Our first installment of "Five Minutes At the Movies" looks at a bunch of comedies this week: some cliched, some bizarre and some Damme interesting.
What movie falls into that latter category? "JCVD," a movie named for Jean-Claude Van Damme, about Jean-Claude Van Damme, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, spoofing Jean-Claude Van Damme.
In "JCVD," Jean-Claude finds himself out of money, fighting for custody of his daughter and losing every good action role to Steven Seagal. Thankfully in America, Seagal could never become a real action-movie star, right?
But I digress. In order to escape Seagal's shadow and start life anew, Jean-Claude returns to his native home of Brussels. He quickly walks into a hostage situation though, and suddenly everyone sees a Jean-Claude they've never seen before: A high-flying, villain-killing action star who can save the world. What a twist!
Sounds like it could be pretty good satire. Critics have been fond of it so far. Variety, the Bible of the film industry, said it was "excellence," and the best acting Jean-Claude has ever done.
The Hollywood Reporter said, "JCVD should entertain both movie and action buffs. Van Damme proves once and for all that he's not just a set of glistening pectorals."
Entertainment weekly gave it an A-, and compared it to "Being John Malkovich," one of the more clever comedies of the past decade.
Beware though, the film's partly in French. So for those of you who hate all things that don't shower and smell like cheese, you might want to stay away.
The other movies coming out this week, which are also comedies, are "Role Models" and "Soul Men."
"Role Models" is a comedy starring McLovin', the kid from Superbad, as well as Sean William Scott (Stiffler from the "American Pie" trilogy) and Paul Rudd ("Knocked Up," "Saving Sarah Marshall.")
It's about two energy-drink salesmen -- on a crazy sugar-high from their own product -- who wreak havoc one night and get arrested. They have two choices: spend time in jail, or enroll in a community service program and mentor two young boys. They choose the latter, and teach two high-school dorks how to be cool like them -- you know, because it's soooooo cool to get arrested.
Although it looks like a Judd Apatow movie because of the cast, it's not. It might be equally as funny though. Critics have loved it. Apparently, the comedic talents of the actors override a plot that sounds juvenile at best. If it keeps getting great reviews, it might be worth checking out.
Finally, "Soul Men" comes out this week, which is one of the last movies by Bernie Mac.
Mac, a longtime comedian, died in August of pneumonia. "Soul Men" stars Mac, Samuel L. Jackson and Isaac Hayes, another recently deceased black icon.
The movie is about two back-up soul singers, who haven't spoken in 20 years, who travel across the country on a comeback tour after their band's lead singer (John Legend) dies.
The movie's tagline is "Out of Sync. Never out of style." Let's hope it's not out of laughs either, like many of the comedies these two have done in recent years.