While the summer movie season doesn’t officially kick off until Memorial Day weekend, there’s already a serious upgrade in what’s showing at a theater near you. So whether you’re in the mood for another adventure with Captain Jack Sparrow, a Far East outing with your kids courtesy of Kung Fu Panda 2 or a date-night movie with your main squeeze, May has an intriguing potpourri of options. Now here’s the skinny on what’s good, bad and somewhere in between.
The Contender: Jumping the Broom
Starring: Angela Bassett, Paula Patton, Julie Bowen, Mike Epps, Loretta Devine, and none other than Pastor T.D. Jakes
Release Date: May 6
The One-Two Punch: Everyone can relate to the trials and tribulations of the annual family vacation, and with two very different families in the mix in Jumping the Broom, well, it’s double the insanity.
The Premise: Everyone’s commitment and sanity is questioned when two families are forced to co-exist during a wedding weekend in Martha’s Vineyard.
The Verdict: Save for some unnecessary sexual humor, Jumping the Broom is an entertaining, non-preachy object lesson about what’s really important in life.
The Contender: The Beaver
Release Date: May 6 (select markets)
The One-Two Punch: The spotlight’s back on Mel Gibson after all that ranting in an unconventional story of an unstable man who doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch for him to play in light of recent events.
The Premise: A man at the end of his proverbial rope invents his own version of therapy, namely using a beaver puppet to communicate with his family, friends and co-workers.
The Verdict: In the interest of full disclosure, I was fully prepared for The Beaver to be nothing short of a total dud. And while the box office hasn’t exactly been kind to Mel in this film’s limited release, it’s easily one of the best performances of his career as he dives into the complexities of mental illness in a compelling fashion.
The Contender: Everything Must Go
Release Date:May 13 (select markets)
The One-Two Punch: Like Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey have in the past, funnyman Will Ferrell also abandons his usual over-the-top comedy for a more serious role.
The Premise: After Nick Halsey’s (Ferrell) loses his career and his marriage because another drinking relapse, he kickstarts the next chapter of his life by camping out in his front yard and selling his possessions to whoever’s willing to pony up the cash.
The Verdict: Those not comfortable with some R-rated language and brief sexuality will probably opt to pass over Everything Must Go. But anyone interested in seeing a redemptive story of how losing everything can sometimes be the best way to start over, well, Everything Must Go is an intriguing story that showcases Ferrell’s dramatic acting range.
The Contender: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Release Date: May 20
The One-Two Punch: Johnny Depp in pirate attire is always a crowd-pleaser. Plus, the story makes sense this time around, we promise!
The Premise: Picking up where it left off last time around, Jack Sparrow and Barbossa are in the hunt for the ever-elusive fountain of youth. Trouble is, so are Blackbeard and his daughter.
The Verdict: Sequels aren’t known for their originality, but the latest installment in the Pirates franchise has plenty of thrills. Not only does it feel more like the streamlined storytelling of the original, but getting rid of Will (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) actually does the series good.
The Contender: Kung Fu Panda 2
Release Date: May 26
The One-Two Punch: Starring the voices of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogan and Dustin Hoffman, Kung Fu Panda 2 may even be more family friendly fun than the original. Now how many sequels can you say that about?
The Premise:The lovable Po (Black) is forced to battle an old enemy with a brand-new weapon. Cue inevitable hi-jinks.
The Verdict: With an epic soundtrack, clever storyline and plenty of laughs to boot, the second installment of Kung Fu Panda will delight audiences of all ages.
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About the Writer
After graduating with a B.S. in Journalism from North Central University in 1998, Christa Banister moved from Minneapolis to Nashville, Tenn. and eventually started working at CCM Magazine/Salem Publishing in various editorial capacities as an editor, columnist and website guru for five and a half years. After that, she launched her own Dallas-based freelance writing company and writes for numerous clients including Salem Publishing, Crosswalk.com (she reviews movies for them each week), Christian Single, Christianity Today, Threads Media, Songs4Worship.com, PassAlong.com and also helped kickstart the first Christian music blog for MTV. In addition, she also writes bios for professional recording artists and authors and penned her first two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers for NavPress.