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The Worst Movies of 2012

February 11, 2013

By John C.

The Worst Movies of 2012Do you know why 2012 was such a great year for film?  Because I had a lot more trouble than I usually do putting together my worst list, and that is why it’s only coming over a month into 2013.  That’s not to say that the eleven films I have selected for my countdown aren’t bad, because they would be considered failures no matter what the year.  But in 2012, these ones were the exception to the rule, the sacrifices that we had to make in order to get to the numerous better movies.  My thoughts on the best movies of 2012 will be coming next Monday.

I didn’t see every bad film that 2012 had to offer, and I apologize if you enjoyed any of the ones that I included.  As the majority of the films on my list had good actors who just couldn’t rise above the material, I would also like to say sorry to everyone involved in the production of these films.  Please don’t take any of this personally.  This whole process is cathartic for me, and keeping with my tradition of the last few years, this top ten list goes to eleven and counts down all the way to level zero.

Before we start, I would like to share a special dishonourable mention for something called The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure.  The only reason it didn’t make the cut is because I couldn’t even stomach watching this unbearable piece of junk that encouraged kids to behave badly in theatres and thankfully became an epic failure at the box office.  If I had seen the film, then it surely would have clocked in at the bottom of my list, but I don’t think I will ever be able to torture myself by actually sitting through it.  Let’s begin, shall we?

#10 – Friends with Kids:  Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) are close platonic friends who decide to have a child together and split the parenting duties down the middle.  It’s unclear why they decide to have a kid, but predictable screenwriting gets in the way of their plans.  As hard as Friends with Kids tries to be fresh and relevant, it’s actually kind of boring.  The selfish decisions of the characters make it very hard to care about any of them, which means that the supposedly sentimental final few scenes just feel awkward.  I like the cast, but any movie that ends with the unbelievably terrible line “f*** the s*** out of me” deserves a spot on this list.

#9 – The Vow:  We are told that The Vow has been inspired by a true story, but it’s easy to see where the screenwriters took over for the sake of injecting plenty of laughable melodrama.  Leo (Channing Tatum) and Paige (Rachel McAdams) share such a deep love, that when their car is hit during some frontseat foreplay, she forgets the last four years of her life and has no clue who this guy is anymore.  Leo tries hard, but Paige makes absolutely no effort to regain her memory and resorts back to her spoiled rich kid college days, much to the delight of her scheming parents (Jessica Lange and Sam Neill).  The only plot points that we don’t see coming are the ones that simply don’t ring true to the characters or story.  An insult to romance, The Vow is a hackneyed film that knows nothing of common sense.

#8 – The Watch:  When a security guard is murdered, Evan (Ben Stiller) starts the Neighbourhood Watch, with family man Bob (Vince Vaughan), the disturbed Franklin (Jonah Hill) and the mysterious Jamarcus (Richard Ayode).  As it turns out, their neighbourhood is actually under attack by aliens.  The handful of amusing moments that The Watch offers are few and far between, as the film squanders the talents of the talented cast with a wildly uneven screenplay filled with crude humour that feels like it was written by teenagers.  This is also surprisingly boring for a comedy about an alien invasion, and the gross out violence in the last act is just off-putting.

#7 – Mirror Mirror:  Escaping the clutches of the evil Queen (Julia Roberts), Snow (Lily Collins) flees to the magic forest and meets up with a band of seven thieving dwarves.  Although Mirror Mirror is clearly for kids, this is a candy coloured mess that is too silly and disjointed to be engaging for adults and far too overlong to be entertaining.  The film received a posthumous Oscar nomination for the wonderful costumes of the late Eiko Ishioka, and her visually imaginative wardrobe on display is the best part of this fairy tale that is dull in every other way.

#6 – Bel Ami:  Georges Duroy (Robert Pattinson) is a penniless ex-soldier in 1890s Paris, sleeping his way to the top with the wives of the wealthy men.  Although Bel Ami is carried by a fine cast, the editing is so poorly done that the simple story becomes confusing and feels disjointed.  The entire film is so overscored that we keep waiting for something truly sinister to happen, when nothing actually does.  But the biggest offence of Bel Ami is that portions of the film move at a glacial pace, making this a tedious and melodramatic costume drama.

#5 – Parental Guidance:  When Artie (Billy Crystal) and his wife Diane (Bette Midler) go to babysit their grandchildren, their old school parenting style immediately clashes with that of their uptight daughter (Marisa Tomei) and her husband (Tom Everett Scott).  Filled with pratfalls and baseballs bats to the crotch, Parental Guidance is a slapstick comedy that tries to say something sweet about the way kids interact with their grandparents, but is ultimately just annoying.  I like Billy Crystal, but any movie that has him puking on a kid deserves recognition on my worst list.  Enough said.

#4 – Playing for Keeps:  George (Gerard Butler) is a narcissistic soccer player who starts coaching his son’s (Noah Lomax) team, only to fall back in love with his ex-wife (Jessica Biel) and catch the attention of the other soccer moms.  This premise becomes so wildly predictable, that Playing for Keeps ends up feeling like an insult to the audience, making us question the intentions of the cast.  With Gerard Butler leading the charge, this is an insultingly predictable romantic comedy for soccer moms, and even the most mainstream of audiences deserve a whole lot better.

#3 – This Means War:  Tuck (Tom Hardy) and FDR (Chris Pine) are best friends in the CIA who both catch the eye of the beautiful Lauren (Reese Witherspoon), so they fight each other and use their secret agent skills to stalk the poor girl.  Directed with a frantic style by the aptly named McG, This Means War is a mash-up of a dumb action movie and a lame romantic comedy.  The scenes of violent combat are clumsily constructed and disturbingly void of all real life repercussions, and the love triangle storyline is more creepy and annoying than it is romantic.  I love Reese Witherspoon and I’m sure she enjoyed the paycheck, but This Means War is just an embarrassingly pointless film.

#2 – Her Master’s Voice:  Many people remain unaware of this twisted little documentary, but I had the misfortune of seeing Her Master’s Voice during Hot Docs.  When British comedian Nina Conti’s mentor and lover Ken Campbell died, he left her his entire collection of ventriloquist dummies, so she took a road trip to Kentucky with the always talking Monkey on her hand, determined to donate some of the characters to a museum.  Many scenes of this thinly veiled vanity project take place at a motel where she has increasingly off kilter interactions with the creepy dolls.  The more I thought about it, the more I disliked Her Master’s Voice, and the thankfully short running time of just over an hour left me more unsettled than entertained.

#1 – That’s My Boy:  When a movie opens with a young teenager impregnating his teacher and ends with incest playing a big role in the last act, I just know that it deserves a spot on my worst list.  Adam Sandler stars in That’s My Boy as a faded media darling who knocked up his teacher over twenty years ago, and has just fallen back into the life of his adult son (Andy Samberg), who is about to marry the unbelievably messed up Jamie (Leighton Meester).  A bond forms between the dysfunctional father and son, as they party together and get drunk at a sleazy strip club.  Filled with plenty of off-putting set pieces including inappropriate sexual relationships, That’s My Boy is offensive and stupid on so many levels that it just ends up feeling like a group of people trying to be obnoxious, and outdoing each other.

#0 – Fun Size:  I don’t mind wild party movies, but any film that has an emotionally disturbed child thrown in for the sake of providing supposed laughs, is just plain wrong.  Such is the case with Fun Size, a painful film and the worst one on this list.  When her obnoxious mother (Chelsea Handler) insists that Wren (Victoria Justice) babysit her creepy little brother Albert (Jackson Nicoll) on Halloween, she ends up losing the kid and spends the night with her friend (Jane Levy) trying to get him back.  The latest offering from Nickelodeon, Fun Size is a film that has a child attending a drunken party and eventually being kidnapped, all under the guise of providing laughs to an impressionable young audience, and for that it is the worst movie of 2012.

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