The video: Since James Franco's widely panned Oscar hosting gig in February, critics have openly speculated that his performance at the awards ceremony was so bad it could ruin his career. Now, the first trailer for Franco's big summer film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, has been released, and commentators are weighing in on whether he pulls off the role of scientist Will Rodman. (Watch the trailer below.) Will Rise of the Planet of the Apes help Franco get back on track, or lead him farther astray?
The reaction: After the "Academy Awards disaster," Franco's cooler-than-thou superiority complex seems more annoying than ever, says Willa Paskin in New York. He's supposed to be a "smart scientist" here, but when he declares that he has found a drug that will let the brain heal itself — "We call it the cure," he says — "the whole thing feels arch." Yeah, it seems "everyone's favorite overextended performance artist" has found his latest installation: "Stopping the super-monkeys," says Drew Grant at Salon. But "to me, the scariest part of this film's underlying concept is how close our society is to actually having a James Franco geneticist," given that colleges just keep handing him degrees. Enough already, says J. Pines at Brand New Cool. I love Franco, although I admit it's strange when he plays serious. Watching the trailer, I kept wondering when they would "show the Franco and the Ape hitting the bong scene." See the trailer for yourself: