Reel Critics: It's a circus, and young adults love it

I wouldn't be writing about the ridiculously immature "Jackass 3-D" if it didn't rack up $50 million on its opening weekend. I went to a rainy Tuesday night showing at Triangle Square and found two theaters packed with young people in their teens and 20s laughing like crazy at the juvenile antics on the screen.

This eye-popping franchise has become a major circus sideshow show experience for our current generation. The movie is full of crazy amateur stunts and skits that take only a few minutes each. Many are hysterically funny in a mainstream way. But some are so revolting they cannot be described fully in a family newspaper.

Lots of unnecessary pain and casual humiliation are part of the so-called humor. Suffice it to say that scenes with male genitals, vomit, excrement and various tawdry activities abound. It's sad to say that the young audience found lots of laughs in all this madness. But this extremely low budget film panders to the absolute lowest common denominator among our kids. And they are buying tickets in droves. I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.


Comic book action for the AARP set


"RED" is another big-ticket movie that brings assorted famous faces together for a light-hearted romp, this time with a gaggle of grenades and guns. But shouldn't the audience be having more fun than the actors?

Frank (Bruce Willis) is a retired CIA officer who finds excuses to call lonely Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) about his pension check, just so he can talk to her.

But before he can ask for a date, dozens of men in night-vision goggles start firing on the man's home until it falls apart. Naturally, Frank manages a brilliant escape without even a nosy neighbor being the wiser.

Frank is such a sucker for romance, he kidnaps Sarah from her home and then drives around the country, picking up former operatives (Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and Dame Helen Mirren, no less) who are more than happy to come out of retirement and shoot somebody.

Based on graphic novels, this is indeed comic book action for the AARP set, and our crack team of geriatric super-assassins takes out swarms of CIA and FBI like so many ants on a ham — no, make that many hams...

"RED" is an acronym for "Retired and Extremely Dangerous;" I think it stands for "Ridiculous and Extremely Disappointing."

JOHN DEPKO is a Costa Mesa resident and a senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office.

SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa and is an executive assistant for a financial services company.

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