The summer of 2010—a season during which moviegoers might have been substantially more entertained by reading the bad reviews of studio movies (Sex and the City 2, The Last Airbender, Jonah Hex, etc.) than watching the movies themselves—is finally (mercifully!) drawing to a close. There isn't much potential blockbusting left in August beyond this weekend's new-release trio of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Eat Pray Love, and The Expendables.
A fan-made trailer for The Expendables, a cast-to-the-gills action extravaganza co-written by, directed by, and starring the 64-year-old Sylvester Stallone, made the rounds last month, jokingly taking aim at "chick flick" Eat Pray Love. Since then, some industry commentators have more seriously considered this weekend from a battle-of-the-sexes vantage. I haven't seen either of these films, so for all I know they're both terrific, but after another summer of sequels, spin-offs, and "reimaginings" of stale properties, I doubt I'm alone in wishing a film were allowed to find an audience rather than arrive pre-sold to a certain demographic. But this is a familiar lament. Business will continue to be business.
The filmography of Eat Pray Love star Julia Roberts might not be the first place you'd think to look for something less immediately classifiable than this weekend's clear-cut counter-programmers. But her previous film, the smart, spry, but not-quite-laugh-out-loud-funny caper Duplicity, provides a welcome tonic for those suffering from late-summer formula fatigue.