For Mr Fletcher (Danny Glover), business couldn't be worse. His dilapidated video store, Be Kind Rewind, with its paltry stock of VHS tapes, is weeks from demolition. Putting adopted son Mike (Mos Def) in charge couldn't make much difference, he thinks, as long as Mike keeps that idiot Jerry (Jack Black) out of the store. He doesn't, of course, and within hours every tape is ruined. So Mike and Jerry decide to remake the films themselves and, amazingly, they're brilliant.
Jerry and Mike's harebrained, homemade movies take you back to those heady early days of the camcorder when kids were remaking Spielberg's Raiders Of The Lost Ark in their sheds. It's not hard to imagine a young Michel Gondry doing the same as he developed into one of modern film's most inventive directors. There's a Spielbergian optimism to Be Kind Rewind. Jerry and Mike's movies unite a crumbling New Jersey neighbourhood that, with its community of destitute pensioners and ghetto kids, is strangely reminiscent of 1988's Batteries Not Included.
"THE ORIGINALITY IS A CONSTANT WONDER"
Like The Science Of Sleep, his previous project as writer-director, Be Kind Rewind shows the best and worst of Gondry. The originality of his ideas is a constant wonder and, as the film progresses, it's an exciting wait to see what he'll do next, whether it's Robocop armed with a hairdryer or a Boyz N The Hood drive-by death incorporating a pepperoni pizza. But his whimsical dialogue, and the performances he gets from his actors, is patchy at best. Jack Black, in particular, seems stuck in the wrong groove. Nevertheless, those moments of Gondry inspiration make Be Kind Rewind worth your time, even if you decide to wait for the video.
Be Kind Rewind is out in the UK on 22nd February 2008.