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Picks and Pans Main: Movies

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The Great Gatsby

Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton | PG-13 |


There’s nothing wrong with excess – but honey, there’s just so much of it! Director Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic, about the self-created Jay Gatsby (DiCaprio) and his breathless love for socialite Daisy Buchanan (Mulligan), is a noisy, overstuffed, gaudy thing. The minor miracle is that it still delivers an emotional payoff, no matter how much it gets in its own way.

The film trips on its spats with a noisy first act reveling in the high times of New York millionaire Gatsby, as told by his neighbor Nick Carraway (Maguire). If frantic cuts of flappers and fellas coming at you in 3D don’t convince you you’re having fun, maybe the rap music will. Or not. The mania mellows once old lovers Gatsby and Daisy reconnect, letting us focus on more important things – like clothes and jewels.

Oh, I kid. Yes, Gatsby looks sumptuous, with lavish costumes and set design, but the performances do come through. Edgerton is the best of the bunch, in a bullish turn as Daisy’s cheating husband, Tom. DiCaprio and Mulligan, meanwhile, don’t seem like star-crossed lovers so much as a delusional man in love with a bauble of a woman. Maybe that’s intentional. But looking for meaning is like trying to spot Gatsby at his parties: Difficult at best, and beside the point.


Kerry Washington, Craig Robinson | PG-13 |


There’s nothing new about Peeples, a shaggy blend of Meet the Parents and Jumping the Broom. Nothing, that is, except the chemistry between Robinson, as striving kids’ party singer Wade Walker, and David Alan Grier as his would-be father-in-law, Judge Virgil Peeples. When Wade crashes girlfriend Grace’s (Washington) tony family weekend in the Hamptons, the clash is predictable but funny. The stinker is Grace, who lies to Wade and her folks. You may wonder, “How did he get her?” But you’ll leave saying, “Why does he want her?”