There’s a certain manic gusto to both the character Barry Munday and his titular film that’s likable for its immersion in douche spectacle. In a scene early on, before Munday (Patrick Wilson, still hiding his inner movie star) loses a testicle and finds out he drunkenly impregnated a woman for whom the term “beer goggles” was invented (the wonderful Judy Greer), he approaches a busty secretary. As he drums the top of her computer screen, gauging her interest in getting some nachos with him, he’s at once utterly creepy, pathetic and brave, and he does quite well with the ladies. Those attributes describe the way this otherwise awful so-called comedy operates: As it devolves into a silly Apatow-aping pregnancy plot, it does so with a big smile on its face. Barry Munday is littered with slumming talent, and director Chris D’Arienzo’s next project (Rock of Ages, a musical!) stars Tom Cruise and Seth Rogen, so apparently some are taken with his style. I can’t say I see what they see in D’Arienzo, but Barry Munday is strangely watchable for a train wreck. (available now)
Special Features: Audio commentary, deleted scenes, outtakes, bloopers
Now here’s a cringe comedy that’s actually funny. The great John C. Reilly, he of the imposing forehead, charms his way into the gorgeous Marisa Tomei’s life in this major-studio debut from mumblecore heroes the Duplass brothers. Both are pitch perfect in their early courting scenes (“I’m like ... Shrek!” says Reilly’s John, incredulously, at the news that Tomei’s Molly likes him), but the Duplasses – Dupli? – ratchet up the tension with the introduction of Molly’s son, Cyrus, with whom Molly shares an uncomfortably Oedipal relationship. Although the film gets a bit tangled up in itself as John and Cyrus’ standoff reaches violent levels, the lead-up and resolution are a joy to endure. (available Dec. 14)
Special Features: none
This surprisingly minor HBO movie acts as the in-between summation of what writer Peter Morgan began – the rise and fall of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair – with 2003’s The Deal and the standout classic The Queen. Relationship picks up with Michael Sheen’s Blair in full PM swagger, the toast of his home country but also of Washington, D.C., where Bill Clinton (Dennis Quaid, whose W. facsimile in American Dreamz was weirdly better) shows Blair how to truly peacock it out, so to speak. Between intervention deals in Northern Ireland, and later, Kosovo, Blair goes from starry-eyed sycophant to media hero. Although the typically stellar Hope Davis gets Hillary all wrong, the juiciest bit is the Darth Vader-like introduction of Blair’s other relationship, the one that will eventually lead to his downfall in what one can only hope will be a Queen-esque event: George W. Bush. (available now)
Special Features: Making-of featurette
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