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May 19, 2006 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | May 19, 2006 |

Item #1: With the network upfronts absorbing all the round-up bandwidth in Hollywood, there aren’t a lot of new film projects getting announced, so this week’s trade round-up will be somewhat abbreviated, while we all await The TV Whore’s upfront rundown, to be posted in a few days.

Still, there was one rather intriguing announcement this week, concerning a film written by a group of sketch-comedy writers (SNL’s Andy Samberg, Will Forte, and Akiva Schaffer, as well as Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson of Not Another Teen Movie fame, who will co-direct) about a teenager (Frankie Muniz) who finally loses his virginity with a girlfriend (Ashley Schneider), only to find out she wants to take it much further, i.e., sex with little people and farm animals. Parental Guidance is Suggested also stars Andy Milonakis as a man who falls in love with an electric vagina (rhymes with …) and Mathew Lillard, Ryan Pinkston, and Jamie Kennedy are also attached. And while the ideas behind Parental Guidance is Suggested seem like the sort of sketch-comedy concepts that would likely burn their fuel within 20 minutes, I have to admit a certain guilty fondness for the excessively crude humor of NATM, at least on paper. Certainly, the acting/casting/comic timing was atrocious and the directing was right out of the Dawson Leery School of Ham-Fisted Cornball, but the comedy-on-the-page was of the Final Destination variety: It snuck up on you gently, and then beat the living shit out of you, with varying degrees of success:

Catherine: Can I ask you a question? Why is it then whenever I tell a guy to put it wherever they want, they always stick it in my ass?

Malik: Damn.

Jake: Please, that’s way too much information.

Catherine: Oh no, Jake. Way too much information would be telling you that whenever they’re done I always have to take a huge dump.

Malik: Shit?

Catherine: (beat) On their chest.

You see what I mean? I understand that few people find the genius in the inner-six-year-old, fecal-stage ramblings of Epstein and Jacobson, but I rather appreciate that, in an era in which gross-out comedy has been taken as absolutely far as it can be, these two guys manage to cross a higher threshold not by necessarily ratcheting up the gross-out factor but by taking it into complete non-sequitur territory. Unfortunately, with the cast they have signed on, and given Epstein/Jacobson’s lack of directing credits, even with Andy Samberg attached to help write, I suspect that the humor in Parental Guidance is Suggested will never get off the page. — Dustin Rowles

Item #2: In other news, Beacon Pictures has inexplicably signed on Josh Lucas for the title role in a movie about the slaying of Daniel Pearl. And, certainly, while I respected the humanity that Paul Greengrass brought to the heart-wrenching United 93, I think that the Daniel Pearl story is one that ought to be left alone for good; even with Kip Williams (who directed the stellar Door in the Floor) attached, I don’t think anything but despair and futility can be found in a story about a reporter who was kidnapped and beheaded for doing his job. Indeed, of all the sadness that came out of the 9/11 aftermath, on an individual level, it was Pearl’s story that resounded the loudest and, for me anyway, it’s the last thing I want to see adapted for the big screen. And casting Lucas and his ingratiating drawl seems almost tantamount to signing Eddie Griffin to star in the Martin Luther King story. Here’s hoping someone puts the kibosh on this one. — DR

Item #3: For what it’s worth, our beloved Pajiba readers may be happy to know that the production of the long-anticipated big-screen coupling of Ben Stiller and Jim Carrey in Used Guys has either been delayed or killed, depending on the report you read. It was supposed to be a futuristic story directed by Jay Roach, in which women run the Earth, and Carrey and Stiller are male clones in search of the male nirvana known as Mantopia. Here’s hoping that Mantopia — along with the poisonous combination of Stiller masochism and Carrey camera-mugging — never makes it off the ground, lest I begin to plead that women actually do decimate the planet’s male population. — DR

Item #4: As you’re ticking off signs of the imminent collapse of Western civilization, near the top of the list must be the fact that the blissfully talent-free Paris Hilton now has 10 feature films on her resume, not to mention a half-dozen-or-so TV guest spots (including, sadly, one on a show beloved by all Pajibers, “Veronica Mars”). Well, things are about to get exponentially worse, as she takes on one of the title roles (guess which one) in The Hottie and the Nottie for Summit Entertainment. The logline on this one is “Before Nate can date the gorgeous Cristabel, he has to find a boyfriend for her less-than-beautiful friend,” but I suspect it might more accurately be described as “90 minutes of Hilton assuming slutty, hip-thrust poses and babbling nonsensically while displaying her bizarre alien physiognomy.” The script is by Heidi Ferrer, who did a few episodes of “Dawson’s Creek” and the uncredited first draft for How to Deal, and the director is Tom Putnam, who has previously helmed willfully “quirky” indie spoofs like Shafted and Broadcast 23, so, even discounting the Hilton factor, the movie can only be a hideous, Frankensteinian patchwork of mismatched parts. I keep trying to picture what the promotional artwork might look like but, whenever I do, the title is partially obscured by a $5.99 Best Buy sticker. — Jeremy C. Fox

Item #5: When it comes to adapting video games into movies, Hollywood has an absolutely perfect record: Every single one has sucked horribly. I mean, for the love of all things holy, did we really need two Mortal Kombat movies? Van Damme as the lead in Street Fighter? Those creepy nonhumans in the CGI-animated Final Fantasy? Yet with an almost admirable Sisyphean resolve, Hollywood has again announced her ignoble intentions to bring a game to stilted cinematic life: Legendary Pictures and game makers Blizzard Entertainment have joined up to produce a big-screen version of “World of Warcraft,” to the rapturous cries worldwide of legions of homebound keyboard-pounders who’ve spent thousands of hours refining and developing characters named Ulgor the Mighty and questing for elf gold beyond the mountains. For the uninitiated, “Warcraft” is an online role-playing computer game in the vein of Dungeons & Dragons, in which players ramble around a vast digital universe in the never-ending pursuit of more ways to kill time. With an average subscription fee of $15 per player and an estimated 6 million registered players worldwide, it was only a matter of time before Hollywood decided to see if they could turn that into box office dollars. So, for those of you who’ve never known the intimate touch of a woman but know how much gold it costs your mage to learn how to skin and sell animal hides, take heart: Hollywood’s got your back. — Daniel Carlson

Item #6: In casting news, Benicio Del Toro has signed on and Halle Berry is in talks to star in DreamWorks’ “Things We Lost in the Fire,” a drama with an oddly 9/11-ish title about a woman whose husband suddenly dies. Berry will play the widow, and Del Toro will play the dead man’s best friend, and it’s a lock that the two will soon be turning to each other for all sorts of dark, emotionally twisted, grief-related, cathartic sex. Fortunately, Del Toro and Berry starred in 21 Grams and Monster’s Ball, respectively, so spiritually tormented lovemaking should be old hat by now. … In other developments, Chris Rock has agreed to step behind the camera for his next film, the Fox Searchlight comedy I Think I Love My Wife. Rock will play a married man whose old girlfriend comes into his life again, at which point some kind of hijinks or hilarity will ensue. The film is a remake of French director Eric Rohmer’s Chloe in the Afternoon from 1972, but I doubt that the guy who gave us “No Sex in the Champagne Room” will be able to capture the earlier film’s depth. There’s really nothing else I can think of to say to discourage you from seeing this movie other than this: Rock’s last turn in the director’s chair was for Head of State. Case regrettably closed. — DC

Item #7: In this week’s box office tallies, to no one’s surprise, Poseidon sunk [Eww. Bad pun. — Ed.] over the weekend, pulling in a paltry $22 million (as compared to the $150 million production budget). M:i:III held on to the top spot with a respectable second week total of $25 million, while Lindsay Lohan’s Just My Luck — which came in with a meager $5.7 million — will be disappearing from theaters quicker than a coke stash at Casa de Lohan.

This weekend, The Da Vinci Code opens in 3,700 theaters, and I have no idea what to expect either from the movie or its box-office prospects. For a book that has sold 46 million copies, I have to admit that I know of no one who read it voluntarily and, despite the presence of the reliable Ron Howard and Tom Hanks, in the limited circles I travel, I don’t know anyone who’s particularly excited about seeing it. But then again, I’m always surprised at the success of the Tyler Perry oeuvre. Elsewhere, Steve Carell enters the voice-animation fray with Over the Hedge, and See No Evil, this weekend’s token slasher flick, also arrives in 1,000 theaters. And, if all goes well, we may even cover Ed Norton’s latest, Down in the Valley.

A final note: King Dork, by Frank Portman. Read it. It’s anti-Salinger Salingerese with Klosterman’s pop-culture knowledge and a “Veronica Mars”-style mystery all rolled into the best goddamn book written since High Fidelity. Seriously. — DR

Not Another Teen Pajiba

The Weekly Trade Round-Up / The Pajiba Staff

Industry | May 19, 2006 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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