Advertisements

Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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

Tag Archives: Todd Phillips

War Dogs (2016)

The American Dream, circa Generation-Y, yo.

David Packouz (Miles Teller) hasn’t made much of his life since the days of high school. When he isn’t giving rich dudes massages for $75 an hour, he’s out there, trying to sell high-end bed sheets to retirement homes. Needless to say, it’s a very unfortunate life he has, but with the return of his old pal, Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill), his luck may have changed. Seeing as how they were best pals back in the day and can probably trust one another with everything, Efraim asks for David to be his partner in his selling and supplying weapons to U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan. While David isn’t quite sure of how this arms-dealing business works, he soon learns the ropes and wouldn’t you know it? Him and Efraim are raking in all sorts of dough, not to mention getting the interest of the Pentagon, who see two youngsters making it big and succesful in America. However though, little does anyone outside of David or Efraim know, that the two are up to no good and more often than not, finding themselves in some murky areas of the law that may possibly bring them down, have them arrested, or better yet, even get them killed.

I'm impressed, too.

I’m impressed, too.

For Todd Phillips, it seems like War Dogs is his the Big Short. Whereas the later was directed by Adam McKay, someone trying to break out of the mold of directing silly comedies, by exposing the U.S.’s financial history and how it caused for the rest of society to go insane, War Dogs shows Phillips trying to do the same thing, but by exposing America’s reliance on guns and arms-dealers, most importantly, this true tale. In fact, the tale is so crazy and wild, that you’d think making a movie and trying to capture that sense of wackiness would be pretty difficult, but honestly, Phillips works well with the material.

It may not be the movie that makes him out to be a voice to be reckoned with, but it’s a step in the right direction away from another Hangover movie.

Anyway, yeah, what works best about War Dogs is that it has such a crazy real-life tale, that all Phillips really has to do is play by the facts of the story and leave it at that. He, as well as the movie, works best at that because there’s a certain sense of seriousness hiding underneath every zany moment; just when you think it’s all “too good to be true”, check it out and guess what? It’s damn true.

War Dogs is also the kind of movie that has a lot of story and ground to cover, yet, handles it quite effortlessly. The movie could have easily been tied-down in trying to explain just how these two bros were able to access all of these weapons in the first place, but instead of focusing down on that so much, they make a mention of it and continue on with these guys’ adventure into becoming legitimate arms-dealers. It’s kind of a silly tale, but it’s one that’s hard not to believe in, nor get tied-up in because there really is an energy and excitement to it that hasn’t been found in any of Phillips’ movies since the first Hangover.

And in ways, War Dogs is a lot less like the Big Short, than it’s more like Blow, or as it wishes, possibly even Scarface.

It’s the kind of movie that we’ve probably seen before, has a whole lot of ambitions that it doesn’t necessarily reach, but is so entertaining and fun when it gets moving, that it’s hard to hold anything against. Phillips does something smart in that he doesn’t focus too much on the small, itty, bitty details and instead, just lets loose and allows for us to watch as these guys rise up the ranks. We know we’re supposed to hate them for what they’re doing and who they’re supplying weapons to, but honestly, it’s so difficult to do so when the ride of watching them become more and more rich, is so much fun to begin with.

And honestly, in a summer that’s been filled with quite a few duds, it’s nice to have a movie that’s having fun with itself, but also ask for the audience to join in it as well.

Miles, guns are bad. Stay away. Unless you can make a pretty penny off of them, then forget about it.

Miles, guns are bad. Stay away. Unless you can make a pretty penny off of them, then forget about it.

That said, War Dogs does run into issues with seeming like it wants to have something more to do and say about what story it’s presenting, but ultimately, drops the ball on that front. Phillips himself seems as if he’s both for and against these guys; he likes how they’ve seemingly used their smarts and cons to get all of the money that they wanted and seem like legitimate businessman while doing so, but at the same time, also doesn’t like how they went about their business-dealings. The movie does toggle with the idea of making money off of terrorists, as opposed to making it off of government agencies, but as soon as its brought up, it goes away.

It’s a bit of a shame, too, because War Dogs does work whenever it seems as if it wants to dig deeper into these characters, their lives, and their relationship with one another. It helps that Teller and Hill are perhaps the most charismatic young actors we have working today, but regardless, the two work so well together that they do feel like best pals, who are absolutely loving everything about life. Teller gets to play his role more meek and quiet this time around, whereas Hill gets to play slimy and gritty, but also showing that he may be a good friend, as well.

The issue is that with these two characters, that’s only who they end up being: Best pals.

They run through certain problems that all business-partners run through and yeah, they also have small squabbles in between, but there’s more of a heart missing to this movie that makes so many of those other crime-dramas work so well. We may not have to like their actions, or better yet, even like them as a whole, but any sort of characteristic that resembles being sympathetic, would definitely help make this journey all the more compelling. It still works as is, don’t get me wrong, but a little more attention to the stuff that counts would have helped out a whole lot.

Consensus: Fast, exciting and above all else, entertaining, War Dogs paints it true story as a typical rags-to-riches story, but with a darker edge, even if it doesn’t always connect with every mark it sets out to hit.

7.5 / 10

True bros.

True bros.

Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire

Advertisements

School for Scoundrels (2006)

Just go out there and try to make it, fellas. What’s the worst that could happen?

Roger (Jon Heder) is a pushover New York City meter maid who can’t score at his job or with his attractive neighbor, Amanda (Jacinda Barrett). He’s basically a lovable loser, but a loser nonetheless. A close friend of Roger’s suggests that he go to a self-help class run by the angry Dr. P (Billy Bob Thornton), who teaches lessons about self-esteem to the biggest losers in the city. There, Roger develops his inner-beast and sooner than later, starts charming the socks off of Amanda. However, while this may be good for Roger, it’s also bad for him, as Dr. P doesn’t like competition, and definitely enjoys taking people down, especially classmates of his. That’s why Roger is absolutely horrified and pissed that Dr. P starts taking Amanda off of his hands and for his own good, making up all sorts of lies and stories about who he really is. Roger may not like this, but knowing what he knows about himself now, is more than up to the task of taking down Dr. P once and for all, and when all is said and done, possibly get the girl of his dreams.

"Nice to meet you. Now let's get this damn movie over with. New CSI is on tonight."

“Nice to meet you. Now let’s get this damn movie over with. New CSI is on tonight.”

Say what you will about what Todd Phillips’ career has turned-out to be, but back in the day, before 2006, he was quite a hot and very interesting commodity. After making two controversial documentaries (Hated, Frat House), one concert flick (Bittersweet Motel), and three raucous comedies (Road Trip, Old School, Starsky & Hutch), it seemed as if Phillips was ready to try something new with his career. Of course, this meant that he would take on a slightly more romantic-comedy route and in that, came the remake of the 1960 classic, School of Scoundrels.

And unfortunately, it brought on a lot of the hate that still haunts him to this day.

Because really, the biggest problem with School for Scoundrels isn’t that it’s a romantic-comedy, it’s that it doesn’t even register as either; the romance is never there between any of the leads and the comedy sure as hell doesn’t even work, give or take a few moments here or there. If anything, it’s the kind of movie where it seems like Phillips is trying to make something work here, but really, both sides don’t connect or even go well hand-in-hand. Had the movie been a lot more vicious and mean like his other comedies, it probably would have worked a lot more, but for some reason, it seems like Phillips has to play nice and soften things up a bit, which doesn’t quite work for anyone in the flick, most importantly, him.

And it’s a shame because you could do a lot with a remake of School of Scoundrels; the subject-material is just interesting enough to comment on sexual mores, but it’s also ripe enough with a lot of comedy to poke fun at masculinity, femininity, and what constitutes as either. Surely, that movie isn’t the one that Phillips had in mind while working here, but still, it’s a disappointment when you watch and know what could happen, had the ones involved given more time, attention and care to really working with the material. Even the dressing-down of the men (by constantly using the term “f**got”), seems cheap and lazy – it’s as if all of the funny jokes and gags that Phillips had to offer were found in his three previous flicks and that’s all he had to offer.

But honestly, the main reason why School for Scoundrels is a bit of a bummer, is because its ensemble is so talented, so funny, and so entertaining in so many other movies, that here, to just watch them all flop around and not have much to do, is quite dispiriting.

Ha! Ha! Right?

Ha! Ha! Right?

To name just a tad few, aside from the two main stars, School for Scoundrels features Paul Scheer, Horatio Sanz, Sarah Silverman, Todd Louiso, Aziz Ansari, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Cross, Matt Walsh, Jon Glaser, Ben Stiller, and so many more that, on many, many occasions, have proven to be hilarious, however, here, they’re just not. Most of them try and make something out of seemingly nothing, but most of the time, the movie’s uneven script and direction just leaves them high and dry – Silverman may be the only one who gets away with any sort of laughs, which mostly has to do with the fact that she’s seemingly playing the usual bitch-y sort of role she’s always played.

But then, of course, there’s Billy Bob Thornton and Jon Heder, and yeah, they just do not work well here. Billy Bob Thornton turns in another one of his lazier roles, where you can tell that he’s just doing this flick for a paycheck, reading his lines in the driest way possible, all so that he can go off, hop back in his trailer, and take another nap. He’s supposed to be this incredibly pompous, but smart a-hole, but doesn’t come off as either; Billy Bob being an a-hole is normally a blast to watch, but here, he just doesn’t seem spirited enough to bother.

And then there’s Jon Heder, who, yes, is pretty awful.

But honestly, I don’t know if it’s really his fault; he’s supposed to play this character that’s a total nerd, but also turns out to be something of a bad-ass once the plot gets going and just can’t pull it off. The movie constantly tries to make it work, but Heder just doesn’t seem to have that ability in his acting-skills to make that work, so instead, he just flails around and acts a lot like Napoleon Dynamite. It’s a shame, too, because aside from Dynamite, Heder can be funny, but he just doesn’t have the goods here.

Sadly, out of everyone’s careers here, his was probably affected the most and never to be heard from again.

Consensus: Despite its talented cast and crew, School for Scoundrels wastes them all on an unfunny script, that doesn’t know if it wants to be romantic, mean, or stupid, so instead, tries to go for all three and fails completely.

2.5 / 10

My thoughts exactly, guys.

My thoughts exactly, guys.

Photos Courtesy of: Pop Matters, Rotten Tomatoes, Christophe Beck

Starsky & Hutch (2004)

Probably the tamest movie I’ve ever seen that says “coke” about 15 times. And I’m not referring to the soda, although if it were the late 1800’s, I would be referring to both I guess, right?

Detective David Starsky (Ben Stiller) is all about following the rules, getting the job, and having the law come out on-top, at any means necessary; Detective Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson (Owen Wilson) is far different in the way that he’s so cool, calm, relaxed, and mellowed-out, that he doesn’t really care if he gets the job done or not, he just wants to look cool and smokin’. They’re polar-opposites, but they get strung together somehow and have to solve a drug-ring of coke on the streets, lead by millionaire Reese Feldman (Vince Vaughn). Together, they have their fair-share of problems, but together, through the insistence on getting along and the help of their ears and eyes of the street, Huggy Bear (Snoop Dogg), they finally realize that the law always prevails. Or something of that nature.

It’s strange to think that a man who has been known for his fair share of R-rated, raunch-fests, Todd Phillips, would ever stoop so low as to go for a PG-13. But somehow, with this, he did and his struggle with actually trying to keep to that rating without over-stepping it at all. As I said up-top, there’s plenty uses of the word “coke” and nothing but; girls make-out with other girls; the F-bomb is dropped once (and randomly); partial-nudity is seen (sort of); and the word “shit” gets dropped about 5 or 6 times. It’s just strange because we know that when Phillips turns on the dirty-jets, he has a fun time and lets loose like no other, but what we mostly know is that when he does get down and dirty: he’s a lot funnier as well.

Whatta fun time!

Whatta fun time!

And trust me, it’s not that this flick isn’t funny, because it sure as hell does have it’s moments of comedic-inspiration that are more than likely going to win you over; it’s just that the tone itself is a bit uneven. What I mean by that is that the flick tries to go for a satire of an episode of the original Starsky & Hutch, and at other times, seems like it’s trying to be a straight-forward comedy that makes up it’s own jokes, is in it’s own little universe, and doesn’t even know about the other show. Hell, it even plays out like a failed-pilot of the original, except with more knowing-humor and a switch-up of the lead characters.

Since the movie never seems like it knows what it wants to be, or how for that matter, some comedy hits and some of it misses. More of it hits than actually misses, but knowing what Stiller, Wilson, Vaughn, Ferrell, and even Phillips are capable of, it comes as a bit of a disappointment. The jokes they use get a bit stale after awhile, especially the part where Starsky is high on cocaine and gets into a dance-battle, even though he doesn’t know he’s high, and become the same old, “70’s-fashion-was-so-corny”-type of humor. Nothing as witty or as smart as Zoolander or even Old School here, just a bunch of repetitive jokes made towards the decade it’s apparently supposed to take place in, even if it feels like we’re just watching a bunch of current-Hollywood stars play dress-up and act like their in the 70’s. I don’t know if being a tad bit anachronistic was the movie’s point or not, but if it was; it probably would have been a lot smarter and funnier in that case.

But in all honesty, I can’t discredit this movie too much cause the cast seems to be having fun and is mostly the reasons why we find ourselves laughing at times, despite it seeming a bit desperate at times. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are seemingly playing Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. They both seem to be enjoying themselves, not having to stretch their acting-muscles all that much, and getting a chance to dress in some fine, sexy 70’s digs. Together, they’re a bunch of fun and keep this movie cracking, but after awhile, you start to think how much of this movie was made because they really wanted to make a Starsky & Hutch movie, or how much of it was made as an excuse for the two to pal-around with one another? One has to wonder, and sometimes, it feels like the latter-aspect. It’s fun to watch them, but it feels like their having a bit more fun than we are and that poses a problem, especially when they’re trying to steal the laughs out of you.

Come on! Gimme more!

Come on! Gimme more!

On paper, having Vince Vaughn do his spastic, fast-speech act and Jason Bateman do his dead-pan act, team together, and play the smart, but slightly off-kilter baddies in a movie would seem like comedic-brilliance, but it never musters up any of the courage to really keep them funny or relevant all that much. Vaughn seems like he’s bored being serious and conning, whereas Bateman actually seems like he’s bored, and isn’t just using that to his and his character’s advantage. He actually seems like he’s bored and wants to get his check, so he could get the hell home and get ready to film another season of Arrested Development. Also, any movie that has thew chance to showcase Juliette Lewis and her comedic-talents as the dumb, trashy-chick in the movie, but squander that potential, has seemingly all but lost points from yours truly. The girl is not only a foxy mama, but she’s pretty damn funny, especially when she’s given the chance to be.

Others in this cast that show up do what they can like Snoop Dogg, who actually has some of the funnier-moments in the whole flick of funny people; Carmen Electra and Amy Smart show up to only make-out and provide some sex-appeal for a movie that didn’t need any, and when it finally got it’s chance to showcase it, made it seem more misogynistic than titillating; and actual cameos from the original guys, David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser, who made it funny just being there, but once I got to thinking about it, made it almost seem like the film was making fun of them and how hell-bent-out-of-shape they seem to have gotten. Poor guys. Oh well, they probably got a nice, healthy paycheck from this. Just like Bateman. Although, needless to say, he probably made that paycheck last.

Consensus: Bits and pieces of Starsky & Hutch seem inspired enough to transpire plenty of inspired moments of comedy, but not too many as the flick struggles to make up it’s mind of what type of comedy it wants to be, or even make us laugh at all.

6 / 10

"1, 2, 3 and to tha 4, Huggy Bear is at tha doe."

“One, two, three and to tha foe, Huggy Bear is at tha doe.”

Photo’s Credit to: Thecia.Com.Au

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.

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!!

Due Date (2010)

These are the last two people I’d ever go on a trip with.

When high-powered Los Angeles business executive Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.) gets stuck in Atlanta during a snowstorm that grounds all flights just days before his pregnant wife’s due date, he hitches a ride across the country with slacker Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis). As Peter desperately tries to get home, he must deal with Ethan’s laid-back attitude, numerous delays and several mishaps in this road trip comedy. Jamie Foxx co-stars.

This film is being heavily promoted as the next big from from Todd Phillips, or as you mainstream audiences may know, “the dude who did The Hangover”. However, the problem is that is the only thing going for it.

The problem with this film is that it’s screenplay is terrible. Actually terrible is not right because, occasionally, there are a few funny moments, very few, but they are just watered over, by the sometimes numerous awkward, heavily violent, and lazy jokes that came through with this film. I get the whole concept of these stupid comedies, because in all honesty, I like them, but this film offers nothing really funny, and at times, the comedy just falls short way too many times, and your just stuck wondering, if it was meant to be a joke, or just something you wouldn’t find funny, but because it’s these two, it’s absolutely hilarious. The problem is, I didn’t ponder any of those thoughts at all, this film just wasn’t funny. I almost felt like the creators said: “The Hangover 2 is going to take about 6 months to write, let’s just make a film that will take about 6 minutes to write”.

The places this film takes are incredibly unbelievable. There are moments where these guys almost practically die on the road, because the driver falls asleep, and they do a 360 in the air. I also noticed a lot of comedy directed towards these guys getting there asses kicked, or to them almost dying. There’s nothing funny about near-death experiences people, so stop with the harsh slapstick in comedy.

I was probably more disappointed by the fact that I was expecting so much more from these two. I understand the whole odd-couple mismatch that the film was going for, but in order for that to work, you got to have two actors that can create a good chemistry that will last through out. This doesn’t have that at all. Robert Downey Jr.‘s character disappointed me, because I was expecting him to be a bit more likable, and at least a little funny, unintentionally, but he was just too mean to be likable or funny. I know he was trying to play against type, but for God’s sake man, it’s a comedy, be funny somehow! Zach Galifianakis is funny, but he is just too over-exposed by now, and I really do think he needs to slow down, before he becomes a bore to every film he is in. These two try their hardest to bring laughs, but they just can’t, and I think they would have been able to, with different material. There are also some funny spots from Danny McBride, Jamie Foxx, Juliette Lewis, and RZA. But not enough to make this film better, actually not even the master-bating French bulldog can do that.

Consensus: What should have been hilarious, mostly due to the fact of the talent involved, Due Date turns into a unfunny, lazily written, bore-fest, that tries hard to be funny, and just ends up being a huge failure for all involved. Let’s hope Hangover 2 is better.

2/10=SomeOleBullShitt!!!

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!!!