Films of the week: Unpalatable scenes that grossed a fortune
8pm, Sky Movies Premiere
(Paul Feig, 2011) A perceptive ensemble comedy about failure and envy as well as the consolations of female friendships, Bridesmaids describes the painfully funny extended public meltdown of a thirty-something maid of honour to a best friend from whom she feels increasingly distant. The gross-out scenes producer Judd Apatow insisted on feel unnecessary, but the film went on to be one of his most financially successful yet. ****
Little Miss Sunshine
11.10pm, Channel 4
(Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris, 2006) A breezy and funny hit US indie road-movie about the misadventures of an uncommonly dysfunctional family – dad (Greg Kinnear) is a depressed motivational speaker, grandpa (Alan Arkin) a drug-snorting delinquent, uncle Frank (Steve Carell) a suicidal gay Proust scholar – driving the chubby youngest daughter (Abigail Breslin) to a pre-teen beauty pageant. ****
7pm, Sky Movies Classics
(Arthur Hiller, 1970) In the first part of tonight's triple bill of Neil Simon comedies, the writer heaps a catalogue of mounting indignities and misfortune on a suburban couple during a night-long odyssey in an unwelcoming New York City. Jack Lemmon, who does neurotic and exasperated better than anyone, plays the husband, while Sandy Dennis is his wife – a voice of reason who goes forever unheard. ***
(Spike Lee, 2006) Denzel Washington plays the hostage negotiator and investigating officer in what is essentially a simple locked-room mystery, but told in reverse and with aplomb. Clive Owen stars as the ice-cool bank robber with a cunning master plan, and Jodie Foster also features as a steely fixer. An uncharacteristic but well above average genre film from the director Spike Lee. ****
12.50pm, Channel 4
(William Wyler, 1953) Filmed on location and introducing the world to Audrey Hepburn, this fairy-tale romance must have seemed impossibly glamorous upon its release. And it remains a delight, with Hepburn's performance as a holidaying princess combining exuberance and poise, and Gregory Peck's US journalist seeming to come more fully to life in her presence. ****
(Lindsay Anderson, 1968) A classic of the British new wave, in which young rebel Malcolm McDowell, making his film debut, leads an uprising against the ruling classes as represented by the staff of his all-boys public school. Likewise, the film itself rejects the established order, being an entirely unruly, energetically styled work that abandons narrative order in favour of surrealism. ****
Best in Show
(Christopher Guest, 2000) In his second funniest deadpan mockumentary, This Is Spinal Tap's Christopher Guest and his usual repertory of actors play pedigree dog owners preparing to compete in a dog show. Beautifully faked and even kind of moving, it slowly reveals their wide spectrum of personality quirks and delusions, as well as something of the competitive and exhibitionist streaks in the American character. ****
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