly written as this film is, it’s not even an iota as to how stupid it truly is.
So this is where we meet most of the star studded cast, who play the many parents that try to take North in as a son. This is not only where the movie gets more stupid, but where it gets offensive. See, I usually mean a film is offensive when it’s so bad that it insults my intelligence. That goes for this film too, but this film is also beyond judgmental. If you want to know what I mean by this, let’s look at one of the pairs of parents that want to take in North: A Hawaiian couple, where the husband is a governor. They make fun of the Hawaiian alphabet (they have so few letters and as they are missing the letters “b, c, d, e and f, you’re guaranteed to get straight A’s”. I’m dead serious, that’s a joke from the film), the tourism in the country (where North is put on a billboard with his ass showing and an octopus pulling on his shorts. I’m dead serious, that’s a scene from the film), and even an incredibly sexist dig towards the wife (where the islands are Barren, including “Mrs. Ho”, his wife. I’m dead serious, tha-you get the idea).
That’s not even the most offensive part when it comes to the new families.
Are you ready for the aboriginals?
Yeah, the aboriginals that sit on couches in their igloos, do nothing but ice fish, and even send off the older members of society on ice floats since they are “embarrassing” as said old members take a number and wait in line. That’s not the most racist part. You know what is? Kathy Bates in tan face.
Just the fact that they sent older people off on ice floats as they were being a disgrace is in itself a good reason not to watch this film. When inuits did this many many years ago, it was for survival, not for morale. What absolute bullshit. But hey, it’s a family film, and this kind of material is alright if Bruce Willis walks about in a cowboy get up, a treasure hunter outfit, and more, right? No. He’s a boring narrator and a terrible guardian angel figure. To be fair, I don’t blame him. He clearly does not want to be there. Listening to his monotone voice, I can only try and process what the hell I just watched mere seconds before. They are offensive about many other nationalities, too, from Americans to various types of Europeans, and even the Amish, where North yells “floor it” to the pilot to speed off in the plane just seconds after landing (I guess it’s not like the Amish would be watching any movie any time soon, right?).
Oh yeah, remember that sub plot about the snotty little brat that wants to cash in by influencing every kid to follow in North’s footsteps? Yeah, that kid actually plans to have North killed off. You read that right. That kid, who can’t be older than eight, wants to have North, another kid, murdered. I don’t want to talk about this movie anymore.
Now, this part here will include spoilers for those smart enough to not want to watch the movie, so beware.
North finally finds a good, happy family but he still isn’t happy because, durr, it’s not his actual family and he has to go home and make things right because Bruce Willis won’t stop following him like a pederast and talking to him about it. So he rushes back home and is attacked by children who want to be free from their parents and are willing to prevent him from reconnecting with his parents. Meanwhile, a hitman is afte-I can’t finish this, screw it. What kind of hitman would honestly waste his time following a kid? By far one of the stupidest things I’ve heard in my entire life. So North finally finds his parents and is killed by the hitman. If you don’t think that’s infuriatingly pathetic enough, wait until you find out that North wakes up and this entire shitfest of a film was all a dream!
Really, not only is this the worst cop out in any form of story in existance (I’m looking at you, R. L. Stine, but it’s one of the worst excuses for being extremely offensive in any film and not just a supposed children’s film. Yeah, let’s make fun of everyone we can think of, as long as North wakes up, we’ll all be fine and dandy! Bullshit we will be, that’s an even worse ending than I could have possibly imagined!
Spoiler over, even though watching the film spoils more than reading what I just wrote.
So, why the hell did I give this film a 0.2 out of ten and not a downright zero? I have to give Elijah Wood some credit. As horrendous as the film is, and as bad as absolutely every single one of the older actors, writers, editors, producers, and Rob Reiner should feel for knowing damn well what they were making, Wood makes best of the situation by being actually a bit condescending. He not only does a good job acting, but he, whether it was Reiner’s doing or not, mocks the film unintentionally the entire way just by the aside of winks he throws our way. Is it worth watching? Absolutely not. If you want to watch a film just to see how bad a family film can be, then you my dear reader are an imbecile.
North is a direction and is used as guidance, but you will want to be removed as far from society and life itself as you can be after watching this.