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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
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 Soon, they are doing ‘Sweded’ remakes of the store’s eclectic and largely outdated inventory (Rush Hour 2; Driving Miss Daisy; 2001: A Space Odyssey; Men In Black), and Be Kind Rewind starts delivering sketch-like gags which strike home.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

RE: A nice idea

Spoilers       A watchable and fairly likeable comedy that I feel would have been so much better if they'd cut off or changed the "lets make the Fats Waller documentary" ending.That ending tainted the film a bit for me as it went off in a direction I didn't want it to. 2.5 stars ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by skeletonjack at 16:58, 27 February 2008 | Report This Post


A nice idea

FUNNY IN PLACES BUT NOT THE BEST OF JACK BLACK'S FILMS ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lewey T at 14:01, 27 February 2008 | Report This Post


A nice idea

FUNNY IN PLACES BUT NOT THE BEST OF JACK BLACK'S FILMS ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lewey T at 14:01, 27 February 2008 | Report This Post


i might be being a bit harsh giveing this just two stars but to be honest, after you get past the whole sensation that they're recreating some nostalgic memories (well i'm not very old so rush hour 2 counts for me) the film doesn't have any plot or make much sense. mos def is always likeable though, just a shame there aren't enough jokes. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by cluesy at 19:07, 26 February 2008 | Report This Post


RE: damiyann2

i really enjoyed this, it had that charm and daft premise of so many of the films of my childhood. so what if it had plot holes etc, i dont think realism was the focus here, and its good to see a talent like gondry working within the studio system and getting his unique look at the world out to the average person. ... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 19:16, 25 February 2008 | Report This Post


RE: damiyann2

For the first time in two years I walked out of a movie, this was awful. I give one point for the Ghostbusters bit the rest was so tedious and annoying that I couldn't stand anymore and left, terrible acting (Which is a shame because I love Danny Glover and like Jack Black) so over the top it's untrue, completely unfunny, the movie remakes were flashed through at such a pace rendering them pointless. Just awful   1/10 ... More

Posted by Marvel_79 at 18:19, 25 February 2008 | Report This Post


RE: damiyann2

damiyann2:   How can you give a movie a rating before you've seen it? Are you f***ing thick? ... More

Posted by stestecamara at 01:12, 25 February 2008 | Report This Post


Film of the week?????

How can Empire call Be Kind Rewind the film of the week if when they themselves gave Waz and higher rating? Madness!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by stestecamara at 01:06, 25 February 2008 | Report This Post


Be Kind Rewind

Be Kind Rewind's running gags will get all the laughs they deserve - the re-enactments of Robocop, Driving Miss Daisy, Rush Hour 2 and Ghostbusters are nothing short of hilarious. Def and Black make for an amiable partnership . Be Kind Rewind just might be a little bit twee and unrealistic, and eventually runs out of steam. But it was still better than Gondry's last film Science Of Sleep. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by moviemaniac2 at 16:27, 23 February 2008 | Report This Post


I havn't seen it yet but i'm going to tentatively give it 2 stars. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by damiyann2 at 12:59, 23 February 2008 | Report This Post


Been excited about this for a while but felt a bit deflated after it. I'm just not too sure what to make of it, it seemed a bit all over the place - it went from the ridiculous (the electrocution); to laugh out loud funny (the movie making); to 'what the hell is that about' (aspirin overdose); to gushy sentimentality (the ending). Just seemed a bit hit-and-miss to me; like a series of set pieces that don't really gel together quite right. The people I was watching it with groaned when it end... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by captain jack harknes at 11:52, 23 February 2008 | Report This Post


Sweetly charming!

I thought this film would be awful, but maybe thats is why i thought it was charming! Yes, its a bit silly but the idea is original and Mos Def and Jack Black work very well together. This is very light hearted and if your in the mood for a silly but enjoyable film you won't be disappointed. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dja_list at 15:51, 22 February 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Be Kind Rewind

L: Indio Probably the only good thing about the film was Danny Glover, he's not seen enough on the screen these days. e's gettin too old for this shit. ... More

Posted by HIM at 09:49, 22 February 2008 | Report This Post


Be Kind Rewind

Thought it was pretty dreadful, easily Gondry's worst film, and it seemed to go on   Basically, if you've seen the trailer, you don't need to see the film (unless you're a major fan of Fats Waller). You'd be better off watching some pissed up renditions of your favourite films on Youtube and then Cinema Paradiso than wasting 100 minutes watching this.   I thought The Science Of Sleep wasn't up to much after Eternal Sunshine but its still a lot better than Be Kind, I just hope... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Indio at 21:51, 21 February 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Fast forward through the beggining and you have a good movie...

L: Lightfoot Rewind Law of Inverse Trailer Goodness is proved once again. Great trailer, shite movie. Nah, shite's harsh. But it's the most inconsistent movie I've seen for a while. The first third is nigh-unbearable: plain stupid, and has Def and Jack Black just screaming over each other in a vastly irritating manner. Then it gets quite funny at times as they work through their catalogue, "sweding" each film by making a home movie version. Then it gets crap, then ok, then cr... More

Posted by HIM at 19:32, 21 February 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Fast forward through the beggining and you have a good movie...

I really enjoyed this. There is a lot wrong with it but it has heart and thats an ingredient thats very rare in movies. I thought it was one of the sweetest films I've seen in a while and I did leave grinning from ear-to-ear. Far from perfect but with so much visual invention and imagination onscreen as well as plenty of laugh out loud moments, perfection is not the point. ... More

Posted by Wilbert at 19:06, 21 February 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Fast forward through the beggining and you have a good movie...

Rewind Law of Inverse Trailer Goodness is proved once again. Great trailer, shite movie. Nah, shite's harsh. But it's the most inconsistent movie I've seen for a while. The first third is nigh-unbearable: plain stupid, and has Def and Jack Black just screaming over each other in a vastly irritating manner. Then it gets quite funny at times as they work through their catalogue, "sweding" each film by making a home movie version. Then it gets crap, then ok, then crap again, and final... More

Posted by Lightfoot at 08:37, 21 February 2008 | Report This Post


Fast forward through the beggining and you have a good movie...

Remember the days when the VHS dominated the market, the days you had to sit for ages rewinding or fast forwarding the damned things just to find the moment in the film you wanted. I know it seems like a lifetime ago, DVD quickly saw an end to that tedious routine. However, there is still something nice about a VHS, I don't know what it is but it just feels a bit more homely. That's the way that Be Kind Rewind seems to have gone, sure it isn't as nice looking, it isn't as memorable, and hell it ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by 02PARSIM at 20:49, 20 February 2008 | Report This Post


RE:

Didnt remember the Apocalypse Now bit and I only finished watching it 2 hours ago! A real disapointment to be honest. Gondry's visual panache is as great as ever, the montage of the films being remade and the effects of Blacks magnetism are handled excellently. The score is also rather nice and Mos Def is a charming presence. However, the screenplay is shambolic, almost as much as Science Of Sleep. The plot has some huge holes, some threads just go nowhere and the films main thrust is... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by badassmofo at 01:19, 19 February 2008 | Report This Post


Agreed this film is undoubtedly messy. But i defy anyone to watch it and not leave the cinema with a grin from ear to ear. In much the same way as Juno I was unsure at first, but the film totally won me over. The level of invention on show is, as always with Michel Gondry, quite phenomenal. In particular, skits on Apocalypse Now and Men in Black will have you in stitches. The movie works as a film to appeal to film-lovers, displaying the effect film can have on a community without resorting ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by steelneil at 13:50, 18 February 2008 | Report This Post


Agreed this film is undoubtedly messy. But i defy anyone to watch it and not leave the cinema with a grin from ear to ear. In much the same way as Juno I was unsure at first, but the film totally won me over. The level of invention on show is, as always with Michel Gondry, quite phenomenal. In particular, skits on Apocalypse Now and Men in Black will have you in stitches. The movie works as a film to appeal to film-lovers, displaying the effect film can have on a community without resorting ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by steelneil at 13:50, 18 February 2008 | Report This Post


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