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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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

Tag Archives: Ray Romano

The Big Sick (2017)

Disease can kill. But also heal. Right? Not sure.

Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani) is a Pakistani comic living in the windy city of Chicago and, along with his fellow comics, is just trying to get by and hopefully, hit the big-time. But his whole life begins to change when he meets an American graduate student named Emily (Zoe Kazan) at one of his stand-up shows and immediately, the two hit it off. The only issue standing in the way of their relationship is that Kumail’s parents want him to get married within his religion. If he doesn’t comply, then guess? He’s practically kicked out of the family and never allowed to contact them ever again. It’s a shame, but it’s something that Kumail, despite his family’s best wishes, has sort of been trying to live against. Which is why Emily doesn’t know how to react to all of this. As a result, they break-up and Kumail is left back to dating women within his religion. But then, suddenly, Emily is in a coma and even worse, her parents (Ray Romano and Holly Hunter), travel all the way up up from North Carolina to see what’s happening with their daughter. It puts Kumail in an awkward situation, but it also makes him want to not just give this family a shot, but possibly even the relationship a shot. When she wakes up, that is.

Is this love? Or just a stand-in?

And here’s the real kicker: It’s all true. Yup. Co-writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon are, get this, a real life married-couple who met exactly like this and because of that, we’re allowed to sit back, watch and enjoy their dark, twisted, sometimes funny, but always sweet romance blossom (?). Which is odd because the Big Sick takes on so many different plot-threads and tones, that it’s a true wonder how any of it comes together in a cohesive manner, or at all.

Director Michael Showlater knows what he’s doing with this kind of material, in that he knows how to play-up the laughs, but also the sadness and sometimes weightiness of it, too. It’s a slippery-slope that Showlater balances around and while he doesn’t always make it work perfectly, the balancing act is way more skillful, the more you think about it and realize that he’s taking somebody’s else’s own material/life, and doing it all justice. It’s nothing flashy, it’s nothing spectacular, and it sure as hell isn’t anything surprising – it’s just sweet and rather good-natured.

Basically like nothing else the guy has ever done before, which is all the more surprising.

But still, it deserves to be noted that another famous figure had a hand in this pie, and it was Judd Apatow. And yes, you feel every bit of it. See, the Big Sick is one of those comedies that deals with a blog plot, but also likes to get side-tracked every so often by random subplots, characters, and jokes that, sometimes work, and other times, don’t. In this movie’s case, it’s hard not to imagine this movie slicing out at least ten-to-15-minutes worth of footage, because after the two-hour mark, it can feel a bit straining.

That look when you can’t decide whether to head for the hills or not.

And it’s not as if the material isn’t funny, or interesting enough – it’s just that it’s all so predictable that, after awhile, you just want it to get over with. We know that Emily survives, we know that she wakes up to smell the cauliflower (or in this case, Kumail), and we know that the two eventually fall in love and get married. So, honestly, why is it taking so long to get there? And better yet, where’s the rest of the story in the film? We get all of this talk about arraigned-marriages and the sort of controversy surrounding Kumail’s companionship to a white woman, but when it comes time to tell that part of the story, the movie sort of lingers over it.

It’s as if, oh no, it wasn’t a problem in the first place.

Either way, I’m clearly taking away a lot from the Big Sick and I shouldn’t; it’s a funny, heartfelt, and well-acted movie that doesn’t live up to all of the insane praise it’s been getting from every person and their grand-mother, but it’s still a nice, small, and sweet diversion from all of the loudness of the summer blockbusters. It’s the kind of movie that people can go into, expecting a romantic-comedy, getting one, but also being a little happy that there was a little more going on than just two attractive and talented people finding one another, falling in love, and yeah, getting married. It’s also a movie about culture, about family, and no matter how insane they both may all drive us, they are, after all, what makes us, us.

So it’s best to just appreciate it all for what it is and shut the hell up!

Consensus: Despite being overly long and uneven, the Big Sick still works because it’s funny, heartfelt, and an interesting rom-com that goes beyond the usual conventions of the formula.

7 / 10

See? They’re all fine!

Photos Courtesy of: IndieWire

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Funny People (2009)

I could only wish that everybody was as funny as the title says.

When famous comedian George Simmons (Adam Sandler) is given a second chance at a new beginning, he and his assistant, a struggling comedian, Ira (Seth Rogen), return to the places and people that matter most…including the stand-up spots that gave him his start and the girl that got away (Leslie Mann).

With Judd Apatow’s last two at bats (40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up) he has shown that he can make hilarious comedies, with heart-felt messages somewhere in between. This is no different, except it kind of is.

Apatow as the writer is perfect. He always fines a perfect balance of heart and hilarity, and this is no exception. The jokes as usual, are hilarious, if you like a lot of boner jokes, and it almost never slows down. The stand-up seems just wreak with hilarity and a lot of originality. When Simmons gets cancer, you would think that the most would slow down, and get very very serious, however, Apatow changes that and never stops bringing out the jokes, and surprisingly a lot of them had me laughing-out-loud. You can tell that he has matured, and his writing makes you have more hope for him in the future.

Although, Apatow as the director, now that’s a stretch. He overuses the slow-zoom to show his characters being emotionally effected by something, it’s almost too obvious at times. Also, the first act between Rogen and Sandler works so well, it was this close to getting a 10/10, then came the next story with Sandler and Mann, then it just kind of lost me. It’s less of a buy-one-get-one-free deal, and more a but-one-and-get-one you really didn’t ask for deal. Both stories just don’t seem connected, and although the jokes kept up during the last act, I still didn’t find a reason for it. Oh, and the film is about 2 hours and 30 minutes, so be ready to be looking at your watch many times.

Apatow does a great job of blurring the line of fiction and non-fiction to create compelling, realistic performances from the cast. George Simmons is sort of the dream role for Adam Sandler. Mainly because Simmons is a goofy comedian, Sandler gets to indulge in that goofy side, we all know and love him for, but he gets to show the characters darker parts, and does a fantastic job at it. Although, I think the film could have done a better chance of showing Simmons in a more positive way sometimes. Simmons is a dick, especially towards the end, but we never get to see him come out of that dark shell, and understand who he has come to be.

The rest of the cast is perfect too. Seth Rogen (who is looking very, very slim) plays probably the least Seth Rogen he has ever played, because he doesn’t do that famous “Rogen chuckle“, and instead he does a character with nervous twitches, and mega-awkwardness. Leslie Mann is funny, but more serious than her usual character, and seems a lot more genuine during the last act, than she has, in a long time (yes, I’m talking about you George of the Jungle). There are other little characters that will make you laugh such as Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman, Aubrey Plaza, RZA, Aziz Ansari, but the most surprisingly funny one was…………….Eric Bana! He comes in the film and you expect him to play this really deuchy character, cause the whole film they talk about him so badly, then you meet him, and he’s downright lovable. He’s hilarious, sweet, and really cool. Kind of makes me forget about The Hulk.

The film probably should get an Oscar for the film with most cameos, if there ever was one. I mean you got Dave Attell, Sarah Silverman, Andy Dick, James Taylor, even Tom from MySpace (I don’t know how that guy still has a career). But the funniest one is between Eminem and Ray Romano, that will just have you cracking up, although it does seem really random. Better yet, you never know, Eminem probably wasn’t acting.

Consensus: Funny People is consistently funny, as well as being heart-felt, with great performances from the whole cast, even though the last act may take some away, and not very inspired direction.

9/10=Full Pricee!!!

Comedian (2002)

Just when you thought being funny was easy.

Honest — at times painfully so — and intimate, director Christian Charles’s documentary follows established comedian Jerry Seinfeld and up-and-comer Orny Adams as they navigate the highs and lows of the stand-up circuit.

The film is a documentary focusing on these two different comedians, up and comer, with an aging has-been, over the course of one year. Aspiring comedians everywhere, watch this!

The film has a lot of actual insight about the world of comedy, and how hard it actually is. People think of the stand-up world as just telling jokes and your good, when in reality, your dead wrong. These people have to plan out what they are going to say, with the right timing, and the right way of telling it. We see how these people mostly Adams, try to overcome their fear of becoming famous once again, and not becoming famous at all.

The problem with this film is that its way too cheaply made. The camera they used honestly looks like the one I used to film my dad’s football games last year, and the audio is pretty sloppy, because sometimes you hear their jokes, and then other times you don’t.

Also, I didn’t think there was enough insight from these two people, and if there was captured on film they should have put a lot more than what they had packed into this 82 minute documentary. I could have been so important to all comedians out there, but instead only is mildly important due to the fact of its lousy filming.

I liked the fact that the film focused more on Seinfeld than Adams cause in reality Seinfeld is one of the best. You can’t really judge him on his performance cause he isn’t acting here, but his jokes and his comedic timing in this film, just prove that he is one of the greatest. I do wish there were more cameos from other big-time comedians like Chris Rock, Ray Romano, and Jay Leno, who all show up for about 1 minute and are gone like nothing happened.

Consensus: Due to sloppy editing, filming, and use of info, Comedian isn’t the most important film about the job of being a funny guy, but it sure is insightful with plenty of funny moments to enjoy.

6/10=Rental!!

Welcome to Mooseport (2004)

People are going to kill me for this, but I actually liked this one.

A former U.S. president (Gene Hackman) who plans to retire in a small northeastern coastal town has his hands full when he tries to fill an empty mayoral seat. The unlikely opposition comes from an unassuming hardware store owner (Ray Romano) who quickly proves to be a bona fide man of the people — and wildly popular.

The one reason I liked this film was because although it wasn’t hilarious or totally laugh-out-loud material, it still wasn’t an offensive film, with some dirty jokes. It sweet and kind, and some of the jokes work some of them don’t but I didn’t mind it when they didn’t hit the mark.

The story is quite thin however and we get these little add-ins that don’t seem needed at all. The love story between Romano and Maura Tierney didn’t seem real since they are a bit too old to be playing boyfriend and girlfriend, that can’t commit to one another. Also, we get a lot of golf. Mostly consisting of a total of 10 minutes just of them two playing a game of golf, all for Tierney. This film includes major “butt” nudity in the opening scene which actually plays no part in the plot or any of the rest of the film. Just seemed to be added for shock value and to change the rating.

The one reason I’m mostly recommending this is because of the performances from the cast. Romano’s little awkward act doesn’t work so well here, but for the most part at many times during the movie, it does and he creates a likable character. But the best here is Gene Hackman. He honestly does look like he is having a lot fun here as this zany and quirky politician, that seems so nice on the outside, but if you look real closely can be a total dick. The scenes with him and Marcia Gay Harden playing off one another are some very funny and actually good scenes surprisingly.

I’m not recommending this film over any film like Godfather or anything like that, but if its comes on the TV or your bored one night and need a movie to watch with the family, I can assure you, your going to have a good time.

Consensus: Welcome To Mooseport does have a plot that meanders with jokes that don’t connect real well, but is an inoffensive and well-acted comedy about politicians and the edges they will go to, to be on top.

5/10=Rental!!!