The Robert Rodriguez-Quentin Tarantino collaboration Grindhouse is a carnival funhouse/rollercoaster ride of a movie. You scream, clutch your date's arm, and wait frozen in suspense for the next scary moment. You know it's cheesy and silly and maybe you even can see the wires working the scary bits, but you don't care. You have a thrilling time, and maybe you even want to go again later. The next day, only a few highlights of the dark ride stick in your head -- but who cares? It's just a ride, you're not supposed to take it seriously. And if you don't care about taking a movie seriously, if you don't try to analyze Grindhouse or measure it up against the filmmakers' best work, you can enjoy the ride.
Most of the three-plus hours of Grindhouse fly by, although I can't say I was never bored. I couldn't help but compare the two features included in the movie with the exploitation films to which Grindhouse pays homage. Would Grindhouse have the same hair-raising stunts, eye-rolling dialogue ... and most important for many audience members, would the women be as scantily clad? (They certainly are on the current cover of Rolling Stone magazine.) Tarantino's segment Death Proof is the better homage to grindhouse, but Rodriguez's segment Planet Terror is more of a contemporary update of the old drive-in movie genre. If you don't want to see even cartoonish renditions of lurid decapitation, amputation, gunshot wounds, automobile crashes and cannibalism, Grindhouse is not going to appeal to you.