Archive for Melissa McCarthy

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

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Spy

Posted in Action/Adventure, Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is an unassuming, deskbound CIA analyst, and the unsung hero behind the Agency’s most dangerous missions. But when her partner (Jude Law) falls off the grid and another top agent (Jason Statham) is compromised, she volunteers to go deep undercover to infiltrate the world of a deadly arms dealer, and prevent a global disaster

What people are saying:

“On the scale of dumb comedies, this ranks pretty high. Surprisingly high. Maybe it’s the benefit of low expectations, but it had some really funny parts in all the absurdity.” 4 stars

“Smart, action-packed and filled with tons of humour throughout, the third entry in the Feig-McCarthy “saga” manages to provide tons of entertainment with great performances from its cast and Jason Statham stealing the show in every scene he’s in due to his gleefully profane character.” 5 stars

“The first half was amusing, but then it went downhill quick. The only thing that really made me laugh was Jason Statham’s character which was pretty funny, but mostly because it was a caricature of the characters he usually plays. ” 2 stars

“Pretty funny. In fact the best Melissa McCarthy movie since Bridemaids. Too bad they had to put so much language in it and the gratuitous scene. Kids could find these movies very funny also and the movies could do more money if they would tone it down a bit. Other then that very funny. Jason Statham’s character was a little annoying but worth the rental. ” 3 stars

“Spy is everything this year’s Hot Pursuit wished it was: a giant, female-centric, laugh-out-loud action comedy that’s sprawling in its set-pieces, yet shining in its silliness. Through its physical comedy and unexpectedly cool combat scenes, it still manages to feel like a screwball comedy throwback with stellar verbal sparring between the great actors. So it’s not groundbreaking like Mad Max: Fury Road, or mind-boggling like Ex Machina, but those aren’t the goals. Spy will simply make you happy, nothing more, nothing less; and sometimes that’s really enough. Much of that pure joy comes directly from the cast. From top to bottom, these gals and guys propel Spy to higher levels than movies of its kind often get. Everyone just seems to be having an absolute blast and that fun is contagious. Janney and Byrne stand out as solid and strong comedic presences. Hart and Statham steal every scene they are in, each playing with their own Hollywood identities to great effect. At the center of it all, McCarthy and Feig steer the ship swimmingly, often managing heartbreaking honesty and side-splitting hilarity all at once. This mixture can, at times, make the proceedings feel more “cute” than LOL funny, especially as the movie’s somewhat-long runtime feels its length. However, as you settle into the world, you can’t help but love the ways in which it takes the self-righteousness out of spy thrillers by highlighting the hilariously mundane minutiae. Will it change your world or even really challenge you intellectually? Not in the least, but it will undoubtedly make you laugh…a lot.” 4 stars

Tammy

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In Murphysboro, Illinois, Tammy Banks strikes a deer on the way to her job at Topper Jack’s (a fictional fast food restaurant), causing significant damage to her vehicle. Once she arrives at Topper Jack’s, her supervisor, Keith, fires her for repeatedly showing up late for her shift. Upon leaving, Tammy indignantly causes a scene by contaminating or stealing food. After her car dies on the way home on Illinois Route 13, she eventually arrives to find her husband, Greg, eating a romantic meal with their neighbor, Missi. Upset, Tammy leaves and walks two doors down to her parents’ house.

She tells her mother, Deb, about her plans to leave and takes her grandmother Pearl’s car. Pearl requests to come along. Tammy initially refuses but ultimately agrees when Pearl proves that she has a large sum of cash. Tammy has beer with Pearl, and the next morning they wake up near a park where Pearl convinces Tammy not to go back home. Pearl wants to go to Niagara Falls with Tammy since she hadn’t gone as a child. Along the way the two stop in a bar in Louisville, Kentucky, Tammy meets Earl and his son Bobby, and Earl hooks up with Pearl. Tammy and Bobby begin to make a love connection as Pearl and Earl drunkenly make out in the car. Bobby gives Tammy his number to call him so he can pick up Earl. Back at the hotel, Tammy is forced to sleep outside. The next morning, Bobby picks up Earl, and the two leave. Tammy, infuriated with Pearl, leaves her, but returns after feeling guilty. Tammy and Pearl are arrested after Pearl gets caught buying a case of beer for underaged teenagers as well as shoplifting a pint of whiskey for herself. Tammy is released, but Pearl stays at the jail for possessing illegal prescription drugs.

To bail out Pearl, Tammy robs a Topper Jack’s, where she converses with employees Becky and Larry. Finally having obtained the money, she rushes to the prison to bail her out, but Bobby has already bailed out Pearl. With the help of Pearl’s wealthy lesbian cousin Lenore (who made her fortune off of a small chain of pet supply stores), they destroy the car to hide the evidence from the robbery. The two then stay at the home of Lenore and her wife, Susanne. At a 4th of July party thrown at the house, Pearl gets drunk and humiliates Tammy by making rude comments about her weight and appearance in front of all the guests. After Tammy runs off to the dock on the lake by the house, Lenore follows her to both comfort her and offer her some tough love, telling her that she has always been complaining about her life, but has never done anything about it. She tells Tammy that if she wants to make things better for herself she needs to work hard to make it happen.

Later in the morning, Tammy brings coffee to Pearl, who is presumably asleep outside. After repeatedly trying to wake her, Pearl does not wake up and Tammy assumes she is dead. She, Lenore, and Susanne grieve Pearl’s death, but Pearl suddenly awakens, much to everyone’s shock. Pearl was actually unconscious due to the large amount of alcohol she drank the previous night. Tammy is relieved, and she tearfully demands Pearl to get help for her drinking problem. The ambulance arrives and takes Pearl to the hospital. The police arrive as well, and Tammy is arrested.

Tammy is released from prison 38 days later, and her father, Don, picks her up. He offers to kill Greg for her, though she declines. Returning home, Tammy finds that Greg and Missi have packed Tammy’s belongings. She and Greg agree to an amicable divorce. She walks down the street to her parents’ place and finds out that Pearl is now living in Brookview Retirement Home. Tammy goes to Brookview to break her out, but Pearl is actually happy there. She has been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings at the home, and she is dating one of the men there. However, they do still take a trip to Niagara Falls.

At Niagara Falls, Bobby surprises Tammy there and they kiss. Tammy tells him about her choice to move to Louisville to get a fresh start in life and get closer to him. The last scene shows Missi leaving Greg to be with Keith Morgan and Tammy befriends Becky and Larry

REVIEW:

I have a confession to make. I have a small crush on Melissa McCarthy. Judging by some of the comments and reviews she gets, I think I may be the only person besides her husband that actually is a fan. Tammy does not afford her the opportunity to show her beauty, but we do get a toned down version of what we have been getting from her of late. Is this for the best, though?

What is this about?

Pushed to the limit after losing her job and discovering her husband’s been cheating on her, Tammy agrees to flee town with her alcoholic grandmother. Their destination is Niagara Falls, but the journey offers some unexpected pit stops.

What did I like?

Buds. Both Melissa McCarthy and Susan Sarandon are no stranger to these buddy road trip movies, as they both have starred in critically acclaimed films. Having said that, I still don’t think I would have paired them together (originally, I believe it was supposed to have been Shirley MacLaine, if you can believe that), and yet somehow it works. There is some nice chemistry and back and forth between the two that really captures the audience’s attention. Are they going to get along? Do they really hate each other? It is an interesting dynamic.

Grandma. I know Susan Sarandon is getting on up there in age, but that Mama’s Family hair wasn’t working for me. Ignoring that, though, she gave arguably the best performance of the film. Striking a solid balance between comedy, drama, and a hint of tragedy, she steals the show from her “granddaughter”. Also, she can still pull in the men, which I imagine is true in real life, as well.

Victims. Melissa McCarthy’s character needs to make some $3,000 or somewhere thereabouts, so she decides to rob a franchise restaurant from the chain that fired her. In the process of doing so, she stops just short of making friends of the people working there (which apparently does happen, judging by the post-credits scene with all of them in a hot tub. What I like about this arrangement is how it just naturally flowed and wasn’t awkward. The three of them could probably make a sitcom together. As a matter of fact, I believe the blonde was on McCarthy’s show, Mike & Molly once.

What didn’t I like?

Fast food. I really don’t mean to judge, especially in this economy, but how and why is it that an apparently 30-40 something year old woman is flipping burgers or whatever is it she did at that place? Tammy isn’t shown to have any ambitions or anything, but surely she could have gotten a better job doing something…anything else.

Tara? Toni Collette is too fine an actress to be relegated to the role of I guess you would call her mistress? I say this because she is in 2, maybe 3 scenes and says little to nothing. Tammy’s husband is some no name actor, why did they feel the need to bring in someone like Collette to pair with him. Surely they could have found another no-name out there that would have been just as good, but cheaper.

Nice guy. When a love interest appears in a film, they usually have some defining characteristic about them that audiences use to remember them. This isn’t the case for Mark Duplass’ character, as he is 100% forgettable. Part of that is the fault of the script. We are privy to little to no information about this guy, but are expected to cheer for him as he tries to win McCarthy’s hand. It just doesn’t work. The guy may very well be too nice.

Final verdict on Tammy? Well, it seems to have more heart than many of McCarthy’s previous outings and doesn’t have her doing the fat comic thing. As a matter of fact, with the exception of one dramatic scene, her weight isn’t even mentioned. There are some genuine funny moments and some apparent comedic scenes that don’t work. The introduction of Kathy Bates’ character helps the film keep moving forward before it can devolve into monotony, though I’m not really sure why she had to be a lesbian. Do I recommend this? I think so, but only because this is one of those rare films today where you get to see the acting side of McCarthy. Give it a go, then.

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

The Nines

Posted in Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , on March 29, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Gary is a troubled actor who is wearing a green bracelet on his wrist, under house arrest living in another person’s house because he burned down his own. The owner of the house is described as a TV writer away on work. While living in the house he is befriended by both a P.R. ‘handler’, Margaret, and the single mom next door, Sarah, who may or may not be interested in him romantically. Over the course of his house arrest, Gary becomes convinced that he is being haunted by the number nine, including finding a note saying “Look for the nines” in his handwriting. He encounters many occurrences of the number nine, while playing backgammon he rolls nines, while reading newspaper advertisements he becomes obsessed with finding nines. Asking Sarah about the number 9 worries her and she cryptically tells him “I can get you out of here”. He also sees different versions of himself around the house, which unsettles him, causing him to break out of his house arrest barrier, which in turn causes a blip in reality.

A television writer, Gavin, trying to get his pilot produced. He leaves home to work on his TV show, Knowing, about a mother and daughter who are lost, which stars his friend Melissa as the lead actress. In a conversation about reviews and critics Susan, a television executive and producer of the show, tells Gavin to look for the nines which he then writes on a piece of paper, the same piece which Gary found in Part One. He also tells Melissa he thinks he is haunted by himself. During the process of post production, Susan pushes for Gavin to ditch his friend Melissa as the unconventional lead of his project in favor of a more attractive, well-known actress. This causes an argument between him and Melissa. He then finds out that the well-known actress was actually cast in another show which Susan knew of before suggesting her. Since she is now unavailable and Melissa won’t answer Gavin’s calls, he confronts Susan about her knowing his show would never get picked up and about him only being a subject on a reality television show. After a heated exchange, he snaps and slaps her. Insulting his manhood for hitting a woman, she scoffs “Do you think you are a man?” and walks away, which leads to him telling the reality TV cameraman to leave him alone. A pedestrian then asks him who he is talking to, and it is shown that the reality television cameraman does not exist. He looks around and notices that everyone has a 7 floating above their heads and also that he has a 9 floating above his head.

A flashback from Part One shows Gary’s P.R. handler, Margaret, telling him he is a God-like being and that God is a 10, humans are a 7 and that he is a 9, therefore he can destroy the world with a single thought, and that he exists in many different forms and that none of them are real. Gary does not believe this and flips out, which is revealed to be the real reason for his breaking his house arrest barrier in Part One.

Acclaimed video game designer Gabriel, whose car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, leaves his wife, Mary, and young daughter, Noelle, to try to get a better signal on his phone. He meets a woman, Sierra (Davis), who leads him off into the woods to her car, so she can give him a lift to the gas station. Meanwhile back at the car Noelle watches a video on a digital camera showing Gavin talking to Melissa from Part Two and Margaret talking to Gary in Part One. She is confused and shows her mom, who appears confused as well.

Meanwhile, Gabriel shows signs of intoxication, as Sierra had drugged water she was giving him with GHB. She has been trying all along as Sarah, Sierra, Susan to separate the other three incarnations of “G” from Mary. That poisoning him with GHB was the only way to get him to stop long enough to reason with him. She calms Gabriel by telling him that this is an intervention and they (the Prostitute from part 1, and parole officer/agitated man), were trying to help him come home. She likens Gabriel’s addiction to video game addiction. That Gabriel has been playing for 4,000 years reincarnating into different roles to play with the humans. The 3 nines plead with him to come back home.

Back at the car, Noelle has gone missing. Gabriel then returns to the car with Noelle in his arms and the family goes home. Mary, who realizes that he is not who he seems, tells Gabriel he needs to go and that the world is not real. Gabriel tells her that there were ninety different variations of the universe and this is the last one. Gabriel then realizes he must go and removes the green bracelet from his wrist, at which point the universe peels away into nothing. The film ends with the woman from all three parts married to Ben, whom she is married to in Part Two, and Noelle as their daughter. Noelle tells her mother that “he’s not coming back” and that “all the pieces have been put together” and her mother finishes her sentence that this is “the best of all possible worlds.”

REVIEW:

The Nines is one of those films that no one really knows much about, and yet it has major stars like Ryan Reynolds and Melissa McCarthy. When I heard about this film, I was intrigued…and confused. Watching the film, makes me even more confused, but is it enjoyable is the bigger question, correct?

What is this about? Three stories converge in this indie thriller. In “The Prisoner,” an actor is under house arrest; in “Reality Television,” a TV producer struggles to launch a new series; and in “Knowing,” a video-game designer seeks help for his stranded family. What is this about?

Molly. These days, Melissa McCarthy is best known for her comedic chops (good and bad), but it wasn’t that long ago, apparently, that she was actually a decent actress. Remember when she was on Gilmore Girls? Well, in this role, she shines as a dramatic actress, something we never would have expected from her watching her current work. I should also mention that, while she is still a beautiful woman, for some reason, she was absolutely radiant in this flick.

On your toes. Man, oh man, this is a film that keeps you on your toes. Yes, it can be a bit slow in parts, but it keeps you interested and invested in what is going on in the film. As confusing as this film is, it doesn’t lose your interests because you are drawn in with the intrigue of how these three stories eventually intertwine.

Sex appeal. In just about every film that I’ve seen Ryan Reynolds in, at least the ones where he’s doing his sarcastic guy schtick, he seems to find some way to play up the sex appeal angle. This film, much like he did in Buried, he lets his acting do the talking for him, rather than his abs. Give the string of box office bombs the guy has had lately, maybe he needs to go back to this formula, especially since it works so well. Reynolds, much like McCarthy, is quite the competent actor, but we just don’t know it because of the roles he takes these days.

What didn’t I like?

Hope. A good leading actress can make or break a film, sometimes by their talent, sometimes by their looks, other times by a mixture of both. In the case of Hope Davis, however, she doesn’t do anything but bring this film down with her bitchiness and wooden acting. Perhaps this is because I am a little biased with my love for Melissa McCarthy and the way this chick treated her didn’t sit right with me, but there was no hope for me liking Hope in this flick. From other reviews that I’ve read, she doesn’t really resonate with audiences, either.

Being. Not to spoil anything, but there is a higher plane of existence that is the driving force behind this film. It is just something that has to be seen to understand. I’m not going to even make a sad attempt to explain that, especially without spoiling anything. I actually like that plot point, but the fact that it isn’t revealed until the very end didn’t sit well with me. I’m not saying the twist should have been revealed in the first 10 minutes, but there had to be a better place to do so than in the last few minutes, or at the very lease give us a better build up!

Weight. In section two, as with every other film she’s in, Melissa McCarthy’s weight is brought up. Unlike in her current films, though, this makes sense. McCarthy is portrayed as a caricature of herself (she’s playing herself). She is excited about a new show her friend, played by Reynolds, has hired her for, even going so far as to buy a house. Of course, the powers that be, and Hope Davis’ character, push for her to be replaced because she “doesn’t have the conventional look”. I don’t need to tell you what means, do I? In the scene where she gets the news, she gives a bit of an over emotional performance, in my eyes. At the same time, this is just another way for Davis’ character to make her life hell, as she seems to be doing the entire film.

There was a film that starred Will Ferrell, I can’t remember what the name of it is right now, in which he was seeing things that he created. The Nines, a film that probably should have been released the year that every other film with the number 9 in it was released, took me back to that for some reason. As I was watching this flick, there wasn’t anything to get excited about. This is just another weird thriller that was made for the sake of being made. After the credits roll, you are sure to forget it, so no, I do not recommend it.

3 out of 5 stars

The Heat

Posted in Action/Adventure, Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn is a very skilled and effective investigator, but is despised by her fellow agents for her arrogance and condescending attitude. Hale, Ashburn’s boss at the New York FBI field office who is being promoted, sends her to Boston to investigate a drug kingpin named Larkin with the promise that she would be considered as his replacement if she can solve the case while showing the ability to work effectively with others. Once in Boston, she is partnered with Shannon Mullins, a skilled but foulmouthed and rebellious police officer with the Boston Police Department. Ashburn’s by-the-book philosophy clashes with Mullins’ rugged and violent style of police work. Mullins discovers the details of the Larkin case by stealing the case file from Ashburn and insists on helping her. Ashburn reluctantly agrees, realizing that she needs Mullins’ knowledge of the local area.

Ashburn and Mullins follow leads to a local night club owner and successfully place a bug on his cell phone. As they leave the club, Ashburn and Mullins are confronted by two DEA agents, Craig and Adam, who have been working the Larkin case for several months and are worried that their case will be compromised. After viewing him on a screen in the DEA agents’ surveillance van, Ashburn discovers that Mullins’ brother, Jason, was recently released from prison, having been put there by Mullins herself, and may be connected to Larkin’s organization. Ashburn convinces Mullins to go to her parents’ home to ask Jason for information on Larkin. On their arrival at the home, it becomes apparent that Mullins’ parents and two other brothers still harbor deep resentment for Mullins’ involvement in Jason’s incarceration. Jason, who does not have any ill feelings toward his sister, tips her off about the body of a murdered drug dealer hidden in an abandoned car. Upon examination of the body, chemicals on the victim’s shoes lead Ashburn and Mullins to an abandoned paint factory, where they witness a drug dealer being murdered by a member of Larkin’s organization named Julian. The two apprehend Julian and interrogate him regarding Larkin, but are unable to extract any substantial information regarding Larkin’s whereabouts.

The pair spends the evening in a bar bonding over several rounds of drinks. After a night of raucous drinking and partying, Ashburn wakes up the following morning to discover that, in her drunkenness, she has given her car keys to one of the bar patrons. After unsuccessfully pleading for the keys, Ashburn watches, along with Mullins, as the car explodes upon being started, having been fitted with a bomb. During the investigation of the explosion, the two discover that Julian has escaped from custody and may mean to harm Mullins’ family. Mullins moves the family into a motel, but learns that Jason has joined with the Larkin organization in an attempt to aid the case. Jason gives her a tip about a drug shipment coming in to Boston Harbor. The FBI sets up a sting at the harbor to take down the shipment, but discovers that the ship they have been waiting for is actually only a pleasure cruise ship and Jason has been set up by Larkin. Knowing that he informed the FBI about the supposed drug shipment, Larkin attempts to have Jason killed, but only puts him into a coma.

Mullins vows to bring her brother’s attacker to justice. Ashburn and Mullins learn of a warehouse where Larkin houses his operations. After equipping themselves with assault equipment from Mullins’ extensive personal arsenal, the two infiltrate the warehouse. Despite taking out several of Larkin’s men with a hand grenade, the two women are captured and bound by Julian, who threatens to torture them with knives. Julian is called away by Larkin, but before he leaves the room, he stabs Ashburn in the leg with one of the knives. Mullins removes the knife from Ashburn’s leg and uses it to cut the rope binding her hands. Before she can finish freeing herself and Ashburn, they are discovered by Craig and Adam. Craig begins to untie the two women, but is shot and killed by Adam. Ashburn and Mullins deduce that Adam is actually Larkin, having been working his own case from inside the DEA for several months. Julian reenters and is instructed by Larkin to kill Ashburn and Mullins while he goes to the hospital to kill Jason. After Larkin leaves, Mullins, whose hands have already been untied, manages to finish freeing herself and Ashburn incapacitates Julian with a head butt. Mullins then frees Ashburn and the two race to the hospital to save Jason.

Upon their arrival, Mullins rushes to find Jason. Ashburn, hindered by the stab wound in her leg, is unable to move quickly. Mullins finds Jason’s room, only to discover Larkin standing over his bed with a syringe, intending to kill Jason by injecting air into his vein, causing his death by an air embolism. Mullins drops her weapon in an attempt to save her brother’s life. Ashburn, having had to crawl to the room, then enters and subdues Larkin by shooting him in the genitals. With Larkin captured, Ashburn requests to stay in the FBI’s Boston field office, having developed a strong friendship with Mullins. Jason is shown having fully recovered from his coma. The film ends with Mullins receiving a commendation from the Boston Police Department, with her family present cheering for her, having reconciled with her.

Afterwards, following a misunderstanding earlier in the film, Mullins brings Ashburn her neighbor’s cat, after believing that it was hers from a picture in her house.

REVIEW:

In the same vein of 48 hrs and The Odd Couple, we get the odd pairing of Sandra Bullock and a ragged looking Melissa McCarthy in The Heat. The formula of total opposites has worked in the past, but how does it resonate with today’s audiences, especially with these actresses leading the way.

What is this about?

In this action-comedy, Sandra Bullock heads the cast as by-the-book FBI agent Katerina James, who forms an unlikely alliance with unconventional street cop Joyce Nelson to take down a Russian gangster.

What did I like?

Family. About halfway through the film, we get to meet the family of Melissa McCarthy’s character, who are very much the living embodiment of every stereotype of people from Boston. I’m surprised they weren’t talking about the (Red) Sox, eating beans, and drinking beer! Still, the family not only helped give us more of an idea of where McCarthy came from and they were quite funny.

Chemistry. I was amazed with how well Bullock and McCarthy worked together and played off each other. Part of it is because of the good writing and part of it is because of the comedic talent that these two women possess. Throw in the fact that their characters are opposites of each other and the great chemistry between them is a major selling point.

Marlon. Usually, we see Marlon Wayans in comedic roles, and this is the same kind of role, but it does seem to be more of a serious part. I could say that he was underused, but I actually think this was a nice use for him, though we could have gotten more of him trying to get with Sandra Bullock’s character. That seemed like it was going to go on and be hilarious, but the parts we got we pretty funny.

What didn’t I like?

Miss Congeniality. I was reading some reviews for this before I started writing this, and someone mention that Bullock’s character seems to be an extension of her character from Miss Congeniality. When I was watching, I didn’t realize it, but it has been quite some time since I’ve watched that film. Still, Bullock may have been a bit too uptight and I think she could have loosened up a bit, but that’s just me.

Faction. DEA, FBI, and the Boston police all butt heads and as an audience member, I have to wonder if this actually happens. The lack of communication between the three is part of the reason the  film’s villain, who is a bit of a surprise when he is revealed, was able to stay so hidden, but is quite obvious who he is.

Controversy and characterization. When they were marketing this film, there was some controversy regarding the posters, which feature an airbrushed and elongated Melissa McCarthy. That’s all I’m going to say about that. If I go too far into it, I’ll end up throwing this computer. Keeping on McCarthy, it seems as if all her film roles are some variation of the same character, the unlikable, annoying (sometimes fat) lady. She has shown she can be a total sweetheart, though. Just watch her on Mike & Molly. I would like to see her show that side on film. While the gruff character worked here, it is getting to be a bit old. I could switch this character out for her character in The Hangover III and both would probably still work.

For all the heat surrounding The Heat, I didn’t feel it as much as I probably should have. That being said, I did thoroughly enjoy this film and laughed harder than I have with most of today’s “comedies”. It should be noted that if you have sensitive ears, this is not the film for you! Otherwise, I highly recommend this action comedy. Give it a shot!

4 out of 5 stars

The Hangover Part III

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Two years after the events in Bangkok, Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong) escapes from a maximum security prison, using a riot as cover. Meanwhile in America, Alan Garner (Zach Galifianakis) causes a 20-car freeway pileup after he purchases a giraffe and accidentally decapitates it on a low bridge. Alan’s father Sid (Jeffrey Tambor), furious with Alan for never owning up to his mistakes, dies of a heart attack in the middle of a lecture. After the funeral, Alan’s brother-in-law Doug Billings (Justin Bartha) informs friends Phil Wenneck (Bradley Cooper) and Stu Price (Ed Helms) that Alan has been off his ADHD medication and is out of control. They attend an intervention, in which Alan agrees to visit a rehab facility in Arizona, so long as “the Wolfpack” takes him there. On the way to Arizona, Phil’s minivan is rammed off the road by a rental truck and the group is taken hostage. They are later confronted by mob leader Marshall (John Goodman) and “Black Doug” (Mike Epps), his head of security.

He tells them that Chow hijacked half of a $42 million gold heist and, seeing how Alan has been the only one to communicate with Chow during his imprisonment, deduced that the Wolfpack could locate him and retrieve the gold. Marshall kidnaps Doug as collateral and gives the others three days to find Chow, or else Doug will be killed. Alan sets up a meeting with Chow in Tijuana, Mexico, where Stu and Phil will hide and attempt to drug him. However, Alan gives away their location and he forces them to confess they are working for Marshall. Chow explains his plan to retrieve the stolen gold from the basement of a Mexican villa he previously owned. Stu, Alan and Phil break into the house and successfully retrieve the gold, but Chow double-crosses them by locking them in the basement, rearming the security system and escaping in Phil’s minivan. They are arrested but mysteriously released from the police station, where they are picked up by a limousine and taken back to the villa, where they meet up with Marshall.

They learn that Chow had lied to them; the villa was never his and the gold they stole was the other half he didn’t get from Marshall. Marshall forgives them for their mistake but kills “Black Doug” for his incompetence and reminds them of their now two-day deadline. The group tracks Phil’s phone, which was left in the minivan, outside a pawn shop in Las Vegas. The pawnshop owner, Cassie (Melissa McCarthy), tells them that Chow traded a gold brick for $18,000, far less than its usual sell rate of $400,000. Using Stu’s former lover Jade (Heather Graham) as their contact, they learn that Chow is barricaded in the penthouse suite of Caesars Palace. Phil and Alan sneak into his suite from the roof, but Chow escapes, jumping from the balcony and parachuting down to the strip. Stu catches up to Chow and locks him in the trunk of the limo that Marshall had lent to them. They take the gold and meet with Marshall, who releases Doug back to the group. Although Marshall initially promised to not harm Chow, he changes his mind and shoots through the trunk of the car, presumably killing him. Luckily, Alan had freed Chow through a backseat compartment just moments earlier.

Chow emerges from the limo and kills Marshall, allowing the Wolfpack to live because Alan had saved his life. He offers Alan a bar of gold as a gift, but Alan turns him down, and ends their friendship due to Chow’s unhealthy influence on the group. As Chow sadly watches them leave, they go to retrieve Phil’s minivan from the pawnshop and Alan makes a date with Cassie. Six months later, the two marry. Vowing to begin taking responsibility for his actions, Alan regretfully resigns from the Wolfpack, but would still like for the gang to hang out on occasion. As the four walk to the ceremony, a montage of clips from the previous films play, thus ending the film. In a post-credits scene taking place the morning after the wedding, Alan, Cassie and Phil appear to have staged another wild party that they cannot remember. Stu emerges from the bathroom with breast implants and Alan remembers that the wedding cake was a gift from Chow, who emerges from the next room naked, laughing and wielding a Katana.

REVIEW:

I’m not sure anyone really wanted it, but bring the Wolfpack trilogy to an end, we have The Hangover III. The big question that has been surrounding this has been, can they recapture the magic that made the first film such a huge hit, or will this one fall flat on its face and suffer from sequel-it is?

What is this about?

Capitalizing on the success of two previous Hangovers, Phil and the boys set out on another road trip and soon find their plans reduced to chaos. Before the dust settles, the gang will have to figure out how to rescue Alan from a mental hospital.

What did I like?

Giraffe. Ok. Decapitating a giraffe is a bit much. I’m no fan of killing animals, especially majestic ones such as giraffes, but the fact that this sequence captured the audience is something to be aware of. It very well could have just ducked under the bridge. Seriously, though, if you saw someone driving down the interstate with a giraffe, wouldn’t you be stunned and shocked, too?

Full circle. Since this is supposed to be the end of the saga, it just seems right that they bring things around full circle and return to Las Vegas. If you recall, The Hangover was set in Vegas. Also, some characters from the other films returned. I was very glad to see Heather Graham again, but it would’ve been nice to see Mike Tyson.

Molly. How can anyone not like Melissa McCarthy? She’s cute, cuddly, and funny! Her character here is an employee at a pawn shop and apparently has an attraction to the lovable shlub, Alan. The chemistry between the two of them is great, especially when we see them again near the end.

What didn’t I like?

Rushed. I like to point to Shrek 3 as a sequel that was bad, rushed into production, and was nothing more than a cash grab. Well, this film falls into many of those same trappings. When this was announced, I felt like they were rushing it out just to cash in, and the finished product just validates that thought.

Characters. The plot for this doesn’t matter, let’s face it. We watch this franchise for the interaction of the characters, especially to see what Alan does. However, this whole film may as well have been the Alan and Chow show, because the others may have been kidnapped along with Justin Bartha’s character, because they served no purpose, other than collecting a paycheck. Where was the funny confidence of Bradley Cooper’s character? Where was the funny neuroses of Ed Helms’ character? They surely weren’t to be found in this threequel.

Ending. I’m not going to spoil the ending, just know that it leaves things open for a possible 4th film, while also being a fitting ending for this franchise, considering what it is. Having said that, during the ending, we get full frontal of Ken Jeong. I don’t want to seem like I have a double standard, because if that was a female, I’d have no qualm with seeing her full frontal, but just seeing Jeong standing there in his “glory” was uncomfortable for me.

This is a franchise that surprised everyone with the first film. The Hangover part II was actually very well received, but The Hangover part III just seems as if they stopped trying and figured they had an automatic license to print money. That sadly was not the case. I enjoyed parts here and there of this film, but not enough to blow me away. It was just an average outing. Thank goodness for Melissa McCartney and that giraffe, because everything else falls flat. Sure, you can check it out if you want, but I won’t really recommend it.

3 out of 5 stars

Identity Thief

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Sandy Patterson gets a call from a woman saying someone attempted to steal his identity. She tells him about an identity protection service and asks him for his name, date of birth, and social security number. Little does he know that his identity is actually about to be stolen.

At work, Sandy gets called in by his boss, Harold Cornish, and he asks him to make cuts on bonuses, despite the fact that he is getting a bonus himself. As Sandy goes to do so, he gets a call saying he has an appointment at a salon on Friday in Winter Park, Florida. He’s confused, but he gets called over by his co-worker Daniel Casey. In the parking lot, he and a few other co-workers meet to discuss starting their own firm since their boss is not the greatest person. Daniel asks Sandy if he’ll join them, to which he agrees.

A little while later, Sandy tries to get gas, but his card is declined for insufficient funds and the gas station clerk cuts it up. He calls the credit card company and he’s told he’s spent a lot of money in Florida. As this happens, he gets arrested. At the same time in Florida, Diana continues splurging with Sandy’s money. At a police station, Detective Reilly tells Sandy that he missed a court date in Florida for assault. They pull up a mug shot of Diana and determine she’s stolen Sandy’s identity. It gets worse at work when Daniel (now his boss) says cops are asking about him possessing drugs. Reilly and other cops show up and say a card with Sandy’s name was used to buy drugs from a man named Paolo. When told they can’t do anything unless the identity thief was standing there in Denver with them, Sandy (knowing where he can find her) offers to go on his own and bring her there and get her to talk to Daniel to clear his name and that he won’t press charges.

Trish, Sandy’s wife, finds out about the situation and knows Sandy’s taking a risk, but he assures her he’ll get the job done. He ends up in Florida and finds Diana at the salon where she made an appointment and follows her. After confronting her on the road she manages to steal his rental car. He obtains her address through registration in her abandoned car and goes to Diana’s house, which is full of merchandise and other stolen credit cards. The pair scuffle and Sandy attempts to handcuff her. Before he can cuff her, two people named Marisol and Julian are pounding at the door, telling Diana she gave Paolo some bad credit cards. They shoot the door open, but Sandy and Diana escape.

Sandy tells Diana about his plan to redeem his name and Diana agrees to go along with him. Meanwhile a skiptracer (Robert Patrick) is dispatched to track down Diana to obtain a substantial bounty. On the road, Diana reminds Sandy that the people at the airport would have an issue with both of their ID’s reading “Sandy Bigelow Patterson”, so flying back is out of the question and they must return to Denver by driving.

After travelling through several states, the skiptracer catches up to the pair and captures Diana. A chase ensues and she knocks him unconscious, and Sandy rams his van off the road. When he gets out to check on Diana, a truck plows into his rental car, totalling it. They take the skiptracer’s van with him tied to the back, but it overheats on the road. They end up walking and almost stop to rest in the woods, but they encounter several snakes, one of which ends up in Sandy’s pants, which he takes off and throws away. Another snake bites Sandy’s neck and Diana accidentally knocks him unconscious while trying to beat the snake.

Sandy wakes up at a bus station in new pants with no money and no phone. He asks how they got there, and Diana says she carried him half a mile until she flagged down a truck to take them there. Unfortunately, the next bus to Denver doesn’t come for another three days. Sandy finds some money in his socks and is told by a guy who works at the station about a place to find a cheap car. When they stop for gas and realize they need more money, Diana asks if there’s anyone Sandy would like to get back at, and he thinks of one person – Harold Cornish. Knowing that there is someone who handles his finances, the two of them sneak into an accounting firm and coax an accounts processor into giving them access into restricted files, and they steal Cornish’s identity to create new credit cards. The accounts processor realizes this too late as they are fleeing.

Meanwhile, the skiptracer goes to the bus station and threatens the employee unless he tells him where to find Diana. He then gets shot by Marisol who, along with Julian, has been tracking the pair throughout their journey. Having overheard Skiptracer’s conversation they continue to pursue Sandy and Diana.

Sandy and Diana finally arrive in St. Louis and stop at a hotel and Diana spends more money than necessary. She gets a makeover and has dinner with Sandy. Things get heated when he asks Diana what her real name is, but she admits she doesn’t know it. She cries as she tells him that nobody cared about her when she grew up, so she doesn’t even have her own identity. She then says she lied about that just as the accounts processor comes in with cops, who arrest both Sandy and Diana. As they’re being escorted, they run into Marisol and Julian. Marisol calls Paolo, who tells her to follow Diana and kill her. That’s when Skiptracer arrives and shoots the two thugs in the legs and throws them in the trunk of their car.

Diana manages to un-cuff herself as she’s in the back of the police car, and then breaks the back windshield and escapes, just as Skiptracer hits the police car. Sandy gets out as well and Skiptracer nearly hits him, but Diana pushes him out of the way and gets rammed by the car, which causes Skiptracer to swerve off. As Sandy and Diana run away, Skiptracer is arrested along with Marisol and Julian. Diana is not injured from being hit by a car, and she and Sandy eventually make it home, where they are greeted by Trish and their daughters. Diana has dinner with Sandy’s family and reconciles with them.

The next morning, Sandy is prepared to tell Diana that he’ll go in alone to the station, but she’s gone. She left a note saying sorry. He goes into work, preparing to quit, but Daniel shows him that Diana is meeting with the police in an office. Detective Reilly tells Sandy he is no longer part of the investigation and Diana is taken away in cuffs. Before she leaves, Sandy has a moment with her and asks her why, and she says she knew he wouldn’t turn her in, but it was the right thing to do for her to do it herself.

One year later, Sandy is celebrating another birthday, this time with his third kid joining them. The family goes to visit Diana in prison, where she’s doing well taking some exams. As Trish takes the girls outside, Sandy presents Diana with a birth certificate of hers that he was able to find and it’s revealed that Diana’s true name is Dawn Budgie, which she thinks is a terrible name; the two then share a laugh on the matter, with Diana proudly stating that she “already knows who she is”. Diana hugs Sandy and begins to walk away, until an officer taunts her, prompting Diana to react and strike her in the throat. Another guard pulls out a taser from her pocket, and tases Diana in the back. Diana falls, but recovers seconds later. She then gets up and walks back to go to her cell. The camera takes one more shocked look from Sandy, as he walks away.

REVIEW:

There have been a plethora of films released this year that critics seem to totally despise. Identity Thief is one of those that audiences seem to totally ignore what they said and saw it in droves, some multiple times, but was it worth the price of admission?

What is this about?

Is Sandy Patterson a banking executive living in Colorado with his wife and kids, or is he a she and living it up in Florida? When Sandy is accused of crimes he hasn’t committed, he must track down the woman who has — in his name.

What did I like?

Molly. Although the made every attempt to make Melissa McCarthy an unlikable boil on the butt of civilization, her natural talent and charisma shone through. She is a very funny gal and we are sure to be seeing lots more of her in the coming years. Did I also mention that when she has that makeover near the film’s end, it seemed to open up the door for her character to show some emotion and allow the audience to see that she is human. Without McCarthy, this film doesn’t stand a chance!

Identity. There comes a point in the film that Melissa McCarthy’s character comes to the realization that she doesn’t know who she is. This wouldn’t be a big deal, except this is a film about identities, so it added another layer, both to her character and, to a lesser extent, the plot, as it serves as a bit of motivation for her crimes.

What didn’t I like?

Comfort zone. I think I say this in every film I see Jason Bateman in, and I will keep saying it until he does something about it. The guy seems to be in a trap of playing the same character over and over again. TV actors talk of type-casting. Well, Jason Bateman also seems to be suffering from that because he can’t seem to play anything but the put-upon nice guy who gets taken advantage of, only to have things work out for him conveniently at the end of the picture.

On the side. For some reason, we have this side plot involving Melissa McCarthy’s character, a bounty hunter, and a couple of hitmen. It doesn’t really fit into the story, if you ask me. It would have made more sense had they actually been chasing her from Florida to Colorado, but that wasn’t the case, at least they weren’t chasing her in a non-stop “I’ll kill you!” kind of way.

Cameos or wasted talent. I have to raise a question about this. Such talented stars as Morris Chestnut, John Cho, Jon Favreau, Amanda Peet, and especially Eric Stonestreet, appear in limited roles, some bigger and more important than others, but are quickly brushed to the side or forgotten. It just seems to me that these characters could have contributed more to the goings on. I especially think this of Stonestreet, as he would have made a nice coupling with Melissa McCarthy’s characters, but maybe that’s just me.

Ok, so who thought that a road trip film about identity they would be a funny topic? Apparently the writers of Identity Thief, that’s who, but they were sadly mistaken. I found myself struggling to find a laugh in this mess of a film. There were a couple of chuckles, all of which went to Melissa McCarthy. I really wanted to like this picture, but just couldn’t. There isn’t any reason to torture a soul with this, so no, it doesn’t get a recommendation from me. If you want to see McCarthy do her thing, watch Bridesmaids, Mike & Molly, hell, you can even go back and watch her in a more dramatic role on The Gilmore Girls, but this is not worth your time.

2 3/4 out of 5 stars