Be Kind Rewind is a sweet, funny, cockle-warming movie sure to make you smile long after you’ve left the theater.
Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover) owns the failing neighborhood VHS video store Be Kind Rewind. When he goes on a personal trip, he leaves Mike (Mos Def) in charge of his store with only one instruction, Keep Jerry Out. Jerry (Jack Black) is Mike’s friend, lovable conspiracy nut and general attractor of destruction. We learn Fletcher’s instructions were well-founded when Jerry accidently erases all the videos in the store. In order to keep Be Kind Rewind from closing its doors, Jerry and Mike set off with a video camera and attempt to reshoot the movies that were erased.
Be Kind Rewind is one of the most charming movies I have seen in some time. Given the cast (specifically MosBlack) and genre, I was skeptical but Gondry made me a shameless believer. Michel Gondry, the writer and director, created a community of characters whose quirks and eccentricities capture the audience’s attention and emotion. I was impressed by how such a ridiculous premise could make me laugh so much and so often.
There is a magical mojo between Mos Def and Jack Black in Be Kind Rewind. MosBlack’s on screen chemistry reminds me of vinegar and baking soda (you can decide which is vinegar and which is baking soda). At first the fizzy-sizzle is a little worry-some but once you realize the bubbles won’t hurt, you just want to play in them. When you get older, the smell of vinegar and baking soda, which is a little offensive at first, harkens back memories and brings a smile to your face. Be Kind Rewind starts off filling your nose with the smell of expired wine and the bubbles filled my sinuses. By the end, I wanted to stick my fingers in and feel the little explosions as they, excited by the stimulation, pop harmlessly on my skin.
Jack Black’s combustive personality usually tempts my skin to melt off my face and run along the ground into the gutter, contaminating the ocean. Maybe he was reined in by Gondry, maybe it is that he isn’t the main character or maybe because he was mixed with Mos Def, Black’s performance in Be Kind Rewind, is nothing less than charismatic. His brand of wacky fits Jerry’s vagaries and gives animation to a character that would be less than resistible if he weren’t one foot over the edge.
Mos Def is brilliant in Be Kind Rewind. He is awkward, odd and ridiculously irresistible. He gives Mike warmth and sincerity. I was taken by how much he seemed to adore the character to which he was giving such captivating depth. He gives a levity that is enrapturing. He captivated me whenever he was on screen.
Be Kind Rewind administers a brand of comedy that starts off slow but eventually works the audience up into comedic euphoria by the end. The audience will enjoy the well placed, good natured laughter. There are no aisle-rollers but a constant stream of chuckles that, perfectly released, get you through the film.
Be Kind Rewind is a hard movie to wrap up and leave the audience satisfied but Gondry’s ending, which I won’t give away here, is emotionally nourishing without being ten packs of Equal sweet.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie. I walked in skeptical of the idiocy that surely would be laid at my feet but in the end, I walked out of Be Kind Rewind smiling. Be Kind Rewind would be a great date movie, dude movie or just an emotional pick me up.