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America? F*%k No.

By William Goss | Box Office Round-Ups | October 12, 2009 |

By William Goss | Box Office Round-Ups | October 12, 2009 |

People, people … what happened, huh? We were on such a roll, championing movies like Zombieland and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs as the fairest entertainments in the land for a good three weeks straight, and then more of you turn out for Couples Retreat on opening weekend than either of those and thus bring the lowest common denominator back down a couple of notches.

I mean, $35.3 million. That’s Paul Blart numbers right there, for a movie that opens with a precocious kid peeing in a bed, closes with that precocious kid pooping in a showroom toilet, and boasts in between Vince Vaughn’s warmed-over shtick, yoga as dry humping, a shameless Guitar Hero plug, Jon Favreau getting an erection mid-massage and a close-up of Faizon Love’s naked behind while we’re reminded that black men are supposed to be raucously well-endowed. The single funniest thing about this movie was Dustin’s review of it. Christ, if newspapers still existed, I’d roll one up and smack you on your collective nose for this. You just keep that in mind when Vaughn and friends take another paid vacation and we’re served up Couples Repeat in two years’ time.

Meanwhile, numbers two, three, and four were last week’s numbers one, two and three — Zombieland ($15 million), ClouWiChaMeBalls ($12 million) and the Toy Story double feature ($7.7 million). Fifth place went to Paramount’s Paranormal Activity in all its savvily marketed glory. Taking in $7.1 million on 159 screens, it’s a record-breaker; costing under $20,000, it’s a success several times over; and with the force of a million “demands” behind its coming wide release, it looks to put a dent in this week’s The Stepfather and next week’s Saw VI alike.

Surrogates slipped to sixth with $4.1 million, the not-as-controversial-as-I’d-heard-but-only-interesting-when-taking-on-religion comedy The Invention of Lying landed in seventh with $3.4 million, Whip It and Capitalism: A Love Story remained neck and neck with $2.8 and $2.7 million, respectively, and the Fame remake closed out the top ten with $2.6 million. No, that last one’s not gonna live forever. Who told you that? What a silly thing to say.

Coming in only behind Paranormal in terms of per-screen average was critical darling and awards contender An Education, bringing in $162,000 on just four screens (review Monday afternoon). Hey, you know who else could use an education? Everyone who went to see Couples Retreat of their own volition. Egads, people. Egads.

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