If you like films I think you will enjoy this movie. Director Michel Gondry creator of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” gives us this warm family film, although please don’t expect the same originality the Spotless Mind gave. It came out this February but was overlooked I think because it wasn’t overly promoted, either that or cause Jack Black is in it. Whatever reason, it had some good names attached to it; Danny Glover, Mia Farrow, Mos Def, and Jack Black who all mesh well together in the movie.
Mike (Mos Def) lives in a poor community working at the local VHS only video rental store who is fascinated by the story of how the famous jazz musician Fats Waller was born in the store, told by the store owner Elroy Fletcher (Danny Glover). Elroy sees his community enjoying the modern world while old traditions slip away and is forced to realize that he will have to step into this modern thinking because his building is in jeopardy of being demolished and turned into a shopping center. He makes plans to spy on the local, popular DVD-video store to get Ideas on how to save his store and puts Mike in Charge but warns him not to let Mike’s friend Jerry (Jack Black) in the store while he’s away, since he’s energetically odd. After Elroy’s departure Jerry wants Mike to help him sabotage the power plant that’s located near his trailer because he’s convinced it’s unhealthy and is making him sick. Mike agrees at first but once there he has a change of mind, which ends up being good for him because Jerry goes on without him and ends up getting an electric shock. The next day Jerry confronts Mike at the rental store telling him about the sabotage and how his rental tape was blank, nothing but snow on the screen. They come to realize Mike’s body is magnetized and all the tapes in the store are now blank. The store’s long time customer Miss Falewicz finds there is something strange going on at the store because they do not allow her to rent a movie, but reluctantly agrees to pick up the movie the next day by suggestion of Mike to stall some time. Mike, with panic that Elroy will find out about the tapes, decides to remake Ghostbusters with Jerry as the star, then rent it to Miss Falewicz thinking she’s so out of it she’ll never know. She comes back the next day and rents the movie, but a few of her relatives end up seeing the movie and they love it so much they want more. Soon their clientele list rises and so do the suggestion for more movies and with the help of a local woman, Alma, they remake movies like The Lion King, Rush Hour, Driving Miss Daisy, and Robocop; during this they also find a way to demagnetize Jerry. They are collecting a lot of attention from these remakes who also involve some of the locals, but soon Elroy comes back and is surprised to find how popular the store has become. Although it’s looking as though the store could be saved by all the money these movies have been bringing in, they are soon confiscated and destroyed because of a little copyright violation. Now in order to save the store the community has to come together and make a movie of their own.
So the plot is blatantly simple and has been done several times but it has good energy. Gondry uses every extent of his childhood imagination and probably some of his current directorial skills to develop this raw, old school way of assembling these classic movies in the film. Even if you don’t like the film you have to appreciate the person behind it and the amusing way it was put together. The ending doesn’t give you an explosive emotion it gives a happy serene feeling, it sounds boring but I say give it a chance.