Finally caught up with 'Be Kind Rewind' after early dismissive reviews scared me off and after the twee 'The Science of Sleep' I found all my goodwill for 'Eternal Sunshine...' dried up. When in one year we saw the raw content of Gondry's brain ('The Science of Sleep') v. his collaborative skill ('Dave Chappelle's Block Party'), it seemed apparent that Little Michel is an ADD little monkey who needs rules in life that only a seasoned cynical sensibility could tame. It turns out that Michel Gondry's career can be divided into those of the community of the brain and the community of community. His masterpiece, 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind', is a glorious work of isolationist figures; and yet on the basis of his subsequent features, thankfully, Gondry seems to be gravitating towards people. There is a humane community spirit in 'Dave Chappelle's Block Party' and that same spirit is on display, admittedly diminished, in 'Be Kind Rewind' that makes it a worthy trifle.
There is something very touching about Gondry's knowing sense of revisionist history, about owning our histories and rewriting them as we see fit if they're to be rewritten at all. What is our history but VHS movies? These "Sweded" tapes are very amusing, more so than I would've imagined, and mainly because Jack Black and Mos Def are so perfectly matched with each other. I don't know where exactly it happened, but Mos Def has become one of the subtlest, genuine presences on film. His friendship with Jack Black, in one of his finest manic performances, is the stuff of believable knuckleheadery. In the end, 'Be Kind Rewind' becomes a community affair of embracing our legends even/especially as they threaten to be taken away from us. All of this is surface-deep but still welcome and enjoyable. I liked it.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver