THE LEGEND OF TARZAN [PG-13] C+
An unhurried pace dominates the proceedings in the David Yates imagining of “The Legend of Tarzan,” which, in and of itself, is not such a bad idea. Since we start, largely with Lord Greystoke (Alexander Skarsgård) and his Lady Jane (Margot Robbie) in the civilized world, the narrative takes its time, filling in the backstory – the reveal of the lost boy raised by apes, his gradual acceptance among them, and his first contact with other humans. There is also the intrusion of actual history as the Belgium government seeks to exert control in the Congo (with the US seeking to secretly police matters as well), so by the time all of the elements align, the thoughtfulness in the telling tends to ground what, in the hands of an action-junkie hack, could have devolved into an incoherent mess. “The Legend of Tarzan” makes a certain kind of sense, but it could have used a bit more swing (beyond the presence of Tarantino stalwarts Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson), if you know what I mean.
MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES [R] D-
Does anyone really care that “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” might have been loosely inspired by a real life situation. The premise – with good-time hot heads Mike (Zac Efron) and Dave (Adam Devine) being told by their family that they need dates for their sister’s wedding, to help keep them in line – plays like a drunken cock-eyed hook-up between “Wedding Crashers” and “Bridesmaids” with less than half a brain shared by the brothers and their would-be dates (Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza). Jake Szymanski, working from a script by Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O’Brien, shoots a series of random stunts striving to place somewhere on the raunch-o-meter scale, without careful consideration of the idea that we should care about the characters caught up in those situations (because they are supposed to be engaged in a larger narrative).