Archive for Jennifer Love Hewitt

Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In the sequel to the hit comedy Sister Act, Whoopie Goldberg reprises her role of Deloris Van Cartier, a Las Vegas entertainer who hid out with in a convent of nuns to avoid a nasty bunch of gangsters. In Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, Deloris is persuaded to return to the convent by the Mother Superior (Maggie Smith), because her help is needed in teaching their choral students at St. Francis High in San Francisco. However, St. Francis is in a crisis, since the administrator running the school (James Coburn) is threatening to shut the place down. If the gospel choir wins first place in a singing contest in Los Angeles, St. Francis will be saved from the priest’s plans.

What people are saying:

“While the kids may sing a storm when at last they get down to mixing Beethoven, gospel and rap, in the good clean fun department this is monumentally weak and derivative.” 2 stars

“One must remember this is sequel and will probably not be as good as the first movie. Personally I really don’t like sequels all that much but see them anyway. Most of time they have the same plot as the first one. If the first film made a lot of money, It will continue on the same theme without being that good because they don’t have be to make money. So one should keep that in mind when viewing this movie. It’s okay but with no suprises. Whoopi Goldberg usually does well in comedies and will probably to continue with this type of role. In this movie she helps school children with their music abilities they don’t seem to know that they have until she as a nun comes along. A good movie but certainly not a great one. See the movie and form your own opinions. ” 3 stars

“I love this movie — Lauryn Hill singing, Maggie Smith vs. James Coburn, just wonderful music. I don’t know why it got such a low rating…I’ve gotta watch it every year at least. It’s such fun! Look at the discrepancy between the audience reviews and the critics — critics can’t always tell you what’s going to life your heart. She even quotes my favorite poet/philosopher Rilke. I’m a songwriter with major label credits and I just love the music — Lauryn Hill singing His Eye Is on the Sparrow slays me…and the final competition number is absolute joy. Glee fans should enjoy it too!” 5 stars

“Unfortunately, the sequel took a very cliche attempt of “reaching the children’s hearts” and tried for a more heartwarming feel good kind of film while the plot seemed to kill whoopi’s skills in comedy, since her comedy from the first film would have been somewhat inappropriate for this film. However what wasn’t filtered of Whoopi’s humour is worth at least knew watch even though it’s more or less a film that has you saying “I’d rather watch the good one”. Whoopi at least saves ut to be a half decent movie even though the script seems fairly unbelievable and predictable.” 2 1/2 stars

“It’s heart is definitely in the right place, but only the Good Lord Above knows where the hell its brain is. Goldberg throws her nun disguise back on for absolutely no reason, other than to lead an aged plot concerning a class of unruly kids learning to respect one another, and themselves. It turns out to be nice enough, and the music is as awesome as ever. But while the first one was loveably daft, this one’s just numbingly stupid.” 2 stars

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Can’t Hardly Wait

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on December 20, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film revolves around an eclectic group of students from Pennsylvania attending a high school graduation party at a large house owned by a rich class member’s family. Each character has different plans for the night. Preston Myers (Ethan Embry) plans to proclaim his love to his four-year secret crush, to whom he has never had the nerve to speak before, prom queen Amanda Beckett (Jennifer Love Hewitt), who has recently been dumped by her jock boyfriend, Mike Dexter (Peter Facinelli) who is targeted by nerd classmate William Lichter (Charlie Korsmo), who is plotting revenge against Mike for years of bullying.

Denise Fleming (Lauren Ambrose) has no intention of going to the party but is dragged along by Preston. Kenny Fisher (Seth Green) is a wigger who plans on losing his virginity by the end of the night. When he goes into the upstairs bathroom to “get ready”, Denise happens to walk in. After getting locked inside, the pair of former friends begin talking about how they drifted apart; their conversation eventually leads to the restoration of their friendship and then escalates into them having sex.

At the party, Amanda deals with being alternately consoled by the drunken girlfriends of Mike’s jock friends and her own cousin (who tries to hit on her) and tries to figure out if she truly has an identity beyond being known as “Mike Dexter’s girlfriend”. At one point, she discovers a letter addressed to her. Unbeknownst to her, the letter was written by Preston. After reading and being moved by its contents, she makes it her mission to find him.

Before the party, Mike convinces his fellow jock friends to follow his lead and dump their girlfriends to make a pact in which they all pledge to remain single as they go to college. Later on, an intoxicated Mike learns from a guy named Trip McNeely (Jerry O’Connell in a cameo) — a graduate and former stud from his high school — that in college, guys like them are “a dime a dozen”. This reality is even driven in further by the fact that Trip emphasizes how he dumped his girlfriend in the same fashion that Mike did to score with women which was unsuccessful. Terrified, Mike tries to get Amanda back, but she replies that she is happier without him and humiliates him in front of everyone at the party.

At the same time, William devises his plan to get revenge on Mike. He has his two even more nerdy, X-Files-obsessed friends wait on the roof, while he goes into the party to drive Mike out. However, while inside the party, William begins drinking alcohol to fit in. After a while, he drinks enough to make him forget what he was originally doing there and then an impromptu sing-along to Guns N’ Roses’ “Paradise City” causes him to become popular for the evening. William begins talking with Mike, and Mike apologizes for bullying him. William forgives him, and the two of them seemingly become friends. When Mike and William are jailed as a result of a police bust, Mike takes the blame, saying that he forced William into drinking. However, the next morning when William sees Mike and some of his friends at a local diner, he tries to thank Mike for taking the fall. But Mike acts as though he remembers nothing of what happened the previous night and proceeds to ridicule him in front of his friends. William, feeling the sting of betrayal, leaves dejected while Mike laughs with his friends.

Meanwhile, Preston eventually finds Amanda and confesses his love; however, she assumes he is another drunk pervert and rejects him. She later finds a yearbook, sees his picture, and realizes her mistake. She tries to find Preston again, but he has already driven home. The next morning, Preston is at a railway station, about to leave. Amanda visits Preston at the station and asks him about the letter. Preston confesses he wrote it and that he is about to depart for a pre-college writing workshop with Kurt Vonnegut. The two regretfully say their goodbyes; but soon after, Preston stops and runs back to Amanda, and they kiss.

As the film ends, the characters’ fates are revealed:
-Seven hours later, Preston finally got on a train to Boston. Amanda wrote him a letter for every day that he was away. They are still together.
-The day after the party, Denise and Kenny meet up in a diner; five minutes later, Denise dumped Kenny. Ten minutes later, they found a bathroom and got back together.
-Mike went on to college but, after drinking too much, lost his football scholarship. He ended up forty pounds overweight and working at the car wash, a job he lost when incriminating Polaroids surfaced.
-William became one of the most popular students at Harvard. He went on to form his own computer company that has made him worth millions, and he is dating a supermodel.
-William’s two nerdy friends were abducted by aliens after discussing that they did not miss anything by not attending the party

REVIEW:

Remember graduating high school and then going off to get drunk at this huge party at someone’s house where you were sure to confront the bully and tell the girl of your dreams your true feeling for her? Yeah, me neither, but that’s why we have films like Can’t Hardly Wait.

What is this about?

At a wild party, newly minted high school graduates celebrate and ponder the future — including love-struck dork Preston Meyers, who tries to work up the courage to act on his feelings for beautiful prom queen Amanda Beckett.

What did I like?

Relatable. Often in films like this, the characters are so unrelatable that the audience just turns into mindless zombies watching a flick, rather than engaging in the story (or lack thereof). Seriously, how many of us are rich socialites living in Beverly Hills (as an example)? Now, a somewhat geeky guy who had a crush on a girl who never gave him the time of day, had a girl for a best friend, and was known by all the classmates, but not popular is a character I can really relate to. Make him a band geek and that pretty much was me in high school. I’m sure other people will relate to the other characters, no matter who they are.

Names. Some of the characters don’t necessarily get named, but I just watched the credits and saw names like “Ready to Have Sex Girl”, “Reminiscing Guy”, “Girl Whose House It Is”, “Yearbook Girl”, etc. I got a little chuckle out of this, because it just goes to show that this is not a film to be taken too seriously. It is basically a teen movie, after all (even if the case is almost all in their late 20s and 30s).

Soundtrack. The songs selected for use on the soundtrack and that play during the film really capture the spirit of the times. This is from 1998, if I’m not mistaken. If you can recall, that was when bands like Smash Mouth, Eve 6, Third Eye Blind, and the like were populating the airwaves. The soundtrack reflects that, as well as throwing in some classics from Run D.M.C., Parliament, Young M.C., Guns ‘N Roses, Nazareth, etc.

What didn’t I like?

Pretty face. I can look at Jennifer Love Hewitt all day. You can’t deny that the girl is gorgeous. However, when she actually starts to spout lines, she comes off almost as wooded as Carrie Underwood did in that abomination, The Sound of Music Live! It gave me cause to pause and ponder this thought…She is a pretty big star, but what has she really done to warrant that? Aside from a couple of films and Party of Five, everything she’s been in has been mediocre, at best, or limited, independent release. I guess a pretty face and a nice pair of breasts go a long way.

Too many? Although the film centers on Ethan Embry’s character and his attempt to finally woo Jennifer Love Hewitt’s character, I wouldn’t necessarily say they were the stars, as there are many different story arcs that are being covered. Each one as interesting as the other, much like Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Still, I wonder if perhaps this was too many. Should the film have picked 2 or 3 primary storylines to focus on and then have them all converge at the end? I wonder…

Cops. So, as with every teen party flick, the cops come to break things up. I realize that it is their job to do so and the filmmakers needed to show this so that teenagers don’t get ideas, but there comes a point when you just get tired of seeing the same things happen over and over again. With the way Girl Whose Party It Is, or whatever her name was, was acting, I was expecting her parents to come home early. Now, that would have been more interesting than the, pardon the pun, cop out.

I can’t help but be astonished by the amount of stars that have gone to bigger and better things that were in Can’t Hardly Wait. I wonder what film like this now will be the launching pad for many careers. As far as what I think of this film, it is decent enough for  repeat viewings, but nothing to write home about. The nostalgia factor outweighs its mediocrity. So, with that, I recommend it, but proceed with caution.

3 1/3 out of 5 stars

Heartbreakers

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on February 18, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Max (Sigourney Weaver) and Page Conners (Jennifer Love Hewitt) are a mother-daughter con artist team. When the film opens, the Conners are settling a con on Dean Cumanno (Ray Liotta), an auto-body shop owner and small-time crook. The con, which the Conners have played a number of times before on other men, involves Max marrying Dean, passing out on their wedding night to avoid actually consummating the marriage, and then Page (posing as Dean’s secretary) luring Dean into a compromising position to justify Max’s immediate divorce and hefty settlement. The con is a success.

Page declares that she wants to go solo. Max initially relents, but when they visit the bank to split their earnings, they are confronted by an IRS agent (Anne Bancroft) who declares that they owe the government a considerable sum on top of the rest of their savings, which have already been seized. Page reluctantly agrees to work together with Max on one last con in Palm Beach (refusing to work anything cheaper as Palm Beach would result in enough money to pay off the I.R.S. and set up Page to work on her own). For their target, they choose widower William B. Tensy (Gene Hackman), a tobacco baron who is addicted to his own product.

Complicating matters is beachfront bartender Jack (Jason Lee), whom Page meets without her mother’s knowledge while attempting to go after a target she pointed out earlier (a doctor who inherited money from an uncle; Max rejected him on the grounds that he was a “momma’s boy”). Page learns that Jack is worth $3 million, having inherited the bar, and decides to target him for a side con. Page ends up developing genuine feelings for Jack, but Max, who has been hurt many times before, tells her to break it off; Page reluctantly ends the relationship.

Tensy proposes to Max ahead of schedule, but before they can get married, he passes out and dies due to his lifetime of smoking. While Max and Page are deciding what to do with the body, Dean arrives, having tracked Max down in order to propose to her again. Dean discovers the ruse Max and Page played on him, and threatens to expose them. Max offers to return Dean’s divorce settlement money if he’ll help them make Tensy’s death look like an accident. Max reveals to Page that the money wasn’t really taken by the IRS, and the agent had in fact been Max’s mentor, Barbara, in a ruse to prevent Page from leaving. But when Max, Page and Dean go to the bank, the money really has gone, liquidated in an act of betrayal by Barbara.

In order to help Max, Page decides to accept Jack’s offer of marriage, planning to work it as a regular con. Page insists that Jack will not cheat on her, but is heartbroken when during the wedding night she breaks into his room and finds him in a compromising position with Max. After the divorce settlement is paid, Dean confronts Max about the ethics of their con, pointing out that even a “goody-goody” like Jack is only human. Max reveals that Jack actually turned her down, and she drugged him, defending her decision by claiming that Jack would have gone on to hurt Page eventually. Dean counters that life is about pain, but that it can also be good, and Max has no right to keep Page from living her life just because of what might happen.

Chastened, Max tells Page the truth, admitting that her own efforts to protect her daughter from pain have only hurt her in other ways, recognising that Page has to make her own life. Page returns to Jack, giving him back the bar he’d had to sell to pay the settlement, and tells him her real name. Max and Dean also get together, Dean having admitted that he still misses Max even after what she put him through. The final shot of the film is of Dean — using the name ‘Stanley’ — romancing Barbara, with Max watching them via binoculars, implying that Max and Dean are now working together to get Max’s money back.

REVIEW:

The first time I saw this was when it first came out on video. At that time I had grown to become a fan of Jason Lee, thanks to his appearances in Kevin Smith films. Also, Jennifer Love Hewitt was one of the hottest creatures on the planet, despite not really being in anything to make her a star except Party of Five, which I never watched. That couple with what, at the time, was an interesting trailer, drew me toHeartbreakers.

I can sum this film up by saying that it is about some scum of the earth people. What I mean by that is that this woman, Max (played by Sigourney Weaver), goes around scamming men by using her feminine wiles to get them to fall in love with and eventually marry her. After which, she has her daughter, who is also in on the scam, to seduce them leading to divorce where she gets a hefty settlement.

I’m actually not sure which part is worse, using her daughter, manipulating the guy, or the divorce. It is all disgusting, if you ask me. If this is actually done in real life…well, I don’t know what to say about that, really. However, as a plot device for this film, it seems to work as well as people crashing weddings seems to work in so many films.

A subplot of the film involves the daughter and her want to get out and do a scam on her own. As you can about imagine, her mother is having none of it, just like any other overprotective mother. She also doesn’t want to lose her business partner. Truth be told, with a hot daughter like that, scamming is much easier than being a middle-aged woman on her own.

Things get even more complicated when the daughter, did I mention she was played by Jennifer Love Hewitt, falls for a guy she sneaks off to scam. Apparently, it is a big faux pas to fall for your victim. Complicating things even further, the latest husband tracks them down and with original intentions of proposing, threatens to expose them after something, which I won’t mention, happens.

Yeah, so this isn’t a good film, by any stretch of the imagination. The story has its moments. It actually starts off pretty good, and then right as we get into the final act, and things should be pushing toward that final moment, we instead are forced to watch this limp noodle limp across the finish line. The audience can do nothing less than scratch their head and wonder why we sat through this whole thing.

I will give it to the casting directors,  they captured some pure gold with Hewitt and Sigourney Weaver. They not only have great chemistry, but are quite believable as mother and daughter. Hard to belive they wanted Anjelica Huston and just about any other young, hot Hollywood actress for this.  Then again, some of them most iconic roles in cinema have gone through the same process.

Hewitt not only has great chemistry with her “mother”, but also with Jason Lee. Watching them once they get past the initial hatred phase and into the loving stage is like watching a cute high school couple (before they get to that sickening need to be separated by a crowbar phase).

So, ultimately, what did I think of this flick? Eh, I can take it or leave it. This is one of those films that for everything good, there are two things bad. Would I recommend it? Not necessarily, but at the same time, it isn’t one of those films that will cause your head to explode if you decide to give it a go, just don’t expect to be blown away by some awesometacular pice of cinema, because that is not what you are going to get.

3 out of 5 stars

A Christmas Carol (2004)

Posted in Family, Movie Reviews, Musicals with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Lyricist Lynn Ahrens wrote the teleplay, based on her and Mike Ockrent’s book for the original Madison Square Garden stage musical. The score contains 22 songs, also adapted from the stage. The opening number, “Jolly Good Time”, is a more jovial reworking of the first two numbers in the stage version, “The Years Are Passing By” and “Jolly, Rich, and Fat”. In the next number, “Nothing to Do With Me”, Scrooge first encounters the three ghosts of Christmas in their real-world guises as a lamplighter (Past), a charity show barker (Present), and a blind beggar woman (Future). We also see Scrooge’s long-suffering employee Bob Cratchit buying a Christmas chicken with his son Tiny Tim in the song “You Mean More to Me”.

As in other musical adaptations of A Christmas Carol, the visit of the ghost of Jacob Marley becomes a large-scale production number (“Link By Link”), featuring a half-dozen singing, dancing spirits presented with various levels of makeup and special effects. One of these ghosts in this version is known to be an old colleague of Scrooge and Marley’s, Mr. Haynes, who was said to be “mean to the bone,” resulting to his charred skeleton. Other puns include a headless spirit who wanted to get ahead.

The Ghost of Christmas Past, portrayed in this film by a young woman (Jane Krakowski) rather than a man, sings “The Lights of Long Ago”, a number reinforcing her signature theme of illuminating Scrooge’s worldview. One notable departure from Dickens’ novella in this portion of the film is its depiction of Ebenezer Scrooge’s father, identified as John William Scrooge, being sentenced to debtor’s prison while his horrified family looks on (a scene inspired by events from Dickens’ own childhood).

The Ghost of Christmas Present gets two numbers, “Abundance and Charity” and “Christmas Together”, in which he makes his point that Christmas is a time for celebration, generosity, and fellowship. The former takes place at a fantastical version of the charity show he was seen promoting on Christmas Eve, and the latter whisks Scrooge on a tour of London that includes the homes of his nephew Fred, his clerk Bob Cratchit, and Mr. Smythe, a recently widowed client of Scrooge’s lending house.

Unlike the faceless phantom that embodies Christmas Yet to Come in most versions of A Christmas Carol (including the book), this film features a mute sorceress figure clad in white (a transmogrification of the blind hag who appears on Christmas Eve). The entire Christmas Future sequence plays out in song (“Dancing On Your Grave”, “You Mean More to Me (Reprise)”, and “Yesterday, Tomorrow, and Today”), culminating in Scrooge’s awakening in his bedroom on Christmas morning.

“What a Day, What a Sky” serves as a musical bookend to “Nothing to Do With Me”, dramatizing Scrooge’s new outlook as he races through the streets of London making amends. The film concludes with a reprise of “Christmas Together” featuring virtually the entire cast.

REVIEW:

Yeah, I know this is the third version of A Christmas Carol I’ve reviewed in the past couple of months. The second in the last couple of days, but this one is such a 180 from all the other versions that I just had to watch it.

Usually when you see A Christmas Carol, it is a dark, dreary version of London. Even in Mickey’s Christmas Carol, this is true. However, this version brings us a bright London. As a matter of fact, if I didn’t know better, I could’ve sworn I saw the sun in some of the scenes. If you’ve ever paid attention to London in film, you never see the sun, as it is almost always portrayed as a rainy place. Having never been there, I can say whether this is true or not.

A question was raised this summer somewhere asking what movie would you like to see as a musical. There so many I could envision, but A Christmas Carol isn’t one of them. Having said that, though, if I was going to make it a musical, it wouldn’t be as happy as this.

If you’ve read previous entires, then you are more than aware that I don’t normally go for the dark stuff, unless it is necessary. A dark tone works best for this story because it exemplifies how we meet Ebenezer Scrooge. The ending was fine with the lighter tone, though, because he is a happier person.

Other than a couple of songs in this film, the music is extremely forgettable, and even those couple aren’t exactly going to leave a lasting impression in your head.

The acting is ok for what it is. The focus seems to be more on the music, except for area here and there where there are no songs anywhere.

The feeling I got from this is that the producers didn’t spend much money on this. It feels as if it is a cheap TV film, which it is, but there’s no excuse. The 1984 version is a TV film and it, as I said before, is the gold standard by which they are all measured. There is nothing spectacular about this film, but it is a different version of the classic story, but I wouldn’t recommend it other than to see it once and form your own opinion. It just isn’t that good.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Shortcut to Happiness

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 27, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Jabez Stone (Alec Baldwin) is a desperate, down on his luck writer who reaches rock bottom when his close friend, Julius Jensen (Dan Aykroyd), finds success. Thwarted in his attempts to get his work published, he meets a beautiful stranger (Jennifer Love Hewitt) who offers him a chance at fame and fortune in exchange for his soul. Stone, having lost faith in himself, agrees to the offer.

After accepting the deal Jabez is quickly lavished with all he had ever dreamed of. A book deal, money, women, notoriety, Stone now had it all. However, despite the success, he is losing the friendship, respect and trust of those around him. Coming to the realization that he didn’t quite get everything he bargained for, Stone begs the Devil to release him from their deal. When the Devil scoffs he turns to famed orator Daniel Webster (Anthony Hopkins). The two conclude that they should take the battle to court with Webster defending Stone in an otherworldly trial against the Devil in the ultimate battle of wits in a fight over the fate of Stone’s soul.

REVIEW:

I had heard stories of the duel between the devil and Daniel Webster, and after hearing that they made a film based on it, I was expecting something big. However, I was disappointed that they went the dramatic route with the story. Having said that, this film isn’t half bad.

This film was filmed in 2001, but not released until 2007 because of financial reasons. This explains why Alec Baldwin looks so much thinner and younger than he does when you see him on 30 Rock. Now that thinner physique he used to have doesn’t mean he was any less of an actor. His performance may not be one of his more memorable roles, but it is pretty good.

Sir Anthony Hopkins, per his usual self, is stellar and distinguished as Daniel Webster. Honestly, who else could play one of the great orators of all time?

Jennifer Love Hewitt just doesn’t sell the sexy devil image for me. Nothing against her. I happen to think she’s quite hot, but this role wasn’t meant for her. Of course, the last sexy devil to grace the screen was Elizabeth Hurley in Bedazzled, so she had quite the task of filling those (stiletto) shoes.

Dan Akroyd’s character seemed a bit one dimensional to me, but he did seem to gain a bit more depth and character as the judge at Jabez’s trial.

This film wasn’t very well received, marketed, and the fact that it was held off being released for 6 years should be a red flag, but there are a few good moments. The opening credits are pretty interesting, albeit misleading. Watching them put me in the mind of Mannequin or other comedies, but this film is far from being a comedy. It’s still a good watch, though.

3 out of 5 stars