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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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

Tag Archives: Ed Helms

I Do…Until I Don’t (2017)

Marriage blows, get it?

Vivian (Dolly Wells) is a jaded filmmaker who believes that marriage is an outmoded concept that needs a reboot. Hoping to prove her theory, she begins to interview three couples at various stages in their relationships.

Even though it wasn’t a perfect movie, Lake Bell’s directorial debut, In a World…, proved that she had something more on her mind than just humor. It was a small, somewhat subtle look at women trying their best to get by, sisters trying to connect, and something of a showbiz-satire about how the men always get by, and the women are forced to stand back. It was a messy movie, but its ambitions and its cast was so likable and charming, it was hard to fully hate.

It’s why I Do…Until I Don’t feels like it’s made from somebody else entirely. Rather than being a funny, relatively heartwarming look at a bunch of different people, like her first movie was, Bell’s latest is so over-the-top, silly, and random, it almost feels like she made it on a whim. It’s as if she had been waiting so long to get a movie off of the ground, didn’t have a perfectly fresh idea in her head, but stumbled upon a bunch of money and thought that something would work anyway, regardless of how crummy the material was.

Oh man. How they’ve been in so much better.

And that’s where it all comes down to: The movie just isn’t funny.

It attempts to poke fun at marriage, its norms, and the sanctity of it all, but mostly comes down to making fun of a bunch of characters we never really get to know or care about, because they never come close to being human. They’re all goofy caricatures who are made so that Bell can set them up for whatever unfunny bits and pieces of comedy she chooses. It’s a shame to be picking on her, too, because in mostly everything I’ve ever seen her in, she’s constantly lovable and fun – but none of that shows here.

Not with her writing, her directing, or hell, especially not her acting. In fact, Bell’s performance is probably the worst as she totally over-does this character’s constant neurotic ticks, with all of the stuttering, flinching, and turning away. It’s like she’s doing a Woody Allen impersonation, but only saw one movie and decided to just roll with it. Same goes to Ed Helms as her husband here who, does what he can, but just feels like a typically dull husband who wants something more out of life and can’t quite perform in the sack. It’s actually a perfect role for Helms, but because he’s played it so many times before and there’s not much depth to this actual character, it doesn’t wholly work.

Bring back Doll & Em!

Instead, it feels like he’s slumming. And the same could be said for just about everybody else.

Dolly Wells plays the documentary film-maker who gets maybe one or two laughs, because her character seems like the voice-of-reason/bystander to all of this, but then she just ends up being a villain that the movie feels the need to bash; Amber Heard and Wyatt Cenac play a hippie-couple who are so formulaic in their ways, it already feels dated by the first instance we see of them; and Paul Reiser and Mary Steenburgen, try as they might, seem like they deserve a much better movie. They play an older couple who are running through their own little issues and trying to figure out what the other wants with their rest of their lives and it’s only here, in this one subplot, where it feels like Bell is touching at something interesting and compelling. But then, she drops the ball when she decides to focus on all of the other characters and their wild hi-jinx that, honestly, aren’t all that wild, nor all that funny.

They’re just annoying and ridiculous and it makes you wish that Bell stick with whatever sort of inspiration she had from her first flick.

Consensus: Even with a solid ensemble of likable people, I Do…Until I Don’t squanders all potential with a sitcom-y premise and even more ridiculous jokes and gags that go nowhere.

3 / 10

They’re like hippies, but in 2017. Ha! Ha!

Photos Courtesy of: The Film Arcade

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Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017)

Being comfy is key to fighting crime.

George Beard and Harold Hutchins (Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch) have been friends for as long as they can remember. Mostly, they’re love for comic-books and pranks have what kept them together and such good friends for so long, but it looks like that may all start to end, with Mr. Krupp (Ed Helms), the evil and pissed-off principle of their school, none too pleased with all of their hijinx. He plans on separating them and putting them into two different classes, which is a nightmare that Harold and George have had wanted to stay away from all of their lives, but now, may become all too real. However, the two decide to hypnotize Mr. Krupp into believing that he’s one of their creations, Captain Underpants, a superhero who, get this, fights crime, in his underpants. It’s something that George and Harold love to use to their advantage, but when an evil-doer like Professor Poopypants (Nick Kroll) comes around, promising to rid the world of laughter, the two decide that it may be time for their little joke to be used for the greater-good.

How we picture all of our elementary school principals.

Needless to say, Captain Underpants, the books, were a great part of my childhood. Every edition was better than the last and while they were no doubt filled with insane deals of potty-humor, that was kind of the point. They were much smarter books than they were given credit for, sometimes not just making me laugh, but my dad as well. Which is why when I heard they were making a movie of it, immediately, I got so defensive.

That, or I just didn’t want to be reminded that I used to laugh at something so childish and silly as this.

But hey, that’s why Captain Underpants is pretty charming: It knows what it is, makes no mistakes, and definitely doesn’t ask for forgiveness. Instead, it’s a silly little movie aimed for the whole family, because while there are a chock full of jokes aimed at the kids, there are also plenty others that the parents will appreciate, too. It’s what every animated-movie should strive for, but in fear that the box-office returns won’t be so excellent, so many stay away from.

Two hipsters in-the-making.

Thankfully, director David Soren and writer Nicholas Stoller know what they’re working with and try not to go above and beyond what’s already here. If anything, the movie runs into the problem of never seeming to settle down, with constant jokes, visual-puns, and bright, big colors, shapes, sizes, and general craziness, coming out of nowhere. It helps when a movie is always moving, never slowing, but it can also help when a movie realizes that the best way to work is to not constantly throw everything including kitchen-sink, at us all at once, but instead, a few things, and maybe not the kitchen-sink, at us, one at a time. Call me a slow-poke and too grown-up, but I don’t know, I like my movies to take a chill-pill every so often.

Even in my kids movies.

Consensus: Keeping the same heart and soul of the goofy source-material, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie doesn’t forget about the kids, nor does it forget about the adults, either.

6 / 10

What’s so funny? Let the guy live!

Photos Courtesy of: 20th Century Fox

Love the Coopers (2015)

CoopersposterNobody does Christmas quite like the Coopers. Or the Kranks, either.

Christmas time is one of the greatest times of the year. It’s the time where everyone gets together, kicks back, drinks some egg nog, and allow for the good times to roll. And that is exactly what the Coopers want, however, it’s a lot easier said, then actually done. Sam and Charlotte Cooper (John Goodman and Diane Keaton) are planning on having everyone over their house for one last Christmas dinner, due to the fact that their marriage has been so hot as of late and they’re thinking about calling it quits. Meanwhile, grand-pop Bucky (Alan Arkin) has found himself smitten with a much-younger waitress (Amanda Seyfried). Also, Sam and Charlotte’s daughter, Eleanor (Olivia Wilde) meets Joe (Jake Lacy) at the airport and decides that she wants him to pretend be her boyfriend, just so that her parents won’t get on her case for not having a steady-man. At the same time this is happening, Hank (Ed Helms), Sam and Charlotte’s son, is going through his own rough patch, as well, where he’s not only in desperate need of a job, but lost all of the respect from his kids and ex-wife (Alex Borstein). Then, there’s Charlotte’s sister, Emma (Marisa Tomei), who got nabbed in the mall for stealing stuff, and is now spending most of her time in the back of a cop car, trying to find out more about the officer (Anthony Mackie).

They're bored.

They’re bored.

And need I not forget to mention that Steve Martin, of all people, is narrating this?

So, yeah. As you can tell, there’s a whole bunch of stuff going on in Love the Coopers (which is a weird title as is, because there clearly seems to be a comma missing somewhere, but hey, that’s neither here, nor there), none of which is ever one bit interesting, smart, well-done, funny, or enjoyable to watch. Which is a damn shame, because seriously, look at that freakin’ cast!

No, I’m serious. Look at it!

Why are there so many great and talented names attached to this? I find it hard to believe that the script could have attracted any of these people because, quite frankly, it’s pretty crummy and hardly ever flirts with being something that names like these would want to work with because of its intrigue. Steven Rogers’ seems to want to be this lovely, bubbly family-holiday flick that deals with dysfunctional families in a fun, light-hearted way, but by the same token, also doesn’t. Instead, the movie wants to focus on failed-marriages, infidelities, homosexuality, puberty, divorce, loneliness, unemployment, missed opportunities, and most of all, death.

Now, let me ask you this: Does this sound like the lovely, little holiday comedy that you’d throw on the tube with your family every December 25?

Hell to the no!

And trust me, this isn’t me saying, “Oh, no. You can’t have a holiday flick about sad issues. No siree! Happiness all day, every day!”. In fact, there’s a certain part of me that wants to applaud this movie for actually trying to do something a little darker and deeper with this overly-familiar tale, but really, it falls on its face. There are so many instances in which the movie makes it seem like it wants to break down the walls and be as dramatic as it can possibly be, but at the same time, still end the scene on a fart or dog joke. The balance between wacky family comedy, and sad, emotional drama, never seems to come together in a way that makes it easy to not just enjoy this movie, but actually understand just what it’s getting at.

The movie, for the most part, seems like it wants to simply say, “Families are what’s most important in life. So love each and every member of your family, especially around the holidays”. Once again, it’s a fine notion that I have absolutely no qualms wit, but the movie itself doesn’t really seem to back any of that up. For one, everybody here in this film is basically terrible to one another, whether they be in the same family, or not; mostly all of them dread going to this family-dinner which, mind you, doesn’t happen until an hour in. Before this, we’re left watching each of these characters go on about their days, bitching and moaning about how they are not at all looking forward to this dinner that, honestly, nobody dragged them to be apart of in the first place.

Then, once the dinner actually gets going, it feels so random. People are all of a sudden nasty to one another, revelations drop out of nowhere, and above all else, none of it feels real. It’s almost as if director Jessie Nelson needed to have some sort of tension to keep the film moving along, so instead of actually building everything up in a smart, understandable manner, it all just feels thrown in as a way to make sure that there’s a crazy outcome with the dinner.

They're especially bored.

They’re especially bored.

Well, the outcome does happen, and although it is indeed crazy, it doesn’t at all work.

But really, the most mind-boggling fact about Love the Coopers is the ensemble it was able to attract and just how many of them are clearly wasted here. It’s hard for me to go into great deal about this cast and spend more time on this movie than it already deserves, but let me just put it like this: Everybody here clearly seems bored. Nobody’s at all giving it their 100% and is, instead, just phoning it in so that they can collect their paychecks and be on with the rest of their famed-careers. However much money they were promised to do this thing, honestly, I don’t know; what I do know is that they all seem like they’re clearly in it for the cash and want to be gone from it all as soon as possible.

The only exception to this is June Squibb who, as usual, gives a lovely, spirited performance as Aunt Fishy. Why exactly they call her that? Well, we don’t know. And although that same question is brought up, the movie never decides to answer it, which not only feels like a cheat, but also feels like an act of revenge that the movie’s taking out on Squibb for being the only one who actually gave a hoot about being in this movie.

Everybody else? Eh, not so much. And I can’t really blame them.

Consensus: Love the Coopers is another film in the long line of Christmas ensemble flicks, but wastes its great cast on a poor script that doesn’t know whether it wants to be a light-hearted comedy, or a sad drama about family. Neither of which, are actually ever interesting to watch.

1.5 / 10

Hell, everyone's bored! So just go home already!

Hell, everyone’s bored! So just go home already!

Photo’s Credit to: IMDB, AceShowbiz

Vacation (2015)

Just go to Six Flags instead. At least you’ll get to see a dancing old dude.

After spending many vacations with his family, Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) now feels that it’s about time he took his own family out to the one and only place he loved as a kid: Walley World. Problem is, nobody in his family is nearly as siked as he is; his wife, Debbie (Christina Applegate), is starting to grow tired of the lame vacations, while their oldest son, James (Skyler Gisondo), constantly gets picked-on by their youngest, Kevin (Steele Stebbins). Though there are many odds working against it, Rusty still finds a way to make sure that everybody gets together and embarks on this little trip where they’ll meet all sorts of lovely characters along the way. One of whom is Rusty’s sister, Audrey (Leslie Mann), who is all grown-up now and is married to a local weatherman, Stone Crandall (Chris Hemsworth), whose absolute stunning and handsome looks seem to bring out the worst in every woman around him – most importantly, Debbie, which Rusty has a real problem with.

My god! Where has the time gone?!?

My god! Where has the time gone?!?

Today, August 23, 2015, marks the official last day of my summer vacation. To be honest, this summer, as a whole, has been a fun, exciting, memorable, and lovely time that reminds me why summer in and of itself matters so much to begin with and why I’m happy to at least have some sort of freedom left in my life to where I can do the sort of things I do during the summer. That could mean a huge list of things like going out to the bars, drinking with my friends, listening to good music, working every now and then, and most of all, going to the movies.

The reason I state all of this because it just proves to how forgettable a movie like Vacation may be, even in a summer as memorable as the one I just had.

But “forgettable” doesn’t always mean “terrible”, or “wretched”, it can sometimes just mean that a movie isn’t entirely the greatest thing ever created, but at the same time, still isn’t all that good. It’s just slap-dab in the middle of mediocrity and that’s exactly why Vacation is the kind of movie, while I may not remember having seen in a few years, still did the fine service of being a comedy that, once, or twice, or hell, maybe more than three times, made me laugh. Granted, it’s not always that easy and it’s not always as hard, either, but Vacation, with a few bits here and there, had me laugh-out-loud to where it was noticeable and known to those around me that I was indeed laughing at what co-writers and co-directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley were doing.

However, if you take into account the fact that nearly every other line in this movie is supposed to be a joke, a gag, or contain at least some bit of humor, the math gets a little shoddy. For instance, if 100% of this movie is filled to the brim with jokes, and if I only laughed for about six-to-ten of those jokes, then surely, the grading-scale cannot be too positive. It’s hard to say how much this movie made me laugh, other than, it just didn’t really do it for me at times and at others, it did.

So above all, the movie is a perfect 50%. Meaning, it’s not too bad, but it’s not too good either.

"Something" is on Ed Helms' shirt and it's HILARIOUS.

“Something” is on Ed Helms’ shirt and it’s HILARIOUS.

Most of where Vacation works is in how bizarre and truly random Goldstein and Daley allow for their material to get. There’s a chunk of celebrity cameos that occur along the way, and while not all of them work, there are a few that brought some fun and excitement to the screen, if only due to the fact that it was so odd, that it just worked. Charlie Day has a sequence that’s like this, as well as does a certain someone who I won’t name that drives a truck throughout the movie, but other than them two, most of the cameos fall flat. Some of them come out of nowhere and it’s cool to see just who Goldstein and Daley are able to bring in for this, but sometimes, it just seems like a wasted opportunity on jokes that seem to fall flat.

They don’t all do, like I’ve stated before. But when they do, it’s obvious that Goldstein and Daley are trying a tad too hard.

And this doesn’t necessarily hurt the main cast as much, although they too definitely suffer from the script not being able to keep up with their energy. Ed Helms’ shtick by now isn’t over-played, as much as it needs some sort of livening-up and his portrayal as an older Rusty doesn’t do him that sort of justice. Still, Helms clearly seems to be trying here and it’s better than just seeing him sleep-walk through something. Same goes for Christina Applegate who, thankfully, gets a few opportunities to prove that this isn’t just a man’s affair and that she’s able to be funny, too. Problem is, it’s on a throw-up gag that gets a bit old, a bit quicker than it should have. They both have fine chemistry between one another, but once the movie starts to get more serious about their marriage, it seems like it’s just something to fall back on, rather than deserved, or as a way to stretch these characters out anymore.

As Rusty’s sister and brother-in-law, Leslie Mann and Chris Hemsworth are sadly, saddled with a one-joke the whole way through and it’s sort of a shame that they weren’t able to stretch their wings out and do more. We know for sure that Mann is hilarious when she wants to be, and Hemsworth can be, too, but he’s just not allowed to do much of anything funny here. The whole joke surrounding him is that he’s this huge, sexy man-hunk, who also happens to have a ginormous dong. So basically, he’s playing Chris Hemsworth – the man every woman loves, and every guy so passionately despises.

Now where’s the humor in that? That’s real life speaking!

Consensus: Occasionally funny, but too often, Vacation feels as if it’s missing its mark of not allowing the talented cast to own up to their full potential, nor really allowing for the comedy to settle every now and again.

5 / 10

Spoiler alert. I guess.

Spoiler alert. I guess.

Photo’s Credit to: IMDB, AceShowbiz

Stretch (2014)

Just drive. And do other crazy stuff, too.

Stretch (Patrick Wilson) is a limo driver who is a bit down-on-his-luck. Not only did his incredibly smokin’ hot girlfriend (Brooklyn Decker) just recently break up with him, but his $6,000 debt is starting to catch up with him and now the dangerous people he owes money to, want it back and by 12 tonight. Though Stretch knows this is an impossible feat with his salary and his self-esteem issues, he gets a chance to possibly change that when he picks up known millionaire Karos (Chris Pine) who is a bit crazy in his own ways, but always gives his driver’s a hefty tip. The only problem is that his drivers have to do some very daring, challenging tasks for him; one of which Stretch gets called onto do. The mission: Get a briefcase from a French gangster (James Badge Dale), bring it back to him by a certain time, and get all the money he wants. But while the night starts off simple and pain-free, it’s everything but and Stretch soon realizes that in order to get what he wants, he’s going to have to play a little dirty.

If you’ve never heard of this film, despite the cast and crew involved with it, don’t worry, because you’re not alone. Apparently, the powers that be at Universal felt as if this movie was a little too much for a major-audience to go out and see, so rather than allowing for it to play in theaters across the country like it was originally supposed to, it gets the shaft. Well, maybe not a total shaft, but for a movie with this much known-names, it’s a pretty big surprise to see it not only get a straight-to-VOD release, but get thrown onto Netflix Instant less than a month later. Usually for any movie, regardless of who is involved, this proves to be troubling and can only mean one thing – it’s got to be bad.

James T. who?

James T. who?

Well, in the case of Stretch, we finally have one rule to the exception and thank heavens for that.

For one, writer/director Joe Carnahan is the type of guy who, you either love, or you hate his movies. Most of them aren’t smart, well-written pieces of film that inspire countless thought-pieces, or even provoking conversations at the local diner, but are just fun, entertaining, and sometimes, incredibly crazy features. Though the Grey was a different side to Carnahan than we we’re used to seeing, it still packed a hard punch that made it feel like a Carnahan film, just without all of the wild jokes on the side.

Here though, with Stretch, Carnahan seems to be back in full-on form and it’s one of the main reasons why it works so well. It’s clear early on that Carnahan is making this film as if it were another one of those, “one, wild night” movies from the 80’s and it plays off early as that. Almost like a tribute you could say, with the cheesy synth-score, the use of hot-as-heck L.A., and David Hasselhoff, but eventually, it stops becoming a tribute that’s desperately pleading to be loved by its inspirations, and actually becomes one of them.

This is where Carnahan’s creativity really shows, because while movies like Smokin’ Aces or the A-Team may not be all that perfect, they still both do great jobs at entertaining the hell out of its audience when Carnahan throws all of his cards on the table and just allows for everything to run wild. He does that many of times here, but not just in terms of the action; the story literally goes certain places that you don’t expect it to. And while this would normally be a problem for some movies that seem like they’re just making it up on-the-fly, Carnahan hardly ever runs into that problem because he keeps his story moving and most of all, exciting. Even if the first 30 minutes or so of this movie are a bit slow, they’re still effective because they are used to just build characters, their situations, and why they might be worth keeping an eye on once the actual story gets going on.

That, and well, because the later-half of the movie is so damn fun.

Which is, yes, definitely thanks to Carnahan for just stepping back and watching as his roller-coaster gets moving, but it’s also for the cast, and how each and everyone here, no matter how large or small their roles may be, give it their all and add another twisted-layer onto this already strange flick. Patrick Wilson has always been a favorite of mine and here, as our titled-character for the next hour-and-a-half, he finally gets a chance to just have a heck of a time with the material he’s working with. Usually, whenever I see Wilson in something, the dude’s given a role that asks on him for mainly one thing and one thing only: Be charming. And it’s definitely not hard for a handsome fella like him, but we hardly ever get to see him really slum himself up to where we care less about his looks and more about what he’s actually putting into his role.

Jessica Alba in a role that didn't make me want to turn off the TV every time she showed up. Which is definitely something worth congratulating.

Jessica Alba in a role that didn’t make me want to turn off the TV every time she showed up. Which is definitely something worth congratulating.

But that’s all different here with Stretch, where he not only gets a chance to just be a wild and crazy guy, but use his comedic-timing to perfect effect. It’s a sign that no matter how many times you think you have a certain actor shoehorned into the kind of role you think they should be playing, they’ll turn around, give you the finger, and try something different. Whether or not it works, is totally up in the air, but the effort is all that matters and here, for Wilson, it’s more than worth the effort.

Same goes for another actor attractive guy who happens to be slumming himself up for the cameras, Chris Pine who, oddly enough, isn’t credited as being in this film. Either way, Pine’s solid in this movie as the wildly unpredictable and nearly-insane Karos, and gives us a chance to see more of his skills as an actor. Though I see him do sort of the same kind of role in Horrible Bosses 2, it was still nice to see how well Pine would perform in a Carnahan’s wacky vision and needless to say, the guy doesn’t disappoint.

And of course, Ed Helms is funny, but did you really expect anything else?

Consensus: Over-the-top, but ultimately, a fun, wild ride, Stretch finds Joe Carnahan back into his comfort-zone of just letting loose on everything in front of him, not apologizing for it, and definitely not trying to coax into being anything more than what it already is: Madness and pure destruction.

7.5 / 10 = Rental!!

My nickname, all of the time.

My nickname, all of the time.

Photo’s Credit to: Goggle Images

They Came Together (2014)

So if I don’t profess my love to a girl in the pouring rain, she won’t fall in love with me? Damn rom-coms!

Joel (Paul Rudd) and Molly (Amy Poehler) are practically perfect for one another. They’re both two kind, gentle and easy-going people who just got out of relationships and need somewhere to start fresh and anew. That’s why it’s so weird that when they finally meet up, there’s so much distaste between them both. It’s strange really, and nobody knows how or why it is the way it is, but that’s just the fact. However, late one night, when Joel has some time to think to himself and even talk to his “baby brother” (Max Greenfield), he realizes that it’s time to nut up, or shut up. So, he asks Molly out on a date and they both realize they’re perfect for one another in every which way. They compliment each other; they have wonderful sex; and Joel is even something of a father-figure to Molly’s son. However, there is problem in that Joel works at a Candy Research Factory that preys on knocking out all of the smaller, mom-and-pop chain candy stores; one in particular they are looking at is one owned by Molly herself and it just may possibly ruin their relationship forever.

If you just read that synopsis up above and felt like everything I just said was quite familiar, that’s because, it is! Or, better yet, it’s supposed to be!

See, They Came Together, is exactly like every romantic-comedy ever made; it has all of the troupes, the formula, and heck, even has the same characters that you’d find in any rom-com, had you just been scrolling through the channels or on your Netflix queue. And as a whole, the rom-com genre sort of deserves this much of a thrashing; it’s a genre that hardly ever seems to learn from its mistakes, and instead, just continues to force-feed us the same bullshit stories and resolutions that happen in only said types of movies. Not at all in real life, and anybody who believes otherwise, don’t deserve to be reasoned with.

Aw!

Aw!

Anyway, that’s why watching something as obvious and goofy as They Came Together is something refreshing, regardless of how much it actually does, or doesn’t work. Sure, it’s definitely funny in spots, but there’s something to a movie that understands it’s a joke and doesn’t really try to make itself anything else. Some may complain that this movie doesn’t have much substance, nor even a real, actual story-line to follow along and get involved with, but I don’t think it needs one to be considered a fine movie. If you just want spend a near-hour-and-a-half watching as somebody riffs on the rom-com genre, then this is more than fine for you.

Better yet, if you’re already a fan of the type of humor David Wain brings to any project of his, then it’s even more of a treat for you. Because, for one, he doesn’t hold back on really letting this movie expose the same old and tired troupes we’ve all seen practically done to death. Maybe he’s a bit too obvious about what it is that he’s trying to say or get across, but I didn’t mind that because most of the time, he had me howling like a wildebeest that couldn’t get a firm grip on his own self-control.

That said, if you’ve seen any David Wain production ever, you’ll know that, for one thing, he doesn’t really take himself away from getting really weird. And here, there are many occasions where Wain lets his weirdness really take over and even confuse the hell out of the viewer who may be watching it.

For instance, there’s a scene in which somebody is sad and lonely, sitting at the bar after they’ve just had a pretty shitty night (after a bad date, presumably), and, as expected, the bartender asks the person who’s drinking, “Bad night”, in which the character drinking responds, “Tell me about it”. And I swear to you, for the next five-to-seven minutes, this whole scene is played-on repeat, almost giving you the impression that something is wrong with the actual movie you’re watching. Sounds a whole lot like the kind of stunt that Andy Kaufman would pull, and for some odd reason, it works here. It’s just that strange and random, that it actually works.

Need another example of weirdness taking over Wain’s flick? Well, try the idea of incest between a grandmother and her grandson, that, surprisingly, gets even weirder than you could originally imagine.

AW!

AW!

So yeah, if that tells you something about this movie, it’s that it’s constantly up to no good, making fun of rom-coms, and even itself at points. And although it is a relatively short movie, I did find it running a bit out of steam by the end. Then again though, that’s the case with most parody-movies; there’s only so much surprises they can throw at us for the first two-halves that once things have to settle down, get resolved and eventually end, you can feel it and in a way, you sort of want it as well. That’s not to say the last-half of this movie isn’t funny, it just feels long-winded, even if, like I said before, it’s only an-hour-and-20-minutes (which is like three episodes of Breaking Bad, kind of, sort of, maybe).

And of course no parody movie would work if its cast weren’t up to the task of absolutely just letting loose and looking like total goobers and I think Wain’s assembled a great one here. It’s nice to see Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler work together again (especially after something as classic as this), because their chemistry together is pretty great. Although it’s a bit hard to tell because you can never take them seriously for a single second, it helps that they at least feel comfortable enough with one another to just be all sorts of crazy and weird, just exactly like they know how to. Now, that’s not to say that I kind of wished this was a straight-forward rom-com, both starring Poehler and Rudd in the lead roles, with Wain writing and directing, but for something as funny as this, I guess I’ll just shut up and take what I can get.

Consensus: Those who want a somewhat serious, standard rom-com will be utterly shocked and displeased to find out that They Came Together is neither, and instead, a crazy, funny, wacky, and sometimes incredibly weird, parody that doesn’t always work, but at least tells enough truth in what it’s making fun of.

7 / 10 = Rental!!

Huh?

Uhm….huh?

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBAceShowbiz

We’re the Millers (2013)

Maybe I’m not really “the Man” I say I am. Maybe I’m just a 19-year-old blogger, who watches a shit-ton of movies and can write snappy-sayings. Just maybe.

After being robbed of his weed-stash, small-time drug-dealer David Clark (Jason Sudekis) is left owing a bit of money and hash to his main-supplier, who just so happens to come in the form of a very rich, very snobby millionaire named Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms). Even though David thinks he’s through and going to get off’d, Brad offers him a way “out” of sorts: Find a way to smuggle a “smidge” of weed from Mexico to the U.S. without getting caught. Sounds easy enough, however, David looks and acts like a drug-dealer so he knows that he can’t get by in his normal skin. Therefore, he gets whoever he can around him to create a fake, happy-go-lucky family that, from the outside, look all loving and dorky enough to get past any suspicious law-enforcers. Problem is, David can’t find “classy” enough people to help him get away with it all, therefore, he gets whatever he can find in the form of down-on-her-luck stripper Rose (Jennifer Aniston) as his fake wife; a runaway teenager (Emma Roberts),as his daughter; and a socially-awkward nerd who lives in his building and is practically left alone for all hours of the day (Will Poulter) as his son. It’s the perfect plan, well, sort of.

Some may disagree with me, and if so, that’s cool, but I will say that the one aspect working for this movie is it’s premise. Granted, nothing really new or cool, but it does offer plenty of room for comedy and serviceable moments of human-interaction, both of which did not seem at all evident in the first 30 minutes of this thing at all. In fact, none of the charm, humor, or fun that occurs in the last hour or so, even remotely shows up in it’s first-and-a-half act. Instead, every line of comedy, every joke, and every pop-culture reference that this movie drops out of it’s behind, hits the ground; and not with a whimper, but with a bang. Also, mind you, it was an R-rated comedy that made it seem like it could just get by on throwing the F-word around, in order to make a line of dialogue even close to be considered “funny”. Wasn’t working, I was pissed, and to be honest, I wondered if this was going to be the worst comedy of the summer (second to that crap-fest the Internship).

"I work with this piece of sex and go home at night to an even better piece. Trust me, you don't have to tell me "I'm lucky". I already know!"

“I work with this piece of sex and go home at night to an even better piece. Trust me, you don’t have to tell me “I’m lucky”. I already know!”

However, something changed within me, as well as with this movie. First of all, once the plot got going in it’s quick, contrived way, suddenly, the movie found it’s footing and the charm was working. Not just on the crowd around me, but myself most importantly. I found myself laughing, grinning, chuckling, and even gut-busting a couple of times, and that’s when I found myself in my comfort-zone. Of course it still continued to be raunchy and low-brow with it’s moments of mistaken incest, spider-bitten testicles, and couples “swinging together”, but it did so in a way that still made me laugh, without really making me feel like it was trying too hard.

During some parts, the movie does seem to try hard, a little too hard I may say, but it had me laughing a lot more than I expected and with a comedy such as this, when it’s obvious that most of the jokes are going to come completely from below-the-belt, I’m more than happy to embrace it. I still acknowledged it’s flaws, but I also recognized that it made me giggle, and didn’t make me feel like the only person either. Maybe that’s why comedies are so enjoyable to see at the movies in the first place. Not only do you laugh, but others join in on the fun and laughter as well. It’s what makes the movies, THE MOVIES, and it was nice to get at least a little bit of a solid-reminder that modern-day comedies can still be considered “funny”, especially with a larger-crowd.

Then again though, I can’t get too swamped-up in the people around me because, as you know: I am a film critic, and it is my responsibility/duty to make sure that I see and focus on all aspects of a movie, both good and bad. Thankfully, the bad doesn’t out-weigh the good, but it does show many times, mainly in it’s sympathetic-route it so obviously takes, yet feels a bit twisted in it’s own morals. The whole premise behind this flick makes it sound mean, dirty, disgusting, and naughty, which it is for a long while, but once the flick begins to show it’s softer-side and get all heartfelt on our asses, it doesn’t work. Cause don’t let me forget to remind you, this is a movie about a drug-dealer who gets a stripper, a homeless girl, and some nerd-a-tron to pose as his “family”, just so that he can make a pay-day with the drug kingpin he owes money to. Doesn’t sound so sweet and innocent now, does it? Exactly my feelings, hence why it’s so odd when the flick starts to make us feel like there are lessons to be learned, and they come at a cost.

The cost being: Less laughs, more sympathy. Not terrible to watch, but it does drag the movie down a big-step.

"Folks, I just wanted to say good-bye and enjoy the rest of your trip?"

“Folks? I just wanted to say good-bye and enjoy the rest of your trip.”

With this type of movie though, you have to have a cast that’s willing and able to do all sorts of the raunchy, baddie-bad shenanigans that ensue, and I think everybody is more than able to participate: They actually show themselves having a grand time and loving the hell out of it. I have to say, even though I think he’s pretty funny on SNL, Jason Sudeikis has not done much for me with his movie-choices. Some of them are inspired, showing more of a human behind the hilarity (Going the Distance), whereas others are just lazy and used as an obvious ploy to make us see him as the funny, everyday man (Hall Pass). Thankfully here, he shows that he can be funny in a way that’s not asking him to stretch much of his acting-skills, but also doesn’t need him to when the material’s as simple as they come: Look charming, be witty, and have fun. That’s all there is to this material, and Sudeikis owns it, giving his own pieces of dry-sarcasm whenever possibly needed.

Some may also be a bit worried about whether or not the simple-gal nature of Jennifer Aniston’s image will get in the way of the stripper character she’s playing here, but have no fear, because the chicky holds her own and is very funny. Honestly, she doesn’t look the part of a trashy-stripper, in fact, her body’s too natural for that type of decked-out, busty-look that most associate with strippers, but when it comes to holding her own with the raunch and the lowbrow, she does a spectacular job. She’s got that charm about her that always works, no matter if you want to admit it or not. As for the kiddie-bops, Emma Roberts and Will Poulter are also very good and funny, especially Poulter, who shows us all of his geeky character’s antics, doesn’t let up a bit, but also gets beneath him as well and shows a bit of a softer-side that we expected to see, but not to actually believe in. The movie gives him his moment to shine and rather than it being stupid, trite, and predictable, it’s surprisingly cute and heartfelt, aka, the only instance where the movie’s seriousness worked. As for all of the other moments: Just should have stayed smug.

Consensus: Don’t expect We’re the Millers to win you over right away, it takes time and a force of will, but once it’s charm starts moving, and the cast begins to get more involved with the material, then you’ll have a fun time, laughing-while-holding-your-belly and all.

7 / 10 = Rental!!

So natural, yet so smokin'. The End.

Just as speechless as you.

The Hangover Part III (2013)

What happens in Vegas, should always stay in Vegas. This included.

Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifiankis), and yes, even Doug (Justin Bartha) reunite for one last adventure in Vegas. However, it isn’t the type of fun-filled adventure they expected to begin with. Rather than living up the night with drugs, sex, booze, women, and Mike Tyson’s tiger, Doug gets kidnapped from a powerful drug-dealer (John Goodman), who wants one thing and one thing only in return: Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong).

The first Hangover, as we all know, was a smash-hit. It was funny, broke box-office records, and even won the Golden Globe for Best Musical or Comedy (against (500) Days of Summer, which still, to this day, is bullshit). So, obviously, it seems like the next, big step for the franchise would be to have a sequel that not only capitalized on the first one’s charm, but enhanced it in a way as well. By the word “enhance”, I mean to just substitute certain aspects of the story out, for other parts like a brother-in-law nobody gives a shit about, for a hubby-to-be that’s Justin Bartha. Yup, I am indeed talking about the second movie that not only pissed off critics, but pissed off audiences as well. Apparently, it didn’t piss them off enough considering that the movie still kicked ass at the box-office and assured that yes: there would be a third, and final one, whether or not anybody actually wanted it.

This is what we have here ending the series, and that’s some joyous news. The movie’s not the joyous news, the fact that it’s the last one in the franchise is the joyous news.

I guess Doug was granted "hanging out with the guys" privileges. Then, killed off several seconds later...

I guess Doug was granted “hanging out with the guys” privileges. Then, killed off several seconds later…

Before I get any further into the nuts and bolts of this movie, I’m just going to put it plain and simple: the movie is just not funny. Yes, the occasional chuckle occurred here and there, but other than half-a-handful of times, nothing really made me laugh, smile, or happy that I was watching these guys go out with a bang. Instead, all I got was a movie that tried to recycle the same old jokes from the first two, and if they didn’t bother doing that; they didn’t even try to be funny. Todd Phillips and the rest of his crew obviously seem to love these characters and all that they go through more than us, so rather than letting them do what makes us love them so much in the first place (be funny), he steps in the way, puts a way-too complicated plot in place, and knocks down any chance for a hilarious moment to occur.

I get that this is the last movie in the series and that Phillips wants to end on a high-note that has us remember these characters for all that they are and what they were, but he tries way too much by just adding lame-ass drama. Lame-ass drama that, by the way, totally brings down the energy and the tone of the movie, giving us a movie that doesn’t know whether or not it wants to be a comedy with streaks of dark, or a drama, with streaks of dark comedy. It ends up being neither, and watching it be slapped back-and-forth by what it wants to be and accomplish, just is not entertaining to watch, no matter how much plot or story Phillips wants to add on. Not even his trademark cameo can make this movie worth watching. In fact, it’s the exact opposite as it seems like the dude was just trying to pull-out any stop that he could, and seemed to fail at doing so.

That’s the real problem with this movie, other than not being funny: it tries ridiculously hard and does not work a bit. There comes a point where you really feel as if this movie is going to take the high-road, hit us with a genius situation that not only makes us laugh, but understand why we love the Wolf Pack for all that they were in the first movie, but we never get that. However, what we do get is a bunch of dudes that bicker about random shit that’s better left unsaid or not acknowledged in any way, running errand-to-errand, and switching more cars than a South Street hooker. None of this is funny to watch, even if Phillips and his crew seem to set these guys up for moments of pure-hilarity, only to have the mark missed and fall right on their toes, without them knowing what the hell to do.

And shame on Todd Phillips for not knowing what to do with these three guys, because if anything, they were the only ones saving that last train-wreck from collapsing to it’s painful, memorable death. In fact, while I’m at it, shame on Todd Phillips for not being able to take advantage of the cast and crew he was able to get back to return for this (hopefully) last installment. You got Mike Epps as Black Doug, Heather Graham as the hooker-wife of Stu/mother of “Carlos”, and even newcomers like John Goodman and Melissa McCarth. All can be funny as hell when they are allowed to go bonkers, but just get held-back by a script/direction that doesn’t seem all too concerned with them. Hell, it doesn’t even seem all that concerned with the Wolf Pack, and instead, diverts most of it’s attention to Mr. Chow!

Listen here, Mr. Chow was a pretty funny-ass character in the first movie because he showed up every once and awhile, did his goofy-Chinese thang, showed his weenie, simulated ejaculating all over people, and let it be left at that. However, this whole movie seems to not only include that, but more and more of it, which is not only unneeded, but it’s stupid because the movie is more of his, rather than the dudes who started the franchise in the first place. It isn’t like Ken Jeong isn’t capable of playing this character well, it’s just that the character has been played-out beyond belief by now, even though nobody working on the film seems to realize that after the first ten times they show him up on-screen. Seriously, this movie could have been without Bradley, Ed, and Zach, and nobody would have noticed. It’s basically Chow’s show from beginning-to-end, and it’s never funny to sit around and view.

It's funny because he's just a little Asian dude acting like a sheriff!!!

It’s funny because he’s just a little Asian dude acting like a sheriff!!!

It’s a real shame too, because Bradley, Ed, and Zach still seem to have some sort of dynamic between one another that would be perfect for a movie that cared more about them, but that’s not this movie. Here, they are given the boot to the side, just so Chow can say dirty and inappropriate things in a “funny” Chinese-accent. Individually, they all seem fine, but it also feels like a lost cause since they aren’t given many chances to be funny or pal-around with one another. They’re pretty much serious the whole time and it never seem to end, even if this is the shortest out of the whole franchise (hour and 40 minutes).

Bradley seems like he’s bored with the material and knows that he’s got better shit coming his way; Ed just looks nervous and awkward the whole movie, and occasionally yells for shits and gigs (because you know, yelling for the sake of yelling is hillurious!); and Zach is just being himself, but it isn’t funny. It’s more random this time around where it seems like Philips gave him the cue to just improv his ass off, which is hit or miss if you’re familiar with his stand-up. Sometimes it hits so hard that you can’t believe you’re laughing as much as you are, and sometimes it misses so bad and noticeably, you wonder if anybody even paid attention in the editing-room.

It’s obvious that nobody did, and were more concerned with getting this movie out there for all to see, hopefully spend a shit-load of money on, and give them the possibility of another sequel down the pipe-line. But since everybody involved seems to be considering it “the last”, lets hope that they stick to their word and allow it to truly be the last. If not, I think I’m going to have to burn my Carlos T-shirt up at the next, local bonfire.

Consensus: If you were there for this franchise when it took an odd-turn for the second movie and stood by it, then the Hangover Part III might just be the perfect good-by you need to calm all of your wonders and nerves down for good, but if you didn’t care for the second one at all: don’t even bother. All of the charm that was once alive and well, is all lost for the sake that a little Asian man can pull down his pants, and ejaculate all over it. So funny, right?

3 / 10 = Crapola!!

If the killing of precious, wild animals doesn't at least make you chuckle, you, my friend, have a soul in tact.

If the killing of precious, wild animals doesn’t at least make you chuckle, then you, my friend, have a soul in tact.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2012)

Always count on your big bro to make you feel less weird than you already are.

The film revolves around one man (Jason Segel) searching for the meaning of life while running to the store to buy wood glue. Using the universe as his guide, Jeff looks for signs to help determine his path. However, a series of comedic and unexpected events leads him to cross paths with his family in the strangest of locations and circumstances. Jeff just may find the meaning of his life… and if he’s lucky, pick up the wood glue as well.

The Duplass Brothers‘ last big film was ‘Cyrus’, a film that was strange and quirky but still had a nice heart to it and some pretty good laughs. It’s also the film that got these guys big and made people realize that they are an indie force to be reckoned with, however, I don’t think that they should be showing this one off if that is the case.

The film seems like a minor one because it just barely gets by a run-time of only 80 minutes and takes course over a single day but this is also a film that seems to show The Duplass Bros. stretching out their legs and seeing what they can do with a somewhat bigger budget. The plot here allows them to at least branch out a bit by having the whole thing take place outside and even let them pursue some action here although it’s not the kind you’re probably thinking of. Still, they have the same old hand-held camera style where its jumpy and constantly zooms in-and-out awkwardly on the characters. Their style of mumblecore works well for this flick because there are many moments where I felt myself laughing a bit but also feeling something for these characters and investing myself more and more into them. However, that only went so far.

Much of the script is improvised, exactly how the directors like it, and it adds this sort of genuine flow to the film that works but at the same time takes away from the flick. Since you have these two funny-as-hell actors up in front of us the whole time, you would expect them to make us practically howling out of our seats but instead, they just resort to yelling the F-bomb out of each other and getting in physical fights, physical fights that are actually a lot funnier than what either of them say. Usually these guys are hilarious and have me on the verge of tears but for some odd reason, everything they said just came off as either unfunny or totally flat. I guess Segel was just waiting for Kermit or Miss Piggy to pop-up.

The two different story-lines that these brothers have aren’t very interesting since their so damn simple. Jeff is just a pot smoking dope who lives in his mommy’s basement and barely ever comes out and Pat is a regular dude who seems to be having a marriage that is falling down to an impending doom. There’s nothing too special about either of these story-lines at all but what was pretty neat was the whole idea Jeff has behind that everything in the world is connected to each other in some way or another. It’s pretty cool to see how everything does come together here, just like it was supposed to in Jeff’s mind, but then that mumbo jumbo spiritual crap started to get redundant and made it get a bit annoying after awhile.

What was bad with this film though was that by the end, all of the “comedy” that we saw in the beginning of the flick starts to go away within the last 20 minutes and everything begins to get dramatic. And when I mean dramatic, I mean DRAMATIC. I don’t mind if a comedy is trying to show some of its heart and even a little bit of its love it has to give but it gets very cheesy, very quick and it just came across as melodramatic rather than natural. At least with the Duplass’ last flick, they at least were subtle about showing their soft side, this film just bares it all with the over-powering indie score and everything.

However, when it really came down to it, the performances from everybody involved is what really made this flick work in the end. Jason Segel is good as this goofy and very philosophical dope, Jeff, and the slacker that he always plays his roles with is here but this time it at least has more of a heart and soul this time; Ed Helms is good as Pat but was a little too deuchy for me at points but then again, that was pretty much how he was supposed to be so my point was pretty dumb; Judy Greer is once again great in her little role as the wife of Pat, Linda, who seems to be cheating on him and she has a couple of good scenes where she shows some real emotion and gets this film into its dramatic territory but there’s not enough of her here (then again though, when is there ever?); and Susan Sarandon plays Pat and Jeff’s mommy who actually has the most interesting story as she deals with a secret admirer in her work-place, but then her story sort of gets thrown into unbelievable material by the end and it kind of loses it’s fun feeling it had.

Consensus: Jeff, Who Lives at Home has some funny and touching moments much ado to the cast, but ultimately feels like a let-down from the Duplass Brothers considering how lazy the writing feels, how unfunny many parts, and just how damn dramatic everything gets by the end. It definitely makes me want to watch ‘Cyrus’ again and see what made that one way better than this flick.

5/10=Rental!!

The Lorax (2012)

Don’t mess with the little orange people mob.

The story around the journey of a boy (Zac Effron) as he searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams (Taylor Swift). In order to find it, he must discover the environmental tale of the Lorax (Danny DeVito), the grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world against the unscrupulous Once-ler (Ed Helms).

There’s been so much controversy surrounding this flick already about how it’s too political and is basically getting kids too involved with politics and right-wing messages. Haven’t these people ever watched the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons!?!

What works for this flick is that it is definitely one of the better-looking animation flicks I have seen in 3-D in a long time. Being that this is a Dr. Seuss adaptation, it’s pretty cool to see all of the characters and locations look like they just came from his own hand and given an extra-dimension. The 3-D also works because it is used in a way that is meant to thrill you but then again isn’t that what 3-D is meant for? You see almost every little piece of hair in The Lorax’s mustache, the drool coming from the bears’ mouths feel as if they’re coming right towards you, and when a tree grows, it almost seems like it’s growing right in the movie theater. This is 3-D that is meant to feel like it’s actually there and even though so many other countless animated flicks do the same thing, they don’t do it quite as well as this flick. Basically, this is a very good-looking film that should be seen in 3-D, but if you can’t see it with the funny glasses then don’t feel bad because you’re not missing a whole lot.

Another part of this film that works is that it is a kids flick that has a good spirit with it the whole way through. Throughout the film, we get nice bits of comedy that will not only appeal to the parents but also provides some slap-stick for the kids that will always seem to get them laughing no matter what. The songs are also very good and original and I like the way that they didn’t try to take any old songs and rehash them into the plot to make them seem relatable to the plot, instead they just made their own original tracks and they work. “Let it Grow” and “How Bad Can I Be?” were definitely two songs that I couldn’t stop humming on the way home even though I had some Bob Marley cranked up real high.

Where I think this film hits its problem is its whole political message that may seem like the wrong taste for a flick like this that’s centered towards kids and most adults bringing their kids to see it. I’m not against a film having their own agenda and trying to reach out to kids and making a point but in a film about a little orange tree hugger named The Lorax? Really? It also didn’t help that within the first 5 minutes the film was already showing these people of Thneedville as totally oblivious/and or ignorant townspeople that just brought everything because it was plastic and it was hip. Much like ‘Despicable Me’, too much of it seemed a little too mean to be taken seriously and a subject to ever be taken lightly.

Don’t get me wrong here though folks, I did like the message that this film brought up to kids and I hope it definitely gets them out there trying to preserve the land we live on and making sure that people are taking care of our beautiful planet, but then when they throw in the really crappy villain named Mr. O’Hare, who owns an air company, it seemed to get really really lame. The whole villain plot of this film seemed like the last thing we would see in anything from Dr. Seuss and I almost wish that they went for a villain that was a little more wild, crazy, or just overall outlandish. Rob Riggle does a pretty good job with O’Hare’s voice but they then ruin it by using the most unoriginal use of a villain by showing how small he is. I’ve seen the same damn thing in ‘Shrek’ and so many other animated flicks that have a villain, so show me something different for once people!

As for the rest of the voice cast, they all do pretty fine jobs. Ed Helms is pretty good at handling this film all by himself as The Once-ler, and does a great job especially when it comes to the music where he gets to show off some guitar-o skills; Zac Efron does an alright job as Ted, our main protagonist, but it seems like he’s a little too old for these sorts of voice roles and I think he may have to start to move onto his bigger roles he has lined up; and Taylor Swift may seem like another piece of stunt casting to get teenage girls seeing the flick and buying the soundtrack but she’s fine as well. The best out of this whole voice cast is probably Danny DeVito as The Lorax who is a perfect fit because he’s funny, charming, a bit of an ass, and they are both the same size. I don’t mean any disrespect when I say that though Danny, I really don’t.

Consensus: The Lorax may run into problems about getting a little too political with its message, but the talented cast and beautiful visuals keep this film going even when the story seems to slow down.

7/10=Rental!!

Cedar Rapids (2011)

Makes insurance companies actually look fun.

Terrified of leaving his tiny town for the first time, sheltered insurance salesman Tim (Ed Helms) nervously sets out for the bright lights of bustling Cedar Rapids, where he attends a chaotic insurance convention and learns how to survive in the real world.

This was one of those comedies that came out back in February (aka shit movie month) and actually got good reviews, but for some reason I never got around to seeing. Thank the lord I saw it just as the Summer (aka crazy movie time) began.

This premise is petty much your average fish-out-of-water kind of deal here but the way the script expands on that is what really makes this a delight to watch. Cedar Rapids, IA isn’t exactly the party land you would come to expect but watching all these grown-ass guys run around in just about nothing and having a great time in only a matter of four acts, really made me enjoy myself and remind me of a smaller and more adult version of The Hangover. This is kind of like the comedy I could see my mom and dad watching, which isn’t such a bad thing.

The screenplay is what really works here so well coming from first-time writer Phil Johnston. The one amazing thing here that Johnston does with this script is how he has all this R-rated raunch that’s down-right hilarious, but then he equally touches it up with a touch of sweetness to it.

In a lot of comedies where they try to get sweet with their material, it doesn’t work and feels forced, but here I actually cared about all of these characters and what was going on and kind of left me with a good feeling when it was over. Still, even though it is sweet, I still laughed my ass of with plenty of the things that happen here.

My only problem with this film is that I didn’t really get many surprises here with this film because it’s all pretty generic and all the laughs you would expect from this type of material come out. I could also see a lot of chicks not really liking this film that much either since it really is all about guys and how we all grow up and everything, but still be boys. So I could kind of see a couple of chicks watching this and not really liking it that much honestly.

Ed Helms is a pretty good pick if you’re looking for someone to play that innocent, and naive insurance salesman, since almost all of his roles that he takes nowadays are about the same, but it’s not a bad thing because he’s so good at those roles. The role as Tim Lippe is a pretty tough role for Helms and while it’s not necessarily a star-making performance, I really enjoyed him. Mainly because it’s hard to be the dough-eyed nerd and not be too annoying or innocent but he brings the heart when you need it the most and he wasn’t too dorky the rest of the time.

Most of the laughs this film has comes from none other than the always amazing John C. Reilly as Dean Ziegler. Reilly’s seemingly insane and crass remarks were expertly written and most of all, expertly executed by Reilly himself. If you look close enough, you could almost see a little of Bill Murray in this role but I have to say I didn’t mind since almost every time he opened up his mouth, I laughed my ass off. When he first comes on the screen you know it’s going to be a party, and when he isn’t on and you can totally feel all of the energy from this film, not there. This was jackass John C. Reilly at its finest.

The real heart of this film here is Anne Heche as Joan Ostrowski-Fox, Tim’s squeeze, well kind of. The guys are all running around playing these goofy characters but she actually has to ground of this with some sort of humanity and she pulls it off real well. Stephen Root is also good as Tim’s boss; Sigourney Weaver is just so sexy but also great as Tim’s former teacher and now eff buddy; Isiah Whitlock Jr. is good as Ronald Wilkes and has one scene that is just worth the price of admission alone; and it’s always nice to see Kurtwood Smith in a role that isn’t a Red Forman rip-off. Overall great cast and great characters to care about.

Consensus: Though it is generic as well as less and less surprising as it goes on, Cedar Rapids brings out a lot of raunchy laughs, mainly from it’s cast but also from it’s well-written script that has that R-rated comedy appeal as well as an endearing sweetness to it as well.

8/10=Matinee!!

The Hangover: Part II (2011)

They effed up again, but really bad this time. Bad bad.

In this sequel to The Hangover, the buddies from the earlier film’s bachelor party reunite for a wedding trip to Thailand where one of them, Stu Price (Ed Helms), is planning to tie the knot. Stu is determined that his own pre-wedding party should be a restrained and dignified affair, but between the habits of his friends and the multiple distractions of Bangkok, fate has other plans in store for him.

Look at that premise, and tell me if there is anything different there from the first one. Take a second….one more…OK. Nothing has changed at all for that premise other than the fact that they are not in Las Vegas, they are all randomly in Bangkok, which is not even a fun place to be it seems.

Before I start, I just want to say that I did find myself chuckling at moments. I laughed at the little gags in between breaks, and the beginning actually had me laughing many times throughout, but then the film really started to drag.

The writing here is terribly lazy and doesn’t add much of the joy or creativity that was within the first. Director and co-writer Todd Phillips doesn’t do much different here other then practically remake the first one which I can’t really blame him for trying to capitalize on that success, but at the same time, at least give me something remotely funny. There’s too many times where this film just goes “Oh my gosh! Remember this happened in the first!?! Let’s do it again, but this time have the characters say: “I can’t believe this is happening again”!”.

Added to this film is a more grittier and darker tone which I was not expecting, and didn’t really do much for this film. The film tries to create more and more crazier situations as it goes along which the first film did, but there’s no real fun while they get from one place to another. I guess I just wasn’t surprised when all these major plot points popped up because everything is terribly predictable, but there are long stretches of little or no comedy here, and it really was annoying because I remember that I was already pissing my pants within the first 10 minutes of the first one.

The Wolf Pack here though is the real treat to watch and actually save this film from eternal damnation. Bradley Cooper is always good as the kind of slimy, but always cool Phil. Ed Helms is an absolute riot here as Stu once again, and does almost everything in his will to keep the laughs coming. Zach Galifianakis is very very strange this time around as Alan and without him, the laughs really don’t start coming until he’s up on-screen. The guys still play off of each other so well, and even when the script is lacking in actual “fun”, these guys do all they can to bring more of it to their scenes together. Ken Jeong as Chow is in it more and kind of gets over-done big-time. Paul Giamatti is randomly here as well, and does nothing remotely funny in a role that could have been used by a C-list actor and it wouldn’t have made that much of a difference. I wish they put more of Justin Bartha in here though and actually let him be involved with The Wolf Pack because he’s as funny as any of these guys, and also Mason Lee is just terribly forgettable as the future brother-in-law. Still wish Mel Gibson and Liam Neeson got those cameos!

Consensus: There is a more darker, meaner, and grittier tone than the first, but there are still not as many surprises nor as many of actual humor here at all. The Hangover: Part II is just a remake of the first with a few chuckles, but nothing else really new to bring to the table.

5/10=Rental!!

The Hangover (2009)

The film that almost every teenager in high school quotes.

When three friends (Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Bradley Cooper) finally come to after a raucous night of bachelor-party revelry, they find a baby in the closet and a tiger in the bathroom. But they can’t seem to locate their best friend, Doug (Justin Bartha) — who’s supposed to be tying the knot. Launching a frantic search for Doug, the trio perseveres through a nasty hangover to try to make it to the church on time.

This is a film I have seen numerous times, and each time I have always laughed more and more than the other, but never have I actually had the time to write down a review for this. Finally, I got it all down on paper, or computer.

The film is directed by Todd Phillips, of Old School fame, and I must say he hasn’t lost that comedic touch but here he put’s a spin on premise that has been time and time before, and make it something hilarious but also interesting. This has a sort of Reservoir Dogs feel to it, where you don’t actually see the event that the whole film centers on, until later on, but that makes you apart of actually piecing together what happened, which is really a lot of the fun.

Though, it’s not all about the plot really, it’s more about all the non-stop jokes that go on throughout this whole film, that has had people quoting it for the past 2 years now, and when that will ever stop is something I don’t have the answer to. The best thing about this screenplay is that it knows what it is, it’s not trying to do anything different, or smart,  it’s just raunchy, gross-out, and sometimes smart dude humor that always works. Almost every single line here is instantly quotable, and will have you laughing about it for days.

My only complain for this film is that the whole resolution to this film seemed a little dumb. When the ending happens, this whole sweet little message comes into place, and I didn’t buy it one bit. Maybe it’s just me who actually cared about this, but I don’t know this part just seemed a little forced for me.

The whole cast here is what made this adventure through Vegas the laugh-out-loud riot that it is. This is one of the first films that put Bradley Cooper on the map, and with great reason because he’s awesome here as the slime-ball, sexy man Phil. I like how the film relies on Cooper for his good looks, but he still has that charm that makes his lines so much funnier than they may seem. Ed Helms basically plays the same dude he plays on The Office, but I must say it doesn’t fail here one bit as Stu. He starts off as this totally whipped, nerdy moodle (check it out on Urban Dictionary), but then after the party something changes within him and he’s almost like a bomb for the whole rest of the film. He’s just tick, tick, ticking away until he finally breaks loose and breaks out some of the funniest lines within the whole film. The real showcase in this film is Zach Galifianakis as the strange, and possibly-brain-damaged, Alan. I love all of Galifianakis’ stand-up, and his stuff on Funny Or Die, and watching him here bring out some of the most insane, and possibly funniest lines of the whole movie had me finally understand why he is in almost everything now. I just hope he goes back into that little cage, and stop being so over-exposed appearing in crap all over the place, especially ones like Due Date. I still want my money back by the way Zach! All three of these guys play off each-other so well, and create a realistic bro-mance that actually seems like three opposite individuals like these could actually come together on a crazy trip like this.

There is also a whole bunch of funny side acts/cameos here that will have you laughing even more once you see them. Heather Graham is just so stunning in almost everything she does, and she is very funny here. I also still do not know how she still looks like Rollergirl from Boogie Nights. And that was about 13 years ago people! I was disappointed Justin Bartha didn’t get more screen-time, because he’s always hilarious in everything he does. I laughed my ass off at every time Ken Jeong was on the screen, and is by far the best Asian gangster in film history. Also, who can forget Mike Tyson drumming out to Phil Collins? There are also some nice cameos from the likes of Mike Epps, Jeffrey Tambor, and The Dan Band.

Consensus: The Hangover is exactly what everybody says it is, a laugh-out-loud riot, with instant quotable lines, and crazy situations that will have you laughing for days on end. The perfect guy’s film with an amazing cast, that will keep your interest the whole adventure. Let’s just hope this second one, doesn’t blow as much as I think it will.

9/10=Full Pricee!!

The Hangover (2009)

The greatest night of your lives just happened but you can’t remember a thing. This is how badly that sucks.

The main plot follows four friends who travel to Las Vegas for a bachelor party,only to wake up the next morning not remembering a thing and missing the groom, whose wedding is scheduled to occur the next day. The three friends that are left over try to track down the groom through asking questions and finding more and more clues to hopefully finding the groom in time for the wedding.

The great thing in the movie is we do not see what happens that night we are either told or we just wonder. That is what gives this film the full mystery and kept me guessing throughout. The absurdity of the situation is backed by raunchy behavior that could’ve spiraled out of control, but thankfully doesn’t.

The trailers totally fooled me into thinking that this was another frat boy movie that was made for 17 year old or possibly even younger. For this movie however, that is not the case. The comedy is more sophisticated and more adulta and surprisingly not too sexed up.The screenplay is very clever and hilarious and it has the right actors to deliver the lines.

This movie was directed by Todd Phillips who is also known for Old School and Road Trip, and a lot of the similarity’s are shown. However this films comedy seems more mature than both, and is more likely to be more of a classic because of its ways not too become too raunchy.

The performances from this cast is great as well. The cast may not be so big named but they are very well-picked for each role and all do great. The one I was most surprised by was Ed Helms, of The Office fame, does really step out of his shadow from The Office and really does shine, and proves he can act in a big time movie. The other funny thing about the cast is that the cameos from people such as Heather Graham and Mike Tyson were all shown just to add on to the story and show their charm, and I highly respected that.

Their were however some parts that I had a problem with. I didn’t enjoy how they would just show an ass or a penis shot just for the sake of humor. But more of that nervous humor that doesn’t shock me anymore with just seeing a penis. Yeah its raunchy but not funny nor shocking any longer.

This film is hilarious from start to end. Although there were some forced laughs I thought the performances are great and each star delivers on a great and clever script. It is better and also in a way smarter than Old School.

9/10=Full Pricee!!!