Remember the days of VHS tapes from the rental store that had the little sticker with the smiley face and the message “Be Kind Rewind”? Well those days are long gone but no one told that to Elroy Fletcher, the owner of a VHS only rental store/thrift shop in the movie Be Kind Rewind. Jerry Gerber is an eccentric junk dealer who gets his head magnetized and unknowingly erases all of the tapes in the store and him and his friend Mike have to find a way to replace all of the blank tapes. Be Kind Rewind is a comedy about a very bizarre way of solving a problem. Mike decides that the best way to replace the blank tapes is to re-shoot all of the movies. At first Jerry is a bit skeptical but after Mike is able to convince Jerry that the person who is renting the video has never seen the movie and is ‘not all there’, so she wouldn’t notice. So they remake the movie and keep on doing it because their customers actually like the remakes better than the originals.
The movie is quite bizarre, but not weird. It has interesting visuals which is no surprise because Michel Gondry is director and writer and has provided out of the ordinary visuals in his previous films such as, The Science of Sleep and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
He seemed to have taken the visual approach of The Science of Sleep and not necessarily recycled it but used it again in a different context. The Science of Sleep mixes reality with dreams so what you see is a landscape of a lot of cardboard. Cardboard cities, rooms, video cameras, and so much more. Be Kind Rewind uses this approach of using everyday objects for a purpose that they are not supposed to be used in.
One example is when Mike and Jerry are shooting Ghostbusters they are using plastic Christmas garland for the photon rays. Another example is when they use cardboard cutouts for cars and have people holding the cutouts and walking with them.
Be Kind Rewind is a funny and enjoyable movie. For the first half that is. The second half and a little bit of the end of the first half got a little bit too cheesy and too ridiculous. The fact that Jerry and Mike we able to shoot a 20 minute movie in 4 hours and they have full props and costumes, is a bit ridiculous. If they had more time, like two days, to shoot the movie then it would be more believable.
As the movie goes on the ridiculousness gets more ridiculous. In the second half of the movie Jerry, Mike and most of the community shoot a film about a jazz musician but the whole movie is made up. The scenes that they shoot are completely over the top, scenes that would take a professional crew to make (which it did in real life). When they show the movie in the store, people from the outside can see the movie and it looks like the whole city gathered around and watched the movie. Of course when the property owner comes in to condemn the building and he sees all of these people and he changes his mind.
The final scene would never happen. I highly doubt a property owner would change his mind about condemning a building because most of the city was there to watch a movie. A movie that would probably never been made in real life, the way that it was made.
In the end, the first half of Be Kind Rewind was pretty good. Michel Gondry had some interesting ideas but it got a little bit too cheesy and too over the top. If it was more realistic then I think it would have been better. Also, the story followed the Hollywood formula which also made it a bit dull to watch because you knew how it was going to end and where it was going.