Tuesday, June 22, 2010


For a movie that reportedly required 11 writers and more than 10 years to complete -- all without any real reason for existing in the first place -- "The A-Team" is reasonably good fun. If you're a 12-year-old boy riding an intense Cherry Pepsi buzz and totally devoted to destroying some brain cells, that is.

[. . .]

OK, I do have two younger colleagues who sheepishly admit that they thought Stephen J. Cannell's NBC series, which starred George Peppard and Mr. T (he of Nancy Reagan fame) and ran from 1983 to 1987, was "cool." They were little kids at the time; I suppose it's forgivable.

[. . .]

This "A-Team" reminds me of the sub-James Bond action movies I used to enjoy on Saturday afternoons, 30-odd years ago: The "Saint" franchise, or Olympic skier Jean-Claude Killy in "Snow Job" (which I went home and told my parents was the best film I'd ever seen) or Alistair MacLean adaptations like "Puppet on a Chain" or "Force 10 From Navarone." It presents the same utterly bogus version of masculine bonhomie, the same shorthand character development (wisecracks under pressure = toughness), the same ludicrous death-defying stunts, and the same implausible chicks who appear every so often to lend an almost-grown-up veneer and then vanish again, to everyone's obvious relief.

Or rather, "The A-Team" presents all those things turned up to 11.9, injected with crystal meth and steroids, and CGI'd right up the wazoo.

[. . .]

Carnahan's action sequences have a lot of "kinetic energy," which is a nice way of saying that after the first 15 seconds you have absolutely no idea who is where or which way is up or what the hell is supposed to be happening, beyond the fact that some shit is blowing up and the good guys are kicking some tail. If you can switch your mind off entirely, so you become measurably dumber during the two hours you're sitting there, and you never think about the fact that the gross national product of Equatorial Guinea was spent several times over on this stupid, empty and noisy event, it's largely painless. But then, I do still have a 12-year-old entombed inside me, and, Jesus, is he high on Twizzlers. (Andrew O’Hehir, “A-team: A cheerful C -,” 10 June 2010)

So was it fun, or wasn't it?

Is this review what you get when a reviewer actually enjoys a film he knows he is not now supposed to have enjoyed? I'm not entirely sure, but it reads like an id vs. superego showdown, where a 12-year-old's joy is simultaneously choked AND satisfied.

For those interested in having the smallest range of independent personality, maybe critics could supply us a list of media you can enjoy without needing to cover with some sort of admission of sin.

Link: A-Team: A cheerful C – (Salon)

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