Archive for the Comedy Category

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip

Posted in Comedy, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Through a series of misunderstandings, Alvin, Simon and Theodore come to believe that Dave is going to propose to his new girlfriend in Miami…and dump them. They have three days to get to him and stop the proposal, saving themselves not only from losing Dave but possibly from gaining a terrible stepbrother.

What people are saying:

“In some respects, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip is a marginal improvement over prior installments, although this in no way qualifies as a recommendation.” 1 star

“A cute and harmless family movie which will definitely gain the approval of the kids as the three most famous chipmunks venture to Miami with a stereotypical rebelling teen. Despite a predictable plot, the film makes a decent enough movie for children to enjoy.” 3 stars

“I think Alvin and the Chipmunks franchise should’ve quit after the second movie. The third one was boring at best. We had four kids with us. They were pretty bored after the first 30 minutes. There were some good songs but they did not make up for the very forced story line. Save your money and watch it on a rental.” 2 stars

“Irritating characters, little semblance of a plot, weak gags, and sub-par performances … result in a film that doesn’t even have enough going on to interest a five-year-old.” 1 star

“Definitely better than the third movie, which, unfortunately, was pretty lame. “The Road Chip” had some great music and was genuinely funny in many places. Though I agree with some other reviews that this was not a movie particularly geared toward young children, I think that young adults ages 12 or 13 on up, including adults, would really appreciate it. Younger children would like the music and some of the comedic lines and scenes, too.” 4 stars

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement

Posted in Chick Flicks, Comedy, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Five years after the first film, Crown Princess of Genovia Amelia “Mia” Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) has just graduated from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School and is returning to Genovia with her bodyguard Joe (Héctor Elizondo). There, she will await her reign once her grandmother, Queen Clarisse (Julie Andrews), steps down as Queen. During Mia’s 21st birthday party, she dances with all the eligible bachelors in hope of finding a husband. She becomes attracted to a handsome gentleman named Nicholas (Chris Pine). During the course of the night, Mia’s tiara falls off and is caught by a Member of Parliament, Viscount Mabrey (John Rhys-Davies) who secretly plans to steal Mia’s crown. While the Parliament is in-session the next morning, Mia stumbles upon a hidden room that allows her to secretly listen in. Viscount Mabrey reveals his nephew, Lord Devereaux, is another heir to the Genovian throne. Despite Queen Clarisse’s objection, the only way Mia can assume her duties as Queen is if she marries within the month. Clarisse invites Lord Devereaux to stay at the palace, while Mia is shocked to discover Lord Devereaux is Nicholas. Mia’s best friend Lilly Moscovitz (Heather Matarazzo) surprises her by visiting. Together, they pick through potential husbands. Mia eventually chooses Andrew Jacoby (Callum Blue), Duke of Kenilworth and days later they are engaged. Mabrey plans to have Nicholas woo Mia and dissolve the engagement.

For a ceremony, Mia is to ride sidesaddle but does not know how. Queen Clarisse provides an ancestral wooden leg decoy to make it look like she’s riding sidesaddle. Mabrey spooks Mia’s horse with a rubber snake and Joe rushes to Mia’s aide, but accidentally tears off the wooden leg. Humiliated, Mia flees to the stables, where Nicholas fails to comfort her. At a garden party, Mia and Nicholas quarrel about Mia’s relationship with Andrew; Nicholas tricks Mia into admitting she doesn’t love him. Angered, she argues but instead gets bombarded by a kiss. At first, she kisses him back but then backs away. Nicholas pursues her even more, which causes both of them to fall into a fountain. Queen Clarisse finally tells Mia that her behavior with Nicholas needs to stop.

During the Genovian Independence Day parade, Mia sees some boys picking on a little girl (Abigail Breslin), and abruptly halts the parade to comfort the girl. Learning the children are orphans, Mia has a vendor give them all tiaras and lets them walk with her in the parade. Everyone is impressed by her act of generosity, while Mabrey sees it as a political maneuver. Mia later decides to convert one of the royal palaces into a temporary children’s center. That night, Mia has her bachelorette/sleepover party, where Queen Clarisse surfs on a mattress and sings a duet with Princess Asana (Raven-Symoné), one of Mia’s good friends. In the meantime, Mabrey realizes Nicholas has fallen for Mia, but Nicholas says that Mia will never love him. Nicholas comes upon Mia as she is practicing her archery as part of her coronation rites. He helps her succeed in getting the arrow to hit the bullseye, something she had been struggling with. Nicholas then informs Mia that he is leaving, but asks to see her just one more time before he goes. She declines, saying she is under close guard.

That night, Nicholas appears outside Mia’s window and asks her to come out. Lilly encourages her to go, and Mia sneaks out. They ride out to a lake where they share secrets, dance and eventually fall asleep. They awaken to find a man in a boat videotaping them. Mia thinks Nicholas set her up, while he insists he had no idea. By the time Mia gets back to the palace, the scandalous footage is already being broadcast. Andrew is disappointed and kisses Mia to see if there is a romantic spark between them. They realize they do not love each other, but do not call off the wedding for the good of Genovia. The wedding is to take place the following day, and Mia’s mother Helen (Caroline Goodall) comes with her new husband Patrick (Sean O’Bryan) and their newborn son Trevor. Nicholas decides against attending, but his surly housekeeper Gretchen informs him that Mabrey engineered their televised scandal.

Right before the wedding, Joe informs Mia that Nicholas is innocent. Queen Clarisse encourages Mia to follow her heart, something she has never done and has now cost her Joe, the only man she truly loved. Mia reenters the church, and after pointing out how her grandmother has ruled Genovia while unmarried for a number of years, she tells the members of parliament in the audience to consider the significant women in their lives (such as their wives, sisters, daughters and nieces) and questions if they would have them do what they’re trying to force her to do (marrying people they don’t love). Mabrey cites the law again and once again suggests that his nephew be named King, but just then, Nicholas not only refuses the crown, but also disowns Mabrey as his uncle. Mia proposes the law on royal marriages be abolished, and the Parliament unanimously gives its assent. Encouraged by Mia to have her own happy ending, Clarisse proposes to Joe and they are promptly married.

About a week later, Mia is preparing for her coronation when Nicholas shows up. He professes his love for Mia on bended knees, and they share a romantic kiss. The next day, Mia is crowned “Her Majesty Amelia Mignonette Thermopolis Renaldi, Queen of Genovia”, with all in attendance in the royal palace.

An epilogue shows that Genovian Parliament now allows female members, one of whom is Charlotte. And Queen Mia officially opens the children’s home

REVIEW:

Sometimes when the end credits roll on a film you wonder if you will ever see the characters again and what will they be up to the next time we see them, should we be privileged enough to see them again. This was the case with The Princess Diaries. The film ended in a way that left the audience wondering what happens next. Enter The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, a film that I swear I was not meant to see (up until tonight, I have never been able to watch it straight through for various reasons). With all that aside, let’s see if this film is comparable to its predecessor.

What is this about?

Directed by Garry Marshall, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement picks up where its predecessor left off — that is, with American teenager Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) reeling over the news that she is a princess within the royal family of Genovia, a little-known European nation with a population of barely 50,000. As promised, Mia, along with her best friend, Lilly (Heather Matarazzo), travels to Genovia after their high-school graduation. The unlikely princess has hardly settled into the castle, let alone begun representing the country, when she learns that a larger title is approaching more rapidly than expected; it seems as though Mia will have to take over as queen. Suddenly, in addition to further schooling on the etiquette of royalty, Mia finds herself with a daunting prospect — according to Genovian law, all princesses must be married before they can be crowned.

What did I like?

One more once. Not too long before the first film was made, Julie Andrews underwent surgery on her throat/vocal chords. The operation was a success, but she was no longer allowed to sing. I’m not sure what happened, but we get a song from her during the slumber party, albeit nowhere near as strong a vocal performance as we expect from her. Still, it is great to hear her sing a few notes.

In her skin. In this second time out, Anne Hathaway, as Princess Mia, seems much more confident both as an actress and the character as a royal. Can you imagine what this would have been like if she was still bumbling around like she was when we first met her? Granted, she does still have those moments that remind us that while she is the would be queen, the clumsy prep school girl is still in there somewhere.

Grandmother. Julie Andrews’ character is on her way out of the royal spotlight and off the throne as Mia takes her rightful place as ruler of Genovia. It is because of this that I think she is able to not be such a “stick in the mud” and be more of a grandmother towards her granddaughter. We get a few scenes where she is chewing her out, of course, but for the most part, she is the dream grandmother we all wish we had. She had poise, class, elegance, compassion…not to mention she’s Julie Freakin’ Andrews!!!

What didn’t I like?

Nevermore. Aside from her best friend, Lily, who was flown in from California (and felt a bit forced into the film), Mia seems to be close to Princess Asana. There are two glaring issues I want to bring up with this. First, if they are so close, why is Asana only in a couple of scenes? Second, who is she? How did they meet? Why are they so close? Mia grew up with Lily and they were both outsider freaks in high school, so we know that’s why they were so close, but with Asana, we get none of that. She’s just a random character that gets to sing with Julie Andrews.

Formula 1. Is it me or with every film, book, or tv show that involves a royal change of power of sorts, we get someone who wants to prove they are next in line. This is such a cliché’ nowadays. One could tell what was going to happen before it actually does, just by the film’s title and the type of film this is. Come on filmmakers, be creative!

Lionel. Joe, who is retiring when the Queen leaves the throne, is sacked with an intern in his last days. What I found odd about this guy was how he reminded me of Michael from the first film, but with darker skin and slightly shorter hair. This got me thinking…with the way Mia fawned over Michael in the first film, wouldn’t it have been a cool idea for him to show up as Lionel in disguise and be her dream ending? Of course, then Chris Pine’s whole character in this film would be worthless, but he goes on too much bigger and better things after this, so he’ll be fine.

Final verdict on The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement? Let’s see…it repeats some of the same notes from the first film. The soundtrack isn’t as catchy this go-round. Chemistry among the characters is so-so, but I actually believed it in the archery scene with Hathaway and Pine. The mattress surfing scene was perhaps the most fun part of the film. Do I recommend this? Yes, a good (non animated) family film is hard to find. While not great, it is somewhat entertaining and that’s worth something. However, I would suggest going for the first film, if you can.

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

Swing State

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on May 14, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Seattle based rock DJ, Ethan Smith, hosts a popular radio program called Ears Wide Shut which appeals to his passion for music but unfortunately, pays a very low wage. When the conservative host of a right wing program also featured on the radio station goes missing, Ethan is called in to cover his absence. Donning a wig and bowtie, he invents the persona, Charles Fern, and brands himself “the new voice for the Right”. Ethan intends the charade to be a one-time deal but his listeners find that the fictitious Fern is the tough talker they have been desperate to hear. When the talk show enjoys a huge spike in ratings following Ethan’s hosting gig, he is asked to take over the high-paying host job full-time and pushed onto the national stage where he may make history but lose everything that matters to him in the process.

What people are saying:

“Swing State goes for light and broad comedy, while mocking both sides.” 2 1/2 stars

“Initially I didn’t know what to expect when I put the film on but as I continued to watch I found it to be a wonderful movie. It had a lot of humorous moments and a well written story line. I think it had a fun flare to add to all this political talk we have had going on. If you enjoy a good story line and whity movie give this one a go!” 5 stars

“I loved this movie! Definitely brought a new flare to political movies at least for me. I thought the acting and writing was well done and overall it was a great film.” 5 stars

“What happened to these actors? Why? This is an awful movie. Everything about it is really bad. The writing, acting and directing are shameful.” 1/2 star

“This is a dumb idea poorly executed. The worst writing of any film I have seen in the last year at least. The dialogue is stupid. The acting is pathetic. Beh looks like a fool. The movie is sexist and instead of being satirical is really just bad. The director could not save the terrible writing. Taryn Manning should pretend she never did this film.” 1/2 star

The Lizzie McGuire Movie

Posted in Chick Flicks, Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on April 29, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Thirteen-year-old Lizzie McGuire and her pals Gordo, Kate and Ethan all pack their bags and plan to live la dolce vita while on a class trip to Italy. Once there, Lizzie is mistaken for pop star Isabella and begins to falls for Paolo, Isabella’s handsome, Italian pop star former boyfriend. When Lizzie’s mom, dad and annoying brother Matt get wind of this, they all jet their way to the boot country. In the meantime, Lizzie is transformed from a gawky teen to a beautiful pop star, Gordo struggles to understand his true feelings for her, and a whirlwind of surprising events force Lizzie to find the true meaning of friendship.

What people are saying:

“As driving-around-in-the-car-with-the-top-down, putting-on-your-lip-gloss, loving-life moviemaking, it’s all good.” 3 stars

“I’m sure every Lizzie McGuire fan will enjoy this movie. It’s just practically a Disney Channel Original Movie on the big screen. Parents, you’ll be bored. I also can’t handle Hilary Duff’s painfully unbearable auto-tuned musical performance at the end.” 2 stars

“A light movie to view to raise your spirits. Cute, sweet, and predictable, but in a bearable way. Nothing to remember, maybe not a classic, but nice for a quick watch with friends when boredom strikes.” 3 stars

“Cute, sweet, funny and watchable. We were never big fans of the series but the movie does satisfy. Though tween girls are the film’s demographic, it has humor for guys and adults. Good family film. ” 3 stars

“Let’s face it: Lizzie McGuire (Hilary Duff) is just too darn polished to be a junior-high underdog, even by the standards of her ‘luxe suburban environs’. But that hasn’t tarnished her comeback-kid cred among the six-and-ups who faithfully follow her Disney Channel show—and it doesn’t make The Lizzie McGuire Movie, a clever, agreeably weightless theatrical outing, any less enjoyable” 3 1/2 stars

The Boss

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on April 27, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The story follows Michelle Darnell, a titan of industry who is sent to prison for insider trading, denounced by her former lover, Renault, who still holds a heavy grudge towards her for their breakup, after getting a promotion a few years ago. After doing her time, Michelle emerges, ready to rebrand herself as America’s latest sweetheart, but not everyone she steamrolled is so quick to forgive and forget. With nowhere to go and no one to scam, Michelle is forced to move in with former assistant Claire and her young daughter, Rachel. Now at her lowest point, Michelle wastes no time in devising a winner-take-all plan to rebuild her empire.

What people are saying:

“Even though The Boss is co-written by McCarthy and her husband, director Ben Falcone (who should know his wife’s strengths better), the film often strands its title character in shrill one-note caricature, mostly unchallenged.” 2 stars

“A very disappointing movie – its cast should be able to pull off a comedy with this premise, but to call the script and/or editing lackluster would be an understatement.” 1 star

“You’ll know what brand of comedy you’re going in for before the movie even starts, but ‘The Boss’ did enough for me to keep me around and entertained.” 3 1/2 stars

“Funny, but not hilarious, flick from McCarthy. Strangely distracting with the turtle necks, scarves and high-neck blouses McCarthy was wearing throughout the film” 2 1/2 stars

“Formulaic comes to mind. Bad person with redemption in the end. Try and true archetypal story. It had it’s entertaining moments, but just did not catch me with the story. Melissa just was not nasty enough in her Martha Stewart’ish role. If the movie started out with her mean at the beginning; then slowly filled in the back-story, it probably would have been better. Kathy Bates had that meaness that was needed. Always happy to see Dinklage on the screen-but it will not go down as one of his finer performances. Kristen Bell did a fine job; for some reason I am slowly warming up to her.” 3 stars

It Happened in Athens

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , on April 20, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In 1896 it is announced that the Olympic Games will be revived in Athens. A young shepherd, Spiridon Loues, decides to enter the 26-mile marathon. Once in Athens, he meets Christina Gratsos, a young woman from his hometown who is now the personal maid of Eleni Costa, Greece’s most glamorous actress. Though he has arrived after the qualification date, Spiridon’s athletic prowess so impresses Coach Graham of the American team that he is permitted to enter the contest. Eleni informs the press that she will marry the victor, confident it will be her lover, Lieutenant Vinardos.

What people are saying:

“In 1962 It Happened In Athens was released. Jayne Mansfield’s contract was up at Fox. A flm, at least a little different from her usual roles. Jayne fans love her in anything.” 4 stars

“Jayne has a supporting role but gets top billing and is playing against type. Jayne plays a self absorbed stage actress and is a little villainous. I think it was meant to be a vehicle for introducing Trax Colton to the movies and they needed a big star to carry the movie, so they put Jayne in. Jayne looks mesmerizing in this film. I wish Fox would put it on an official DVD, though they do show it on the Fox Movie Channel sometimes. Trax plays a Greek shepherd boy trying to enter the first Olympics. Jayne plays a glamorous stage actress who promises to marry one of the winners of one of the games. Jayne’s acting is inspired and even though she has a supporting role, she is the one you will be watching the film for. This movie has a reputation of being one of Jayne’s ‘loan out’ film roles for Fox, but in fact this was a major motion picture big budget movie filmed in 1960 and was made in Cinemascope. ” 5 stars

If the movie were made by the Walt Disney studio, it would have been great!” 1 1/2 stars

“I found it rather difficult to watch this film all the way through. The acting was uninspired, the story was weak, and overall it just dragged.There were moments that were intended to be humorous that just fell flat. The actors don’t seem interested in giving there all here for the most part. Maria Xenia makes some effort, but given the weak script there is little she could do. I do think that it could have been interesting had there been a little more focus on the Olympics aspect and less on Mansfield’s character attempting to seduce Colton’s character. The seduction falls flat on screen. And it seems the actors are just embarrassing themselves.” 3 stars

“This is a frivolous light hearted comedy about about Greek farm boy, Trax Colton, who decides to enter the first Olympics in 1896. The movie follows his struggles through to his success. It’s amusing to watch the primitive conditions athletes competed under back then, and the lack of formality. Real-life Olympic hero Bob Mathias plays the American captain. A real attraction is Jayne Mansfield, who as a beauty promises to marry the winner of the marathon. She appears in a number of skimpy, revealing costumes, trying to tempt the virtuous Colton, to humorous effect. ” 4 stars

Turner & Hooch

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on April 19, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Tom Hanks stars as fastidious detective Scott Turner, who’s saddled with a slobbering new partner: a dog named Hooch. The pup’s previous owner was killed, and he and Turner team up to collar the culprit.

What people are saying:

“From the moment when Hooch first appears to the strains of Strauss’ ‘Also sprach Zarathustra’, the gags can be smelt a mile off, and the thriller elements are as hackneyed as an episode of Murder She Wrote.” 2 stars

“I didn’t expect to like this movie at all and was pleasantly surprised. You can’t go too far wrong with Tom Hanks, though. Of course the dog is going to eat the shoes and furniture and slobber all over Tom, but if you look beyond that, the relationship between the man and dog is portrayed very well and realistically. Nice characters, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but overall very enjoyable film! ” 3 stars

“This movie is super fun, and highlights a great relationship between man and man’s best friend. It was funny at times and thrilling at times, but I would mainly characterize this movie as sentimental. Tom Hanks is a superb actor and there was never a dog who could have played a better hooch.” 4 stars

“I watched this movie back in the 80’s and thought I would watch it again. I couldn’t make it through this movie more than 40 minutes. I love Tom Hanks and he was great but that ugly DROOLING dog, YUCK. Too much of the movie was focused on scenes of the dog destroying things, growling, barking, and drooling on everything. It just makes you want to throw up. ” 2 stars

“Tom Hanks is an obsessive-compulsive cop who takes in a filthy, slobbish French Mastiff when it’s the only witness to a murder. Basically The Odd Couple with a dog. It’s predictable and formulaic to the bone, but hits a strange nerve that allows us to overlook its shortcomings and appreciate the sweetness of the ride. Hanks is largely to thank for that, at the top of his game very early in his dramatic career. Though a few not-so-surprising supporting actors pop in from time to time, (Reginald VelJohnson as a policeman? What a shock!) it’s almost entirely a one-man show that sails beyond expectations on the merits of his lone performance. In fact, the closest competition is Beasley the dog, who’s absurdly emotive and personable throughout the film. He and Hanks make for a great team, as silly as that might sound, and it’s easy to tell that a lot of their best scenes were ad-libs that miraculously avoided the cutting room floor. Funny, bittersweet movie magic that really has no business being as entertaining as it is.” 4 stars