Archive for Rebel Wilson

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

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

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1938, in Egypt a team of archaeologists is searching for a tomb and its treasure. A young boy falls into it, calling to his father and the team; they discover a significant artifact, the tablet of Ahkmenrah. The locals tell them that if they remove the tablet, “the end will come”.

In present-day New York City, five years after the events of the last film, night guard Larry Daley is overseeing an evening event at the American Museum of Natural History. Larry has gathered his favorite exhibits, which come to life every night, to help with the entertainment; they include Teddy Roosevelt, Attila the Hun, Sacagawea, Dexter the Monkey, diorama miniature cowboy Jed and miniature Roman centurion Octavius, and Pharaoh Ahkmenrah. Larry meets a new wax figure Neanderthal who calls himself Laaa. Ahkmenrah warns of the tablet corroding, which had been causing the exhibits to act oddly. At the event, the exhibits go berserk and the attendees flee. When Larry gets home, he finds his son Nicky throwing a party. Nicky explains he doesn’t intend to apply to college, wanting to take a year off to figure out what he wants to do with his life.

Larry researches the tablet and learns that Cecil Fredericks, the former security guard who tried to steal the tablet (in the first film in the trilogy), was the boy from 1938 who helped discover it. Larry goes to Cecil’s retirement home and explains what is happening at the museum. Cecil recalls the locals’ warning that “the end will come”, realizing it was not an “end of the world” prophecy but a warning that the tablet’s magic would end. He suggests that Larry consult Ahkmenrah’s parents, who are in the British Museum. Larry persuades Dr. McPhee to let him take Ahkmenrah and his tablet to London, even though Dr. McPhee is no longer the museum director. He eventually yields to Larry’s request, and pretends that he is still director.

Larry and Nicky travel to the museum, meeting the security guard, Tilly, who lets them in. When Larry enters, he sees his exhibits friends stowed away. The tablet brings the British exhibits to life and the gang encounters a Triceratops skeleton, which chases them. A wax figure replica of Sir Lancelot, who thinks he is the real Lancelot, saves them, but Jed and Octavius fall into a ventilation shaft. Larry sends Dexter to find Jed and Octavius, who have landed in a Pompeii exhibit just before the model of the volcano Mount Vesuvius erupts. The others fight off a nine-headed Xiangliu statue and Dexter stops the volcano’s flow to save Jed and Octavius.

The gang finds Ahkmenrah’s parents, and his father, Merenkahre, reveals the purpose and power of the tablet: it was made to keep his family together forever. The tablet is endowed with the power of Khonsu, god of the moon, and needs frequent exposure to moonlight to retain its magic. Lancelot steals the tablet, mistaking it for the Holy Grail, then leaves to find his Lady Guinevere. The tablet continues to corrode, which damages the New York exhibits and threatens their “lives”. The gang splits up to find Lancelot, but Tilly apprehends Larry and locks him and Laaa in the employee break room. Larry reflects upon his relationship with Nicky and then Laaa breaks them out. The gang leaves the museum to continue the search, while Laaa stays behind to keep Tilly detained, during which, they become attracted to each other, but the Trafalgar Square lion statues corner them. Larry distracts the statues with his flashlight and the search continues.

Lancelot has arrived at a local theater showing a production of Camelot, starring Hugh Jackman as King Arthur and Alice Eve as Guinevere. He runs onstage, trying to convince “Guinevere” to join him. The gang arrives soon after and convinces Lancelot he’s mistaken, chasing him to the roof. Larry persuades Lancelot to give him back the tablet to save the other now lifeless exhibits. Larry adjusts the tablet and the moonlight restores it, reanimating the exhibits. Larry returns the tablet to Merenkahre after the New York exhibits decide that the tablet and the pharaohs should stay together. As everyone parts ways, Larry tells Tilly that tomorrow night she will have the greatest job in the world. After returning to New York, the exhibits accept that they will permanently return to their inanimate state and they say goodbye to Larry.

Three years later, Larry has given up his job as a night watchman to become a teacher, and a traveling British Museum exhibition comes to the museum. Tilly gives the tablet to McPhee, whose job Larry had saved by taking the blame for the chaos at the evening event at the beginning of the film. She shows him that all the exhibits have come to life because of the tablet’s power and are partying in the museum. Larry, who is walking by, pauses on the sidewalk to see the flashing lights of the party inside the museum, and smiles.

REVIEW:

Sometimes a franchise comes along and fills audiences with wonder and delight in every installment. Other times, they start off with such promise, only to crash and burn. With Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, this franchise seems to be coming to an end. Will it go out with a bang and be remembered or simply slink off unnoticed?

What is this about?

Security guard Larry Daley plunges into an adventure that transports him to a London museum, where he’s surrounded by a new set of artifacts — including the remains of an Egyptian pharaoh who’s resurrected by a magic tablet.

What did I like?

Origin. We’ve had this magic tablet at the center of things for two films now, but no one has really gone into the history about it. That is where it comes from, how it got its powers, etc. We finally get some answers with this film, as we learn it is powered by moonlight and was given said magical powers through some ancient Egyptian ritual. I am so glad that they gave us the origin, rather than just assume we don’t want to know or come to our own conclusions. Something like this deserves, née, needs an origin story.

Power of 3. As this is the third film in the franchise, it seems only fitting to bring back the three guards from the first film. Before you get excited, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, and Dick van Dyke (who can still dance as well as he did in his heyday, btw) serve as nothing more than a cameo, or fan service. Their appearance wasn’t necessarily needed, but it was nice to see them. Having said that, van Dyke’s character is tied in to the film’s opening, so his part was a bit necessary.

Last one. At the time of this release, both Mickey Rooney and Robin Williams had left us. I won’t say these are the best roles for them to leave on, especially as both of these men have very impressive resumes spanning decades and genres. However, it is nice to know that, being one of their final on-screen roles, they won’t tarnish their legacies a la Raul Julia in Street Fighter. R.I.P. Robin and Mickey.

What didn’t I like?

Parenting 101. In Night at the Museum, Nicky was a little kid devoted to his father. Now he’s a teenager. Need I say more? Surprisingly, they didn’t make him totally disrespectful, overemotional, or any other traits that teenagers today exhibit. They only real change to his character is that he’s older (and played by a different actor). Here is my issue, though. We, the audience, are already having to chew and swallow this convoluted plot with the tablet, introduced to a possibly villainous Lancelot, and now we have to suffer through more drama between Nicky and his dad? They could left that out and focused more on the running joke of Laa and how he looked so much like Larry (even if I thought he looked more like Tom Cruise). Perhaps the fool that Lancelot spoke of could have made an appearance, as well.

Sir Ben. I spoke earlier on how Robin Williams and Mickey Rooney did not have their best performances in this film. Well, that was nothing compared to Sir Ben Kingsley’s role. First off, this isn’t bad casting, in theory, but I feel they could find someone who is actually descended from that region. The queen and Ahkmenrah are obviously of Middle Eastern origin, so why is the pharaoh British and white? That’s a minor point, though. Kingsley is a more than proven actor. Sure, he doesn’t mind lowering himself for a role, as we saw in Iron Man 3, but he was at least given material to work with. In this film, he just stands there, utters a few royal edicts, looks pharaoh-ish, and that’s it? Can we say waste of talent?

Dark. I know many out there are all about the dark stuff these days. Here’s the thing, though…this is, in essence, a children/family film. Why isn’t it the fun romp that the first two were? Are we trying the Harry Potter route and grow with the audience, because if we are then we need to know that the audience is still there, and I just don’t think they are. I don’t have a problem with the story, I just feel that some of the darker themes could have been replaced with more comedic moments. This is a comedy after all.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb may be the last entry into this flailing franchise. I think that is perhaps for the best with the loss Robin Williams and no one really clamoring for these films. Not to mention the tremendous drop off in terms of quality coming into this film and no one really giving off the vibe that they want to be there. I feel that this could have been a much better movie had there just been that extra bit of excitement in the cast, but they didn’t sell it, thus the film just meanders along. I will say Rebel Wilson did add a bit of spice to the proceedings. If they were to reboot this, like they do everything else, I suggest her in the lead. So, do I recommend this? No, unless you’re a completionist and want to finish the franchise. Otherwise, it is best to just leave this one alone.

2 3/4 out of 5 stars

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Pitch Perfect 2

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Musicals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Three years after the events of the first film, the Barden Bellas are performing at the Kennedy Center for President Obama’s birthday. Now led by Beca Mitchell (Anna Kendrick), the Bellas – Beca, Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson), Chloe Beale (Brittany Snow), Cynthia-Rose Adams (Ester Dean), Stacie Conrad (Alexis Knapp), Lilly Onakurama (Hana Mae Lee), Jessica (Kelley Jakle), Ashley (Shelley Regner), and the newest addition Flo (Chrissie Fit) – come out in sequined outfits performing “Timber”. Commentating the event once again are a cappella commentators John Smith (John Michael Higgins) and Gail Abernathy-McFadden-Feinberger (Elizabeth Banks). Fat Amy comes out hanging from a silk sheet singing “Wrecking Ball”, when she is suddenly swung upside down and her outfit rips. She spins around and gives the crowd a great view of “down under”. The incident becomes nationwide news, and the Bellas are called in to see the university’s dean (Gralen Bryant Banks). Due to “Muffgate”, the Bellas are suspended from performing in any a cappella showcase or competition. Their best bet of getting back in is to compete in an a capella world tournament. John and Gail laugh them off since no American team has ever won a world title.

Freshman Emily Junk (Hailee Steinfeld) walks to a orientation with her mother Katherine (Katey Sagal), who was an early member of the Bellas herself. Emily hopes to follow in her mother’s footsteps, despite their recent troubles. She goes to the auditorium to see the Treblemakers, co-led by Beca’s boyfriend Jesse Swanson (Skylar Astin) and his best friend Benji Applebaum (Ben Platt), perform “Lollipop”. Emily meets Jesse and Benji outside, where Benji immediately develops a crush on Emily. He tries to talk to her, but only makes things between them increasingly awkward.

Beca secretly starts an internship at a recording studio. She sits in with other interns as the boss (Keegan-Michael Key) tells them that Snoop Dogg is going to record a Christmas album with them, but he is looking for something fresh to add over all the other Christmas albums put out.

Chloe registers the Bellas to compete for the Worlds in Copenhagen. Emily stops by their house to personally audition for them, and the ladies become interested after learning that Emily is a Legacy Bella. Emily performs a song that she wrote called “Flashlight”. The Bellas like her, despite some reservations, and they officially make her a Bella. They take Emily to a party of a cappella students. Beca finds Jesse, who is the only one that knows about Beca’s internship.

The Bellas go to a car show that they would have performed at before their suspension so that they can check out their replacements, Das Sound Machine, a German powerhouse. DSM performs an epic mash-up of “Uprising” and “Tsunami”. The group, led by Pieter Krämer (Flula Borg) and Kommissar (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen), approach the Bellas after the show to make condescending remarks, though Beca finds herself unable to retort. At work, Beca watches her boss as he records Snoop Dogg singing “Winter Wonderland”. The boss is frustrated at not finding anything good to add to this, until Beca steps in and volunteers to tweak with the beat player and then starts singing “Here Comes Santa Claus” alongside Snoop. The boss likes what he hears, and he asks Beca to show him whatever else she’s working on.

Beca goes back to the house to find the ladies pillow-fighting. She brings them a fancy invitation to the Bellas for an exclusive a cappella riff-off. The Bellas go to the house where the riff-off is held, and they find the Treblemakers there, along with DSM, the Tone Hangers, which now include ex-Trebles captain Bumper Allen (Adam Devine), and even the Green Bay Packers. Kommissar and Pieter taunt the Bellas again before the competition starts. The Bellas and DSM make it to the final round, but DSM wins when Emily flubs her song. The other Bellas are disappointed.

Beca’s boss is unimpressed with what she brings him since it’s mostly mash-ups. This, coupled with the Bellas’ recent embarrassments, hurts her confidence. Fat Amy goes into Beca’s room and tries to help boost it, admitting that she knows about the internship since she saw her badge after sneaking into her purse. Bumper brings Fat Amy into the bodega with a dinner he’s prepared, and he asks her to be his girlfriend since he wants to do more than just hook up. Fat Amy declines as she does not want to be tied down. She leaves Bumper disappointed. The Bellas go to put on a performance at a country club as a sort of practice before the Worlds. They braid their hair and do a medley of “Promises” and “Problem.” However, this performance fizzles after Cynthia-Rose’s hair gets singed by pyro.

Chloe decides to bring the ladies to a retreat center run by their old comrade Aubrey Posen (Anna Camp) in hopes of helping the Bellas get their sound back. Aubrey subjects them to several group exercises and activities. Beca becomes frustrated, prompting Chloe to ask her why she’s been acting odd lately. Fat Amy makes Beca admit to the internship, but she also adds that she’s the only one in the group that’s thinking of the future beyond being a Bella, unlike Chloe who didn’t graduate with Aubrey and stuck with the Bellas. They argue, and Beca walks away right into a net trap that pulls her up into the trees. She is cut down by Lilly.

At night, the ladies have chilled out and are roasting marshmallows. Beca says that after college, she won’t remember performing, but she’ll remember her Bella sisters. Chloe decides that she’ll finally graduate and teach children to sing…or exotic dancing. After regaining their harmony with “Cups”, Fat Amy starts to say what she’ll do later on, until she realizes that she is in love with Bumper. She runs off to her man, until she also gets caught in a trap. Fat Amy rides a paddle boat back to campus to find Bumper where they sing “We Belong” to each other, after which they start making out on the field. Beca helps Emily record her song with some of Beca’s beats. They show it to the boss, who feels the two of them have potential and is willing to work with them.

The Bellas graduate and head off to Copenhagen for the Worlds. As the show starts, the other competing teams sing their own renditions of “Any Way You Want It”. DSM goes up to do a grand medley of “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)” and “All I Do Is Win”, complete with fire effects. The Bellas are up next, and they perform “Run the World (Girls)”, “Where Them Girls At”, and a special performance of Emily’s “Flashlight”, with a surprise appearance from other former Bellas, including Aubrey and Katherine. The audience waves the flashlights that Benji passed around, and they love the Bellas. Kommissar and Pieter shake their heads, knowing that they’ve been beaten. The Bellas become the new World Champions.

When the ladies get home, they give Emily a proper Bella initiation. The last step is to christen the house by sliding down the stairs. Fat Amy demonstrates and tumbles down the stairs hard, but she gets back up on her feet quickly. Emily then takes her turn.

In a mid-credits scene, Bumper performs “All of Me” on The Voice. He gets Blake Shelton to turn around until he starts acting weird and makes him turn back around. Bumper keeps performing his heart out and gets Blake to turn back around, along with Adam Levine, Pharrell, and Christina Aguilera. Bumper picks Christina to be his coach, and he goes to give her a hug.

REVIEW:

So, it was about this time last year that this city was being overrun by production crews. One was for Fantastic Four and the other was the just finished Pitch Perfect 2. Since this production overtook the city and streets and everything, I can’t help but feel a little biased, but then I remember that this is one of those rare films today that, in its own way, pushes music education, and I can’t be mad at it…or can I?

What is this about?

Hoping to be the first American group ever to win a prestigious international a cappella competition, the Barden Bellas return in this song-filled sequel and come up against a rival group of European singers who are also determined to win.

What did I like?

Pass the torch. In the years since Pitch Perfect, our Bellas have grown from freshman to seniors. While none of them really seem ready to strike out in the world, let alone willing, it is something that must be done. Of course, when they do this, someone has to fill their shoes. The film does a good job of letting them go out with a bang, as well as introduce the first of the new generation, if you will, in Hailee Steinfeld, who shows she has the talent and drive to keep this going both in and out of character.

Music. There seemed to be much more music in this film as opposed to its predecessor. Is that a good thing? I’m not so sure, especially given that there weren’t as many instantly recognizable tunes as before and it ended with an original piece. That being said, when the performances are happening, be they from the Bellas, Treble Makers, the German group, or even the Green Bay Packers, you can’t look away. I know that in the last performance, I nearly stood up and clapped when the “old” Bellas joined them on stage. It was a great moment, especially at that point in the plot and the song lent itself to that very well.

Now you know. Anna Kendrick’s character was so gung-ho about her “talent” for mixing songs in the last film and she thought she was could skip college and go straight to a career doing so. As I said in my review of the last film, that isn’t music. Furthering my point, Becca gets told by her boss that “any kid with an ear and some equipment can do what you do.” Sounds harsh, I know, but it is true. Mixing songs together isn’t music, and someone needed to tell her!

Germans. Here in the US, whenever we need a foreign villain, that isn’t going to destroy the world, we tend to make them German (pending the era). Nothing wrong with that, just an observation. This German group, whose name totally escapes me at the moment, is like a machine. They sing and perform with military precision and it is no wonder they are considered one of the world’s best. You can’t help but be in awe of their talent and physical superiority. A perfect foil for our Bellas.

What didn’t I like?

Sequelitis. If there is one thing I can say about this picture, it is that it doesn’t suffer from sequelitis, which is repeating the same film all over again. While there are some places that can be said to be copied, for the most part, this is a picture with its own plot. However, I do take issue with this being the second time the Bellas have had a disgrace on the national stage. Couldn’t there have been a better way to get them to compete on the international level than to go through all that? Not to mention using Fat Amy for that stunt was questionable in the first place.

Announcers. On their own, Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins are actually two really funny people. Put them together and the sparks fly. However, this script was not written very well, as all of their jokes are just unfunny, racist, or sexist. I appreciate their trying to get audiences to lighten up a bit.

Catalina she ain’t! Every chance they get, we are forced to suffer some sort of joke from the token Latina of the group, played by Chrissie Fit. I wouldn’t have a problem with her, except for the fact she was really playing up the illegal immigrant angle, which was done much better by Catalina from My Name is Earl. This chick doesn’t measure up and took away screen time from what should have been more randomosity from Hanna Mae Lee’s character.

My initial bias against Pitch Perfect 2 quickly went out the window and I was able to enjoy this film for what it was. A musical comedy meant for fans of the first film, but also aimed at bringing in some new blood. I do have some issues with the film, but for the most part, I found this to be an enjoyable time. Did it need to be made? Probably not. Do I recommend it? Yes, very much so! The last number and the underground riff-off sequences, as well as the performance by Key (from Key & Peele) is worth the price of admission. Check it out!

4 1/4 out of 5 stars

Pain & Gain

Posted in Action/Adventure, Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film opens with Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) running from large numbers of heavily armed Miami police officers, only to be hit by a police cruiser. Then the story goes back in time a few months. Lugo is a schemer and recently released convict, who served time for Medicare fraud. Sun Gym owner John Mese (Rob Corddry) hires him to increase membership and make the gym more fitness based. Lugo triples the gym’s membership within six weeks and befriends trainer Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie). Doorbal, a bodybuilder, uses steroids, which render him impotent. Lugo soon lusts after the earnings and lifestyle achieved by a new gym member he begins to train: Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub), who Lugo believes is a crook. Inspired by motivational speaker Johnny Wu (Ken Jeong), Lugo decides to be a “doer” and hatches a plan to extort Kershaw for his assets by kidnapping and torturing him.

Lugo recruits accomplices Doorbal and Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson), a recently released cocaine-addicted convict who has turned to Christianity. Though Doyle is reluctant to join the team, he soon caves in after a violent altercation with his priest. This “Sun Gym gang” unsuccessfully attempts to kidnap Kershaw at home, but incapacitate him with a taser outside his deli and take him to a small warehouse he owns (which is stocked with sex toys). The kidnappers disguise their voices, but Kershaw identifies Lugo from his distinctive cologne. The scheme goes as planned otherwise: Kershaw makes calls, under duress, to provide fake explanations for his disappearance, gets his family to move out of state, and signs the documents which transfer his assets to Lugo. Lugo even bribes John Mese to notarize documents in Kershaw’s absence, by presenting documents signed by Kershaw and using Kershaw’s money to sponsor the Sun Gym.

The Sun Gym gang is able to collect Kershaw’s money and assets, but they realize releasing him is a bad idea. Therefore, Lugo concocts a plan to kill Kershaw by forcing him to drink liquor and crash his BMW, making it look like a drunken accident. When Kershaw survives the crash, the gang burns the car with Kershaw in it. Kershaw escapes the blazing vehicle, so the gang runs over his body and leaves him for dead. Unbeknownst to them, Kershaw survives and is hospitalized. The Sun Gym gang members spoil themselves with Kershaw’s riches. Lugo takes over Kershaw’s car and his home in a ritzy Miami suburb; Doorbal marries his nurse, Robin (Rebel Wilson), and uses his cut to purchase penile erection treatments; and Doyle abandons his restraints of religion and sobriety and fritters away his money on cocaine and his new stripper girlfriend.

Kershaw reports what happened to the police, but they are turned off by his unpleasant manner and don’t believe his bizarre story even when he gives them Daniel Lugo’s name, particularly because of Kershaw’s blood alcohol level. He then contacts Ed Du Bois, III (Ed Harris), a retired private investigator, who declines to take the case but warns Kershaw to quickly leave the hospital before the gang returns to kill him. Kershaw takes his advice and hides in a motel. Upon reflection, Du Bois takes Kershaw’s case and tails the Sun Gym gang. Meanwhile, Doyle has wasted all of his cut and attempts to rob an armored car. However, dye-packs planted in the money bag explode, and he narrowly escapes the police, getting his toe shot off. He and Doorbal – who depleted his share on payments for treatments, his and Robin’s wedding, and a new home – explain to Lugo they need more money, and they propose another kidnapping.

They target Frank Griga (Michael Rispoli), who owns a phone sex operation. After a promising discussion at Griga’s mansion, the gang invites Griga and his wife Krisztina Furton (Keili Lefkowitz) to Doorbal’s home to propose an investment scheme. However, Griga insists on meeting with someone more experienced and questions Lugo’s amateurish business savvy. This angers Lugo, who attacks Griga and accidentally kills him. Krisztina discovers this and tries to shoot Lugo, but Doorbal injects her with a horse tranquilizer. Lugo and Doyle try to use codes obtained from a heavily sedated Krisztina to open a safe at her and Griga’s home, but the codes do not work. When Krisztina rouses and tries to escape, Doorbal gives her a second injection, accidentally killing her.

Lugo and Doorbal purchase equipment to dismember the bodies and dump the body parts in several barrels, which they sink in a lake, while Doyle incinerates their hands (on a barbecue grill) to eliminate their fingerprints. Doyle loses his sanity over the violence and gore, leaves the gang, and returns to the priest’s church. The police learn of Griga and Krisztina’s disappearances, and with evidence from Ed Du Bois, they set a plan to arrest the Sun Gym gang. The film returns to June 17: the police arrest Doyle at the church, Doorbal at home, and Mese at Sun Gym. Lugo sees the raid and flees. Although he is hit by a police car, he escapes and heads out by sea in Kershaw’s go-fast boat. Kershaw and Du Bois deduce Lugo is going after Kershaw’s hidden bank account in the Bahamas and accompany the police to capture him. Lugo’s pursuers catch up with him and Lugo runs. Du Bois shoots him, Kershaw chases Lugo in a car and incapacites him, and the authorities arrest him. Lugo is brought back to the United States and stands trial with Doyle, Doorbal, and Mese.

At the trial, it is revealed that Robin divorced Doorbal the night before she testifies against him. Doyle (a composite of gang members) has an attack of conscience, confesses, and testifies against Lugo; he is sentenced to 15 years in prison, serves seven years, and goes free. Lugo and Doorbal receive death sentences and sit on death row in Florida. Mese is sentenced and dies in prison. Doyle’s stripper girlfriend, Sorina Luminita, is not charged

REVIEW:

There was a song in the 80s, I think it was Aretha Franklin that sang it, called “No Pain, No Gain”. I’m sure when she was singing/writing that she never would have envisioned the future total idiocy of these meatheads in Pain & Gain. This is a true story, by the way!

What is this about?

Michael Bay’s comedic action flick tells the true story of Daniel Lugo and Adrian Doorbal, two Miami muscle heads who become major-league criminals. Known as the Sun Gym Gang, the pair’s lust for money leads them to kidnapping, extortion and murder.

What did I like?

Bodybuilders. Outside of some documentaries about Schwarzenegger, I don’t believe there has been any films about bodybuilders. Shocking when you think about how fitness crazy we are in this country. My best friend is one of those fitness nuts (but not a bodybuilder…yet). I found it to be quite the gamble to tackle this subject on film, when there really isn’t an audience for it, but hey weirder things have become bigger hits, so who am I to judge?

Rock hard. Good googly moogly the Rock is huge! I was a fan when he was dominating the WWE and he wasn’t close to being that big. For a bodybuilder character like this, it works, but the size is for his upcoming Hercules movie. What I liked about Johnson’s performance was how he was able to take this slow and lovable guy and make endear him to the audience, not to mention make him a tragic figure along the way. Say what you will about the Rock, the guy is starting to show some range as an actor (shame no other wrestlers can do the same when they appear in films).

Tone. For the most part, the film keeps a nice action comedy tone, similar to the Bad Boys films that were also directed by Bay. The mix of comedy, action, and the drama that comes late in the film with the introduction of Ed Harris’ character, is phenomenal. Also, Bay is known for big explosions and such…well, other than a couple of attempted murder attempts involving a car blowing up, there isn’t much in the way of explosions showing that the douche the Michael Bay is, he is capable of pulling the reins back.

What didn’t I like?

Narration. I think I’m just not a fan of narration, because it seems like I’m always bitching about the narrators. In this film, it seems like every character we see gets the chance to narrate. Even the janitor, who has nothing to do with the goings on in the picture, get a chance to say his piece. That’s just a bit much, is you ask me. If you must have multiple narrators, limit it to the main characters.

Mack daddy. Look at the poster up there. Anthony Mackie is obviously the third wheel, right? At the very least, he isn’t as major as The Rock and Wahlberg. Other posters totally omit him. The thing is, he’s a bit underappreciated. He’s not the straight man that Wahlberg is or the lovable giant that the Rock is, but he serves as a good median between the two. That being said, my issue with his involves his relationship with Rebel Wilson. I love Rebel, she’s hilarious without being obscene or insulting, the way many comics seem to be these days. However, a friend of mine brought this point up and I’m reiterating it, why did they stick the black man with the chubby white girl? This is more obvious when Wahlberg and Rock share the hot Russian chick. They could share Rebel? What’s up with that?!?

Monk. Good lord was Tony Shaloub, who usually plays lovable, relatable characters when we see him, is beyond likable here. Now, this character he plays apparently wasn’t such a nice guy either. Ever notice that the unlikable villains cannot be killed? Well, apparently, even in real life that happens because this guy even got run over by a van and lived!!! WTF?!? Shaloub’s performance wasn’t bad, just not what you would expect from him. Debate whether or not that’s something you like or not.

Believe it or not, Pain & Gain is a true story. It actually went down in Miami in 1995. From my understanding, not too much of this is changed for film purposes, which makes this absurd and that much more entertaining. A surprise hit for this year, I whole heartedly embrace and recommend this film. Surely you’re going to have a good ol’ time. Definitely something you should check out!

4 1/3 out of 5 stars

Bachelorette

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Regan (Kirsten Dunst) and Becky (Rebel Wilson) are having lunch. Becky tells Regan that she is engaged to her boyfriend Dale (Hayes MacArthur). Regan calls her high school friends, Gena (Lizzy Caplan) and Katie (Isla Fisher) and tells them, very upset, as she wanted to be the first one to get married, especially before her “fat friend”. She complains that now they will have to be in the wedding.

The Day Before the Wedding: Katie is very excited to be in the wedding. She can’t wait for all her friends to be together again. Gena, who lives in Los Angeles, sleeps around a lot and on the plane she is talking to the guy next to her about an ex-boyfriend, who “ruined her life” and who will be at the wedding. At the same time, Regan, the maid of honor, is shallow and nasty to all the wedding planners. The three friends are reunited at the hotel, wondering how they will get through the next 12 hours for the bachelorette party. Becky shows up thrilled to see her other two friends. The bachelorette party is impromptu, and all Becky wants to do is eat ice cream and drink champagne in the room after the rehearsal dinner. Gena and Katie, who wanted to have a big party, run off to do cocaine. At the dinner, Katie tells Gena she got a stripper for them that night. We are introduced to Trevor (James Marsden) who is the best man, and Gena sees her ex-boyfriend Clyde (Adam Scott) while Joe (Kyle Bornheimer), a former classmate of the girls, talks to Katie. Trevor is telling an embarrassing story for his toast and Becky’s cousins do a rap for her. Gena stands up to give her toast, revealing that they met in their high school bathroom, and Becky was forcing herself to throw up. Later on in the hotel suite, a stripper, Katie’s co-worker, shows up for all the women. Becky is into it until she hears him call her Pigface, which was her mean nickname in high school. Gena acts like it’s funny and Becky yells at her, telling her and Katie not to come to the wedding unless they are sober.

Regan, Gena, and Katie are left in the hotel room drinking and snorting coke. Regan can’t get over the fact that Becky is getting married before her. Katie tries on Becky’s wedding dress which is too big. She and Regan both get in the dress and Gena goes to take their picture, and the dress rips. They freak out and bring the dress down to the hotel housekeeper, but they can’t do anything. Meanwhile, Regan is on the phone with her boyfriend Frank who can no longer attend the wedding because he’s busy with medical school. They discover that Katie’s nose is bleeding on the dress. In the hallway of the hotel, they run into Dale and his groomsmen, and he is blindfolded on his way to a strip club. They part ways but not before Gena pretends to come on to Clyde, stealing his wallet to try and help pay for the dress to get fixed.

The men are in a limo on their way to the strip club talking about women and dating. Meanwhile, the women are standing outside the bridal shop waiting for the store owner, vowing they will never do coke again. The owner, Melissa shows up and is hostile to the girls, especially Regan, for making her open the store for them in the middle of the night. They lie and tell her that Becky decided she wants a new dress. Regan refuses to buy the dress Melissa finds because it’s “her perfect dress”. She says she’d rather lick the sidewalk than have Becky wear it, and then she actually does lick the sidewalk. During this, they discover that Katie knows how to sew. They buy thread and now need to find a sewing machine. Meanwhile, Trevor keeps texting Regan to go to the strip club. At the strip club, Dale goes to wait in the car when finding out Becky’s friends are coming. The three ladies show up and aren’t allowed in the strip club without a male escort so Dale gets them in. They go inside to clean off the dress. Trevor asks Regan to help Joe hook up with Katie, and they wind up in a history discussion. Clyde is trying to hook up with the stripper and realizes that his wallet is missing.

As Gena tries to clean the dress in the bathroom, she starts talking to a stripper who uses the dress as a towel and toilet paper without her noticing. Afterwards, Regan yells at Gena for trying to confess to Becky over the phone. The girls begin arguing, and Regan yells at Gena saying she handles everything, including Gena’s abortion. Gena gets Clyde, and they leave together with the dress. Trevor gets Joe to take Katie home and tells him to have sex with her, which he doesn’t want to do because she’s heavily intoxicated.

Gena and Clyde argue on the subway since she stole his wallet and she is still mad about what happened between them. In high school, Gena got pregnant and she had to get an abortion without his help. Meanwhile, Trevor and Regan wind up having sex in the hotel bar bathroom. Becky calls her and asks her to come up to her room. Clyde and Gena go to his mother’s house who agrees to fix the dress. Clyde makes pancakes while Gena tries to call a cocaine dealer. He throws her phone outside telling her it’s not cute anymore. They wind up looking at old photos and he tells her that he couldn’t show up that day because he was too sad. They go into his bedroom where he plays her a mixtape he made when they were in high school and they end up having sex.

Joe and Katie go off on their own and go swimming in an indoor pool at the hotel. They share stories about partying, and she tells him that she slit her wrist a year ago. He kisses her, and they get out of the pool. They’re going to have sex, but Joe tells her that he likes her a lot and cares how they have sex. He doesn’t want a random, drunken hook up with her. However, Katie can’t even remember his name. He leaves, both of them upset. Regan goes to Becky’s room. Becky feels bad about what happened earlier. She thanks Regan for everything she’s done and Regan sneaks off to the bathroom and leaves another message for Gena on her phone. Becky opens the door and catches Regan about to make herself throw up. They reminisce about high school and how Becky took the fall for Regan’s bulimia. Regan is about to tell Becky about the dress when Becky’s mother shows up and tells them that it’s time for her to start getting ready.

Gena and Clyde wake up. She grabs the dress and runs out. The party planners try to find the dress, confused as to where it could be. Joe tells Regan that Katie locked herself in the bathroom and won’t come out. Gena has the fixed dress and brings it back to the tailor in the hotel saying it’s fixed and asks her to clean it. She finally calls back Regan and tells her the dress needs 40 minutes. Regan finds Katie in the bathroom, and she seemingly having ODd. Joe realizes that Katie took the Xanax that Trevor gave him at the strip club and calls the paramedics. Regan sticks her fingers down Katie’s throat and has her throw up the pills, getting some vomit on Regan’s dress. Regan tells a nervous Becky that her dress is being steamed. Gena knocks on Trevor’s door and hits him with a coffeepot for giving Joe the Xanax. She then runs after Regan and Becky with the dress but misses them. She uses the same cab as Clyde who tells her that they are meant to be together. Becky screams at her mother and Regan in the taxi saying she hates both of them. They get to the wedding, and Becky is still screaming at Regan. Gena shows up with the dress and Becky notices the blood stain. She gets over it and walks down the aisle, leaving Gena and Regan, who has vomit on her, behind. Katie gets there late and the three of them sit on a bench watching the ceremony. At the reception, Joe and Katie talk and kiss, Regan tries to sleep, and Clyde gives an obscene speech about having sex with Gena the night before. He says he wants to do that forever and starts to sing “I’m Gonna Be” to her after which they kiss. The four girls dance together as the film closes

REVIEW:

With all the male dominated gross out comedies out there, it is about time for one that focuses on the females, right? That is how we got Bachelorette. Some have called this a mixture between The Hangover, Mean Girls, and Bridesmaids. From what I recall, I would say this fits more in line with the latter.

What is this about?

When a single overachiever learns, to her horror, that an overweight girl she teased in high school is getting married before her, she swallows her pride and serves as maid of honor, enlisting her old clique to help through an evening of mishaps.

What did I like?

Frenemies. Putting together a group of “friends” from high school can often result in good or bad things. This time around, it seemed to result in the bad, complete with jealousy and hurt feelings. For some reason, though, it seemed to work and the writers chose to not go overboard with it. I don’t think any of us wanted to see a catfight between them all.

Gotta love him. One of the guys at the wedding, played by Kyle Bornheimer, is probably the best character in the film in that he actually has redeeming qualities, as opposed to being a drunk, druggie, or deplorable individual. This guy wants nothing more than for Isla Fisher to love him (can’t blame the guy, honestly). Sure, he seems to doing his best to come off as a poor man’s Seth Rogen, but that portrayal is quite charming and endearing.

Bitch. You gotta hand it to Kirstin Dunst, she knows how to play a bitch. Here she is the de facto ring leader of this group of girls, not to mention the maid of honor in the wedding. Of course, as the old saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility”. She is in charge of making sure the wedding goes off without a hitch and that includes all the mishaps that occur along the way, some of which are indirectly her fault thanks to her hatred of her “friend” getting married.

What didn’t I like?

Rebel without a cause. Rebel Wilson has proven she is hilarious, so I have to wonder why it is that she was chosen for this role. She is barely in the film. From my understanding, in the play, her character never appears on stage, but is just a dress hanging in the background. I’m sure they could have found someone who doesn’t have a career headed upwards to play this role.

Fat jokes. Speaking of Wilson, we know she’s a bigger girl. So what? Was there really a need to pile on with the fat jokes? Two girls attempting to fit in her dress? Really? That was just wrong and unnecessary!

Wedding. I wasn’t really impressed with the wedding at the end. After all the hype that went on getting us there, there was nothing special about it. Maybe that was the idea, but I felt that it should have been some big event that made the world stop. Maybe I’m just grasping at straws, though.

Bachelorette was an alright film, but nothing that audiences will remember in about 5 minutes. It has moments and maintains the notion that it is a comedy, rather than a drama, but just doesn’t do anything special. This is the kind of thing we’ve seen time and time again, sometimes done better! Still, I can see how some would be interested in checking this out, so have fun!

3 out of 5 stars

Ice Age: Continental Drift

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In an attempt to bury his acorn, Scrat inadvertently causes the break up of Pangaea. Meanwhile Manny and Ellie must deal with the trials and tribulations of their daughter Peaches, now a teenager desiring to fit in with her peers. Ellie is fine about that, but Manny becomes extremely over-protective. Peaches’ only friend is Louis, a molehog, tries to protect her as she tries to approach a mammoth named Ethan whom she has a crush on. Sid’s family returns, only long enough to drop off the elderly Granny before abandoning them both again. When Manny catches Peaches sneaking off to meet Ethan, they argue and fallout. Shortly afterward, a continental break-up separates Manny from the herd. Trapped on a moving chunk of ice with Sid and Diego, Manny has no choice but to ride out the current. Meanwhile a giant land shift encroaches on Ellie, Peaches, and those remaining on land, causing them make their way toward the land bridge.

At sea, violent weather pushes Manny and the others further away from land while Scrat, in a side adventure, finds an acorn that has a treasure map on it that directs him towards an island. Soon, after Manny, Sid, and Diego find Granny (who was sleeping inside a hollow tree stump, on the ice raft), they are captured by a band of pirates sailing on a floating iceberg as a ship led by a Gigantopithecus, Captain Gutt, who attempts to press gang them into his crew; when they refuse Gutt tries to make them walk the plank. Manny, Sid, Diego, Granny and Scrat (who was also taken captive) escape, but cause the ship to sink and Gutt’s first mate, a female sabertooth named Shira joins them out of no choice of her own.

They then find Switchback Cove, which has a current that would direct them home, but after washing ashore a remote island, Shira escapes and tells Gutt and the pirate crew (who are also on the island) of their whereabouts. Gutt, wanting revenge on Manny for sinking his ship, plans an attack. Along with the hyrax inhabitants of the island, Manny coordinates a plan to steal Gutt’s new ship to return home. Shira decides to leave Gutt, when she and Diego begin to fall in love, but she stays behind to ensure Gutt doesn’t catch the herd. Gutt and his pirates quickly make a new iceberg ship to sail after the herd, determined to get revenge. Meanwhile, Scrat, using one of the hyrax’s leaf “planes”, flies off the island, only to be swallowed by a shark.

Peaches finally begins to fit in with the mammoths her age, but accidentally insults Louis, who is referred to as a freak by the others, by saying they are not friends. When she sees the other teens’ careless disregard to the danger, she turns her back on them, warning that their extinction will come sooner than they think.

As they are sailing back, Diego, Sid, and Granny encounter monstrous sirens taking the shapes of what the group finds most attractive. Fortunately, Manny realizes this after hearing a siren, disguised as Ellie tell him something she would never say and saves them at the last second. Later, Scrat encounters a siren, taking on the shapes of Scratte (that Scrat ignores) then an acorn. Scrat immediately runs up and attempts to bury the “acorn”, but is attacked by other sirens and escapes unharmed.

Manny, Sid, Diego, and Granny soon return home only to find the land bridge destroyed in the earthquakes and Gutt and his crew made it there first and have captured Ellie and Peaches. Louis stands up for Peaches and a battle ensues between the herd and the pirates. Shira frees Ellie and helps fend off her former comrades, while Granny’s previously unseen (and claimed imaginary) pet whale, Precious, appears and turns the tables on the rest of the lot. Gutt then attempts to kill Ellie but Peaches, using her possum-like skills, manages to save her. Manny defeats Gutt in a duel and reunites with his family and friends. Later, Gutt encounters a siren taking on the shape of a female of his species and is eaten.With their home destroyed, the entire party and inhabitants then sail to an island that they found to settle down. Manny allows Peaches to “have an adventure” having gained a new respect for her and toward Louis. Shira joins the herd and becomes Diego’s girlfriend, while Louis becomes a hero among the teenage mammoths.

At the end of his journey, Scrat discovers the island on the map, know as Scratlantis (a mock up of Atlantis), but his uncontrollable urge to hunt acorns in the acorn-rich city inadvertently causes the entire island to sink and Scrat is ejected into what is now known as Death Valley.

REVIEW:

I have issues with films that just release sequels for the sake of making money, as opposed to telling a good story. My feelings toward such films turns to rage and hatred when it seems as if each film gets worse. Ice Age: Continental Drift is said by many critics to be the best of a series that should have died along with the dinosaurs.

What is this about?

The animated Ice Age series tacks on a game-changing fourth act when unexpected events set the continent in motion, sending Manny (voiced by Ray Romano), Diego (Denis Leary) and Sid (John Leguizamo) away from Ellie (Queen Latifah) and the herd and into the vastness of the open sea. The world around them is forever changed, but at least one thing remains the same: their ability to make the most of extreme climate change.

What did I like?

Pirates. I hear everyone raving about Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones, but I’ve only seen one episode since we don’t have HBO. I best know him as Simon Barsinister in Underdog and the male nanny in a few episodes of Nip/Tuck. The guy has some real acting chops, as he puts on display here as the pirate captain Gutt. Truth be told, I don’t remember much of the other Ice Age films, but Gutt and the other pirates are something to remember about this film, a much needed shot in the arm. Someone should consider a spinoff!

Scrat. A lot of people would argue that Scrat is the best thing about this franchise. You’ll get no argument from me. The things this little squirrel does just to get that acorn are highlights of the film. I just wish there was more of them, and not just what equates to a bunch of shorts featuring him.

Animation. Going back to the first Ice Age and comparing the animation to this one, it is quite obvious that two things have happened. Technology has advanced quite a ways and the animators have gotten better at what they do, because this is some gorgeous computer animation, which is saying something coming from me, someone who isn’t a fan of CG.

What didn’t I like?

Too many. It seems like in each film, they keep adding on characters. At some point, they just need to stop because, as we can see here, it hard to give each of them decent screen time. Take for instance, Ellie, she was just left over on land with her daughter, who had her own little story going on. If not for some motherly advice moments, she probably wouldn’t have been seen until the very end, if at all, once we got past that point. All the little ancillary characters that we saw in previous films and had actual relevance are there in the beginning and show up at the end as if they were a major part of the production, but up to that moment, who really even thought about them?

Rappers do not equal actors. Rappers Nicki Minaj and Drake somehow managed to get cast in this. Nicki Minaj is quickly making her way up my most hated list, mainly because she has no talent and is on a show judging singers (when she’s supposedly a rapper). Her lines were painful to listen to, but I think has I seen this before this season of American Idol started, the images of her “judging” wouldn’t be so ingrained in m head that I can’t give her fair judgement. Drake on the other hand was actually an actor at one time. It came to attention this week that he had a fairly major role in the Canadian teen drama Degrassi: Next Generation. The guy has talent, I just don’t think this was the right role for him. Sure he’s not Lil’ Wayne or Wiz Khalifa, but he still doesn’t exactly scream clean-cut, family entertainer. On that point, go back to when Queen Latifah was a rapper, and you could’ve said that same thing about her.

Stagnant. For me, this film felt a lot like a franchise that is stuck in neutral. It wants to keep going, but doesn’t know how to kick it into the next gear. Personally, I think the way this ended would be a way to end the franchise (same can be said for the others, I’m sure). If they want this to keep going, then do it with new characters. It is high time Manny, Sid, Diego, & company are put to rest. Of course, it will be just our luck that these films keep going, forgetting what they were originally about, and the next thing we know there are about 50 sequels that no one cares about. Seriously, all those sequels to The Land Before Time did was tarnish the legacy of the original…and I believe they are still making those things!!!

Is Ice Age: Continental Drift the best of the franchise? Perhaps, but as I stated earlier, I can barely remember anything about those previous films. This one at least has some memorable moments, highlighted by some great action scenes. Is this enough to justify the need for this to have been made or that this franchise keep going? The answer to that is an emphatic no. Kids will love this, though, and adults will get a kick out of some points here and there, but as a whole, I wouldn’t really recommend this, unless you’re doing an Ice Age marathon.

3 out of 5 stars

Pitch Perfect

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

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film revolves around the Bellas, an all-female a cappella group from Barden University. Reeling from a humiliating loss at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, the group struggles to find new members the next year.

Beca (Anna Kendrick), a Barden freshman, has no desire to go to college, but is forced to attend by her father, a professor at the university. Wishing to instead move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music production, she takes up an internship at the school radio station, where she meets fellow freshman Jesse (Skylar Astin). When Beca’s father (John Hickey) finds out that Beca has not been attending classes, he offers to let Beca go to Los Angeles if she joins a club and proves that she wants to be involved. After some persuasion from Aubrey (Anna Camp), the group leader, and Chloe (Brittany Snow), she joins the Bellas, along with a group of other women who do not fit the Bellas’ typical mold, including the homosexual Cynthia-Rose (Ester Dean), the sexually driven Stacie Conrad (Alexis Knapp), the quiet Lilly Onakuramara (Hana Mae Lee), who speaks inaudibly, and Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson).

At practice, Aubrey’s controlling nature gets on the nerves of the other girls. She is constantly critical and insists that they use the same set list the Bellas have been using for years, which clashes with Beca’s contemporary style. Meanwhile, Beca hangs out with Jesse—who has joined the Treblemakers, the Bellas’ main rival—despite Aubrey’s warning to the group not to get involved with Treblemakers. Beca plays several of her own mixes of contemporary songs for him, and he compliments her for her talent. He then tries to get Beca to watch the ending of The Breakfast Club, his favorite movie, after Beca tells him she does not like movies because they bore her and she never gets to the ending.

Despite their issues, the Bellas attend the regional a cappella competition. In spite of their bland set list, the group manages to place second at the regional a cappella competition. On the way to semifinals, the group stops for gas where Fat Amy is hit with a burrito by Bumper (Adam DeVine), the leader of the Treblemakers, as they drive past in their own bus. After the other girls clean her up, they continue on to the venue but run out of gas since Fat Amy forgot to put any in the bus. They are then forced to call the Treblemakers to drive them to the venue.

At the semifinals, Beca notices how bored the audience is with Aubrey’s traditional arrangement, so she provides impromptu back-up, La Roux’s “Bulletproof”. The Bellas come in third in the competition behind the Treblemakers and the Footnotes. Even though the audience was pleased, Aubrey is not and she yells at Beca, who quits the group. The Bellas make it into the Nationals after the Footnotes are disqualified because their lead singer was discovered to be in high school, not college. The Bellas get back together after spring break, but Beca is not included.

During this time, Beca begins working as a DJ at the university radio station, playing her music on the overnight shift, and also steadily distancing herself from Jesse. She finds a copy of The Breakfast Club and watches it. She realizes how much she needs the Bellas in her life. Her father convinces her to rejoin the Bellas, who she finds falling apart. The Bellas, complete once more, have a heart-to-heart and decide to kick things up a notch with Beca’s 21st-century mash-ups.

At the National Competition, the Bellas sing a piece arranged by Beca, including “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”, the theme from The Breakfast Club. The Bellas win the competition and Beca and Jesse reunite with a kiss. Fast forward to 6 months later in new auditions, where it shows Jesse and Benji sitting at a desk in the auditions hall, followed by Beca and the Bellas, along with their Nationals trophy, preparing to select new members for their groups.

REVIEW:

Pitch Perfect has one thing to thank for the fact that it was even made, and that is the show Glee. Without it, a cappella music would still be the butt of every music joke seen in movies. I’m glad that the star aligned to get this film put into production, though, because this pleased the film fan and musician in me.

What is this about?

The Barden Bellas are a collegiate, all-girls a cappella singing group thriving on female pop songs and their perfect looks. After a disastrous failing at last year’s finals, they are forced to regroup. Among the new recruits is freshman Beca, an independent, aspiring DJ with no interest in the college life. But after she meets Jesse, from the rival all-male a cappella group, Beca has a new outlook and takes it upon herself to help the Bellas find their new look and sound and get back into the competition.

What did I like?

Focus. We’ve all seen films like this where the choir, band, nerd fraternity, or what have you is the focus of the film, but some kind of cruel fraternity, athlete, or corrupt administrator gets in the way of everything they do. Someone realized that we’ve seen that scenario played out too many times and didn’t include them. The film focuses so much on the groups that is seems as if they are the athletic teams for this school or, at the least it seems, the only thing that is going on campus.

Fat Amy. At first, I thought Rebel Wilson was just doing her best to be a female Jonah Hill, but she turned out to be actually funny. On top of that, the only mention of her weight is by her, which I found to be a nice touch. She calls herself Fat Amy so that the “skinny bitches” can’t do it behind her back. Love it! Need more characters like her in movies, I tell you! If you were wondering where you’ve seen her before, think of the goth girl who talks to reporters early on in Ghost Rider, that’s her.

Oh, snap. The writers of this film deserve some major accolades for delivering one of the funniest films of 2012. Often, comedies are brought down by some melodrama in the middle and never recover. This is a film that doesn’t fall in that trap and with a mostly female cast it mos certainly could have. The jokes and characters keep the non musical parts of this film afloat until we get to the next song, much in the same way the frist season of Glee did (before they went overboard with their gay agenda thing and turned into more of a drama than a fun musical show).

Soft-spoken psycho. A woman of few words, the little Asian chick has some quite disturbingly funny lines when she gets them out. Think of the Asian kid from American Dad, only she speaks English…just very quietly. It is the same idea, but it works better for some reason.

What didn’t I like?

Bad influence. I think all those Twilight movies finally rubbed off on Anna Kendrick. Her acting didn’t seem as genuine as with other films I’ve seen her in, such as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Up in the Air. Part of this I can attribute to her character being the way she is. I still wonder why she just kept blowing up at this guy who was just trying to help her out. Also, she insults Darth Vader, there is no reason for that!

DJ. Contrary to popular belief, DJing is not music. Anyone can hit play on a couple of songs and come up with some sort of mix. It is an insult to the true musicians of the world to call DJing music! At least no one tried to force dubstep on us. Maybe they’re saving that for the sequel.

Characters. To me, it seemed as if the film was so centered on Anna Kendrick’s character and her relationship with her dad, the guy who wants to be her boyfriend, and the senor leader of the Bellas, that they forget about the other girls. Fat Amy has a few good scenes, but that’s about it. I dare you to watch this and tell me about Stacie, Cynthia-Rose, or the two girls who are just there to fill out the quota. They could have done better with this, especially since Becca wasn’t really that great of a character.

Roommate. In college, I mostly had private dorm rooms until I moved off campus, but the few times I did have a roommate, they weren’t exactly the best in the world, but they weren’t antisocial, either. We just didn’t get along, except for my last roommate, he was pretty cool. The girl Becca gets stuck with, another person that isn’t developed, just doesn’t seem to be a good roommate. She shows this by her action in the few scenes we see her. In one, she and her friends come in and they say something about “the white girl”. In a pivotal scene later on when the Bellas are in Becca’s room, something is said about them waiting for her. Of course, as she is on her way out, the roommate says something about they’ve been there forever. Uncalled for, I tell ya!

Someone described this as Drumline for vocal groups. At first, I didn’t understand the comparison, but now I do. Each of these musical numbers is polished to such an extreme lustre that it is obvious they were done in the studio, but it is still an a cappella film, something that there aren’t very many of. As a matter of fact, I think the only non-church choir film out there are the Sister Act films, and they straddle the fence. With all that said, my final verdict on this is that it is a must-see!

4 3/4 out of 5 stars