The Cynic’s Summer Movie Preview 2012: The Awful

Just as last summer, we begin at the bottom, clawing our way from the dreck up to the best of what Hollywood has to offer. And here… we… go!

What to Expect When You’re Expecting (May 18)
What to expect from What to Expect? The cinematic equivalent of a dirty diaper.

A Little Bit of Heaven (May 4)
Once upon a time there was an actress named Kate Hudson, and she made a great movie. That movie almost won her an Oscar. Ever since, she’s made bad rom-com after bad rom-com. Now she’s starring in this, yet another “you’re kind of a horrible person so you better turn your life because you might die of a terminal illness without having ‘lived your life to its full potential’” movie. Is it too early to call for retirement?

Battleship (May 18)
Did Taylor Kitsch get the fuzzy end of the lollipop or what? After the John Carter debacle, he’s set to star in another summer dud, this one based on the classic board game, but made to look like the Transformers sequel we’ll have to wait another year or two to get. Sorry, bud. You’ll always hold a special place in my heart, Tim Riggins.

Photo courtesy Rotten Tomatoes
Tyler Perry’s The Marriage Counselor (July 27)
By now, you should know how I feel about Tyler Perry. Here we go again, as Perry again adapts a Madea-less stage play. As much as I appreciate his employment of black actors, I can’t stand how lazy his projects seem. He’s got the capital and competence to take some risks, so why doesn’t he? Oh, and this one stars Kim Kardashian. Yikes.

Photo courtesy Rotten Tomatoes user aSpaceCowboy
Bad summer horror: The Apparition (Aug. 24) / The Possession (Aug. 31) / 7500 (Aug. 31)
At least we’re getting all these out of the way at the end of the summer. The Apparition details the aftermath of a “college experiment” gone wrong (Sexual? Psychological? Both?) while The Possession follows—seriously—a cursed antique box. Finally, there’s 7500, which I wish the producers would just re-name Ghosts on a Plane and call it a day.

Ted (July 13) – Trailer NSFW
Things no one has ever said to Seth MacFarlane: “Boy, Family Guy’s only gotten better since its cancellation.” “Your shows are quite witty and original. Please make more of them.” “You’re successful in TV and I think that success will carry over into music and feature films.” Here, he voices pot-smoking, foul-mouthed teddy bear that aims to keep John (Mark Wahlberg) from marrying his girlfriend (Mila Kunis). I think we’re looking at an Eddie Murphy-sized flop.

Rock of Ages (June 15) / Katy Perry: Part of Me (July 5)
Tom Cruise lip-syncing to Poison covers? Where do I sign up?! And then I can recreate the experience of Katy Perry lip-syncing in concert in 3-D? I’m headed over to Fandango right now!

That’s My Boy (June 15)
I’m a big fan of the writer of this, David Caspe. He created Happy Endings. But he’s sure not giving me a lot to go on here, with Andy Samberg as the straitlaced son of Adam Sandler, a rock star who “never grew up.” If I didn’t have some hope in his writing, this would probably be lower.

Battlefield America (June 1) / Step Up: Revolution (July 27)
The former is sadly not the Red Dawn remake we’ve been promised, but about a businessman’s search for America’s Best Pint-Sized Dance Crew (kids, not dwarves, though I’d definitely see this if he wanted dwarf dancers). Not surprisingly, it’s from the director of You Got Served. The latter is another tangential sequel to Step Up. Unlike Step Up 3D, the trailer for this actually features conflict, this time in the form of an evil land developer.

Sparkle (Aug. 10)
Much like This is It (2009), Sparkle represents a comeback vehicle that in the wake of its star’s death feels like nothing more than a ghoulish nostalgia trip. This one’s a remake of the 1976 cheese-fest about a group that is most definitely not the Supremes. Pretty sure we already covered this ground in the film version of Dreamgirls, but whatever. Hey, there’s Cee-Lo!

Savages (July 6)
Two men in love with the same woman try to save her from a vicious Mexican cartel. So, it’s basically Casa de mi Padre without the laughs. Look, Oliver Stone’s certainly assembled a top-notch cast, but it reeks of trying too hard. Or maybe that smell is smug satisfaction. Either way, how am I supposed to be afraid of gun-wielding gringos in luchador masks?

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (June 8) / Ice Age: Continental Drift (July 13)
My friend Brian and I had the same reaction when we saw the trailer to the latest Madagascar movie: Did that just make me want to see a Madagascar movie? And it kinda did. But why should I bother when I had no desire to see the first two. Plus, Noah Baumbach scripted this one and he’s quite an unpleasant force when going solo. As for the fourth Ice Age movie—it was all set to end in 2009 until Dawn of the Dinosaurs became the franchise’s biggest grosser—you can expect more of the same: tired lessons about family in between hilarious Scrat interludes.

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