Summary Judgment: 'Death Race,' 'House Bunny,' 'Hamlet' Slate's Mark Jordan Legan reviews film reviews for Death Race, House Bunny, and Hamlet 2.
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Summary Judgment: 'Death Race,' 'House Bunny,' 'Hamlet'

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Summary Judgment: 'Death Race,' 'House Bunny,' 'Hamlet'

Summary Judgment: 'Death Race,' 'House Bunny,' 'Hamlet'

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This is Day To Day, I'm Alex Cohen.


I'm Alex Chadwick. Two comedies and an action film screech into theaters this weekend. To tell us what the nations critics thought of this new releases. Here's Mark Jordan Legan with Slate's Summary Judgment.

MARK JORDAN LEGAN: For those of you driving on our nation's highways right now, I'm sure many of you think the movie "Death Race" is about your morning commute, but it's not. It's actually a remake of a 1975 drive-in box office hit. This time Jason Statham stars as a death row prisoner offered a chance to enter an extreme racing competition, win five races and you're free. Loose and well, you have to pay for all the gas.

(Soundbite of movie "Death Race")

Mr. JASON STATHAM: (As Jensen Ames) There's someone I need to kill.

Unidentified Man: You're out in front. Who you're going to shoot at?

Mr. STATHAM: (As Jensen Ames) You're a dead man.

LEGAN: The reviews are pretty deadly. Even though the Chicago tribune revs, peppy, good time, nastiness. The Austin Chronicles squeals, one of the most boring drags of all time and variety shrugs, hard as medal and just as dumb. Speaking of dumb, a playmate gets kicked out of the playboy mansion and needs to find a new home and a new job in the comedy the "House Bunny". Anna Farris plays the ex-bunny who ends up at the sorority house who's full of losers, looking for a new house mother.

(Soundbite of movie "House Bunny")

Ms. ANNA FARIS: (As Shelley Darlingson) Why are they gonna take your house away?

Unidentified Woman: Because we get no pledges and everyone kind of think we're losers.

Ms. FARIS: (As Shelley Darlingson) That's so sad. Why is everyone else get all the pledges?

Unidentified Woman: Well, they have great parties and boys actually like them.

LEGAN: The "House Bunny" has the critics hopping with praise, especially for the lead performance. The L.A. Times cheers, among the sunny or funnier films of the year, thanks largely to the zest from Farris. And the Hollywood Reporter smiles, manages to stand on it's own two sky-scraper heels, thanks to the comic force of nature that is Anna Faris. And British comic actor Steve Coogan, who is currently playing the craze director in "Tropic Thunder," stars in the comedy "Hamlet 2." As a struggling actor who ends up a high school drama teacher and when budget cuts threaten his job, he decides to the stage on original masterpiece, a rock musical sequel to Hamlet, Catherine Keener also stars.

(Soundbite of movie "Hamlet 2")

Mr. STEVE COOGAN: (As Dana Marschz) Any creative person will tell you got to go a little crazy to make a great art.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. CATHERINE KEENER: (As Brie Marschz) Hamlet 2?

Mr. COOGAN (Actor): (As Dana Marschz) The deuce, correct.

Ms. KEENER: (As Brie Marschz) Oh, doesn't everybody die at the end of the first one?

Mr. COOGAN (Actor): (As Dana Marschz) I have a device.

LEGAN: The Village Voice complains, not nearly as a uproarious as it should be, but the onion shouts nothing short of hilarious. And Seattle Post-Intelligencer calls "Hamlet 2," frequently amusing and consistently outrageous. Hey, don't think Hollywood isn't mulling over more ideas about sequels to Billy Shakespeare's body of work. OK. Two Gentlemen of Verona and a Baby, huh? Romeo and Juno, Merchant of Venice Beach, Hot Sexy Lifeguard Battles Sylak(ph).

CHADWICK: Mark Jordan Legan is a writer living in Los Angeles.

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