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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
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Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Jack Black
Mia Farrow
Danny Glover
Mos Def.
Directors
Michel Gondry.
Screenwriters
Michel Gondry.
Running Time
100 minutes

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Be Kind Rewind
Make your own home movie, the Michel Gondry way


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Plot
Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover), owner of the Be Kind Rewind video store, leaves Mike (Mos Def) in charge while he fundraises to save the building. When the store’s entire stock is erased by Mike’s foul-up friend Jerry (Jack Black), the pair must do instant remakes of Hollywood hits to stay in business.


Review
Be Kind Rewind
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There’s just enough whimsical good humour to carry Be Kind Rewind, but Michel Gondry’s latest does tend to keep crashing into ‘oh come on now, what were you thinking?’ self-indulgence - and a couple of cylinders badly misfire somewhere.

The initial plot device, which has Jack Black’s character zapped during an attempt to wreck a power plant he thinks is microwaving the district, causing him to emerge with magnetising powers, is almost on a par with the similar use of electric shock in Youth Without Youth for sheer beside-the-point lunacy. In fact, the first reel is a shaggy dog meander, full of footnotes about supposed local hero Fats Waller and the old Disney plot about evil property developers who want to shut down the folksy neighbourhood joint.

However, the film takes off when - in order to fulfil a promise to a loyal, if daffy, customer (Mia Farrow) - slacker pals Mike (Mos Def) and Jerry (Black) have to camcorder their own take on Ghostbusters. Soon, they are doing ‘Sweded’ remakes of the store’s eclectic and largely outdated inventory (Rush Hour 2; Driving Miss Daisy; 2001: A Space Odyssey; Men In Black), and Be Kind Rewind starts delivering sketch-like gags which strike home. Black gets a chance to be in another remake of King Kong, playing the ape this time - though some of the funniest ideas are glimpsed on cassette spines (a lower-budget remake of Gummo?) rather than depicted.

The wavering but ultimately moving third act has baddies from the film industry (including a game Sigourney Weaver) show up to threaten the dubious copyright issues posed by the scheme and with it our heroes’ plans to save their neighbourhood and business.

The film jollies along between magical moments (the Waller film is charming) with the sort of hectoring cutes which get stale quickly, and secondary characters drift in and out as if scads of ‘deleted scenes’ once explained who they were (what is the relationship between Mike and the manager of the rival DVD/video store, for instance?).


Verdict
The remake/parody sequences - trailers for which are on the official site - are outstanding, but Black’s all-over-the-place mania and Mos Def’s slightly too bland orphan hero don’t quite tie the rest of the picture together. Still, it has heart. And you’d rather see this version of Rush Hour 2 than the original.


Reviewed by Kim Newman

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Be Kind Rewind
Empire Star Rating

now for the sweded be kind rewind!

yes you could take their remakes out of the film and put them on youtube and still have the same effect, yes the magnetism storyline is ridiculous, yes son of rambow may be better but this is a perfectly enjoyable film where i chuckled all the way through and really enjoyed and yet again jack black like he did in school of rock and kung fu panda carries this comedy and i really enjoyed watching him and mos def remake these films. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by THE DALTONATOR at 10:41, 25 January 2009 | Report This Post


Be Kind Rewind

It´s sad to see a film with such a charming concept to fail like this one, a film like this has such potential. The concept might be thought by some as outdated and i would agree that it should have been done maybe about 4-5 years earlier since VHS is nowhere to be found anymore(let alone a rental company only renting that format). The film has characters that have Napoleon Dynamite syndrome because they seem to be dumb and somewhat sympethetic for the sake of trying to get the audience lik... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by AxelB at 00:26, 22 October 2008 | Report This Post


RE: didn't really make sense

It was all over the place and I did feel a little underwhelmed. I think they stalled at the ideas stage because the premise is strong but they stopped it from being an all out comedy and that's what made it a bit shifty to watch. Still enjoyed it though. ... More

Posted by doubleshiny at 15:00, 23 August 2008 | Report This Post


Actually enjoyed it

Having read a lot of negative comments about this, I feared the worst. However I ended up really enjoying it, sure it was a bit messy but it really charmed me. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by philw at 10:25, 11 August 2008 | Report This Post


Pretty disappointing

Apart from a couple of good spoofs like Ghostbusters and Rush Hour 2 this falls completely flat, with poor performances and a lame plot that makes no sense whatsoever. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Caster at 16:31, 08 August 2008 | Report This Post


RE: didn't really make sense

Can't review it as i couldn't make it past the 12th minute and i have never not been able to finish a film no matter how bad!!  Utter tripe ... More

Posted by VictoC at 20:58, 06 August 2008 | Report This Post


Uneven and unsure

Although enjoyable Be Kind Rewind is an uneven film moving from through jokes to ones which don't work. More importantly is it simply a Jack Black comedy. No. Is it Capraesque movie about the little man fighting back against the odds. Almost. Michel Gondry can obviously attract a good cast but I wish he had been more sure about what he wanted to achieve. Whiniscal and with heart a good try but no Fats cigar. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Leicester Fox at 00:39, 12 July 2008 | Report This Post


Lukewarm

Some very funny jokes let down by a plethora of crap ones. A dissapointment ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 09:46, 03 July 2008 | Report This Post


Avoid be Kind

Boring, contrived, and bizarre. Black is extra annoying and weird. Glover is badly miscast and Farow is misused. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lynnshep at 00:29, 03 July 2008 | Report This Post


Oh dear

I gave up on this after the Ghostbusters remake. Unbeliveable and unfunny. What is the point of this movie? It felt more like a student film project. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by FlexDream at 13:19, 15 April 2008 | Report This Post


Give it a break!

Come on guys it had more heart than...than...the heart man. Okay so it was never rib threatening but it was warm and fuzzy and the ending does leave a lump in the old throat. Very nice. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by t_bell at 18:00, 14 April 2008 | Report This Post


sheer averageness

Not funny. Go and see 10000BC, it's way funnier. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by udjifudgi at 18:10, 03 April 2008 | Report This Post


Really hilarious.

This movie made me laugh like never. This movie f***ing rules! If you don't agree well: &?!% off! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 19:16, 29 March 2008 | Report This Post


A Welcome Addition to the Cannon

It’s the Frenchman’s fourth feature film (Human Nature – 2001, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – 2004, and The Science of Sleep - 2006) and it’s excellent... not as great as ‘Eternal Sunshine’ but what is? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Yozzer66 at 16:09, 17 March 2008 | Report This Post


Be Kind Rewind

Be Kind Rewind tells the story of a video store clerk and his clumsy friend who erases every video in the store through farfetched but funny incident in which he became 'magnetised'. To save losing the few customers they have the two friends decide to remake all the videos with a handheld camcorder leading to hilarious sequences. This is very much a feel good film, which had me laughing hard. The movie remake scenes are definitely the cream of the film and are hilariously thought up. Top mark... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by benhui at 22:03, 08 March 2008 | Report This Post


RE: didn't really make sense

I didn't really enjoy this movie.It felt unorganised and bumpy.Like anyone really,I liked the film remakes,but in my opinion,it felt like the writer didnt know where to go after that. It wasn't a bad movie.Just...okay. ... More

Posted by lympo at 09:32, 04 March 2008 | Report This Post


RE: didn't really make sense

L: udjifudgi The funniest bits were the sweding parts, but then they decide to make their own film, which sort of destroyed the whole plot of the film. I paid to see funny spoofs of films, not some crap about a person who didnt even exist ood God!!!! Fats Waller (the subject of the film they make at the end) was a real person. ... More

Posted by Wilbert at 08:27, 03 March 2008 | Report This Post


RE: didn't really make sense

The film that was advertised was very diffrent to what was actually shown. Bit of a let down as the idea was very good but all in all it was to hit and miss. 3 out of five from me ... More

Posted by richmiller at 01:11, 03 March 2008 | Report This Post


didn't really make sense

The funniest bits were the sweding parts, but then they decide to make their own film, which sort of destroyed the whole plot of the film. I paid to see funny spoofs of films, not some crap about a person who didnt even exist ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by udjifudgi at 15:27, 02 March 2008 | Report This Post


SO WHO SAID THIS WAS RUBBISH!

Everone was really harsh on be kind rewind. The beginning is a slow run-through of the plot which has maybe 1 or 2 funny lines or moments in. You feel as if the film is never going to take off but once they start to suede the films things really get going and you have the funniest 30 minutes of cinema you could see this year. Some of the greatest suedes are Ghostbusters, Rush Hour 2, King Kong and a very clever one of Men in Black. The only problem is some of the characters. Mos Def is so boring... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tomhemingwaycom at 12:49, 02 March 2008 | Report This Post


SO WHO SAID THIS WAS RUBBISH!

Everone was really harsh on be kind rewind. The beginning is a slow run-through of the plot which has maybe 1 or 2 funny lines or moments in. You feel as if the film is never going to take off but once they start to suede the films things really get going and you have the funniest 30 minutes of cinema you could see this year. Some of the greatest suedes are Ghostbusters, Rush Hour 2, King Kong and a very clever one of Men in Black. The only problem is some of the characters. Mos Def is so boring... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tomhemingwaycom at 12:49, 02 March 2008 | Report This Post


not enough to it

neither funny enough,or feel good enough. Good idea in there somewhere, but not enough of either. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bretty at 19:00, 28 February 2008 | Report This Post


RE: A good kids movie-made for adult??

I'm afraid I must stand up for this film. Yes the plot was implausible and they played on Jack Black's Jack Blackness too much, but I came out of the cinema with nothing but admiration for Gondy and the film. Not only was it so refreshingly different to anything else at the cinema right now, the film was often absolutely hilarious and combined the comedy with old fashioned heart. Mos Def was excellent and it's certainly a film I could watch and enjoy again. ... More

Posted by TrendMeUp at 17:53, 28 February 2008 | Report This Post


A good kids movie-made for adult??

I was not sure what to expect from this movie, the concept of remaking films that have made us all smile over the years could have been a heart tugging bit of self indulgent fun. But on all but a few occasions this movie failed to inspire a response from both myself and the rest of the audience. A slightly insane performance from Jack Black smacks of a man on his way out desperately trying to steel the show. On a positive note I was pleasantly surprised by Mos Def’s performance and a sound... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by cobolt_blue at 15:11, 28 February 2008 | Report This Post


RE: A nice idea

I thoroughly enjoyed it, and Michel Gondry continues to show what an innovative talent he is. Sure, it's pacing was all over the place at times, but it was a pleasure to watch, and it as a real fan of cinema, it struck a chord. 7.5/10 ... More

Posted by Filmfan 2 at 11:07, 28 February 2008 | Report This Post


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