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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Tag Archives: Bridget Everett

Patti Cake$ (2017)

Give us all a beat. We can rap over it.

Patty (Danielle Macdonald) is just like any other young kid living in New Jersey: She dreams of a much better, richer, and happier life outside of the one she currently has. Instead, in her case, she hopes to one day be one of the biggest, best rappers around. It’s a dream that most people around her to just give up on already, but it’s one that she wants to achieve and alongside her best-friend, Jheri (Siddharth Dhananjay), she thinks it could happen. All she needs to do is get her name out there, which in turn, means getting a record-deal, getting on a stage, and achieving enough noteriety for her rapping-skills. In order to do this, though, she’s also got to bunker down and start saving up money, which as a result, keeps her away from her family who are already having a bit of a problem as it is, with her grandmother (Cathy Moriarty) near-death, and her mother (Bridgett Everett) always drinking and going home with random guys.

Watch that glow.

Patti Cake$ is a sweet movie that I wish I liked more. It’s like a much funnier, much nicer version of 8 Mile, what with the rapping and all, but it just never takes off or really goes beyond being formulaic. Sure, it’s another one of those interchangeable rags-to-riches stories, with a woman in the lead-role, but it’s still a conventional story that follows every line, beat by by (pun intended), and doesn’t really seem to have anything smart or interesting to say about these kinds of stories.

It’s just diverse and a little weird, which is fine too, I guess?

I mean, that’s why the movie’s still okay enough for me to recommend; it’s just different and charming enough to work. It’s the kind of crowd-pleaser that doesn’t ask much of the audience, except to have a certain understanding of hip-hop music and a general belief that dreams can still come true, even in today’s dark and cynical times. Which, once again, is fine, but it doesn’t really do much else beside that; it’s just a little weird, a little odd, a little funny, a little dramatic, and a little bit of all these different things, rolled-up into one.

And does that really equal something altogether compelling? Not totally. And it’s why Patti Cake$, try as it might, never fully congeals to something particularly ground-breaking, not that it really needed to, either. Writer/director Geremy Jasper seems to have an interesting idea on his hands and seems to take this material seriously enough to have us care for the characters, but also seems to really not be putting much other thought into the story itself.

Like Chuck D and Flavor Flav.

But man, those characters. At least they save the day.

As the titular Patty, Danielle Macdonald is pretty great because she’s chock full of sass and attitude, but also feels like a young kid. She’s confused, interested, and a little annoyed, but she’s always hopeful of what the future may be able to bring and it’s nice that the character treats her with a great deal of love, humanity and respect. Her rapping-skills are quite good, too, which helps give her character an air of authenticity, even if the songs that she ends up making are absolute and total garbage, but hey, that’s neither here, nor there.

However, the real stand-out is Siddharth Dhananjay as Jheri, Patty’s best-friend/hype-man. Jheri’s a bit of a goofy character, in that he’s essentially a sidekick, who’s always there to push Patty forward and to continue on with her dream, but he’s also much more endearing, too. He’s genuinely looking out for her and wants the best her that she can be; the fact that he’s not in it for personal-gain, gives us one of the movie’s only real surprises. He’s charming and funny, but also kind of sweet, and he’s basically the heart of the movie.

Just why wasn’t it better?

Consensus: Even if it’s charming, Patti Cake$ is also a rags-to-riches, inspirational story with barely any shocks or surprises, that utilizes a good cast to its only real great strength.

5 / 10

There’s the mixtape’s cover.

Photos Courtesy of: Fox Searchlight

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Little Evil (2017)

Every dad gets static from their kids. Especially the ones that aren’t even their DNA.

Gary (Adam Scott) is doing the best that he can as step-dad to Lucas (Owen Atlas), but as most step-dads know, it’s not all that easy. For one, he loves Lucas’ mother (Evangeline Lilly), but also knows how hard it is to compete with the father of Lucas, whoever the hell he may be. Also though, Lucas may be, what we call, “evil”. In fact, literally so. It gets quite scary for Gary, who does whatever he can to connect to the kid and become something of a father-figure, but for some reason, it just doesn’t seem to work – there’s something about Lucas that is weird and dangerous. It’s something that Gary, along with a fellow league of bewildered step-dads investigate just to find out what’s really going on Lucas’ head and whether or not he can be saved/helped. But when someone’s possibly the descendant of the Antichrist, it’s very hard to save them.

Yup. Toates normal.

Like, at all.

A few years ago, writer/director Eli Craig made a snappy, funny, and intelligent little horror-comedy called Tucker and Dale v. Evil. It’s hard to say what was so genius about it, other than that it turned the horror-genre on its ears and used a one-joke premise to its fullest extreme. Just when you thought the movie was done making jokes at its own expense and was going to run out of stuff to do, say, or even work with, guess what? It went that extra mile. But it was also funny, too, and not in that kind of smarmy, look-at-me kind of way – it was a genuinely funny and interesting horror-comedy that kind of had something to say, but better yet, had something to do.

Which is why Little Evil still kind of works, but seven years later, also can’t help but feel like a bit of disappointment.

It’s still a funny movie, though. Like Tucker and Dale, it’s very much a one-note premise that constantly reinvents itself in goofy, even wackier ways that honestly didn’t even seem imaginable. Craig seems to be parodying the Omen, and other “demon-child” movies, but also seems to be having a good time exploring the facts of life when it comes to being a step-father.

Which is to say that the movie has a heart and something on its mind, although, by the same token, doesn’t go as far as it possibly wants to, or even should. It’s literally under 90 minutes, and because of that, it can’t help but feel a little too quick, a little too swift, and most of all, a little too rushed. It’s still funny, with the jokes both making fun of the premise, as well as benefiting from, working, but there’s still something there just not fully connecting. Don’t know what it is, but yeah, you can sort of feel it.

But then again, the ensemble is so much fun to watch and be around that, at the end of the day, does it even matter?

With a mother like that, would a demon-child even matter?

Adam Scott, as usual, plays a perfect every-man as Gary, the stepdad who tries so desperately to be loved and respected by his stepson, yet, just can’t seem to catch a break. There’s some heartbreak to be had there with what I just said, but the movie doesn’t bother to go as deep as it probably wants to – Scott does, though, and it’s why, the performance comes off any better than it probably should have. He’s funny and knows when to tell the best joke, but there’s something deeper and darker there that makes the movie a bit more interesting, rather than just being a barrel of silly jokes about demons and children.

As his wife, Evangeline Lilly is charming and as cute-as-a-button, as usual, whereas Owen Atlas, when he’s not being terribly scary, also has some nice little moments as Lucas. The real stand-out, however, is Bridget Everett as Al, another stepdad that’s along with Gary for this wild ride. Yes, it is a joke: Having Everett play, basically, a man, but it’s a joke that works, time and time again. She’s easily the one having the best and most fun, constantly cracking jokes and seeming like the life of whatever party is being held. It’s nice to see Everett get a chance to be funny, as usual, but also have it pay-off in a movie that’s so deserving of her.

You know. Unlike Fun Mom Dinner.

Consensus: While a small step-down from his debut, Craig’s Little Evil is still a funny and relatively enjoyable piece of horror-comedy that doesn’t quite have the stamina to go as deep as it perhaps would like to.

7 / 10

Yeah, it’s okay, man. Just look at the mother.

Photos Courtesy of: Netflix 

Fun Mom Dinner (2017)

Moms rule. Dads drool. Right?

Emily (Katie Aselton) is in, essentially, a loveless marriage and needs to have some fun in her life. Her best friend, Kate (Toni Collette), feels the same way and the two decide that it’s finally time to get involved with one of these “fun mom dinners” that they hear so much about. Okay, actually, that’s not how it actually goes down. Emily gets an invite from the two moms holding the dinner, Melanie (Bridget Everett) and Jamie (Molly Shannon), who as a result, also invites Kate who doesn’t actually like either Melanie or Jamie. Why? Simple mom stuff, honestly. And it’s why the dinner starts off a little weird and awkward, until the booze starts flyin’ and the weed starts gettin’ smoked and then, all of a sudden, everyone’s having a good time. And then, Emily starts talking to a cute bartender (Adam Levine), and heads off with him, putting the whole night into one, crazy funk where everyone’s scrambling all over the place, looking for her, while also connecting with one another and realizing that their moms and nights such as this need to happen more often.

This is the part where they sing “99 Luftballoons”. In German. H-I-L-A-R-I-T-Y.

Or yeah, I think that’s what it is.

Actually, for a movie that’s about 80 minutes along, it really pads itself with jokes, random bits of humor, and a plot that’s already thin to begin with. But honestly, that’s the least of Fun Mom Dinner‘s problems, because simply put: It’s just not funny. It tries so hard to be a cross between Bridesmaids and Bad Moms, but isn’t nearly as interesting, deep, or even funny as the two.

In other words, it’s just a bit of a bore, which is a shame because it’s a movie, written and directed by women, starring women, and about women being, well, women. It’s supposed to be a fun time at the movies, regardless of your sex, but for some reason, it just feels like a missed-opportunity for a lot of people who got together, spent some time working on this thing, giving it their all, and eventually, coming up short. It’s didn’t have to be this way, but sadly, it is.

But really, Fun Mom Dinner just doesn’t ring all that true.

These women, while all good in their own little performances, don’t feel believable as pals. Sure, they’re all connected by the fact that their kids all go to the same school, so maybe that’s the point, but still, when they do start to become closer and more acquainted with one another, it just doesn’t connect. It feels like a group of fun-loving gals who wouldn’t actually be fun friends together in real life, and can’t even act like it once they’re paid to do so.

And the part where they reference “Sixteen Candles”. Which they do a thousand times.

Once again, though, that isn’t to take away from any of the respective performances, because they’re all fine on their own. It’s nice to see the always lovely and joyful Katie Aselton get a leading-role, even if her character is chock-full of cliches; Molly Shannon feels wasted, especially after last year’s Other People; Bridget Everett is basically given the loud, obnoxious role that Melissa McCarthy’s usually stuck with, and while she’s still amusing, she feels like a crutch the movie constantly falls back on when it wants to be wacky and silly, for no apparent reason; and Toni Collette, for some reason, just feels bland here, which is weird, because at one point, she was considered one of the most interesting actresses working.

Unfortunately, not anymore.

Now, she’s playing second-fiddle in a movie that doesn’t really know what to do with much of these ladies, other than have them yell and act-out in crazy ways, yet, not really giving anything else behind it. It would all help if the movie was funny, but it’s not and because of that, it’s hard to really recommend the hell out of Fun Mom Dinner. It tries to be the next Bad Moms, but with that movie’s sequel coming out later this year, do we really need a copycat, or should we just wait for a, hopefully, superior second installment?

Probably wait it out. Or see this, too. I did that and it doesn’t really matter.

Consensus: Constantly straining itself to be funny and somewhat insightful, Fun Mom Dinner also feels weak and poorly put-together, despite the insane talent both in front of and behind the camera.

4.5 / 10

And yeah, where they just talk about their lives and stuff. UGH.

Photos Courtesy of: Momentum Pictures