Music-video-artist-turned-feature-filmmaker Michel Gondry’s follow-up to his critically-acclaimed Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is similarly unique, odd, amusing and smart.
Mike (Mos Def) and Jerry (Jack Black) are childhood friends from Passaic, New Jersey. Mike works at and lives above the neighbourhood video store with Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover). Unfortunately, business is slow and their building is being taken over and torn down. When Mr. Fletcher leaves Mike in charge, his only instruction is “Keep Jerry Out.” Mike fails to follow the rules and every videotape in the store is erased. To keep Mr. Fletcher from discovering the disaster, the boys offer hilarious remakes, or “Sweded” versions, of all the films they carry, creating their own niche market.
Be Kind Rewind does not really come to life until Mike and Jerry begin producing their own versions of rental favourites, like Ghostbusters (with Jerry’s version of the theme music), Rush Hour 2, The Lion King, Robocop, Driving Miss Daisy, and Boyz n the Hood. Thanks to Gondry, their shooting methods are innovative and earnest; and eventually involve the whole community.
The behind-the-scenes featurette is also different from the typical extra, in that it focuses less on the minutiae of the production and more on the location of Passaic; its personalities, structures and history are discussed by residents of the area. Furthermore, as Mike and Jerry employ neighbours for certain shots, so too did Gondry utilize locals for a variety of scenes.