The first animated movie by Pirates of the Caribbean auteur Gore Verbinski, Rango isn’t your average cartoon. Above all else, it’s a western, having so many references, tributes, and in-jokes about the old American frontier that you expect Frankie Laine to come in on the soundtrack, singing his theme song from Tim Conway’s 1967 sitcom of the same name.
Fairy tales have been reinterpreted throughout history, often with great success. Little Red Riding Hood has been updated by artists from Tex Avery to Stephen Sondheim; it was even presented as a very funny Fractured Fairy Tale on the Rocky and Bullwinkle show. Unfortunately, Catherine Hardwicke’s new version doesn’t belong in such high-class company.
What if you saw your best friend’s wife cheating on him? Should you tell him? It’s an interesting premise that might fuel either a dramatic movie or a comedic one. Which one? Director Ron Howard hasn’t solved that dilemma, coming up with a film that isn’t funny enough to be a comedy nor dark enough (in its entirety) to be a drama.