New movie releases this week include Katherine Heigl’s return to the big screen, plus The Promise, Truman, and more
Matthew Lickona 6 p.m., April 21
A nonstop joke machine (Billy Crystal) and his equally overbearing wife (Bette Midler) are forced to spend time with their work-obsessed daughter (Marisa Tomei), son-in-law (Tom Everett Scott), and a trio of estranged grandchildren, all of whom have Dr. Kevorkian on speed-dial. The set-up seemed idiot-proof: stick a pair of technologically inept oldsters in a voice-controlled prototypical “Smart House” (it’s a Type-A A-frame) and watch the gags begin. But how far the mighty have fallen: Crystal, the self-appointed corporate spokesperson for American comedy, vomiting on a child for laughs. By the time it’s over, Billy and Bette have the kids buzzing on sugar, watching Saw films, and playing with guns. The tykes would have stood a better shot at life had they been raised by wild dingos. Bonus: when was the last time you laughed at a score? It’s not fun, it’s not funny, and the fact that this thing is bankrolled by the family-friendly folks at Walden Media makes it even more so. A motherlode of awful, destined to delight even the most jaded bad-film connoisseurs among us. As for the four-star rating, it’s there to punish those who only look at the numbers without reading the review. 2012.