Rat Race (2001)


A Las Vegas casino magnate, determined to find a new avenue for wagering, sets up a race for money. (IMDb)
Its over-the-top plot contrivance-driven brand of comedy isn’t particularly clever or subtle, of course, but so help me, some dud bits aside, I still laughed quite a bit (the Jewish Pear family in Hitler’s car, Enrico and Zack delivering the human heart, and Owen with the bus full of Lucys were standout storylines) and Sinclair and his buds’ ridiculous bets were a fun side-gag. The misguided attempt at a heartwarming ending sticks out like a sore thumb though (Smash Mouth+crowd surfing=eyeroll).
6.5/10 (Alright)


Jerry Maguire (1996)


When a sports agent has a moral epiphany and is fired for expressing it, he decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent with the only athlete who stays with him. (IMDb)
An atypical, roller-coaster-like plot trajectory gives this film a vibrantly distinct disposition (see Maguire’s moral transformation only 10 minutes in and the vacillating and volatile romantic side-story that remains so after marriage) that’s underscored further by its zany humour, engaging sports-business drama, and the fascinating oscillating nature of the lead character, and compromised only slightly by the happy ending. The film’s pace is a little quick, but it’s better than too slow.
8/10 (Great)

Instinct (1999)


When a noted anthropologist who left society to live in the jungle is imprisoned for murder, it’s up to a young psychiatrist to get through to him. (IMDb)
The central relationship here quickly loses its initial psychological suspense but eventually morphs (through the growing pains of cliches) into a pleasant unlikely friendship spurred on through story sharing and spiked with a sentimental side-plot stemming from its prison setting. Most of its emotional peaks don’t feel deserved (Theo’s tears in particular) and some are downright cheesy (standing in the rain with my arms out!) but at least the film manages to get going after a shaky start.
6.5/10 (Alright)