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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Variety on '2012': A preposterous joke

November 10, 2009 | 11:46 am
2012

OK, I can't say that I'm shocked -- or for that matter, even a little surprised -- that the first big review that has surfaced on "2012" says that Roland Emmerich's kitschy disaster movie is, well, a kitschy disaster movie. According to Variety's Todd McCarthy, the best thing that can be said of the movie is that John Cusack and Chiwetel Ejiofor, who play two of the leading roles, "convey above-the-norm intelligence for characters in this sort of fare," which I guess means that the rest of the big-name cast (i.e. Danny Glover, Oliver Platt and Amanda Peet) register pretty low on the IQ scale.

McCarthy even finds a sneaky way to work a reference to "Casablanca" into his review. Here's how he describes what goes wrong with the movie as it lumbers into its third act:

"Let it be said that '2012' plummets from reasonably distracting spectacle to sheerest silliness when, in the pointlessly protracted final reels, it tries to maintain interest in the (confusingly staged) jeopardy of a handful of characters when much of the world's population has already been wiped out or is about to be. Never has Rick's observation in 'Casablanca' been more true, that the problems of a few little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world."  

McCarthy ends up calling the film a joke "for the simple reason that it has no point of view; the film offers no philosophical, metaphysical, intellectual and certainly no religious perspective on the cataclysm, just the physical frenzy of it all." I bet that last line gets a hearty laugh from Emmerich, who can only be wagging his head, wondering: "These crazy critics -- after all these years, they still can't tell the difference between me and Lars Von Trier!" 

Photo of John Cusack and Morgan Lily in "2012" by Joe Lederer/Columbia Pictures.

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