Archive for Rob Lowe

Sex Tape

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz) are a married couple still very much in love, but ten years and two kids have cooled the passion. To get it back, they decide – why not? – to make a video of themselves trying out every position in THE JOY OF SEX in one marathon three-hour session. It seems like a great idea, until they discover that their most private video has gone public. In a panic, they begin a wild night of adventure – tracking down leads, roping in friends, duping Annie’s boss – all to reclaim their video, their reputation, their sanity, and, most importantly, their marriage.

What people are saying:

“With neither the conviction to embrace its smutty premise nor enough laughs to function as a worthwhile rom-com, the flaccid Sex Tape suffers from cinematic impotence” 2 stars

“Nothing in this film works. It has clearly been put together by people who have been given an idea via conference call of what a film looks like and sounds like, but have no idea how to fit everything together.” 1 star

“Though its two leads are charming and it offers a couple of laughs, Sex Tape is a sadly a bit of a misfire which never quite makes the most out of its premise, has a rushed ending and practically points out a few flaws that they the two main characters could’ve done the whole time meaning they wouldn’t have to go through this whole 90 minutes. That might probably earn some nitpicking.” 3 stars

“Cameron Diaz again? Why does she keep making movies I want to see? I used to skip everything she was in and now, it seems like I have to see everything she’s in. Well fortunately, or unfortunately, however you want to look at it, this one does not quite work, although it isn’t a total loss either. Diaz and Jason Segel are both good but I don’t know, the script somehow doesn’t let them go full comedy route. Some of the jokes and one liners work and are quite funny, but they are somewhat spread out where they don’t flow. The kids are cute but then again, what kids in movies aren’t cute? The other thing is Rob Lowe is pretty annoying in this, I don’t know if it was just that way his character was written or if that is just how he is because I haven’t seen him in a movie in a while so I don’t know. It’s not the best thing you’ll ever watch nor the worst thing. MILD RECOMMENDATION for the two leads and for a night out, just don’t expect to be blown away.” 3 stars

“Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel had a nice chemistry in Bad Teacher. Jake Kasdan directed that movie as well. The ingredients are the same, but the results are inferior here. Perhaps my hopes were too high going in, but this was a highly disappointing movie. Many of the funniest parts are in the trailers. Worse yet, it wastes the strong cast by making them into idiots. More than once the sticky situation, they are in turns out to be easily resolvable. They do not realize what an easy fix it is and instead go about trying to fix things in the most difficult way possible. Having a buffoon sidekick is funny in this situation, but when main characters are idiots there probably needs to be a straight man to provide point reference. I am one to enjoy a comedy and not ask too many questions, but the main characters are dumb in a frustrating way that is not funny. Rob Lowe, Rob Corddry, and Ellie Kemper create better laughs as supporting characters than the lead roles, which is a problem. In a misguided attempt to force personal growth of the characters into the story, underdeveloped and unneeded drama makes it worse. The supposed marriage trouble the two between Diaz and Segel is never established. In a true display of lazy writing, this marital issue comes up late in the movie and then is quickly resolved. For a raunchy comedy with the title Sex Tape, it is disappointingly tame. While it is tamer than it should be, the director struggles with knowing what to show and what to keep hidden to make the best joke. The premise is fine, and the cast is right but this movie is the dead on arrival with shoddy writing.” 1 1/2 stars

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View from the Top

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , on November 5, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Donna Jensen (Gwyneth Paltrow) is a girl from a small town in Nevada who wishes to see the world in order to get away from her unhappy life of living in a trailer with her alcoholic mother, a former Las Vegas showgirl, and her abusive, alcoholic stepfather. After graduating from high school, Donna tries to make ends meet by working as a clerk in a Big Lots. After her boyfriend (Marc Blucas) leaves her for another girl, she goes to a bar where she sees a talkshow segment about Sally Weston, who has written a memoir called My Life in the Sky, and decides to follow her destiny by becoming a flight attendant. Her first position is at a small, seedy California commuter airline but this success builds her confidence up and encourages her to attend open interviews for Royalty Airlines. She convinces her two co-workers, Sherry and Christine (Kelly Preston and Christina Applegate), to join her. While Christine and Donna get in, Sherry does not. Donna puts her heart and soul into the training camp, and, after meeting her idol Sally Weston (Candice Bergen), she is determined to be assigned to the top route, “Paris, First Class, International”. Alas, when the assignments are posted, Donna is shocked to discover that she has been assigned to a commuter route in Cleveland. Christine, who had initially struggled with the material and procedures, has inexplicably been assigned the high-priority New York route.

A few months later, by chance, Donna runs into Christine in Cleveland. Donna knows from previous experience that Christine has the airplane soap from Sally’s house during their training sessions, but is still shocked when Christine empties her handbag to reveal all manner of Royalty Air items. Even the smallest theft is strictly prohibited by Royalty Airlines, and could mean termination. Still sure there was some sort of error in her route assignment, Donna turns to Sally Weston for help. Through a course of events, Donna discovers that Christine had switched their test booklets when they were being handed up to their trainer – Christine’s route assignment is rightfully Donna’s, and vice versa. When Sally asks to have airline security spy on Christine’s flight – to see if she stole any property (a code blue) – Christine gets caught and is fired from Royalty. Donna gets the chance to re-take her exam and achieves a perfect score, resulting in being assigned a Paris, First Class, International route. However, following her “destiny” means deciding between a boyfriend (Mark Ruffalo) and her career. She chooses her career.

Though she gets all that she wants – Paris, first class, etc. – Donna realizes that she is still not happy. She misses her boyfriend in Cleveland terribly, and with Sally Weston’s encouragement, she returns to Cleveland to meet him. She does, and after a heartfelt speech to his deaf grandmother, which he overhears, the two kiss and make up. The movie ends with Donna wishing her passengers well as they land in Cleveland, having become a pilot.

REVIEW:

This past week I was so busy with work and all matter of other issues, that I didn’t really get to watch and/or review any films. I think I may have snuck one in there, barely. Hopefully, I’ll be getting back to schedule soon, starting with this romantic comedy that a couple of people have asked my opinion on, View from the Top.

What is this about?

A small-town girl’s dreams of becoming a flight attendant hit some turbulence when she meets a catty colleague, a frisky pilot and a crazy instructor.

What did I like?

Fly away. The last time flight attendants received any kind of publicity, that I am aware of, is that short-lived show from last year, Pan Am. That show and this film are all flight attendants have. Compare that to the countless films we have about cancer patients, athletes, talking animals, crime, etc. and you can see the difference in the numbers. In this day and age when everything seems to be a carbon copy of everything else, new subject matter is a welcome thing.

Mentor or mom? Candice Bergen plays a great mentor to Gwyneth Paltrow’s character. This is one of the few times she plays a character that actually has warmth and a nurturing side. It is almost as if she is Paltrow’s mom. Perhaps, given the crappy home life outlined at the beginning of the film, she was meant to be a maternal figure that Paltrow looked up to because of her book.

No girl power. I don’t want this point to come off sounding like I’m some sort of misogynist, but I am so over the moon with glee that this didn’t try to speak to the female audience exclusively. Girl power and feminism is fine and all, but I’ve had just about enough of it in every film. Being able to watch a film not be beaten over the head with an agenda was something that I may possibly have enjoyed more than the rest of the film.

What didn’t I like?

Party on Wayne. The talent that Mike Myers has is a topic that many argue about. Some say he’s a genius, others say he’s just annoying. I’m not here to debate one way or the other, but rather to mention how he is basically useless. Well, let me take that back. His character has purpose in the film’s plot as the flight attendant trainer, but the eye thing got old quick and didn’t fit with the tone of this film. Then again, I’m not sure the film knows what tone it wanted to take, either.

Hulk needs love, too.  Shouldn’t romantic comedies have romance? It seems as if this is something the filmmakers forgot to  include in the script because there is little to no romance between Paltrow and Mark Ruffalo’s characters. Most of the film is spent doing everything but have these two interact. On the plus side, all those tropes commonly associated with rom-coms aren’t present, thankfully.

Bodies on the floor. I can see why John Travolta married Kelly Preston. She is quite the vision of loveliness, but for some reason her breasts were nearly scraping the floor in this film. I bring this up because it was distracting and since she wasn’t in the film for that long a period of time, it was almost as if there was some sort of comedic reasoning behind this. If that was the case, fine, but if not, then I have to say WTF?!?

Talk about a film that has no direction. View from the Top is a mishmash of drama and comedy that never quite finds the right formula. There is unlimited potential here with a great cast, decent story, and some nice moments. For me, this was just a time killer film. There was nothing particularly special about it. So, no, I do not recommend it.

3 out of 5 stars

Tommy Boy

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

After seven years at college, Thomas R. “Tommy” Callahan III (Chris Farley) barely graduates from Marquette University and returns to his hometown of Sandusky, Ohio. His father, industrialist, and widower, Thomas R. “Big Tom” Callahan, Jr. (Brian Dennehy), gives him an executive job at the family’s auto parts plant, Callahan Auto. In addition to the new job and office, Big Tom reveals that he plans to marry Beverly Barrish-Burns (Bo Derek), a woman he had met at a fat farm, and that her son, Paul (Rob Lowe), will become Tommy’s new stepbrother. At the wedding, Big Tom suddenly dies of a heart attack. After the funeral, doubting the future of the company without Big Tom, the bank reneges on promises of a loan for a new brake pad division and seeks immediate payment of Callahan Auto’s debts. Ray Zalinsky (Dan Aykroyd), owner and operator of another automotive, Zalinsky Auto Parts, offers to buy them out while the company’s shares are high, but Tommy suggests a deal: he will let the bank hold his inherited shares and house in exchange for helping the sales of brake pads going. The bank agrees, but they also want the company to prove it still has viability by selling 500,000 brake pads. If they succeed, the bank will grant the loan. Tommy volunteers to go on a cross-country sales trip with his father’s sycophantic assistant, Richard Hayden (David Spade), a childhood acquaintance who is annoyed over Tommy’s ability to be lazy and yet be rewarded.

Meanwhile, Beverly and Paul are shown kissing romantically. They are not mother and son, but rather married con artists with criminal records. Instead of eventually getting a divorce and taking half of Big Tom’s estate, Beverly has inherited half of the controlling interest in the company. To turn that into cash, she seeks a quick sale to Zalinsky. On the road, Tommy’s social anxiety and hyperactivity alienate several potential buyers. The lack of any progress leads to tension between Tommy and Richard. In addition, the duo encounter a variety of incidents that lead to the near destruction of Richard’s car. When all seems lost, Tommy persuades a surly waitress to serve him chicken wings after the friers are turned off. Seeing this, Richard realizes that Tommy has the ability to read people, just like his father, and suggests this is how he should sell all the time. The two mend their friendship and start to sell effectively to various automotive plants, eventually putting them over the half million mark. However, Paul sabotages the company’s computers, causing sales posted by sales manager Michelle Brock (Julie Warner) to be lost or misrouted. With half of the sales now canceled, the bank, backed by Beverly and Paul, decides to sell Callahan Auto to Zalinsky. Hoping that they can persuade Zalinsky to reconsider, Tommy and Richard travel to Chicago boarding a plane as flight attendants. In Chicago, they get a brief meeting with Zalinsky, but he tells them he only wants Callahan for the reputation, not the employees, and that after sale he will dissolve the company and absorb the production line into his company, leaving Callahan workers unemployed.

Tommy and Richard are denied entrance to the Zalinsky board room since Tommy has no standing. After briefly wallowing on the curb in self-pity, Michelle arrives with Paul and Beverly’s police records. Tommy devises ‘a plan’: dressed as a suicide bomber by using road flares, he attracts the attention of a live television news crew and then, along with Michelle and Richard, forces his way back into the board room. Back in Sandusky, Callahan workers watch the drama on a television. In a final move of pure persuasion, Tommy quotes Zalinsky’s own advertising slogan, that he is on the side of the “American working man.” As the TV audience watches, Zalinsky signs Tommy’s purchase order for 500,000 brake pads. Although Zalinsky says that the purchase order is meaningless as he will soon own Callahan Auto, Michelle shows her police records, which includes Paul’s outstanding warrants for fraud. Since Beverly is still married to Paul, her marriage to Big Tom was bigamous and therefore never legal. Thus, all of Big Tom’s controlling shares actually belong to Tommy, the rightful heir. Since Tommy does not want to sell the shares, the deal with Zalinsky is off and since Tommy still holds Zalinsky’s purchase order, the company is saved. Paul attempts to escape, but is arrested. Zalinsky admits that Tommy outplayed him and honors the large sales order. The film ends when Tommy starts his romance with Michelle and is made the president of Callahan Auto.

REVIEW:

Not too long ago, I was reading an article about how different the comedic landscape of cinema would be had Chris Farley not passed away, because if you go back and look, that is when Adam Sandler’s movies started coming out. This really got me thinking, and I honestly do believe there would be a difference in quality of comedies had Farley lived. I may post about that sometime in the near future, but for not, let’s talk about Tommy Boy.

What is this about?

Party animal Tommy Callahan is a few cans short of a six-pack. But when the family business starts tanking, it’s up to Tommy and number-cruncher Richard Hayden to save the day in this riotous road comedy.

What did I like?

Casting call. Two key roles had to be filled for this film, well 3 technically. The first is someone who has great chemistry with Chris Farley. Naturally, one would go back to his Saturday Night Live days to find the perfect choice, David Spade. The yin and yang between this odd couple really drives, pardon the pun, the film in the second half. Next, what big guy could you get to play Farley’s father. I can think of only two people who might work, though I am sure there are others, John Goodman and Brian Dennehy, who ultimately earned the role. Dennehy is a bigger guy, both in terms of girth and height, which made him the optimal choice for Big Tom. Finally, someone to fall for Tommy. That went to unknown actress, Julie Warner. Other than this, the only other time I’ve seen her was in season 6 of Dexter

Are you my mummy? You don’t cast Bo Derek unless you’re going to capitalize on her looks. Hell, I think they even brought up her beauty in the episodes of 7th Heaven in which she appeared. I appreciated how they introduced her coming out of the water, though, showing she still is a 10. Now, the way her character turns out to be a bit of an antagonist I didn’t care for, but much like Regina in Once Upon a Time, her beauty gives her a pass from me.

Road trip. A good road trip flick is hard to find. There plenty out there to choose from, but how many are truly memorable? In order for road trip films to stick in your head, there has to be some reason you want to watch those parties involved get from point A to point B. In this case, the fact that Tommy is trying to save his family’s legacy, the town, and the sacrifice he’s made to do so pull you in. Throw in the hijinks he and Spade get into along the way and the lack of success they have early on and you just can’t help but want to see how it will all end,

What didn’t I like?

Lit’rally worthless. Typically, when you bring in Rob Lowe, he is meant to be the slimy, yet suave, villain. At least that was his role in the 90s. Take Wayne’s World, for example. Strangely enough, today he is playing one of the good guys on Parks and Recreation. Back to my point, though, Lowe is his usual slimy self. At one point, he and Tommy get drunk. Tommy is covered in mud and cow feces, so Lowe hoses him down with gasoline. Now, seems to me this would have been the perfect place to light a match and have Farley do comedic stuff, but nothing comes of it, which is really a shame, as it would have set him up to be a diabolical villain. Instead he does nothing, and that pretty much is what he does for the majority of the film, except for a bumbling attempt at something, I forgot what, but he gets attacked by a guard dog. The only thing he manages to do right is computer fraud, but that scene was so awkward, I had to turn away. Come on Rob Lowe, you can do better than this disjointed performance, script problem or not.

Deer in headlights. On the road, Farley and Spade hit a deer. As can be expected, they put it in their backseat until they can properly dispose of it (they were en route to an appointment). For some reason, the deer comes back to life and not only attacks the two while they are driving, but it totals the car and runs away. I’m guessing this is some kind of comedic effect, but I didn’t laugh. It just didn’t quite seem to fit in with the rest of the film. Now, had that been some bum they hit who came back to life and went berserk, then perhaps that would have made more sense to me.

Calm down. Man, Chris Farley rode that loveable, overactive, fat guy shtick to the grave, didn’t he? As can be seen in this film, it wears thin with some people over time, especially those that Tommy is trying to get to buy brake pads. Once he does calm down, everything is fine, though. Am I saying I didn’t like the way Farley played this character? No, not at all. What I am saying is I would have liked for him to have been a little different that what we have seen from him before.

Tommy Boy is a delightful film that has heart and will make you appreciate the hard work that goes into getting auto parts on the shelves. No need to drag this on any longer, so I’ll get right to it. Should you see this? I think so. Not only is it funny, but the humor is varied and not just fart jokes. The appearance of Dan Aykroyd later on the film is just icing on the cake. Check it out sometime!

4 out of 5 stars

Behind the Candelabra

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on October 27, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1977, 17-year-old Scott Thorson, who works as an animal trainer for movies, meets Bob Black, a Hollywood producer, in a gay bar. At Black’s urging, he leaves his adopted home in search of better-paying work. Black introduces Thorson to Liberace, who takes an immediate liking to the handsome younger man. Liberace invites the two backstage and then to his luxurious home. Thorson observes that one of Liberace’s beloved dogs is suffering from a temporary form of blindness, and with his veterinary assistant background, informs the famous pianist that he knows how to cure the condition. After treating the dog, Thorson becomes Liberace’s “assistant” at the performer’s request.

Scott moves in with Liberace and becomes his lover. At this point Scott says that he is bisexual because he is also attracted to women. Liberace is sympathetic, informing him that he wanted and tried to love women, but was exclusively attracted to men. He relates a story of a “divine healing” in which a “messenger” informed him that God still loved him.

It gradually becomes clear that Liberace is trying to mold Scott into a younger version of himself; he requests his plastic surgeon Dr. Startz to transform Scott’s face to more closely resemble his own and makes an unsuccessful attempt to formally adopt him. When Liberace begins visiting pornographic theaters and suggests they see other people, Scott becomes upset. Meanwhile, Scott’s drug abuse and Liberace’s promiscuity create a rift that ultimately destroys their relationship: Scott retains an attorney to seek his financial share of the property, and Liberace ends their formal partnership and involves himself with his most recent “assistant”.

Not long thereafter, Scott receives a phone call from Liberace telling him that he is very sick with what is later revealed to be AIDS, and would like Scott to visit him again. Scott agrees, and he and Liberace have one last, emotional deathbed conversation before Liberace dies in February 1987. Scott attends Liberace’s funeral, in which he imagines seeing Liberace performing one last time with his traditional flamboyance, before being lifted to heaven with a stage harness.

REVIEW:

Before Elton John was the queen of all queens, there was Liberace. Most people are probably like me, you’ve heard the name, but don’t know much about the music or the man. Behind the Candelabra is a bit of a history lesson on the man and the way he treated his “assistants”. Here’s an interesting tidbit, this HBO film was released in theaters everywhere but here in the US. Man, we are such prudes!

What is this about?

Michael Douglas stars as flamboyant entertainer Liberace in this sequin-studded drama that chronicles the legendary pianist’s roller-coaster relationship with his young lover, Scott Thorson — from their passionate liaison to their stormy battles.

What did I like?

Flamboyant. I’ve always heard that Liberace was quite the opulent character. I seem to recall reading somewhere that he even had a toilet made of gold! Why would anyone want that to be solid gold, considering what goes down there? At any rate, I have to tip my hat to the costume and set designers for capturing and portraying the over the top style that Liberace had, both on stage and at home.

Tone. I know some people like their biopics as serious as possible because apparently they think everyone has a hard, depressing life. Yes, Liberace had some dark times in his life, but for the most part, this is a guy who loved life. When the film focuses on Liberace, it pushes his lust for life (as well as other things), and there is a somewhat lighter tone to this whole film that one would expect.

Performance. The entire cast needs to be commended, from the smaller characters such as Debbie Reynolds, David Koechner, and Scott Bakula all the way up to Matt Damon and Michael Douglas. There is not a weak link in this chain, with Douglas and Damon giving some of their best performances in quite some time. Someone said that the best writing these days is in television, and this just goes to show how true that statement is.

Music. Liberace was a musician, first and foremost, but the music in this film is important because it was the last film that Marvin Hamlisch scored. Hamlisch passed away in summer of 2012. The score he left is pretty nice and Hamlisch will be missed. He was a great talent.

What didn’t I like?

Plastic surgery. Take a minute and look up young pictures of Mickey Rourke and then look at him now. Big difference, right? Well, that same kind of thing goes on here with Rob Lowe. I don’t know what was going on with his face, but it looked like his face was stretched to the extreme measures. It was like watching a bad wreck. It was horrible to look at, but you can’t look away.

Scott. As I said earlier, Matt Damon gives a great performance, but his character falls a bit flat. Granted, almost all of his scenes are with Liberace, so he’s going to pale in comparison. You may not have realized it, but Damon is supposed to be the star of the film, but with the exception of a couple of points here and there, you can’t tell.

Music. Liberace was a musician, yet we only get one scene of him actually playing. When Douglas and Damon are sitting on the couch watching TV, we get a bit of history of Liberace, such as how he started using his trademark candelabra. I just wish that we could have gotten some more of Liberace at the piano, even if it was just him playing at home for Damon.

In this day and age, it is so hard to get a biopic that is interesting, entertaining, and faithful to real life. Behind the Candelabra constantly brings us moments of drama and some light comedic moments. The film’s ending, after Liberace’s death, is something to see. It sort of departs from the realism of the picture, but it is still worth seeing. I highly recommend it as a must-see! Check it out!

4 3/4 out of 5 stars

Wayne’s World

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Wayne Campbell (Myers) and Garth Algar (Carvey) are the hosts of Wayne’s World, a local Friday late-night cable access program based in Aurora, Illinois, where they ogle pictures of beautiful celebrity women, play air guitar and drums, and interview local people, indirectly making fun of them over the course of the interview. The program is popular with local viewers. One day Benjamin Kane (Lowe), a television station executive, is visiting a girlfriend (Ione Skye) who turns the TV to the show. When she tells him how many people watch the show, he instructs his producer Russell Finley (Kurt Fuller) to find out where the show is taped, telling him they may have an opportunity for a huge sponsorship.

Benjamin shows up next week in Wayne’s basement and introduces himself after the show ends. He offers to buy the rights to the show for $10,000 ($5,000 each) and to keep Wayne and Garth on for what he describes as a “huge” salary. Garth then covertly speaks to the audience, sensing he has a bad feeling that Wayne is selling out, but he is too shy to confront Wayne about it. Following the purchase of the show, it is quickly “reinvented”, complete with a weekly interview guaranteed to Noah Vanderhoff (Brian Doyle-Murray), the show’s sponsor. The first reinvented show is also their last, as Wayne holds up a series of cards with questions on the front and, unknowingly to Vanderhoff, insulting phrases on the back such as “Sphincter Boy” (with an arrow pointing at Vanderhoff), “He blows goats…I have proof” and “This man has no penis”, prompting Benjamin to call Wayne up to the control booth and fire him on the spot.

At the same time, Wayne’s blossoming relationship with hard rock vocalist and bassist Cassandra (Tia Carrere), the frontwoman of a band named Crucial Taunt, leads to a rift forming between Wayne and Garth. It erupts after Wayne walks out on the show, leaving Garth to a bout of stage fright for the rest of the show. The two separate, but later make up after Wayne breaks up with Cassandra following an argument between them over Benjamin.

While making up with Garth, Wayne remembers a limo belonging to record executive Frankie Sharp (Frank DiLeo) outside an Alice Cooper concert in Milwaukee. He also remembers that a security guard at the concert (Chris Farley) said that Sharp would be riding through Chicago later that day and forms a plan with Garth to get her back. With everyone in the donut shop helping, Wayne is able to convince Cassandra, who is at a video shoot directed by Benjamin, to leave the shoot with the band and head back to Aurora with him to perform on the show. Garth, meanwhile, hacks into a satellite system and is able to route the signal from the broadcast into the television set in Sharp’s limo. In the meantime, the police keep Benjamin at bay and leave him unable to enter the house until the show’s over.

Nearing the end of Cassandra’s song, Frankie Sharp and Benjamin enter the basement. Once the song is finished, Frankie says to Cassandra that it is the wrong time to sign her band, causing her to become infuriated with Wayne. Wayne is called small-time by Benjamin just before he leaves with Cassandra, and Wayne’s crazy ex-girlfriend Stacy (Lara Flynn Boyle) comes in to announce to Wayne that she is pregnant. Suddenly, an electrical fire starts from the broadcasting equipment and consumes the house. While Wayne walks out of the burned-down house with an injured Garth, Cassandra lies in paradise with Benjamin. Wayne and Garth then decide they don’t like that ending, and decide to do the “Scooby-Doo ending” instead. Wayne then pulls off Benjamin’s face, revealing that he is actually Old Man Withers, who then remarks, true to Scooby-Doo form, “And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for you snooping kids!” After this, Garth imitates Scooby-Doo by saying “Good One, Shaggy.” Wayne and Garth then decide to do the “mega happy ending”, where Frankie gives Cassandra a six album record deal, Wayne and Cassandra kiss, Russell and the crew member who keeps saying “I love you” get together, while he announces how he discovered that “platonic love can exist between two grown men”, Noah is glad people are seeing him in a new light after he started sponsoring Wayne’s World, Benjamin realizes being successful doesn’t get you everything, and Garth finally gets his dream girl (Donna Dixon).

REVIEW:

Those of us that were growing up in the late 80s-early 90s may remember a time when Saturday Night Live was actually funny. A focal point of those shows was a sketch featuring two guys and their basic cable TV show. Little did anyone know that this little sketch would go on to be a big hit movie, Wayne’s World!

Now, this film, like the sketch, doesn’t have a “plot”, but there is a bit of a story for those that just have to have one.

I really think the fact that this story was forced upon them in order to make a “successful” film actually took away from the picture. The best and most memorable Wayne’s World sketches are those where the guys just went off the cuff.

Sadly, this film didn’t have that feeling, but rather that of a product that was taken over by greedy corporations, similar to the way it is depicted in the film. Maybe that was done on purpose, but I can’t be for certain.

There is a nice, fun, vibe that goes on throughout this picture, especially with some of the toungue-in-cheek jokes, such as the blatant product placement and of course, the stuff we’ve come to know and love from the sketches.

I think this is the film that introduced me, and I’m sure many other people of younger generations, to Queen. The most memorable scene in here is in the car when they sing “Bohemian Rhapsody” and then start head banging. Yes, that’s even more memorable that Tia Carrere is a bikini…but not much.

The cast is hilarious. Mike Myers and Dana Carvey continue to show what great chemistry they have.

Tia Carerre is great not only as the token eye candy, but as a strong female lead here, as well.

Rob Lowe is about as slimy as one can get, which makes him the perfect villain for this picture.

Oh, how I remember these days when comedy films were actually funny and didn’t try to make any kind of political statement or masquerade as a drama. This, I think, is the reason I love this film so much. Not to mention the fact that it cracks me up everytime I see and brings back that 90s nostalgia. I highly recommend it to all of you that haven’t seen it. You don’t know what you’re missing!

4 out of 5 stars

The Invention of Lying

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on September 25, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film features a high concept narrative set in an alternate reality in which there is no such thing as lying and everything said is the absolute truth. In this world people make blunt, often cruel statements, including those that people would normally keep to themselves. There is a lack of religious belief, and the absence of fiction results in a movie industry limited to lecture-style historical readings, and advertisements as bluntly truthful as the people are.

Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais) is an unsuccessful lecture-film writer who is assigned to write about the 1300s, a “very boring” era. One night he goes out on a date with the beautiful, charming and wealthy Anna McDoogles (Jennifer Garner). She tells Mark she is not attracted to him, due to his looks and unsuccessful financial situation, but is going out with him to satisfy her extremely prejudicial mother and as a favour to Mark’s friend Greg Kleinschmidt (Louis C.K.).

The next day Mark is fired from his job due to lack of interest in his films, and his landlord evicts him for not paying his rent. Depressed, he goes to the bank to close his account. The teller informs him that the computers are down, and asks him how much money he has in his account. Mark has an epiphany and tells the world’s first lie, that he has $800 in his account. The computer comes back online and shows his balance is $300 but the teller gives him the full $800 anyway, assuming that the computer made a mistake.

Mark then lies in a variety of other circumstances, including telling an attractive woman that the world will end unless they have sex, preventing a police officer (Edward Norton in a cameo) from arresting his friend Greg for DUI, getting money from a casino, and stopping his neighbour Frank Fawcett (Jonah Hill) from committing suicide. He then writes a screenplay about the world being invaded by aliens in the 14th century and that the memories of all humans were erased. He becomes wealthy from the success of the film which he named “The Black Plague.”

Mark convinces Anna to go out with him again hoping she will see past his looks and weight now that he is financially secure. On their date Anna congratulates Mark for his success and admits that he would be a good husband and father. She is still not attracted to him because if they ever have children Mark would contribute half of the heredity to their children, making them “fat kids with snub noses” and Anna does not want that. Mark then gets a call that his mother had a heart attack and rushes to the hospital. There, the doctor (Jason Bateman) tells him that his mother is going to die. She is terrified of death, believing that death will bring an eternity of nothingness. Mark, through tears, tells her that death instead brings a joyful afterlife, introducing the concept of a Heaven to her, and she dies happy while the doctors and nurses appear awed by what he says.

Mark soon receives worldwide attention for his supposed new information about death. Under pressure from Anna, he tells them, through “ten rules”, he talks to a “Man In The Sky” who controls everything and promises great rewards in the good place after you die so long as you do no more than three “bad things.” Some time later Anna and Mark are hanging out together in a park and Anna asks him if they marry would being rich and famous make their children not fat with snub noses. Mark wants to lie but doesn’t because of his feelings for Anna.

Meanwhile Mark’s rival Brad Kessler (Rob Lowe) pursues Anna romantically, motivated because of Mark’s success. However Brad’s blunt, rude manner makes Anna uncomfortable though she continues dating him; they become engaged. Anna invites Mark to the wedding. Mark tries to convince her to not marry Brad but fails. Anna goes to the park she first went to with Mark and sees a slightly overweight child with an ice cream when some thinner boys come and mush his ice cream into his shirt. She yells at them and then they run away. She runs up to the boy and wipes away his tears while asking his name. He replies ‘Short Fat Brian’ to which she tells him: ‘you are so much more than just that.’

Before the wedding Mark’s friend Greg shows up and tells him that he didn’t lose her yet and Mark reluctantly attends Anna and Brad’s wedding. There, he objects to the marriage, but the officiant informs him that only the Man in the Sky can stop the wedding. Brad and Anna both ask Mark to ask the Man in the Sky what Anna should do but Mark refuses to say anything and leaves, wanting Anna to choose for herself. Anna walks out and Mark confesses his ability to lie and that the Man In The Sky he told everyone about was made up. Anna struggles to comprehend the concept and asks why he didn’t lie to convince her to marry him; Mark states that it “wouldn’t count.” Anna confesses that she loves him.

Some time later, the now-pregnant Anna and Mark are shown married with a son, who has learned his father’s ability to lie

REVIEW:

Imagine what the world would be like if everyone told nothing but the truth? Well, that is the world that The Invention of Lying is set in.

I’ve been postponing this film every week since it was released on DVD, thinking it might be nothing more than another one of those dramedy flicks that seem to be becoming more and more prevalent. I won’t say this isn’t one of those, but it does start off hilarious, especially when you think about the fact that these people can do nothing bt tell the truth.

The bluntness of these people is hilarious to us, but to them it is just everyday conversations. For instance, Jennifer Garner flat-out tells Ricky Gervais that she’s not attracted to him and he’s fat and has a snub nose. Granted, these kind of things happen today in our society, but for some reason, the way she said it was funny.

The plot of this film is something that we don’t see very often…an original story! Kudos to Ricky Gervais for coming up with this. I actually thought this may have been a book, Twilight Zone episode, or short story, but apparently not.

The acting here is a little dry for my taste. That is not to say that it is bad, it just is that humor that Gervais brought to audiences with the original The Office and tends to do in everything he does. For me, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Here, it works initially, then fades away and becomes more of a nuisance than anything.

I mention how the film starts out hilarious than tapers off. I’m not sure if that is because the joke gets old, or if it does indeed turn more towards the drama angle, but whatever the reason, it deeply affects the film, which is truly a shame, because if they wold have kept up the pace and tone of the first part of the film, this could have been great.

Instead, in typical Gervais fashion, they have to go and smack society in the face with our shortcomings and such and his character is the one that is the one to start it all. Don;t even get me started on that whole Jesus beard he had going near the end.

I must mention that Rob Lowe does play a pretty good douchebag slimeball villain. Of course, this character is actually not much different that the one he played in Wayne’s World, so it should come as no surprise. The guy does bring something different to the table when he’s on screen, though.

Would I recommend The Invention of Lying? Yes, but I wouldn’t go rush out to find it. Nothing about this film is memorable. Hell, I just finished watching it and already I’ve forgotten about a good chunk of it! Still, I did enjoy and think this is worth a viewing or two.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Thank You for Smoking

Posted in Comedy, Independent, Movie Reviews, Spoofs & Satire with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Nick Naylor is the Vice President and chief spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies and the protagonist of the film, which follows his career as a talking head for Big Tobacco. Naylor appears in public speaking engagements and on television programs defending the cigarette companies. Each week, he meets with Polly Bailey and Bobby Jay Bliss, lobbyists for the alcohol and firearms industries respectively, and refers to the trio as “the M.O.D. Squad” (“Merchants Of Death”). The antagonist of the film, Senator Finisterre (D-Vermont) (William H. Macy), advocates adding a skull and crossbones label to all cigarette packaging, attempting to ward off the American people from smoking. To deal with this PR nightmare, Naylor attempts to convince big wigs in the film industry to “put the sex back in cigarettes” by making actors smoke tobacco on screen (product placement). Nick also plans to appear before the U.S. Senate to fight the packaging bill. Amidst his plans, Naylor tries to build a better relationship with his son, Joey, and has an affair with Heather Holloway, a seductive reporter with a secret agenda of her own. When Naylor’s world seems to come crashing down, his true talent as a public speaker and strategist emerge.

REVIEW:

Thank You for Smoking has been on my list of films that I’ve been putting off and putting off, but because of some weirdness wtith Netflix this week, it slipped in and I was able to watch it.

I’m going to get straight to the point with this. The film is a satirical look at how ridiculously over-the-top people have gotten with trying to curb smoking.

Aaron Eckhart has some of the best lines in the film. I’m not going to quote him, but let’s just say he says what we’re all thinking in regards to the witch hunt against tobacco companies.

Eckart leads a talented cast that includes William H. Macy, Katie Holmes, J.K. Simmons, and cameo appearances by Dennis Miller and Joan Lunden. Eckhart has all the suave and sophistication needed to pull off this role, and headline this flick. I won’t say he hold it together, though, because everyone contributes equally.

The L.A. segment if this film didn’t sit right with me. I know that his son is more or less learning what exactly his dad does for a living, but it still didn’t sit right with me that he took him out there with him. Also, the bribe of the Marlboro Man confused me a bit, but that may have been because I got a bit distracted by something else when he was convincing him.

While I didn’t love this picture, I did enjoy it. Was it worth the wait? Eh…I can’t say that, but it wasn’t a waste of time watching it, either. The subject matter alone should make you want to at least check it out, especially if you’re a smoker or have strong feelings about smoking. If you get the chance, check this out.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars