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January 10, 2011 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-01-10

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8A - Monday, January 10, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

8A - Monday, January 10, 2011 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Hot and crazy 'HIMYM'
Sixth season suits up for a strong showing
By Proma Khosla I Daily TV/New Media Editor

In its sixth season, CBS's "How
I Met Your Mother," a sitcom about
how Ted (Josh Radnor) meets his
wife, returns to
its roots with
ample plot and
character devel- How I Met
opment, and end- YourMother
less hilarity along
the way. Season Six
Season six Midseason
sees Robin (Cobie
Smulders) get- Mondays at8 p.m.
ting over a serf- CBS
ous breakup,
Barney (Neil Patrick Harris)
unwillingly learning about his
father, Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and
Marshall (Jason Segel) trying to
have a baby and Ted working as a
Columbia professor and architect
for Goliath National Bank.
After the stagnancy of Ted's
dating life and Lily and Mar-
shall's married life in season five,
romance is more than welcome in
the landscape of the new season.
The babymaking process is get-
ting a little tedious, but the fact
is, that's just how long it takes.
Meanwhile, the sexual tension
grows between Ted and his new
frenemy, Zoey (Jennifer Mor-
rison, "House"). Morrison plays

Zoey as someone who is clearly
used to getting her own way and
is enraged when Ted doesn't com-
ply; the result is awell acted, albeit -
annoying character composed of
equal parts sass and sweetness to
set the hopeless romantic in Ted
reeling. Is Zoey our mother? Only
time will tell. It's always fun to
watch Ted fall into a new relation-
ship, but not knowing if he marries "Dammit, Hurley!
Zoey is half the suspense (OK, all
the suspense). that can stand alone. "Glitter"
Despite this anticipation, either guest-stars the Pussycat Dolls'
way, the answer won't be very sat- Nicole Scherzinger in the titular
isfying. The anticipation of Ted and role and introduced a new Robin
Zoey's will-they-won't-they rela- Sparkles video - though in all
tionship is one of the most intrigu- fairness, the episode belongs to
ing elements of the new season. Alan Thicke ("Growing Pains")
None of Ted's previous girlfriends and his creepy-or-just-Canadian
have started out with vendettas cameo in the girls' lives. "Natu-
against him, let alone been married ral History" may be the funniest
to slightly sinister billionaires dur- episode the show has ever had,
ing the flirting. But if Ted reveals with serious and pivotal conversa-
that Zoey isn't the titular mother, tions interspersed between pairs
there goes any audience investment of main characters. Also, wieners
in their relationship. If he confirms and gonads. The Thanksgiving epi-
that she is, that gives the show an sode, "Blitzgiving," guest-starred a
undeniable sense of finality. Even if hilarious Jorge Garcia and served
there's still romance and marriage as the producers' quiet tip-of-the-
to look forward to, the fact will be hat to "Lost" and its ensemble.
unchanged: I've met your mother. The thing that people either
There you go. love or hate about "HIMYM" is
Season six also boasts episodes its uncanny resemblance to a cer-

tain '90s sitcom about half a dozen
20-somethings and their own
adventures in New York City. Some
see this similarity as negative, a cre-
ative copout that uses the "Friends"
formula to recreate success. Maybe
so, but it's more than that.
"How I Met Your Mother" is
exactly what we need in a world
that still finds itself craving Central
Perk too often. It's "Friends" for
our time; "Friends" with more sex
and alcohol, corporate jobs, non-
linear storytelling and smaller cell
phones. And yes, it's formulaic, but
it works. Barney, Robin, Ted, Mar-
shall and Lily feel as much like our
friends as Chandler, Ross, Rachel,
Joey, Monica and Phoebe.
And thatlevelof success fromthe
"HIMYM" team is nothing short of


'Travels' crashes

"You may be blonde, but are you legal?"

Drab comedy
a no- Know'

Daily Arts Writer
The cinematic combination of
Reese Witherspoon ("Monsters
vs. Aliens"), Owen Wilson ("Lit-
tle Fockers"),
Jack Nicholson
("The Bucket
List") and Paul How Do
Rudd ("Dinner
for Schmucks") You Know?
sounds like it AtQuality16
would go some- and Rave
where - they're
all talented, Columbia
funny actors.
But no such luck. Instead, in
"How Do You Know?" this cast
of accomplished actors is forced
onto a rather dull host of char-
acters who bumble around the
screen in an awkward mix.
Witherspoon plays Lisa, an
out-of-work softball player, who
is dating Matty (Wilson), a suc-
cessfulbaseballplayer. ThenLisa
meets George (Rudd), a business-
man who is being indicted thanks
to the wrongdoing of his father
(Nicholson), and soon finds her-
self caught in a love triangle with
Matty and George. Basically, it's
another typical romance - it just
has an attempted sports angle.
Athletics is in no way relevant
to the general plot of the movie;
it seems that every single career
possibility for women in roman-
tic comedies has been exhausted.
But that's the thing - as much
as the film tries to be fresh and
relevant, it can't. Lisa doesn't
know if she can settle down, get
married and have children. So at
first, we think that maybe this
movie might be different. Maybe
she won't end up with either guy
or, who knows, maybe she'll end
up with both. Instead, surprise,
surprise, the "normal plan"
works for her and she finds love
and most likely lives happily ever
after. The whole movie ends up
being a disappointment.
It's not like we should have
expected much else. The pre-
views pretty much gave away any
funny parts and Jack Nicholson's

character (by far the most inter-
esting) is relegated to a minor
role. "How Do You Know?"
remains an incredibly, average
movie about seemingly average
people with very nice apartments
whose lives are infused with
some lukewarm romance. But
this is often a problem with all
those PG-13 romantic comedies
- it's not as though the movie
is completely unbearable, just
unbearably uninteresting.
Part of it probably stems from
the fact that the two lead male
characters (played by Wilson
and Rudd) are completely flat.
They're not even funny. And
forget about realism. Rudd's
character is too busy being the
"better guy" to develop a person-
ality of his own, while Wilson's
character is too busy being an
asshole. Just as Witherspoon's
character falls into the trap of
being an ordinary heroine, the
men end up as romantic stereo-
types as well.
withers, Rudd's
a dud, Wilson
is a dick.
And sometimes, the ordinary
romance works for movies. But
for some reason, it just doesn't
work in this one. Part of that
problem could be because no one
wants to see these actors in these
roles. It's unnatural. Most peo-
ple want Wilson like he was in
"Zoolander" or Rudd like he was
in "Knocked Up." No one wants
to see them acting like average
guys with no sense of humor.
Movies are supposed to take an
audience somewhere else, to
make them realize something
they didn't know before. "How
Do You Know?" doesn't do that,
making the film as questionable
as its title suggest.

DailyArts Writer
Ladies and gentlemen, after
a storied legacy spanning near-
ly 300 years, the unthinkable
has occurred:
els" has become
a romantic com- Gulliver's
edy and a chil-
dren's movie, Travels
and it's even At Quality16
lazier and more and Rave
juvenile than
what audiences 20th Century Fox
have come to
expect from both genres.
It's not one of those bearable
romances, either, but an outright
tawdry one. Jonathan Swift's
masterpiece was never meant to
be interpreted with such a shal-
low lens - it is a political and
social satire with implications far
more profound than anythingcthis
movie has to offer.
In short, this "Gulliver's Trav-
els" finds Jack Black ("Year One")
playing a lowly mailroom clerk
who is enamored with Darcy
(Amanda Peet, "2012"), a journal-
ist in his office building. When he
finally works up the nerve to talk
to her, she sends him on an assign-
ment to the Bermuda Triangle to
write a travel article. It's a.con-
temporary rendition of a timeless
classic that completely misrepre-
sents authorial intent.
The discrepancies are never-
ending. For one, save the names of
Gulliver's travel column ("Gulliv-
er's Travels") and the town of
Liliput, this adaptation bears no
resemblance to the original. It's
impressive when an adaptation
improves on an original, like Eric
Roth's take on "Forrest Gump,"
but it's another thing altogether
when a script ignores an abun-
dance of quality source material
and strays one step too far off the
beaten path. Considering Swift's
vision, this remake is no more
From Page 7A
entertainment: two more books
and three films. I also discovered
a new, potentially favorite author
who will (hopefully) produce
many more awesome books in the
years to come.
But, most importantly, I played
the literature lotto in the first
place. I'm sure I'm not the only
bookworm who's bogged down by
school work, life and the internet,
and sometimes lets pleasure read-
ing fall by the wayside. Too often,
I don't like to play the lottery
when it comes to packing vacation
reading material. I love reading
so much and have so little time
to read that I don't want to risk
taking a bad book and wasting my
time. SoI resort to re-reading, or
reading slowly to make one great
book last for a long time. Case in
point: I'm saving two-thirds of
"The Passage" for my next vaca-
tion at the end of February. As a
result of this tendency, I'm sure
I've missed out on a lot of great

than a skeleton of the novel's live-
ly commentary.
It's not even good asa children's
movie. After all, the greatest chil-
dren's movies throw a bone to the
parents as well. Pixar's master-
pieces appeal to the entire spec-
trum with subtle innuendo for
adults and obnoxious slapstick for
the kids. But Jack Black's dull wit
takes "obnoxious" to absurd new
levels. Imagine a Manhattan ston-
er who gets super-high, falls into
the Atlantic, and wakes up to find
himself washed ashore on Brit-
ain's beach - and there you have
it. Even the kids will be scratching
their heads.
Furthermore, Jason Segel ("I
Love You, Man") is a Liliputian
with a British accent? That has
to be one of the worst miscast-
ings of the decade. In the minds
of elitist James Bond fans world-
wide, English connotes "proper,"
and the awkward, lackadaisical
characters Segel plays are gen-
Jonathan Swift
must be turning
in his grave.
erally anything but. It evokes
an upwelling of discomfort, the
feeling that something's not
quite right. He's great as a love-
lorn Marshall, and even better as
a lovelorn Peter Bretter, but no
one's buying his act as a lovelorn
Writer and director Rob Let-
terman should have stuck with
animated films, like his beloved
"Shark's Tale" and "Monsters
vs. Aliens." Instead, he tried to
turn a beloved classic of exceed-
ing complexity into a children's
movie with a lazily implemented
romantic twist, and he failed *
I sometimes forget how much
fun the literature lottery can be. It
can be nice to just wander through *
a bookstore on a lazy afternoon,
inhaling the distinct new-book
scent and browsing the selection.
It's an exhilarating feelingto zone
in on a cover that catches your eye,
pick up the manuscript and read
the back cover description. Will
the book be intriguing enough
to merit a purchase? Will it fail
the test? Only that indescribable,
immediate connection between
paper and person can tell.
So, I guess I'll make one more
New Year's resolution: I'll learn
a lesson from my winnings atthe
literature lottery and play again
soon. I'm fully prepared to make
a few misjudgments and start
reading some truly awful books.
I can't win all the time. But I'm
also excited for the possibility of
winning again. In the big scheme
of things, what doI really have to
Burgin has an intellectual gambling
problem. To bet on her recovery,
email her at Irburgin@umich.edu.

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