Weekend Forecast for September 19-21, 2008

By Reagen Sulewski

September 19, 2008

We don't take kindly to people who don't wear Hawaiian shirts around here.

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September is throwing new movies at us at an alarming rate, with four new movies this weekend bringing it to eight new films in wide release (I'm not counting films that echo in the theater from a lack of audience) so far this month and 12 since Labor Day weekend. They all fire away at different demographics, but we're still dealing with a lot of new titles to push out the summer dead wood.

Leading the way (probably) is Lakeview Terrace, a homeowner thriller starring Samuel L. Jackson, Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington. Wilson and Washington star as a married couple who move into an upscale Los Angeles suburb, finding themselves next door to a prickly neighbor, played by Jackson. As the ads so provocatively point out, this is a confrontation based on color. And since Neil LaBute is directing the film, it's going to push some boundaries, right? Because, you see, the color is (ooh wait for it)... blue. Oh. Cop thing. Okey dokey, then...

Now, I imagine the film does actually enter into a bit of the idea of racial tension in the suburbs (I mean, how could it not?), preying on white liberal guiltâ„¢, but what looks to be more the case here is that this is just another "cops abusing their power" movie.

With LaBute busy trying to make us forget everything we liked about him by directing absolute crap like the Wicker Man remake and Jackson still appearing in any movie where they'll pay him in cash, you'd think that prospects for the generically-titled Lakeview Terrace would be limited. Of course, they are, to a large extent, in that no one involved in this film regularly has big hits (at least, not as a lead). For that reason, this gets the standard generic thriller opening weekend number, of about $13 million.


The romantic comedy option this weekend is My Best Friend's Girl, in which Dane Cook acts like a jerk to sleep with women. You might ask yourself, "Wait, didn't we just see this movie?" to which I would say, no, that was the other Dane Cook movie where he acted like a jerk to sleep with women (which is not to be confused with the real-life Dane Cook being a...well, you get it already).

In it, Cook plays a date "cooler", a hired gun to drive women back to their boyfriends, making them realize how good they had it. A problem arises when his intended victim, Kate Hudson, ex- of Jason Biggs, isn't turned off by the "act", and he decides he might go after her for real. This doesn't appear to be quite as misogynistic and gross-out oriented as Cook's last starring vehicle, Good Luck Chuck, but that's not a great scale to be measured on.

Chuck managed $13 million on its opening weekend last fall, but I don't see this matching that for a couple of reasons, in that Hudson isn't as much of a draw as Jessica Alba (and hey, remember when Jason Biggs mattered? Me either), and this hasn't gotten as much promotion as the film that launched Cook's leading man career. Then again, it's largely him doing the same stupid stuff, so it won't be that much worse. I give this one about $11 million for its debut.

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