Can someone explain to me why Harold Ramis' name and fame wasn't attached to the promotions for this movie? Because if I'd known he was the heart and soul of this film I'd have had far less trepidation in handing over my "Free Movie Ticket" coupon to the girl at the box office.
Are the ad guys who pushed this film so certain that Jack Black and Michael Cera are better draws than "From the guy who gave you Animal House, Caddyshack, and Ghostbusters..."
Ramis wrote and directed this film, and his touch is evident here. There aren't any scenes that have you gasping for breath, but every character is a character, even the one-dimensional ones. There are some very funny scenes, some great bit-part work, and the movie left me smiling throughout (except for one portion of the film that slogged down a little, as they were trying to get the last of the plot points in order before the big finale).
Hank Azaria's small role was all the more wonderful because the master voiceman's accent and wigwork made him entirely unrecognizable in comparison to his competing role as Kamen-ra in Night at the Museum 2.
Jack Black is funny without being entirely crude in this film, and I can't help but wonder if that was Ramis' doing -- after all he had ride herd over Chevy and Murray, and there's nothing Black's done that they didn't pioneer.
Michael Cera is, as always, goofy and talkative, but his "maturation" throughout the film leaves no doubt that when he's ready to leave gangly teen behind, he'll be able to keep making the funny money. With his sweet demeanor and willingness to straight-man, I would love to see him in the lead for a Bob Newhart biopic.
Very funny without being vulgar (although you may want to avert your eyes during Black's analysis of some spoor he finds along the way...), and sweet without being saccharine. I liked it.