Anybody wanna split a case?
Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Charlie (Aaron Paul) are a happy, and young married-couple that like to let the good times roll, enjoy the night-life, and drink non-stop. It’s all fun and games for them, that is until Kate goes too far and decides it’s time for her to cut it all out and get her life back on-track. She does, but with most sobriety tests; there’s always perks somewhere to be found and that’s the problem Kate and her hub, will most likely run into.
Movies about addiction are nothing new, and 9 times out of 10, that is usually the case. Flight took everybody by-storm because every person that saw it, thought it was a realistic and disturbing look at alcohol addiction. Those people weren’t necessarily wrong, but they weren’t necessarily right either. Rather than getting into a debate about this and that movie, I’ll just state that this movie is a more-realistic look at addiction, the steps it takes to come out of it, and how the people around you influence you the most. In Flight, all we cared about was whether or not Denzel was going use the mini-bar or not. Once again, not bad, but not as humanizing as this movie is.
What I liked so much about this flick, is the way that writer/director James Ponsoldt approaches this topic, this story, and these characters, and he never really frowns upon them or makes judgement. You can tell that this dude, whether or not be him or somebody close to him that he might have known, might have gone through the same exact problem of addiction, and it shines through this movie because nobody ever seems to get the terrible-look that most movies make the mistake of. Of course there are a couple of characters that show-up here and there, and are just as sneaky and dirty as you’d expect, but they aren’t caricatures that are all about sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, and brew, they just like to have a good time, even if that means they end-up sleeping on a couch in the middle of the street.
Ponsoldt seems like he has a clear head on his shoulders when it comes to showing us what it’s like to go through a problem like addiction, moving on in the world, and trying your damn near hardest to get through it. Like this flick presents, it’s not that easy and usually, it’s like freakin’ hell, but the movie never seems to glamorize the life that these people have made for themselves. They get drunk, they get stupid, they get wild, and they forget about it the next day, and go through the same cycle. It’s just the way of life for some people, and that frank, but honest look at the reality of the situation, is what really resonated with me. I’m not saying that it made me think twice the next time I go to my buddies’ dorms and decide to throw back a couple of Natty’s, but hey, at least it gave me the view on what it’s like to be a person that has a problem such as this, and what it’s really like to get through it all.
But I can’t continue to go on and on and on about this movie without mentioning the person that really makes this movie fly: Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Winstead has shown-up in a bunch of movies, done her thing, but never really lighted the screen-on-fire. Sure, she was pretty awesome in Scott Pilgrim, but if that’s the only claim-to-fame for her to have, it isn’t anything showwy for her. That’s where this role for her comes through and shows us that yes, she can act. Winstead is amazing as Kate because she never loses her own self of living throughout the whole movie, no matter how much she is at the bottom of the bottle. She does get insane-o drunk sometimes, and always goes too far, but you always feel for her because you know she is a nice person and would never, ever do anything to hurt a fly. That’s why when things start to change for her and she starts to think twice about drinking all of the time, we really feel for her and we really stand-behind her, no matter how hard it is to stick with the sobriety. There are a couple of scenes where I thought her drunken-act was a bit much, but she still nailed it in making us worry for a person, that we knew didn’t deserve this type of a problem, but then again; who does? Kate could be you, could be me, could be your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, your dog, your cat, your pigeon, anyone. That’s the whole point of this movie, or at least what I thought it was, and that’s where Winstead really shines through the most.
Aaron Paul plays her hubby that’s always drunk and always acting like an ass, but he still has a nice presence to him where you feel like he is a nice guy, really does love his wife, and wants what’s best for the both of them, but just can’t put down the bottle. Once again, Charlie is probably like anybody we know, but he still has those problems and the marriage between these two, as troubled and as problematic as it may be, still touched me in a way I sure as hell didn’t expect, especially when that ending came around. Woo-wee!
The rest of the cast is pretty damn good too, even if a bit strange. Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson) plays Kate’s co-worker and is great at playing it short, sweet, and subtle, even if I do think that a couple moment she lets loose just a bit too much. What I mean by that is that the guy is funny, we all know that, and when they give him the chance to be funny, it seems a bit misplaced. That being said, Offerman is still good and gives me fine hope that he may have the chance to do more than just Parks & Rec. Maybe. His real-life wife, Megan Mullaly plays the principal of the school that Kate works at, and is a lot better when it comes to pulling-off the dramatic and comedic sides of her skills, but even sometimes she feels a bit misplaced. If the movie decided to take a full-on comedic-approach, with dramatic splishes and splashes, then they would have fit right in. But this is not one of those movies and it doesn’t work quite well as I would have liked. The only person in this supporting-cast that seems to nail the tone down real well is Octavia Spencer as Kate’s sponsor, and does a perfect job at nailing that hard-look at being sober, but what pleasure and happiness it can bring to a person.
Consensus: It may not all add-up, but Smashed is a surprisingly dark, but realistic-look at addiction and shows that this can be anybody in the world, but just so happens to be a young, promising young woman named Kate, played perfectly by Winstead.
8 / 10 = Matinee!!
Spanish is such a fun language to speak, especially if your Ron Burgundy.
This film tells the story of Armando Alvarez (Ferrell), a struggling ranch owner whose fortune seem to turn when his younger brother Raul (Diego Luna), a successful businessman, shows up to save the property. But when Armando falls for his brother’s fiancee (Genesis Rodriguez), and Raul’s business dealings turn out to be a bit shady, all hell breaks loose as they find themselves in the crosshair of Mexico’s most feared drug lord, the ruthless Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal).
It seems like Will Ferrell is able to do anything as long as it consists of him doing anything funny or that makes him look utterly ridiculous. This film does both but not as well as I or the film itself would have it liked it being.
This is basically one long parody of those corny-ass, Spanish television shows you would see at around 1 p.m. and it actually is very funny even though it could be said that the film is just using one joke, over and over again. There is a lot that they parody with this flick (all of the sets and animals look so damn fake!) and it made me laugh much like I was expecting. But it’s not just a satire because there are plenty of moments where it seems like straight-up low brow humor that we have seen from certain Apatow flicks. It’s a funny combination of both styles of comedic writing and they both come together pretty well.
Some people are actually complaining about how the script is so dumb, but that’s pretty much the point. The whole film focuses on pointing little jokes here and there at how over-dramatic these certain stories can get and it works in that way. It had me laughing, that’s for damn sure, but it definitely could have had me laughing a hell of a lot more. However, that’s what brings me onto my biggest problem with this flick.
Since the film is essentially a one-joke premise, there is a part where the film really starts to run out of steam and feel as if it was long, extended SNL skit. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely laughed plenty of times but there were other times where I felt like the jokes started either totally missing the mark or just trying too hard to be funny that it almost seemed like the film was actually straining itself. It also gets bad when certain jokes go on a little too long like where they explain what a scene would have been like if it weren’t for the fact that it was a little too crazy for its budget. That may sound funny on paper, and it’s actually funny in the film itself but it runs on just a tad too long like the director didn’t know when it was time to end his punch-line.
What also was sort of a total let-down was the fact that this flick looked like it was going to be one big ridiculous comedy that just got more and more dumb as it went on, but for some reason, I couldn’t help but think it’s not as ridiculous as the plot and advertisements may have you think at first. Of course you have Ferrell speaking Spanish and a whole bunch of other moments where it seems like they are being over-dramatic just to be funny, but for some odd reason it just never crossed that boundary into utterly ridiculous territory. Maybe I expected too much, but then again coming from Ferrell, I should be expecting this sort of stuff. And lots and lots of it.
I must say though, it was great to see Will Ferrell explore his comedic talents with his way of trying to speak in Spanish and even as unbelievable he may be at that language, it still doesn’t matter because he’s very funny playing that lovable, big, goofy dude we all know and love him for. Gael García Bernal is also quite funny as the notorious drug kingpin villain that we always get in these sort of flicks; Diego Luna is having a pretty good year so far with this and ‘Contraband’; and Génesis Rodríguez is so damn hot that I didn’t really pay attention much to her performance rather than just her rack. Still though, good performances from everybody speaking in their native tongue, except for Ferrell obviously.
Consensus: Casa de Mi Padre features some very funny moments that will either leave you crying or just chuckling thinking about it long after the movie is over, but there are times where the jokes seem to go on for too long and the fact that it isn’t consistently funny may be a bit of a draw-back, especially when you consider that Will Ferrell is in it.
High school sucks.
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as young and clueless police officers who go undercover at a high school to investigate a drug ring, effectively giving them the opportunity to relive their student lives all over again.
The idea of remaking an old TV show as a movie doesn’t seem too promising. However, all of those problems were gone as soon as I saw the hilarious Red-Band trailer for this one and then I got to see the actual film itself and it was so much better than I expected.
The whole structure of this flick is pretty simple: put two bros in uncomfortable situations, have them run into a problem, and then have a nice, but action-packed resolution. However, that structure doesn’t go down so easily here considering it doesn’t go for the cheap laughs and isn’t afraid to poke a little fun at itself in the meantime. This is one of the funnier flicks that I have seen in recent time because it has raunch that is deserved, jokes that hit the mark just about every time, and a bit of satire about how high school really is in today’s world which definitely hit a lot closer to home for me and seemed so true. Everything is so much different today from what it used to be and instead of the philosophical, softer kids being the ones you shoved in lockers, they are now all of a sudden the cool kids that find their ways as being hailed at the end of the year as “the one most likely to succeed and be uber cool”. It’s something I see in school today and even though I’m not really trying to complain about it, I just still find it funny that a film that takes place in high school is able to hit the mark so perfectly.
What’s really strange about this flick is that it’s actually from the directing duo of Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, aka the guys behind the animated hit ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’. It’s definitely a strange pick-up for these guys to go from kiddie flick about obesity to an R-rated comedy but they somehow are able to make transition work with their strange ideas to keep this flick moving. The film isn’t unpredictable by any means but there is so much here that seems so funny and original, that you wonder exactly why none of this hasn’t been done before and just why it’s so easy for these two dudes to do it and comedy director veterans still can’t hit the right marks. One funny example from this flick is the drug-montage scene they have here. Every flick that has to do with drugs in one way or another all have a weird montage, but this film takes that one step further and makes it so much more funnier than it had any right to be and that’s just one scene. There are so many more like them that made me laugh like crazy.
However (yes, there is always a however), as fresh as this flick may be, it does start to falter by the end as it dives more towards action and loses a bit of its comedic edge. I didn’t mind this as much considering the action is surprisingly very good but everything ends so predictably that it’s a shame considering this flick really had me thinking I was about to see a new and original twist on this type of formula, only I never got that. It also seemed a little strange that Hill’s character starts to get more and more attracted to Brie Larson’s high school character even though she’s a little too young for him. Then again, it could happen so don’t mind me.
The main reason why I was looking forward to this flick in the first place was because of the strange pairing of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, and they both deliver in their own little ways. Hill is once again hilarious here (in a slightly less fatter way) and makes it seem like comedy can come to him so easily no matter what the script demands. Then again, a lot of it does start to seem like it’s just improv, which is definitely a lot better for Hill considering he owns that. I was also incredibly happy to see my main man Channing, finally get a role that suited him with his action and comedic skills. Tatum was hilarious in the strange flick, ‘The Dilemma’, and it was great to see him show his comedic skills once again, this time playing up his meat-head look for laughs. Both of these guys play-off of each other perfectly every time they are on-screen together and it was such a blast to see these guys having a blast that I wanted more of them on-screen. So glad these guys were able to nail these roles considering Hollywood has been really finding it hard where to put them lately.
The supporting cast is also great and all play up their own comedic skills to add more to the flick. Ice Cube is funny as the predictable, angry black chief that always seems to be yelling and dropping the F-bomb every time the film focuses on him but he plays that up perfectly and hopefully this will get him back in doing better comedies than ‘Are We There Yet?’; Dave Franco has a funny performance here as the wise-ass high school kid, Eric, and reminded me so much of James Franco that it was too funny to be true; and Rob Riggle has his hilarious moments as the creepy gym teacher that always seems to be effing around with these kids. There’s also a totally memorable cameo at the end of the flick that’s perfect but I don’t want to give anything away because it is definitely something has to be seen to be believed.
Consensus: 21 Jump Street isn’t really doing anything to re-invent the buddy-action comedy wheel, but the chemistry between Hill and Tatum, the rapid fire humor, and the fresh and brutally realistic look at the present-day high school make this a comedy that actually will make you laugh consistently.