As Marvel's The Avengers storms into the multiplexes, the bargain theaters counter with an environmental parable, Tyler Perry and Will Ferrell speaking Spanish.
Dr. Seuss' The Lorax adapts the 1971 picture book, expanding it into a computer-animated story of a synthetic city where a boy (Zac Efron) learns the story of how the Once-ler (Ed Helms) ignored the warnings of the Lorax (Danny DeVito) about destroying the truffula forest. The design, by the creators of Despicable Me, captures the swooping curves and odd angles of the Seussian world, and the basic lesson of the original story. But there's a baseline level on which this a movie that has too much padding to do while turning 72 illustration-heavy pages into 90 minutes. It becomes the movie equivalent of trying to turn something into a 10-page term paper by fiddling with the margins and the font size.
The latest from the endlessly prolific Perry, Good Deeds, casts the filmmaker as a wealthy businessman trying to learn Important Life Lessons from a cleaning lady; CW's Andrew Wright described it as a vanity project that "threatens to topple Barbra Streisand’s TheMirror Has Two Faces off of Mt. Narcissus." Casa de Mi Padre, meanwhile, skewers Mexican telenovelas and grindhouse drug thrillers by having Will Ferrell play a rancher's son trying to save the ranch from drug lords; CW's Eric D. Snider called it "Monty Python and the Holy Grail meets Mex-ploitation."