I’m feeling a certain hesitancy about the fate of Public Enemies because of what I heard from a couple of critics after last Thursday night’s screening. (Others felt it was brilliant, which is also my view.) Like I said before, the critics and moviegoers who like their meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans are going to have problems with it. Public Enemies is a first-rate cops and robbers 1930s time-trip highdef-video art movie, but it ain’t meatloaf and it sure as hell ain’t McDonald’s. It’s a dish of almond praline semifreddo with grappa-poached apricots. Yes — a high falutin’ dessert, as in scrumptious. And then there’s that ending.
N.Y. Times reporter Brooks Barnes continued the food analogy in a recently-posted weekend box-office story, to wit: “People complain about Hollywood’s tendency to be unadventurous with its big-money titles, but the moviegoing masses clearly get the most excited when they are not being surprised. In other words, the multiplex really rocks when movies are served up the McDonalds way: predictably and comfortably.”