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July 2011

Pop Culture Binge

In addition to ingesting about two pounds of pasta salad, 3 bags of chips, 12 Popsicles, and 37 chicken wings over the long weekend, I also consumed a lot of pop culture stuff. Here’s a quick breakdown:


No Strings Attached—I’ve always sworn I’d never rent an Ashton Kutcher movie but Mr. PCN brought this one home since it was slim pickings in the rental selection. The movie was funnier and more palatable than I anticipated (granted, my expectations were very low), with Natalie Portman and Kutcher as two people who agree to a casual sexual relationship, promising to end it if either develops feelings for the other. Since the screenplay is by a woman, Elizabeth Meriwether, the guy falls first, with Kutcher’s Adam getting all sensitive and moony-eyed while Portman’s Emma hangs tough. The actress is appealingly quirky but she also grounds Kutcher, getting him (with director Ivan Reitman’s help) to react to her in a sympathetic, grown-up way rarely seen in his characters. Nerd verdict: No Strings holds up okay on DVD.

Just Go with It—This one, on the other hand, should have been left at the store. Adam Sandler plays a plastic surgeon whose shtick is to pretend he’s married to pick up hot chicks. When he thinks he’s found The One (Brooklyn Decker), he gets his office assistant (Jennifer Aniston) to pose as his wife to help close the deal. The entire premise is ridiculous to start with, and it gets even more so the longer and farther Sandler’s character goes with the charade. There’s no chemistry between anyone, all the laughs are on vacation elsewhere, and Dave Matthews and Nicole Kidman showing up halfway through the movie as a married couple can’t help add any spark to it. Nerd verdict: Go with It? Just run away from it.


Walker (L) & Campbell-Martin

The Protector—This new Lifetime series stars the engaging Ally Walker and wry Tisha Campbell-Martin as L.A. detectives Gloria Sheppard and Michelle Dulcett, respectively. Before you roll your eyes too far back because you just read “Lifetime,” the women on this show are neither touchy-feely nor do they try too hard to be tough like the guys. They’re attractive without wearing too much makeup or designer clothes beyond their pay grade, and I like that their male colleagues don’t call attention to the fact they’re a two-women team. They’re simply allowed to do their job, something they’re both good at because they’re tenacious and smart.

Sheppard’s home life with her two young boys and recovering addict brother (Chris Payne Gilbert) gets just enough airtime to show a different side of her without making her too soft. So far, the cases haven’t been ground-breaking and the show isn’t as kickass as others on co-creator Jeffrey Bell’s resume (he was a producer on Alias and Angel, two of my favorites), but Sheppard and Dulcett have a real-world vibe that will keep me watching for now. Nerd verdict: Good Lifetime Protector.

I read a couple of books, too, but those reviews will have to wait since it’s now 3:30 in the morning and my bed has me-shaped space on it.

How was your holiday weekend? What did you watch/read/consume?