Archive for Justin Theroux

Revisited: Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion

Posted in Movie Reviews, Revisited with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Romy White (Mira Sorvino) and Michele Weinberger (Lisa Kudrow) are two superficial 28-year-old friends living together in a beachfront apartment in Los Angeles, California. Romy works as a cashier in the service department of a Jaguar dealership; Michele’s unemployed. They’re both single and live a life of partying and fun. Romy encounters former high school classmate Heather Mooney (Janeane Garofalo) at the dealership, who informs them of their upcoming 10-year high school reunion back in their hometown of Tucson, Arizona.

Desperate to make good impressions, Romy and Michele make last-ditch attempts to get boyfriends, better jobs, lose weight, and hopefully avoid a second round of the torture they endured during their days at Sagebrush High, mostly at the hands of the “A-Group”, led by cheerleader Christie Masters (Julia Campbell). The most humiliating incident happened at their high school senior prom, when Romy asked her crush Billy Christensen, Christie’s jock boyfriend, to dance. He promised her he would but told her to wait a minute. Instead, Christie tells Romy that Billy was in love with her and they broke off as an act, then she rode off on Billy’s motorbike with him, leaving Romy tearfully waiting all night.

Failing in their attempts to get jobs and boyfriends, Romy and Michele decide to pretend to be successful by showing up in an expensive car and business suits. They then think of what they believe is a highly impressive story; saying that they are very successful businesswomen who invented Post-it notes. However, during their drive, Romy plans their success story where Michele felt that her role is too small. Romy tells her that she’s more like the designer type, and not the inventor, which Michele finds as an insult (since she isn’t very smart). They then get into an argument about who’s cuter, (by comparing themselves with Mary and Rhoda) and who would be clever enough to think of as a better story of inventing of Post-it notes in the reunion, and their friendship dissolves.

When they arrive at the reunion, Romy says that she invented Post-its all by herself, while Michele looks on in disdain. Michele then discovers that the A-Group girls that picked on her in high school have stayed in touch. Michele convinces the four girls that she invented a special kind of glue. Sandy Frink (Alan Cumming), the nerd who had a crush on Michele in high school, turns out to be incredibly wealthy and gorgeous (with the help of cosmetic surgery) and hits on Michele. Soon both Romy and Michele are winning awards as most successful members of their graduating class. Though still refusing to speak with each other, they went on their separate ways while looking at each other with longing.

Seventy years later, a severely ancient Michele learns that Romy is sick and near death and calls her up to make amends only to rehash the same argument they had in the car those many years ago. Romy dies and they never get a chance to resolve their issues—that is, until Michele wakes up in the car, parked outside the hotel where the reunion is being held, and realizes that it was all just a dream. At the reunion, Romy has begun to spread around her story about Post-its; Michele, on the other hand, only talks about her recent falling-out with Romy. Heather Mooney arrives and unknowingly reveals that Romy didn’t invent Post-Its, causing the A-Group girls to turn against her, while Michele attempts to defend Romy.

Later, in the stage, Christie further humiliates the two in front of the entire room. Because of that, Romy runs away from the crowd with Michele, who then convinces her that she genuinely thought that their entire high school and adult life was a blast, up until Romy said that it is not. Michele also says that they should just have fun like they intended to and not care what everybody else thinks. They change out of their businesswomens clothes and into sexy, handmade club outfits, and return. They confront Christie for all of the bullying they had to endure in the past and at the reunion, where Romy gives a strong speech about only making up a story in order to be treated as a human being, but not caring anymore because Christie’s just “a bad person with an ugly heart.” Just as Christie attempts to make fun of their clothes (which Romy and Michele designed and sewed), former classmate Lisa Luder (Elaine Hendrix), an ex-member of the A-Group who has since changed her ways and became an associate fashion editor for Vogue, announces her professional opinion that the outfits are actually very well-done. Christie then retaliates by saying ‘they’ still think that the outfits are bad, but Lisa tells her to let her sidekicks think for themselves even just for once. Christie then tells her that she’s just a bitter, dried-up career woman while she’s happily married, to which Lisa answers, “That’s right Christie, keep telling yourself that.” Christie’s left in the dust and everyone congratulates Romy and Michele. Heather apologizes to Romy and Michele for unintentionally revealing their story and tells them that while the A-Group made their lives miserable, the two of them managed to made hers bad as well, for she was in love with Sandy. Romy and Michele then make her feel better that she too had the luxury of making a person’s life miserable, pertaining to a classmate that Heather was sarcastic to back in high school.

Then, in a fairly coincidental parallel of Michele’s dream, Sandy arrives in a helicopter and turns out to actually be a billionaire who made his fortune from a special rubber he invented. When he comes in to the hotel, Christie immediately tries to approach him. However, he politely ignores her advances and goes over to talk to Romy and Michele. Michele remarks to Sandy that he must be the most successful person in their class; Sandy responds that despite all the wealth and success he has, the one thing he doesn’t have is her, and asks her and Romy to dance with him.

After an interpretive dance to Cyndi Lauper’s hit “Time After Time” that receives huge applause from the rest of the class, he escorts them to his helicopter and the three prepare to fly away together. Heather walks out during the dance, finding it schmaltzy, and is apparently not interested with the new Sandy. On the grounds outside, she is offered a light by a mysterious classmate who always dresses in a cowboy style. Heather remembers him from her high school years, where he would offer her a light by flicking his lit cigarette butts at her. This time, Heather demands that he man up and talk to her instead of giving her the silent treatment.

Once the dance is over, Romy and Michelle exit the building to leave with Sandy. On their way out, they encounter Billy Christensen, who’s now Christie’s husband. Far from being the handsome jock he once was, he’s now become an overweight alcoholic, is living a very poor, miserable life with Christie, and is doubtful the baby Christie’s carrying is actually his. When he tries to proposition Romy for sex, she tells him to go to his hotel room and wait for her with his clothes off. He excitedly shuffles off, and Romy revels in her revenge for when he made her wait for him at the prom. Everyone at the reunion comes out to wave goodbye as they take off, except for Christie. As she calls out for Billy, Christie has her dress blown up by the chopper, which further humiliates her, much to Romy and Michele’s amusement.

Six months later back in L.A., Romy and Michele use money loaned to them by Sandy to open their own clothing store. Heather Mooney has stayed in touch and has become friends with the girls, shopping in their boutique.

REVIEW:

This has been a banner week for my high school. Well, at least one of them, anyway. On the good side, alumni Jared Leto won an Oscar on Sunday, but on the bad side of things some kids pranked the school and super glued all the exterior locks. What does this have to do with Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion? Nothing really, other than this is one of those films that takes me back to high school.

What is this about?

Two not-too-bright party girls reinvent themselves for their high school reunion, armed with a borrowed Jaguar, new clothes and the story of their success as the inventors of Post-it notes.

What did I like?

Reunion. The big plot device of this film is the 10 year high school reunion. I didn’t get to go to my 10 yr reunion because of a variety of scheduling factors. Ironically, I did get to go the homecoming game, but I was on the visitors side. At any rate, to this day, I still find it fascinating to see where people I went to high school with are now, how much they changed, etc. The same feeling is felt at this reunion. Sure, our two leads haven’t accomplished much of anything since high school, save for staying best friends, but they still show up and want to make a good impression, appearing to have changed for the better.

Bright and fun. On a messenger board, someone posted that “Expect Oscar-caliber stuff and you’ll leave disappointed.” I don’t think there is a film that better fits that statement than this one. Mixing the fun and whimsy of seeing old friends again with the tone many films associate with the 80s and this was truly and enjoyable flick. The kind of movie that you can shut your brain off  and still enjoy, but if you keep thinking and overanalyzing everything, you are sure to end up not having as good a time watching as normal people.

Girls on film. Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino make for an interesting pair. They are not only funny, but believable as a pair of lifelong friends who are a tad bit on the ditzy side. How can you not love a couple of ditzy blondes, especially when you see what they endured in high school. The flashbacks which gave us a bit of a backstory were nice, as well.

What didn’t I like?

Mean girls. In high school, the popular kids seem to relish picking on the not-so-popular. That isn’t a stereotype, it actually happens. Fast forward 10 years and these mean girls are still trying to pick on Romy & Michele. Is it me or does that not come off as pathetic and immature. It is one thing to want to relish your high school days, but quite another to be stuck in them. Just because they haven’t done anything with their lives but lay on their backs with their legs in the air letting any and everyone have a “piece” is no reason to take out their frustrations on people who are genuinely happy with their lives.

Slip of the tongue. At the reunions, Janene Garofolo runs her big mouth and spoils the lie that Romy and Michele have going. Sure, she owns up to it and apologizes, but why couldn’t she have kept her mouth shut? Perhaps things would have gone better for the girls. Then again, if she hadn’t and things played out differently, we may have had a totally different ending.

Friends. Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino play great ditzy blonde friends, as I mentioned earlier. However, Kudrow seems like she was playing an extension of Phoebe, her character from Friends. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, as Phoebe was a great character, but one would imagine she could have done something different. Perhaps a different spin on the ditz angle would have worked.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all have no worries like the main characters in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion? Maybe one day we can all reach that point. In the meantime, enjoy the light-hearted comedy that doesn’t try to do anything more than entertain the audience. Do I recommend it? Yes, very highly. No reason to not watch, unless you’re a dark soul who doesn’t like fun. Unless you’re one of those folks, this should be something you enjoy!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Advertisements

Duplex

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Alex Rose and Nancy Kendricks are a young, professional, New York couple in search of their dream home. When they finally find the perfect Brooklyn brownstone they are giddy with anticipation. The duplex is a dream come true, complete with multiple fireplaces, except for one thing: Mrs. Connelly, the old lady who lives on the rent-controlled top floor. Assuming she is elderly and ill, they take the apartment.

However, they soon realize that Mrs. Connelly is in fact an energetic senior who enjoys watching her television at top volume day in and day out and rehearsing in a brass band. As a writer, Alex is attempting to finish his novel against a looming deadline. However, he is interrupted daily by Mrs. Connelly’s numerous demands and requests, and what begins as a nuisance quickly escalates into an all-out war.

When Nancy loses her job and the pair are trapped at home together with Mrs. Connelly, their rage turns to homicidal fantasy as they plot ways to get rid of their no-good neighbor – finally deciding to hire a hitman, Chick, to kill her. However, his asking price for doing the hit is $25,000. Unable to initially come up with the money, Alex approaches Coop to ask for a loan, but is rebuffed. Desperate and needing the money in two days, they sell almost every possession they own to pay Chick who will do the hit on Christmas Eve. Chick fails to kill Mrs. Connelly when she defends herself with her speargun by shooting him in the shoulder.

Accepting defeat, Alex and Nancy decide to evict themselves, but find out that the old woman has died right when they leave. After Alex and Nancy, now with no jobs, friends, or money left, move from New York they contemplate their strange encounters. But here the audience learns that the realtor of the duplex (revealed to be Mrs. Connelly’s son) and the ill-tempered police officer who had frequently harassed and distrusted the couple (her son’s lover), and the woman (who is not in fact dead) does this all the time. The unethical trio have been using an illegal scam for years by harassing young good-natured couples that move into the ground floor duplex, forcing them to move out, and then faking Mrs. Connelly’s own death so they can collect a commission from the next occupants. Alex and Nancy were Mrs. Connelly and her sons latest victims among so many.

At the conclusion, it is revealed that Alex (unaware about the scam) used his experience as inspiration for his next book, which became a best-seller, thus giving the film a semi-happy ending.

REVIEW:

Perhaps I shouldn’t have watched Duplex, seeing as I will (hopefully) be moving in the next few months. This is about the most nightmarish scenario for moving into a new place that one can come across, and yet it was morbidly funny. I do have to wonder, though, for people not in the situation of nearly moving, would the humor work as well?

What is this about?

New York City couple Alex and Nancy dream of the departure of their upstairs neighbor, who’s hogging a rent-controlled apartment they’d dearly love to have. If she doesn’t move out, they may have to take matters into their own hands.

What did I like?

Coupling. For some reason, I didn’t think that Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore would make a good on screen couple, and somehow they surprise me with their great chemistry. Both have great comedic chops, playing off each other, and they also make the lovey-dovey stuff believable, but not overly mushy, excluding a scene in which Barrymore’s character is gushing over her hubby to her coworker.

Let’s get physical. The physical comedy, stunts, and gags are really what make this film worth watching as they deal with their old lady tenant from hell. As they continue to plot and plan to get her out, failing miserably at every turn, one can’t help but laugh at their apparent ineptitude, while feeling animosity toward the old lady who won’t go away.

There was an old lady. By all accounts, the audience shouldn’t like the old lady, but she’s such a sweet old bitty that you can’t help it. That Irish accent she has doesn’t help either. As with most old ladies in films of this nature, she gets many of the best lines, but does she get the last laugh?

What didn’t I like?

Give them a break. At a point in the film, it seems like our protagonists can’t win for losing, and just when it seems that things are going to turn around, the crazy old lady upstairs somehow manages to ruin things to the point that Ben Stiller’s character’s laptop, which holds his newly finished novel, catches fire and is eventually run over and destroyed by a street sweeper. Call me a softie, but I just wanted the poor guy to get one over on that old bad, especially for that. Seems like that was a bit too far, if you ask me.

Cop. Continuing on the point of giving a break, there is this cop who appears to be in the old lady’s pocket, based on the way he sides with her on everything, even when they save her life by doing CPR. Wonder why no one trusts cops anymore? It is because of characters like this (and the police that don’t do anything when they see something wrong, but that’s a topic for another blog).

Wasted talent. This is not a bad cast, but I can’t help but feel for the wasted talent. For instance, James Remar as the assassin seemed like he would make for an interesting character, but all he really does is give Ben Stiller’s character porn when we first meet him, and gets shot by a harpoon from the old lady. Harvey Fierstein is quite the accomplished comedic actor, but he was relegated to something akin to a cameo, when he perhaps could have been more. Swoosie Kurtz, Maya Rudolph, Wallace Shawn, and Justin Theroux also fall into the wasted talent trap.

In conclusion, Duplex leaves the audience with enough laughs to call it a comedy. The dark comedy and the talent of Stiller and Barrymore carry, or should I say drag, over the finish line. There are issues with this film, but it shouldn’t be enough to totally keep you away. Do I recommend it? Yes, but proceed with caution, as this is not a great comedy, just an ok flick. Check it out, if you’d like.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Wanderlust

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) are an urban married couple who purchase a micro-loft in New York after much hesitation. George is expecting a promotion while Linda is trying to sell a documentary to HBO. Soon after purchasing their home, George learns that his company has folded, overnight, while HBO rejects Linda’s documentary. With both out of work, they are forced to sell their apartment and decide to leave for Georgia to live with George’s arrogant brother Rick (Ken Marino) and his wife Marisa (Michaela Watkins) after Rick offers George a job.

After many hours on the highway, Linda demands they stop to rest. The closest place to stop is a bed and breakfast hotel named Elysium. When they turn, they are surprised to see a man walking naked named Wayne Davidson (Joe Lo Truglio). They promptly try to turn back but flip the car over, so they are forced to stay at the hotel. While trying to sleep, they are distracted by noises in the living room. When they go to check, they learn that Elysium is a hippie commune. They meet the various residents of Elysium, including Seth (Justin Theroux), Eva (Malin Åkerman), and Elysium’s owner Carvin (Alan Alda). George and Linda spend the night feeling more alive than before. In the morning, everyone helps flip George’s car back so they can leave, but Seth urges them to consider staying.

George and Linda arrive at Rick’s house and find the atmosphere much less soothing. George eventually reaches breaking point with Rick and takes Linda back to Elysium, where they are welcomed back. George is excited about the simpler lifestyle while Linda is hesitant. After a few days however, Linda starts feeling enlightened by the lifestyle while George begins having second thoughts. George and Linda soon learn that ‘free love’ is strongly encouraged as Seth and Eva want to seduce Linda and George, respectively. Both George and Linda rebuff the notion of free love.

At the same time, Elysium is being targeted by property developers to build a casino on the property, but they are unable to until they have the deed to the land, which Carvin misplaced. When the property developers arrive with bulldozers, Linda scares them off by flashing them and the other residents join her. Linda is lauded as a hero by the commune. George then demands that they leave, saying that if they stay, they would have to give in to ‘free love’. Linda wants to stay and has sex with Seth. George is pressured to have sex with Eva, but he drives her away with his bizarre behavior. The next morning, George reaches breaking point, stating that he dislikes the rules of Elysium and wants to leave. Linda wants to stay, so George goes back to Rick’s house alone.

Seth believes he has found his soul mate in Linda and searches for the deed to Elysium which he sells to the property developers to start a new life with Linda. A child from the commune witnesses the burning of the deed by Seth and the man that wants to build the Casino. Seth tells Linda that he wants to go away from Elysium and that the others can look after themselves. Linda refuses.

In the meantime, George realises he loves Linda and comes back to finder her, getting into a fight with Seth while the commune looks on and tries to help ‘non-violently’. The child that witnesses the burning of the deed by Seth tells the commune what happened and George punches Seth in the jaw.

In the aftermath, the news show that visited Elysium does a story about the commune. George and Linda start a publishing company, with their first book being a political thriller novel written by Wayne. The novel is then fast-tracked into a film adaptation starring Ray Liotta. Carvin reclaims his rights to Elysium after he is reunited with all the original founders of Elysium, one of whom had another copy of the deed.

REVIEW:

Jennifer Aniston in yet another romantic comedy…or is she? I’m not quite so sure this can be classified as a romantic comedy, but yet, it does seem as if she only does one type of film, with a couple of exceptions. Wanderlust is yet another in her long line of generic nice girl roles.

What is this film about?

A young couple is looking to buy an apartment in New York City, and so they do. The next day she strikes out on her documentary pitch to HBO and he loses his job because the company he works for is raided by the feds. This forces them to sell the apartment they just bought and head to Atlanta to live with his (more successful) brother. On the way, they stop at what they think is a bed and breakfast, but turns out to be a hippie commune, where they have the time of their life. After a falling out with the brother, they return to live in the commune. As you can probably guess, things don’t go as well as planned there, either. The “leader” thinks the wife is his soulmate, some company wants the land to build condos or something, and of course there are various (sometimes comedic) issues with the people. Will the happy couple stay happy? Will the hippies keep their happy home?

What did I like about this film?

Hippies. I’ve been in a 70s kind of mode since the summer, as I’m having to do some “Summer of Love” stuff at work. The hippie commune, brought me back to that, even though these are a different brand of hippies. It was still nice to see them portrayed in a somewhat positive and comedic light, as opposed to the hate speech we got from that episode of South Park.

Cast. This is an extremely talented cast and it is a treat to see them together. Aniston and Rudd have great chemistry together, something we first saw in Friends, and of course it is kind of hard her to not have magic with her boyfriend Justin Theroux. This is not to forget great comedic turns from the likes of Alan Alda, Malin Akerman, Jordan Peele, and others.

Marino. I first was introduced to this guy in that show Reaper. He was quite funny in scenes here and there, until they killed him. Ever since then, I’ve gained respect for this man’s talent. He really cranks it up a notch, though his character is annoying as hell.

What didn’t I like?

Bait and switch. I remember when this film was about to be released, there was a big hullabaloo about Jennifer Aniston finally doing a topless scene, but right before the film was released she demanded it be cut out in respect to her new boyfriend. Many of us guys, and some women, were pissed about that. Months later, the film is released on DVD and that is all but forgotten, except the scene actually is still in the film, but it is an edited version of it. In other words, almost as much of a tease, if not more, than her scene in The Break Up.

No need to see that. As much as I was hoping to see more of Jennifer Aniston, we say way too much of Jo Lo Truglio, who was playing a nudist. I can deal with him being naked. It was his character, but did we really need to see everything?!?

Silk Spectre. So, why would you cast someone as hot as Malin Akerman to be the obvious young hottie and not really use her? I kid you not, she’s all over the film, but mostly as a highly paid extra. There are a couple of scenes with her, but nothing memorable. Such a shame, really, as she is infinitely more talented than some of the people who actually got major screentime.

Wanderlust is one of those films that people thought would be better than it turned out to be. The great cast and decent story aren’t enough to keep this film afloat as it meanders through its 97 minute runtime. I won’t say this film is bad, but it is one of those flicks that you’ll forget 5 minutes after you finish watching. I do not recommend it.

2 3/4 out of 5 stars

Your Highness

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Thadeous (Danny McBride) and Fabious (James Franco) are the sons of King Tallious (Charles Dance). They are both warriors, but Fabious is dashing and skilled whereas Thadeous is lazy and ineffectual with both an inferiority complex and poor track record in quest taking. While celebrating his latest victory over the evil sorcerer who has been ravaging Tallious’s kingdom, Leezar (Justin Theroux), Fabious reveals the virgin Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) he freed from a tower and wishes to marry her. Though he is made the best man, Thadeous skips the wedding after overhearing Fabious’s Elite Knights, led by Boremont (Damian Lewis), talk about him negatively. But the wedding is then crashed by Leezar, revealing himself to be the one who placed Belladona in the tower before spiriting her away. Returning to the castle with his servant Courtney (Rasmus Hardiker), Thadeous is forced into joining Fabious on his quest to rescue Belladonna.

Visiting the perverted Great Wise Wizard, the brothers learn that Leezar is attempting to fulfill a prophecy of a warlock having intercourse with a maiden when the two Moons converge, impregnating her with a dragon that will allow him to take over King Tallious’ kingdom. To destroy Leezar, they are given a magic compass that would led them to the fabled Sword of Unicorn which is located with a labyrinth. On the way there, after finding that Fabious’s slave Julian has been reporting to Leezar of their progress, the brothers learn that Elite Knights are also serving the warlock and escape from them alongside Courtney. While collecting themselves at a river, after his brother sends his mechanical bird Simon to tell the king of the Elite Knights’ betrayal and request reinforcements, Thadeous, Fabious and Courtney are captured by nymphs under their leader, Marteetee (John Fricker), who imprisons them at an arena where Fabious kills off Marateetee’s finest warrior. In retaliation, Marteetee summons his hydra-like familiar to kill them.

However, they are rescued by Isabel (Natalie Portman), a warrior that is seeking revenge for her father’s murder at Marteetee’s hands. Later that night, as Fabious and Courtney leave them for the mood to set in, Thadeous learns that Isabel is also after Leezar for the slaughter of her brothers before accidently revealing their quest and the compass to her. The next day, the party learn too late that Isabel stole the compass from Thadeous and ran off. Finally infuriated of his brother’s selfish behavior as they arrive to a village, Fabious decides to find the Sword of Unicorn alone as Thadeous and Courtney go to a tavern, where they find Isabel and steal the compass back. But finding that his brother has been captured by Leezar’s men, Thadeous wins Isabel over as they join forces, entering the labyrinth where they encounter a minotaur. Getting separated from the others, Thadeous retrieves the Sword of Unicorn and, after a test of worth, slays the minotaur as Isabel used a panflute to soothe the monster as he was about to rape Courtney. A changed man, proudly wearing the minotaur’s severed penis as a trophy necklace when unable to get one of the beast’s horns, Thadeous and his group make their way to Leezar’s castle and free Fabious while giving him the Sword of Unicorn. As the others kill off Julian and Boremont’s men along with Leezar’s mothers, Fabious then uses the Sword of Unicorn to end Leezar’s life before he isable to rape Belladonna, saving the kingdom.

After their victory, the heroes go back home, but Isabel goes on another quest. Fabious and Belladonna marry as Thadeous retreats to his bedroom to masturbate before going to bed. There, he is approached by Isabel, who reveals that she has fallen in love with him. However, for them to have sex, he must first slay the witch that cast a spell on her, locking her in a chastity belt. Though he was not in the mood to go out, Isabel’s suggestion to cuddle convinces him to go on a new adventure.

REVIEW:

Your Highness is one of those films that I just didn’t know what to think of when it was initially released. I passed on seeing it in theaters because it didn’t look like something worth wasting $8 to go see. I still hold to that, but this does make for a decent rental.

I won’t beat around the bush. If you’re coming into this film thinking you’re going to get some sort of epic medieval masterpiece, then you will be supremely disappointed. Your Highness comes off as nothing more than a bunch of frat boys playing around with what they know about the era and some _____ (insert recreational drug here).

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but apparently critics seemed very turned off by it. I often wonder if, in order to become critics, they had to get a stick shoved far up their ass, because it seems as if the only film they really love are the kids that audiences don’t really get excited over, and yet something like this, which is not meant to be anything more than entertaining, they treat like it was a pox on civilization.

*AHEM*

Sorry for the little rant there, but I get so frustrated when I read the things critics say about films that obviously aren’t meant as anything more than mindless fun, which is all this is.

Now, I mention the frat boy mentality this film has. The humor of this film is mainly centered around lewd and crude humor. For goodness sakes, at one point in the film, a Minotaur’s penis is cut off and Danny McBride wears it around his neck.

What is odd about this film, though, is save for one scene near the middle with naked women, there is nary a bare breast to be seen. The tone this film set leads one to belive you would see more. If anything, they could have put Zooey Deschanel and Natalie Portman is traditional Renaissance corsets, but I guess they wanted to focus more on the men, for some reason.

Speaking of the girls, this was released after Portman’s Oscar-winning role in Black Swan. Some have criticized her for it, but if you’ve watched her career, then you know she’s very versatile and this is much lighter faire than playing a ballerina on the verge of insanity and anorexia. All that said, she does a real good job in this role, but are we really surprised.

I do have to criticize Zooey Deschanel, something I never do, though. She seems rather wasted here, not to mention the fact that her personality doesn’t necessarily lend itself to the whole “damsel in distress” thing. Then again, maybe I’ve been watching her sister too long on Bones and now have them confused. Either way, I think she should have gotten more screentime than just a couple of scenes. Although, the possession, or whatever that was supposed to be, was qite…um…different.

The plot of this film is filled with all types of whole, and yet, they aren’t really detracting from the story, except the thing about the two moons and dragons or something like that. Not really sure where they were trying to go with that, or if I just missed something, or what the deal was, but it left me scratching my head.

Finally, the special effects in this film are two-fold. The first is the creatures. While most of them look like rejects from Narnia, the Wise Wizard looks like he came straight from Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, or some other Jim Henson film.

The next part is the special effects laden final act. Now, if you’ve seen many of the summer blockbusters in the last few years, then you know that they almost all rely solely on effects for the big climactic battle.

I think that was the idea here, but it just didn’t work the way they wanted it to, mainly because of how the characters were developed…or rather not developed. Still, it was a worthy attempt, I’ll give them that.

Your Highness is not a film for everyone. The humor lies in its crudity, so if you can’t handle that, you won’t find this film funny. Having said that, somewhere past the middle it stops being funny and just goes into this weird autopilot mode until the final scene. I enjoyed this film, and while I think nothing really needs to be changed, there are some things that could be altered to make things better. That point aside, I wold highly recommend this to all that aren’t easily offended by frat boy-type humor.

4 out of 5 stars

Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle

Posted in Action/Adventure, Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The Angels are hired to locate a set of titanium rings stolen from the Department of Justice that, when put together in a special machine, will display a list of all individuals in the witness protection program. Having discovered that one person on the list has been killed, the Angels investigate the scene and discover evidence suggesting that the killer is a surfer with a scar on one leg. Having tracked the killer to his next victim- who is subsequently sent to Bosley’s house for protection- it is revealed that angel Dylan was once named Helen Zaas (pronounced “Helen’s ass”, making her the “butt” of many jokes) and is in the program herself for sending her former boyfriend- a member of the O’Grady mafia family- to jail.

Although they recover the rings, Dylan leaves the Angels because she doesn’t want to endanger them with her ex’s vendetta, but former Angel Kelly Garrett- in a visit that may have been spiritual- reminds her that every Angel is unique, and her flawed past shouldn’t define her present. Returning to the team, Dylan and the others deduce that former angel Madison Lee (Demi Moore) is the perpetrator of the crimes due to her being the only individual possessing the necessary contacts to carry out such a scheme. Madison, having concluded “Why be an Angel, when [she] can be God”, having shot the Angels after reacquiring the rings, although they are saved by their specially-designed kevlar vests- returns to the agency to ‘confront’ Charlie, rejecting his attempts to remind her that the Angels are a family and shooting his speaker off the desk, informing him coldly that she was always the best.

Learning that the rings will be sold after a rendezvous on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Angels travel to Hollywood, setting the crime families up to be caught by the FBI in a faked rendezvous. With Madison having contacted the O’Gradys to act as security, Alex and Dylan take out the O’Gradys, while Natalie and Madison go head-to-head themselves. Dylan manages to kill her ex, with the Angels subsequently stopping Madison’s attempt to blow up the premiere of Alex’s boyfriend Jason’s (Matt LeBlanc) new movie thanks to Bosley knocking the bomb away. Although Madison tries to escape, the Angels defeat her in a final confrontation in an abandoned theatre, throwing her through a gas main just as she fires her gun, causing an explosion that kills her. The film ends with the Angels celebrating their victory with Bosley (Bernie Mac).

REVIEW:

This film lives up to, if not surpasses, the original film. All the fun, action, and life that the original has, this film manages to keep, even with a totally different plot.

Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, and Cameron Diaz reprise their roles as the angels. Similar to the first film, Drew seems to have the most depth in terms of character. However, we do get a little insight into the other angels, especially Alex, played by Lucy Liu, as her father makes a surprise visit. Unfortunately, they don’t use John Cleese to his full potential and he’s just a glorified cameo.

Demi Moore had been away popping out kids before this film and hadn’t really made any movies for a few years. This was her return to showbiz, and what a return it was. We first get a look at her on the beach in a black bikini. Let me say that there aren’t many that could upstage Cameron Diaz in a bikini, but she surely accomplishes this feat, and for a woman in her 40s, that body is ridiculously impressive. Characterwise, she is ruthlessly evil. Having been a former angel, she was trained in all the things the angels were, but now she’s rouge and that made her more dangerous.

Speaking of villains, Justin Theroux brought to mind Robert DeNiro from Cape Fear.He was THAT good as Seamus. Not to mention, he wouldn’t die. The man walked through fire and fell from a roof and was impaled by a sword and was still about to get up, had it not been for a giant “E” falling on him. No wonder Helen Zaas went into hiding!

As with the first film, there are nods to the original series that keep the purists happy (because we all know they have to complain about something). There are very few things that I found wrong with this film. I guess that’s what happens when you make a film that is means to entertain the people rather than take their money. The rumor mill is buzzing that a third film is now officially in the works. It can’t come out soon enough, but in the meantime, we can enjoy this film and its predecessor.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars