Category Archives: comedy

JUST GO WITH IT (2011)

I would create a fake family for that

It seems that almost every movie nowadays is a remake of something. So is the Adam Sandler vehicle Just Go With It – it’s a remake of 1969 comedy Cactus Flower, which won an Oscar for Goldie Hawn. I have never seen Cactus Flower, so no clue if that’s as funny as the remake. Yes, I know, I know – all the critics slayed Just Go With It, but I found it surprisingly funny. Then again why would this be surprising – Adam Sandler is a funny guy. And it is directed by Dennis Dugan, who also did Grown Ups – which I thought was enjoyable watching, even though less funny.

                                                                        Let’s do it!

In Just Go With It Adam Sandler plays Dr. Danny Maccabee – a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, who has for years pretended to be married in order to hook up with women. Then comes the day when he meets a young teacher, Palmer (Brooklyn Decker) and decides that it’s time to stop pretending. Unfortunately he is not quick enough with the truth and Palmer finds his wedding ring. All kinds of shenanigans follow when Dr. Danny asks his loyal assistant Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) to impersonate his soon-to-be ex-wife. Things get complicated when Katherine’s kids become involved in the scheme and the whole gang heads to Hawaii with Dr. Danny’s cousin Eddie (Nick Swardson). There they find Katherine’s old college frenemy Devlin (Nicole Kidman). Well, you can guess the rest…

Feels good being honest, doesn’t it?

What the movie lacks in plot is substituted with the onscreen chemistry between Sandler and Aniston. Don’t except this movie to be anything else than a feel-good, entertaining film for the whole family. But then again does every movie need to be something more? Just sit down with a bowl of popcorn and your favourite drink and relax after a hard week at work with this light-hearted rom-com. What could be more relaxing than that? Well, maybe actually holidaying in Hawaii…

               I’ll be taking acting classes and become the next Miley Cyrus, yes I am.

Sandler is his usual self in the role of Dr. Danny, but it’s Aniston who steals the movie by proving that she is a good comedy actress. The most ridiculous character award goes to Swardson as Cousin Eddie with his “The Dolph Lundgren” impersonations. I could not help but laugh out loud. Some scenes are bit tacky like the coconut / dance contest in Hawaii, but most are well executed.

Lundgren, The Dolph Lundgren

So here’s for you critics – go get yourselves a funny bone!

GOING THE DISTANCE (2010)

You know like when you get really drunk and you just
kinda black out and you don’t know how much time has gone by

I certainly wish that would have been the case while watching Going the Distance. It just had one too many NYC – SFO trips in it. Maybe I did not understand the premise of this movie because I have never been in a long-distance relationship. Fair enough; but do you still expect me to believe that Justin Long’s character could not find a job in the music industry in California? Then why not take a temporary job as – let’s see – a dog walker to be able to spend some quality time with Drew Barrymore’s character.

The movie itself was lightly entertaining. Drew Barrymore and Justin Long did a good job as a couple who just were not able to live in the same city for more than 6 weeks.

You take my breath away

So there is Erin (Drew Barrymore) who has six weeks left on her internship in a New York newspaper, when she meets Garret (Justin Long). Garret is a newly single – we are talking just off the boat – Top Gun loving / Jonas Brothers hating regular guy. They have a one-night stand, which develops into a summer romance. Six weeks is up. Pop quiz: What do you do? You go long distance even though both of them have doubts. But they have fallen in love and this is just too good to pass. What follows is several trips between NYC-SFO. Garret’s two friends Box (Jason Sudeikis) and Dan (Charlie Day) cheer him on – hilariously. Erin on the other hand receives advice from her overprotective married sister Corinne (Christina Applegate). After a while, everybody comes to the inevitable realization that long distance must be made into short distance. Only if there would be one job available on the West Coast…

  This is not really working

Geoff LaTulippe based the screenplay loosely on the long-distance relationship experiences of his friend. Drew Barrymore was drawn to the script because she thought it was funny. She saw true emotional investment inside the comedy. Barrymore has also said that she likes playing strong female characters. Erin certainly is a person who deeply loves her sister, but at the same time is a little tomboyish and can hang out with the guys. What also made this movie appealing to Barrymore was that it’s an R-rated love story, which are not that common. I agree with her that Going the Distance is a more realistic and adult love story and not based on a fairy tale setting. I just did not find it that funny!

Peep Show

Nanette Burstein, who directed the movie, has a strong background in documentaries and commercials. Justin Long found this exciting, as it meant that Burstein would film as realistic as possible portrait of the two main characters. Burstein herself took this directorial debut because she thought that many people could relate to this love story.

The Boxer Rebellion “If You Run”

Going the Distance does have a realistic feel about it. It does also have some funny lines. As the poster says, it’s a comedy about meeting each other halfway. Unfortunately the movie does only go halfway – its weakest link being the screenplay. Strongest on the other hand is the cast with stellar performances.

Disease free and light – indeed

DUE DATE (2010)

If there’s a hell, I’m already in it

I sure was for the duration of this movie from the director who brought us the laugh-out-loud Hangover. I thought this movie would be like a cross between Hangover and Planes, Trains & Automobiles – both movies, which I really like. Sounds like fun, right? But Due Date is just not clever enough nor funny enough. It never delivers.

                                                  Denny’s is always open

Ethan Chase / stage name: Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis) manages to get Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.) kicked out of an airplane and placed on a No-Fly-List. Just think of two words, which should never be said aloud on a plane. Therefore, Peter’s only option to make it back to LA in time for the birth of his first child is to hitch a ride with Ethan. And so begins a road movie or should I say – a movie wreck, which luckily is only 95 minutes long.

Taking the road less funny

Ethan, who also was kicked out of the plane, is on his way to an audition in Hollywood. His dream is to be on Two and Half Men. Little did they know at the time of making this movie, that there would be a spot open on that show. Ethan’s father, who was like a father to him, has just died. Peter is about to be a father. Todd Phillips, who directed the movie has said that this movie is about why Peter and Ethan needed to meet at this moment and why Peter needed to travel with this kind of man-child who was going through this traumatic experience but really is a purely loving creature much like a child would be and just needs some adjustments.

                                                                 I despise you on a cellular level

To me this movie lacks funniness and likable characters. It’s like car which is stuck on the first gear and never really takes off. Robert Downey Jr. is good – he’s a fabulous actor, so he acts well. I have no complaints about Zach Galifianakis’ acting either. He was obviously typecast in this. Biggest problem with Galifianakis’ charter is that he is just not likeable, not witty nor interesting enough. Thus this movie just does not work for me. I was looking forward to Steve Martin / John Candy like chemistry. Sometimes the screenplay really does not make any sense either – not even on the level of “this-does-not-make-any-sense-but-it’s-funny”.

                                                         That ain’t Starbucks coffee

Ethan belies that perms take him to another level as an actor. Maybe that’s what this movie would have needed. It tries, but it never quite gets there. I think the biggest fault is in the screenplay.

I loved Sonny (the dog), though…

Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Too late for this movie…

No. 99 TOY STORY (1995)

That wasn’t flying – THAT was falling with style!

After a depressing and busy week at work (lack of posts this week explained) I thought why not to watch a feel-good movie. Toy Story (the original one) was produced by Pixar and distributed by Disney. Those Disney movies are all about feeling good at the end after you have learned a valuable lesson. The lesson in Toy Story is the value of friendship and working together. Woody and Buzz don’t get along in the beginning, but thru an unfortunate situation they learn to respect and even like each other.

                                                      You’ve got bingo arms

Toy Story was the first fully computer-animated full-length feature film. Wow, the speed that technology develops blows my mind. We did not even have computers when I was a child– wait; wait – I mean iPods…

I saw Toy Story back when it first hit the theatres, so now watching it all these years later it felt like a reunion with good old friends. I found myself cheering for Woody and Buzz to break free from that little monster Syd. And getting sad when Buzz realizes that he is a toy.

                                                             To Infinity and Beyond! No story about Toy Story would be complete without this…

Toy Story is about Andy’s favorite toy called Woody (voice of Tom Hanks), who like all the other toys comes alive when humans are not around. Woody has it good – he rules the roost as he has been Andy’s favorite toy for many years. But things change drastically when every toy’s worst nightmare happens – Andy gets a new and more exciting toy as a birthday present – Buzz Lightyear (voice of Tim Allen). Buzz is a shiny action figure who has all kinds of gadgets that none of the other toys have. He does not realize that he is a toy. He thinks his spaceship crashed and he is here to save the planet.

Breathing – optional

He shortly becomes Andy’s new favorite toy and all the other toys begin to look up to him. Woody is consumed with jealousy and tries to get rid of Buzz. Instead of succeeding in that both of them wind up lost. They now must work together to get back to Andy.

That ain’t no happy child

John Lasseter who directed Toy Story based Woody and Buzz on his own childhood toys. He went on to direct several other groundbreaking animated films such as A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2 and Cars. He also received a Special Achievement Oscar in 1995 for his inspired leadership of the Toy Story team.

Billy Crystal was originally offered the voiceover role of Buzz Lightyear, but he declined. Boy, did he come to regret that! Tim Allen as Buzz’ voice is perfectly arrogant. Tom Hanks as Woody is excellent. John Lasseter chose him because he thought that Hanks has the ability to take emotions and make them appealing. Woody did not start as a likeable character. The early draft was much darker and Woody looked like a jerk. This was because Disney kept on wanting edgier screenplay. Everybody thought it was really bad (yes, it is bad – it’s one of the bonus features on the Blu-ray released last year) and Pixar went on to make the movie they had set to make in the first place. The current Toy Story was born and it is the first animated film in history to be nominated for a Best Screenplay Academy Award – Adapted or Original.

I love the scene in the beginning of the movie when the toy soldier army is doing a recon mission to Andy’s birthday party. The animation team perfected the movement of the toy soldiers by gluing some sneakers to a sheet of wood and trying to walk around with them on. Also an interesting fact about the animation – whenever a character’s eyes blink, they never blink together, but one at a time.

I thoroughly enjoyed Toy Story way back in 1995 and also yesterday in 2011!

A good soldier never leaves a man behind

THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (2010)

Go easy on the wine, hon. it’s daytime. –                                            Ok, and same goes with the micromanaging!

From the previews I gathered that this would be a slightly funny and enjoyable film to watch. Was I in for a surprise! I absolutely loved this film. It is beautifully shot. It has great acting – especially Annette Bening is superb! It’s not about being gay, having a family and having family issues. It’s about having a modern family unit and trying to get this unit to work under difficult times when the structure of the unit is changing. It’s about how a family will unconditionally have your back!

                                                        More is More!

Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore) are a married couple in Southern California. Nic is a highly driven doctor, who has a liking for red wine. Who can blame her! Jules drifts from one venture to another while feeling quite restless. They have two teenage children from the same sperm donor. It’s Joni’s (Alice in Wonderland’s Mia Wasikowska) last summer at home before heading to college. Laser (Journey to the Center of the Earth’s Josh Hutcherson), the 15-year old son, wants to track down their biological ”donor dad”. They manage to do this without their moms’ knowledge. They find a thirty-something Paul (Mark Ruffalo), who is a groovy bachelor restaurateur and a co-op farmer. Growing organic veggies has never before looked this inviting! The moms soon find out and want to meet him and “kill him with kindness”. Jules, who is feeling underappreciated in the marriage and stuck in her life, ends up having an affair with Paul.

                                                                                        Those veggies certainly look yummy!

The Kids are All Right explores how the changes in the family dynamic affect the whole family. In this case, Joni’s departure to college is the underlying factor. Julianne Moore says that one of the reasons why she was drawn to the script was that it’s about where you are when you’ve been in a relationship for a long time and you have children. She also describes her character’s life pretty much being about staying home with the kids and because of that for Jules the idea that Joni is leaving home now is major.

                                                         Don’t be a zoomer!

Annette Bening delivers a powerhouse performance as a slightly neurotic but likeable Nic. She portrays confidently a complicated woman, who knows exactly who she is and is comfortable in her own skin. Bening won a Golden Globe for this and rightly so. The whole movie I was mesmerized about how much she can say only with pauses and facial expressions. Also you have to love the fact that Annette Bening has matured naturally (and beautifully) in this youth obsessed society.

                                                                 I like my wine, ok! So f***ing sue me!

Lisa Cholodenko’s and Stuart Blumberg’s screenplay is heartfelt throughout. It gives the opportunity for all the actors to explore their characters in-depth. It deals with modern family issues, which are familiar to all of us. It is emotional, but at the same time funny. I also love Cholodenko’s direction and the camera angles.

Modern Family Life!

The Kids are All Right has great scenes, such as the restaurant scene when Nic has a meltdown about composting (right there with her!), and the dinner scene when Nic and Paul sing a Joni Mitchell song. The most touching scene is close to the end of the movie, when Jules apologizes to her family. I love Annette Bening’s physical response – how you can see her fighting not to cry. I don’t think anybody can watch that scene without tearing up.

Hug her – that’s what she is there for!

No. 5 SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (1952)

Dignity – Always Dignity

Singin’ in the Rain is one of my all-time favourite movies. It is such a feel-good movie, which has it all – fantastic acting, dancing, singing, and dialogue – set against the twenties glamorous looking Hollywood. Why didn’t I live back then?! This movie celebrates the joy of filmmaking, joy of love and joy of friendship. It is a buddy comedy mixed with romcom.

                                                           You let go – no; you let go first

In the movie Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) and Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) are huge movie stars, but then comes the transition from silent movies to talking movies. They are faced with a problem of how to make a musical with an actress who is a triple-threat (can’t act or sing or dance)? And whose speaking voice is higher than Mickey Mouse’s on helium. With a cunning use of a lovely unknown actress – of course – who can do all the above.

                                            Household names – like bacon and eggs

Singin’ in the Rain has been quoted as the best Hollywood musical ever made and it absolutely lives up to that. The transitions between dialogue and dance / musical numbers are seamless. This is the first musical where the songs were actually incorporated into the plot in the way that they enhance the characters’ emotions instead of being a separate part of the movie.

                                                         Why did I think I could pull off a hat with this outfit?

The film features a 12-minute Broadway Melody Ballet dance number, which took a month to rehearse and two weeks to shoot. My favourite song and dance number is “Good Mornin.” It just makes you want to get up and start dancing and singing for no apparent reason. No, I did not do that – I thought to spare my neighbours from wondering who was terrorising a cat.

                                                                   Y-M-C-A

The most famous scene of the movie is “Singin’ in the Rain.” It was actually shot during daytime under a black tarpaulin. During the filming the technicians lost water pressure in the late afternoon when the residents of Culver City, US arrived home and turned on their sprinklers to water their lawns and gardens. Gene Kelly once said when asked about how he was going to approach this scene: “It’s going to be raining and I’m going to be singing. I am going to have a glorious feeling and I am going to be happy again.” That quote summons up the feeling in this movie. It is glorious to be happy!

You have been reading those fan magazines again – smashing it up Glee-style

The real triple threat of this movie is its three main stars. Gene Kelly holds such a charisma that during the dance numbers you cannot take your eyes away from him – he dances with such ease. He also co-directed and choreographed the movie. So it’s no wonder that Singin’ in the Rain is considered by many to be his masterpiece. Donald O’Connor as Cosmo delivers fantastic slapstick comedy especially in the “Make ‘Em Laugh” number. He went on to win the 1952 Golden Globe award for “Best Motion Picture Actor in a Musical or Comedy” for his performance. Debbie Reynolds as Kathy is such a pill of joy that you feel energized for days. At the time of filming “Singin’ in the Rain”, she was 19 years old.  Gene Kelly, whose character falls in love with her character in the movie, was 40 years old at the time.

If you’ve seen one – you’ve seen them all