What is Battleship?

I went to see Battleship yesterday evening, and I am still mulling over what I watched. Many may be surprised that Peter Berg’s film inspires such meditation, but it truly does. After some deliberation, I have narrowed the possibilities down to three: Battleship is either a silly blockbuster, an uneven farce, or a sly spoof. Below, I shall elaborate on this (spoilers ahead)…

Silly Blockbuster

At face value, Battleship seems to be exactly this. A thread-bare plot, with more emphasis being placed on the set pieces than anything else. Peter Berg’s film perhaps illustrates the worst aspects of the modern blockbuster; scant attention paid to the script, a lack of characterisation and not even a decent high-concept premise. Instead, the film is filled with explosions, gunfire and hot young stars (Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker, Rihanna and Alexander Skarsgård). Well that’s all a blockbuster aficionado requires, right?

Uneven Farce

Perhaps Peter Berg intended Battleship to be a farce. Straight-faced characters deal with the most implausible of events, and keep striving no matter how absurd the situation becomes. Despite knowing nothing about the aliens and armed with only one gun, Samantha and co decide to ram into the satellite station, which is swarming with invaders.  The navy vetrans’ involvement. This is surely the stuff of farce. The reason it is uneven is because these events are not consistently funny, almost as if they had not been written for laughs. Although reflecting on them, Battleship would probably be even more amusing if viewed solely as a farce.

Sly Spoof

Battleship could be a spoof of the Michael Bay blockbuster packaged as a straightforward blockbuster for mass consumption. After all, the elements are all there. The poor dialogue of the Michael Bay blockbuster is elevated to ludicrous levels in Battleship. Berg’s film goes beyond Transformers by basing his film on a toy that does not even have a semblance of a plot, or actual characters. Even the volume and the level of implausibility are pushed to the limit. As a comment on the Michael Bay blockbuster (and, in fairness, a number of other directors), Battleship spoofs the lack of originality present. If the film does good business, then Battleship would have proved how audiences lap up even the most tenuous of films. At this stage, it is too premature to say ‘well played, Mr Berg’.

Battleship is out in cinemas now. Perhaps someone could let me know exactly what the film is.

Film Review: Just Go With It

A rom-com starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston sounds appealing to only the sickest members of society. Just Go With It isn’t terrible, but it isn’t highly recommended either.

Plastic surgeon Danny wears a fake wedding ring in order to bed women without the complication of relationships. When he meets the beautiful Palmer, Danny decides he wants to date her. As Palmer has seen the ring, Danny persuades his assistant Katherine to pose as his ex-wife…

Just Go With It is typical of many of the films that both Sandler and Aniston appear in. It is a predictable rom-com that shows no ingenuity. There are however a few amusing moments, although Just Go With It is never downright hilarious.

All the genre’s archetypes are present in Dennis Dugan’s film. Just Go With It features the friendship that develops into love narrative, the kooky best friend, the ditzy but beautiful girl, the cheeky kids that manipulate the situation, to name but a few of these. Although the situations present the requisite humour, there is little spark to the film. It is passable, but never elevates itself above this station.

Some audience members might take exception to the depictions of some of the characters. Just Go With It requires viewers to suspend disbelief enough to accept that beautiful young Palmer (played by Brooklyn Decker) might fall the significantly older Danny.  What might be harder to stomach, however, is that both Palmer and Katherine would parade around in their bikinis for his pleasure. Brooklyn Decker, Jennifer Aniston and indeed Nicole Kidman all don skimpy attire in what appears to be a slow-motion swimwear competition. Danny and Eddie (frequent Sandler co-star Nick Swardson) meanwhile lap it all up, thankfully staying fully clothed. More concerning are the overtones of homophobia in a supposedly humorous moment at the end of the film. Rather than coming off as amusing, the attempted joke leaves a sour taste.

Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler have surprisingly good chemistry. Their roles are not much of a stretch for either of them, however. Nicole Kidman has an interesting little role than sees her playing against type, while Brooklyn Decker is effective eye candy. Griffin Gluck and Bailee Madison are quite annoying as Katherine’s two children, but this has more to do with the writing and directing than their acting skills.

Just Go With It will satisfy fans of Sandler and Aniston, but is unlikely to exceed expectations. Entertaining enough, but problematic in areas.