In Scott Coffey’s Adult World, former Nickelodeon star Emma Roberts takes on the difficult task of convincing an audience to root for an obnoxious, self-obsessed aspiring poet, and doesn’t quite stick the landing. She plays 22-year-old Amy, introduced to the audience in the midst of a half-hearted suicide attempt. Staring listlessly at a poster of Sylvia Plath, Amy first sticks her head inside of an oven, then thinks better of that “suicidal plagiarism,” opting instead to pull a plastic bag loosely over her head. This is a fitting first introduction to our heroine: melodramatic and a little ridiculous. She’s the kind of girl who relishes in her white, hipster, middle-class ennui, describing riding a city bus as “like being in Mogadishu.”
The film then flashes back a year. After Amy’s parents decide that they “can’t afford to subsidize” her poetry career anymore and tell her that she needs to grow up, the loan-saddled college grad moves out of their home. Hurt by their lack of faith in her, she pursues a literary career by stalking her favorite living poet, Rat Billings (John Cusack), and takes a job at an adult video store managed by a cute, affable twentysomething male (Evan Peters) with the words “love interest” practically tattooed to his forehead. There are a few comic scenes where the virginal Amy squirms in the presence of dildos and “sticky DVD returns,” but from the oversexed store owner played by Cloris Leachman, to the display of vibrators that Amy clumsily sends crashing to the ground when she first enters Adult World, the humor is as broad as a football field.
Adult World doesn’t quite fit the bill of a dark comedy, as it’s neither uproariously funny nor does it carry much dramatic import. Most of the time, as it leaps from broad slapstick to bleak, unironic melodrama, it’s difficult to tell what exactly it’s going for. But its bewildering atonality is at least in keeping with Roberts’s erratic performance. The world of the film, all contrived situations and caricatured people, revolves around Amy, who’s played by Roberts without the sort of charm that might have been redeeming in another actress’s hands; too often she settles for garish overstatement when a scene calls for nuance…
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Just so you know: Scarlett Johansson and James D’Arcy (most recently seen in Madonna’s W.E.) have been cast as Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins in a new film about the making of Psycho.
I have not seen much of D’Arcy’s work - he may in fact be able to channel the talented and deeply complicated Perkins. But Scarlett? Not only is it going to be a huge stretch just to believe her in the role physically, but, I’m sorry. The girl is just not a good actress. I do very much hope she’ll prove me wrong in this respect, though.
Anthony Hopkins will play Hitchcock (yes) and Helen Mirren will round out the cast as his wife, Alma.
Artwork by Jonas De Ro, concept artist for Cloud Atlas, which is due for release in 2013.
Movies that currently have remakes in varying stages of production:
Barbarella, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, The Birds,The Neverending Story, American Pie, Battle Royale, Rebecca, The Black Hole, Cleopatra, The Evil Dead, The Crow, Red Dawn, Annie, All Quiet on the Western Front, House Party, Mad Max, My Fair Lady, Oldboy, About Last Night, Pet Cemetery, Point Break, Robocop, Short Circuit,The Orphanage, Drop Dead Fred, Scarface, An American Werewolf in London, A Star is Born, The Thin Man, The Wild Bunch, Death Wish, Jurassic Park, American Psycho, Gilligan’s Island, WarGames, Yellow Submarine, Overboard, Death Note, Romancing the Stone, Fletch, Dune, Porky’s , The Great Gatsby, Dirty Dancing, Judge Dredd, Child’s Play, Starship Troopers, Seven Samurai, Escape from New York, Lethal Weapon, The Bodyguard