Be Kind Rewind


Directed by: Michel Gondry
Written by:Michel Gondry
Starring: Jack Black, Mos Def, Danny Glover, Mia Farrow, Melonie Diaz, Sigourney Weaver
Released: March 20, 2008
Grade: C

My favourite film of 2004 was Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind.  It was written by Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) and was directed by Frenchman Michel Gondry.  If you haven’t seen it, then it’s your own loss.  It’s one of the most original and beautiful films ever made.  It won the Oscar for best original screenplay and is currently ranked 51st in the Internet Movie Database’s best films of all time (as voted by the public).

If I could, I’d use my next 500 words to go into more detail on my Eternal Sunshine is such a great movie.  Instead, I have a more difficult task.  Be Kind Rewind is the latest film from Michel Gondry and it is… what’s the word I’m looking for… horrendous.  I cannot believe how bad this film is.  How did such a creative and innovative director come up with such rubbish???

The nonsensical storyline goes as follows.  Elroy Fletcher (Glover) operates a video store called Be Kind Rewind out of a rundown building in New York.  Elroy is behind the times and has never caught on to the DVD era.  He only has VHS tapes.  Suffice to say, his customer base is very small and he’s not making much money (especially since his rental charge is only $1 per tape).

When Elroy goes on holidays, he leaves his son Mike (Def) in charge.  I don’t know why he bothered since there are next-to-no customers.  The person who seems to spend the most amount of time in the store is Mike’s best friend, Jerry (Black).  They’re both morons.  You’ll pick this up pretty quickly once you’ve been introduced to them.

Jerry inadvertently magnetises his brain when he tries to sabotage an electrical power station (for god knows what reason).  When he walks into the video store, his magnetic field erases the contents from every video in the store.  Mike realises this pretty quickly when the customers start returning their tapes and complaining that there’s nothing on them.  Things don’t look good.

Instead of buying new copies or dubbing DVDs, Mike and Jerry decide to reshoot every movie.  Their first effort is Ghostbusters.  Using an old video camera and any useful prop they can find, Mike, Jerry and a few friends star in a 20 minute rip-off of the original film.  They get good feedback from the customer and so they decide to do more.  They end up reshooting an array of films including Rush Hour 2, Driving Miss Daisy and Robocop.

Almost overnight, Be Kind Rewind becomes a sensation.  People are coming from across the city to see the latest creations of Mike and Jerry.  The cash register is filling up with money and it looks like they’ve saved the video store from extinction.

This film is a mess.  It seems to take forever to get to the part where they start shooting the spoof movies - why was the introduction so long?  Danny Glover’s character goes on a bizarre trip to scout out other video stores – what was the point of this?  Every customer seems to love Mike and Jerry’s movies – how could this possibly be true?

By biggest grievance with Be Kind Rewind is that it is too convoluted.  I know it’s only meant to be a comedy but surely something could have been written that was more plausible than this?  I thought that maybe it was an inside joke in that Gondry has made a film with lots of plot holes to mirror those films being made by Mike and Jerry.  Even if that’s the case, I still want my money back.