Thursday, September 20, 2012

Top 11 Nostalgia Critic Reviews -- 10. Junior

Number 10 -- Junior

(Check out artist MaroBot's DeviantArt for more NC title cards!)

Director: Ivan Reitman
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito, Emma Thompson
Release Date: November 23, 1994
Posting Date: January 12, 2010

I admit, this is an odd choice for this Top 11 countdown. After all, Doug himself said that this was the hardest movie to review on several occasions, since the movie itself was just boring. And I'm not gonna lie, a lot of this review does lend itself to filler, since there's no real riffing to be had here.

But honestly, I actually found this to be among the Critic's most entertaining reviews.

What you need to understand is what could've gone wrong with the scheduling originally done for the Nostalgia Critic videos. There have been occasions before and after this review when Doug had to swap out reviews on schedules he already had set out due to a variety of circumstances. Most of these scenarios came after doing this movie, like when he swapped out Matilda for the Top 11 Villain Songs in February 2010 in response to a huge backlash. (This is mentioned in the "Top 10 Movies I Hate But Everybody Loves" vlog.) Otherwise, the only problems that arose were from the occasional delay setting back the set by a week. Of course, that detail became less noticeable after the schedules for Nostalgia Critics were phased out in February 2011 (the delay of Disneycember and Star Trek Month notwithstanding). This also eliminated the swap-outs by making every review subject a surprise.

Linkara would also find himself swapping out comics for his reviews throughout 2010, to the point where he leaves a scheduled review as an accent to the main subject and said "Subject to change" about another planned review. The most notable being his first "Tandy Computer Whiz Kids" comic, which replaced a comic called "Q-Unit" turning out to be boring. He said that he couldn't find anything to make it funny, a comment that seems funnier when you bring this review to mind.

What we have here is the Critic trying his damnest to make a review whilst running on fumes like he was. One could make argument that he was foolish for pressing forward when it should have been clear that it probably would've been a better idea to swap out this title or something. But, I think I should give him the benefit of the doubt, since this problem has seldom come up before on this show. He did swap out a review subject the prior January in Nickelodeon Month, reviewing Good Burger because he couldn't find good enough footage of the game shows. But that's a different situation from this one. On top of that, he managed to squeeze a substantial, if brief review out of Follow that Bird, even though one really can't mock or diss Sesame Street. But that wasn't the same scenario, either.

When Doug was planning Schwarzenegger Month for January 2010, he assumed that the concept of Arnold becoming a human seahorse would naturally lend itself to an awkward, completely silly movie and a perfect piece of review fodder. Instead, he was unpleasantly surprised to see just how much of this film was played straight and seriously. Even during the third act when Arnold crossdresses and joins a retreat for pregnant women. The entire film is just Arnold acting moody and experiencing the side-effects of pregnancy, apparently with the assumption that its automatically funny because a man is acting out these scenarios. Instead, it just drones on and provides so little for the Critic to hold on to.

This turned out to be an alternate approach for the Critic, who only kind of riffs over the setup of this movie and then seems to hit a brick wall after that. As a result, I can understand this being one of the least received reviews. But again, I have to admit that on the whole, it actually kind of worked. Yes, we get plenty of padding involving the Critic's reaction to a dream sequence with a baby resembling a horribly-disfigured Arnold. But it's nowhere as monotonous as certain...other overdrawn gags I can name (Family Guy, I'm looking at you), and paces itself well enough to get something of a laugh (this also includes Bhargav and Rob's cameos).

But, I also like to look at this like a review. On that level, it works very well, giving us an honest opinion and doing its best to provide enough detail to that effect. There isn't much detail to that effect however, just the one point that "It's boring", and admitting that Arnold does a decent job here as an actor. (Roger Ebert complimented the film for that very reason.) Still, it gets the point across well enough.

Because there's wasn't much for the Critic to say, he just resorts to a musical number to hammer home the fact that it's a boring movie. To be honest, I really liked that song he sung, and thought it had good visuals attached to it (except maybe the eyes on the cupcakes or the dog). If there was anything funny about the review, it was Bhargav appearing as the judge towards the end of the number. At one point, the lyrics in the song itself actually contribute to the review, actually summing up the film -- "He acts a little femmy, and then they just talk some more, without. Any. Jokes. Put. In!" It was all just part of the unlikely composition that came together, it seems on accident. And above all else, this was a unique experience overall because of how different it was, without a whole lot to detract from it.

At least, that's what I took out of it.

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