This Week in Movies By Pete Hammond Two debuting comedies on different ends of the audience spectrum were upstaged by autobots and decepticons as the second week of Transformers: Dark Of The Moon held on to the number one slot at the boxoffice with a drop of only 52% for $47 million. That’s impressive because an opening of the size this third edition of the Transformers franchise had would be expected to take a bigger tumble in its second weekend.

In fact the 2nd film in the series, Revenge of the Fallen did just that with a 61% dive. So good reviews, good word of mouth and of course those higher 3D ticket prices are keeping this one at Bay, so to speak. Say what you will about director Michael Bay. He knows how to deliver a blockbuster. This film should easily top the first two and ultimately be the number one grossing movie of 2011. It’s already tallied $261 million domestically and is well on its way to over a billion worldwide. With next week’s 3D juggernaut, the Harry Potter finale, in the wings expect a much bigger drop but Transformers has already proved its might.

Comedy, despite what an L.A. Times article said earlier in the week, is also still king at the box office and not an endangered species, particularly the raunchy kind exhibited by Judd Apatow’s biggest grosser ever, Bridesmaids , The Hangover Part II and now this week by the very funny, extremely crude and deliciously wicked Horrible Bosses. This perfectly cast employee revenge flick makes the most of a terrific premise and took in an estimated $28 million to place second .

The very R-rated movie also scored a nice B+ Cinemascore rating and top reviews with a 75% fresh ranking at Rotten Tomatoes. And for a change it gives co-star Jennifer Aniston a chance to do something different as she plays (to the hilt) a sexually harassing dentist who wears revealing dental smocks which trying to seduce her assistant , hilariously played by Charlie Day. The entire cast which includes a seething Kevin Spacey and an almost non-recognizable Colin Farrell as well as Jasons, Bateman and Sudeikis really shine here. Perhaps it is a bit surprising that top critics have fallen for it the way they have but funny is FUNNY and Horrible Bosses delivers.

Surprisingly it took producer Brett Ratner several years to get it made but it was worth the wait for raunch lovers everywhere. When I spoke to Ratner on a panel last April that I moderated for the TCM Classic Movie Film Festival he said he’s also proud of his upcoming November thriller, Tower Heist which he hopes will turn into a franchise ala Rush Hour which he directed to great success.

One film definitely NOT destined for that kind of success is the week’s other new comedy, and I use the term loosely, Zookeeper which is from the Adam Sandler pee pee and poo poo joke factory. Sandler is also in it as the voice of the monkey but the film’s star is Kevin James who scored a big hit for Sandler’s company as Paul Blart Mall Cop. Don’t expect that kind of success either as it really isn’t wise to make a talking animal movie and basically leave the animals on the sideline, reduced to offering romantic advice to their caretaker (James).

That two hotties, Leslie Bibb and Rosario Dawson are fighting over this lug defies credibility to say the least. The film has been on the shelf for a while but somehow Sony deluded themselves into thinking this thing could fly in a prime July slot. The fact that it made $21 million (although dropping slightly from Friday to Saturday) and gathered a B+ Cinemascore ranking from non-discriminating family crowds is amazing. Critics actually got it right here by giving it a dreary 15% fresh score at RT. Don’t expect this one to last long in theatres. The animals are cute though. Too bad they did lock James in the cage and let them take over the screen. Oh well.

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About Pete Hammond

Pete Hammond is a writer, producer, movie critic and film expert whose commentary on the entertainment industry has appeared in numerous publications and on air interviews including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, New York Magazine, OK Magazine, NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw, Evening News With Brian Williams on MSNBC, the CBC, BBC, Bravo, E!, AMC, Canada AM and the KTLA Morning Show.

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