Join Jerry and Mike (Jack Black and Mos Def) in Be Kind Rewind as they “swede” some of the most iconic movies of all time to raise the appropriate amount of money and save their aged video store from being torn down.
What is sweding, one might ask? Sweding is when you remake a film from scratch using whatever you can get your hands on. In this case, Jerry accidentally erases every video tape from the store and Mike comes up with the simple idea of remaking the VHS tapes using themselves as actors. The two end up becoming stars and people from around the country start to seek the sweded work of Jerry and Mike.
The idea is unique and the characters are charming. Jerry is an over-the-top character with sensitive feelings and believes that he is perfect for every role and Mike is a very simple-minded, soft-spoken character who just doesn’t want to disappoint the store owner and father figure Elroy Fletcher, passively played by Danny Glover.
Although the tone of the film is much different from that of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, there is still a lot of thought put into this picture. And this takes of a whole lot effort from Jack Black and Mos Def if you consider the many different roles they had to cover in the time span of 102 minutes. Let’s not forget about Danny Glover, who has a distinctive slur to his voice and gives an unobtrusive performance that brings some dignity to his character. There are a few funny moments to be found, but the film seemed more interested in capturing the hearts of its viewers, rather piling on the laughs.
A definitive style and imagination is a requirement for a solid concept like this. Michel Gondry proved that he has everything needed to direct films with such an offbeat pitch to it when he put his signature style on films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep. This one’s a true crowd pleaser.
Unlike Son of Rambow (a film that was also trying to grasp the essence of film and failed on multiple levels), this film has a tender spot for movie lovers and pleases without being disorganized and erratically uneven. A solid script, great cast, and an amusing premise guide this homage to movies, friendship, and the power of numbers to its warm finale. Be sure to take the time to cherish each clever scene and the outer limits of Michel Gondry’s imagination. The ending will either be a touching, heartfelt one or an insipid, whimsical one (depending on one’s perspective). For me, it was entirely endearing. 4/5 stars