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Case Number 20912

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Spooner

Maya Entertainment // 2009 // 83 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 15th, 2011

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson is an excellent spooner. He should be a professional.

The Charge

We are all searching for something.

Opening Statement

It's nice to be blindsided by a great little surprise once in a while, rather than a steaming dog turd. Thank you Spooner for delivering some unexpected delight.

Facts of the Case

Herman Spooner (Matthew Lillard, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated) is facing his 30th birthday and, with that, big changes in his life. His parents have mandated he move out of the house by his birthday, despite the fact that Spooner has made it clear that he's not prepared to abandon his man-child status. He's stuck in a dead-end used car salesman job, suffering the endless verbal jabs of his boss, and generally being treated like dirt by all of his peers.

Then one day he meets his dream girl, Rose (Norah Zehetner), and his world changes forever.

The Evidence

I was reminded of (500) Days of Summer watching this, mainly because of the quirky, wry humor and the hapless male pining for his dream girl (granted that applies to nearly every romantic comedy not starring Katherine Heigl, but whatever, I'm trying to make a point here). And while I liked that film, I like Spooner even more; the hapless male is more entertaining and the dream girl isn't a jerk. Plus, this film isn't trying to be any cuter and hipper than it is.

I had zero expectations for Spooner. I had never heard of it, only knew of a couple of the actors, and it showed up on my doorstep as a blind assignment review. Actually, I probably had lower than zero expectations because when I think of Matthew Lillard I flash to the seemingly endless progression of snarking frat boy a-hole characters he's played for the balance of his career.

Did Spooner exceed my diminutive presumptions? Sure, but it's not fair to simply give the movie a pat on its back for going above and beyond my meager standards. Spooner is a genuinely good little movie, a quiet, understated, funny, sweet-natured love story that has one major thing going for it: it features the most likable protagonists I've seen in quite some time.

Lillard is terrific here. Herman Spooner is a sweet guy, naïve, obliviou,s and sort of a doormat. If Lillard dialed up his performance just a few degrees more I would forgive anyone for thinking Spooner was mentally disabled. But Lillard keeps his balance throughout, revealing Spooner to be a lovable lug who is terrified of growing up. This guy isn't a foul-mouthed, pot-addled Appatow creation; he's legitimately scared of leaving the nest, making him instantly root-worthy.

Zehetner's Rose manages to be just as likable. She's extremely cute and nice, never treating Spooner like a jerk. There is malleable affection between the two, and Lillard and Zehetner have a nice chemistry.

In addition to these good feelings, Spooner never feels corny, thanks to pinpoint comedy and a satisfying-but-not-clean-and-buttoned-up ending. Recommended with earnestness.

The DVD: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 2.0 stereo, and (sadly) no extras.

Closing Statement

Looking for a great date movie? Here you go. Just ignore the ridiculous R rating—the "sexual content" refers to a guy making out with a donut.

The Verdict

Not Guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 85
Audio: 85
Extras: 0
Acting: 90
Story: 85
Judgment: 88

Perp Profile

Studio: Maya Entertainment
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 83 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated R
Genres:
• Comedy
• Romance
• Romantic Comedies

Distinguishing Marks

• None

Accomplices

• IMDb








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