The Top 10 Least-Anticipated Summer Movies

Don’t let the fact Will Smith isn’t fending off aliens while cracking one-liners this Fourth of July fool you: Hollywood continues its rich tradition when it kicks off summer movie season this week, unleashing a barrage of big movies over the hot months to excite your senses and insult your intellect. The only question left is who will emerge triumphant at the box office? As anybody who’s ever read a summer movie guide knows, forecasting the summer’s biggest hits is a science akin to predicting asteroid strikes on earth. What the heck — let me take a stab at this. I’m going to put Iron Man 2 in the box-office “winner” category. I also get a good feeling about this teen vampire movie I’ve heard about. And we’re guessing that awesomely cool looking sci-fi thriller from the guy who directed The Dark Knight and starring Leonardo DiCaprio will pan out. Hey, that wasn’t that hard after all. The real challenge: deciding which summer release in a crowded field of competitors will bomb the hardest.

Our criteria are four-fold: 1. Lack of interest across all forms of media in relation to its budget. 2. Number of not particularly well-liked actors 3. Strength of skepticism and/or downright negativity. 4. It just looks like a turkey to me. Don’t take it personally if your anti-favorites don’t make the cut. I’m sure they also suck.

10. Step Up 3D Dance is hot, hot, hot. Audience love it. So, if anything, Step Up 3D should already be sparking lots of excitement and energy. It’s not. At least not outside the booty-shaking franchise’s small but fiercely loyal cadre of fans. In a recent Yahoo poll of moviegoers, only 3% said they planned to “See it ASAP” while 87% of them will “Skip It.” Put those numbers up against Iron Man 2 — 50% will see it ASAP, 12% will skip it. Now that’s what I call being served. True, it might help that the high-stakes “dance-fights” will burst forth in eye-popping 3D. Personally, I don’t need to pay for the sensation of getting kicked in the face without actually getting kicked in face. I live in New York. It happens every day.

9. Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Shrek Forever After stars the voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas and Jon Hamm. Cats & Dogs? Well, there’s Alec Baldwin, Chris O’Donnell … uh, Bette Midler, the big black dude from The Green Mile, Joe Pantoliano, Roger Moore … Wait, Roger Moore? Okay, star power not its strong suit. It’s a sequel, which means it has a built-in audience. What’s that? Only 5% of people put down “See it ASAP”? Wait a minute. The under-7 crowd isn’t web-savvy enough to complete an online poll. There’s only one other explanation for that five percent: the Baldwin brother vote.

8. The Switch Not even Jason Bateman’s likability can cancel out Jennifer Aniston, who has managed to inflame the public through the maddening repetition of her “quirky, bland single woman who can’t find love” character in one contrived romantic comedy after another. The trailer for her latest rom-com is sure to cause one of three reactions: 1. Didn’t J. Lo just make this same movie? 2. This is the same quirky, neurotic single woman she plays in every movie. 3. Somebody shove that Turkey Baster in my eye so I don’t have to watch this cliche-ridden clunker.

7. Twelve Art-house films don’t often compete with the summer’s big Hollywood blockbusters, but some actually generate their own hype, and even go on to win Oscars a la The Hurt Locker. As for this summer’s crop of indie fare, a couple of them have succeeded in generating serious buzz. Twelve is not one of them. Unlike Sundance hits The Kids Are All Right and Winter’s Bone, this gritty coming-of-age tale about spoiled, drug-abusing Upper East Side kids had a disastrous premiere at Sundance — people giggled and walked out. In addition to toxic word-of-mouth, it’s directed by Joel Schumacher; if he’s a visionary auteur, then KFC’s Double Down is a nutritional breakthrough.

6. Takers First mistake. Never give an editor an easy opportunity to slam your film, i.e.”No Takers for Takers,” especially if you get the sense that’s going to be right on the mark. Second mistake. Never give the audience the feeling they’ve seen this before. A gang trying to pull off a big-money heist reeks of formulaic and stale.To make matters worse, star Matt Dillon’s last film was Armored, which centered around … a gang trying to pull off a big-money heist. We’re fans, Matty, and we know you’re playing the hero this time, but Takers is DOA against the summer’s other heavyweight macho action flick contenders, including Sly Stallone’s orgy of death and shrapnel, The Expendables, which opens a week earlier. Final mistake. Paul Walker. Poor man’s Keanu Reeves. Somehow reminds me of A-Rod. Neither of these things are good.

5. Jonah Hex Back in the summer of 2003, a big action movie starring Sean Connery blew into cineplexes. Despite its $78 million dollar budget and Sir Connery’s star power, it only managed to earn $66 million dollars domestically and was universally panned. That movie’s name: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. On the surface, Jonah Hex appears to share many of the unfortunate characteristics of that famous big-budget summer dud. For one, it’s a superhero film based on an acclaimed comic book and set in the alterna-historical past. Second, it’s been plagued by negative buzz pertaining to everything from rumored production woes, including delays and reshoots, to an underwhelming trailer. The worst part is that graphic novel fans can be more vicious than a school of 3D piranhas. While perusing forum threads, I must have come across a hundred variations on Worst. Movie. Ever. There is good news: Extraordinary Gentlemen actually ended up making money once you account for international grosses. Also, it didn’t have Megan Fox in a gravity-defying bustier.

4. Beastly Mary-Kate Olsen as a goth witch. Beastly, no. Tantalizing, also no. So, does this Gossip Girlesque update of Beauty and the Beast meet our criterion? Lack of interest: have you heard much about it? Number of not particularly well-liked actors: Mary-Kate & Vanessa Hudgens. But what the heck is quality actor Neil Patrick Harris doing here? Advance skepticism: segments of the blogosphere have expressed concern it’s a Twilight knock-off pandering to the same teen-girl audience. Turkey resemblance: gobble, gobble.

3. Going the Distance Both look painful, so why is this romantic-comedy five spots higher than The Switch? Simple. At least in The Switch, Jennifer Aniston has Jason Bateman to counterweight her annoying quotient. Drew Barrymore has Justin Long. Thing is, I used to like Drew before she morphed into this sweet, fun-loving bore. What happened to Posion Ivy Drew? She should have stole the lead role in Salt from Angelina Jolie. Better yet, she should have played her evil nemesis, who glistens in a black tank-top while finding new ways contort her body. You can keep the 10%.

2. Killers Kutcher. Heigl. A comedy-action spy caper. No, you’re not being punk’d.

1. Marmaduke Really, I have to explain this to you?

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