Aaron Paul, who we all saw win two Emmys for Breaking Bad
, does a student film-level Ryan Gosling impression in the relentlessly stupid Need for Speed
, which is based on a video game series, because we’ve learned valuable lessons from Super Mario Bros.
and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
. Paul plays Tobey Marshall, a hardscrabble street racer with a rival (Dominic Cooper; everyone in this movie is Hobbit-sized) who killed his ex-girlfriend’s brother and lied about it. Tobey ends up doing the jail time and when he comes out is bent on revenging/avenging/driving/making out with Imogen Poots. Kid Cudi, who was terrible on How to Make It in America
, displays some surprisingly nice comic chops as an army aviation specialist who seems to be near an airport at all times and can help Tobey out with traffic reports, police whereabouts and carrying his car across a canyon then a lake when necessary (this happens). Look, some people just aren’t movie stars, ask Justin Long or Katherine Heigl. There’s no shame in it. Paul is trying for James Dean but ends up at Steven Seagal. Dumb, dumb, dumb. —Tara Thorne