Tag: Jillian Bell

Fist Fight

Fist Fight is an interesting term, because well, most people when they think of the word “fight” they assume fists were already involved. Fists are the default in a fight. That is why we have to specify other types of fights, like gun fights, sword fights, or cat fights. So fist fight doesn’t even need to exist as a term, a little bit of an unnecessary word play here.

Although, at the same time, would you watch a movie called just Fight? Would you assume a movie called Fight is actually a comedy film? No way a film just called Fight could work. After all, we already had the movie Fighting and it didn’t work either.

Either way, in this movie we get two main things. We get Charlie Day getting some leading man role time, which just…never happens. And we have Ice Cube, trying to get rid of the family friendly nature that has come upon him and turn himself more into a badass again.

Point
Oh shit, did Cube turn his fist into a gun? What kind of fight is this again? Man, what a badass.

Mr. Campbell (Day) is an English teacher at a school in Los Angeles and the students are pretty damn wild. He teaches seniors, it is the last day, and no fucks are given. The kids rarely respect their teachers in this school, especially not today. The only teacher they sort of respect is Mr. Strickland (Cube), but because they are afraid of him. But even today some kids want to mess with him.

While Campbell is in his classroom to fix an issue, Strickland ends up threatening a student with an Ax, destroying his desk, due to his prank. That is a big deal, even at this school. Turns out the school is also looking to take cuts out of every department due to low scores. Campbell has a wife and kid (JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Alexa Nisenson), and the wife is pregnant with number two. Even if his job sucks, he cannot lose it right now. So when pressured by the principal (Dean Norris), Campbell caves and admits that Strickland did the deed. This angers Strickland. So Strickland says he is going to kick Campbell’s ass. He is going to challenge him to a fight after school that day, and they are going to throw down. He spreads the word. He is pissed at the world and he doesn’t care about his actions.

Now Campbell has to spend the rest of his day worried. He was already panicking over his wife close to birth, and the possibility of losing his job. Now he also might get his ass kicked? I guess he has to try and fix all these issues during the course of a school day, or else he might die of a heart attack before it is through.

Also starring Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell, Christina Hendricks, Kumail Nanjiani, and Dennis Haysbert.

Bat
Shit. Now there is a bat involved. Just what kind of fight is this!?

Fist Fight is one of those films that doesn’t make sense to have been made in this day and age. It is just so slapstick in a bad way, negative, and bland it is a wonder it got made. Well, it is obvious how it got made. It would have been cheap as fuck to make, outside of actor salaries. Probably didn’t even take many days to shoot.

A quick no risk comedy film, that can earn its money back at least through the DVD sales.

The whole time I am wondering “Well, will this film end in a fight?” Because if it just ends in a fight, then it just feels childish. I hate that with animated or kids films, and there really isn’t a reason for this film not really in the action genre. But on the other hand, what if there is no fist fight? Then this movie is titled poorly and it would anger people.

So there has to be a fight, but a movie psyched up over a fictional brawl in a parking lot? Hard pass. It isn’t funny, it isn’t original, and it isn’t worthy of your time.

0 out of 4.

Office Christmas Party

Merry Christmas everybody! Sure, I am publishing this review of Office Christmas Party in January, but I totally saw it before Christmas, so this opening is okay.

I just realized that because I already saw it late, I didn’t have to rush out a review for this film, that most people were already going to ignore. Because yeah, it wasn’t the saving grace of comedy films this year. It was a standard, low effort, comedy movie.

So for whenever this review hits the actual page, let’s just pretend it is Christmas all over again. You know, so we can be disappointed and eat pie.

Work
Bad Sign: Googling the movie name gives more pictures from Christmas Episodes of The Office than this film.

This film is about some lame tech company. In charge of the entire business is Carol Vanstone (Jennifer Aniston), left there by her father after he passed away. However, the Chicago branch is being run by her brother, Clay (T.J. Miller), and he is a big fuck up. So despite it being the Christmas season, he wants them to still get bonuses and have a small gathering to celebrate. But not according to Carol. Carol wants it cancelled, no bonuses, and 40% of their workforce canned in order to meet really high growth rates.

Really shitty. But, the CTO, Josh Parker (Jason Bateman), finally divorced and broke has an idea. If they sign the Walter Davis (Courtney B. Vance) account by the end of the quarter, they will reach the growth and no one would have to get fired! Yeah! Walter likes them, but will go with a bigger company, because of news of their layoffs, branches closing, and it seems like a negative work place.

So sure. Thanks to Clay and their head tech person, Tracey (Olivia Munn), they decide to throw a giant party at work, against Carol’s wishes. Like, a crazy, old fashioned, people screwing in the copier room type party. They will throw a lot of money into it, show their happy workers, convince Davis they are awesome, and sign him tonight, and no one will have to know!

Sex, drugs, alcohol, gifts, bonuses, and a night people will talk about for ages. Fuck the HR lady (Kate McKinnon)!

Also featuring Jillian Bell, Rob Corddry, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Vanessa Bayer, Randall Park, Sam Richardson, Karan Soni, Jamie Chung, and Abbey Lee.

Party
Look! Santa on a sleigh! How crazy indeed!

I wish I could say I liked this movie. I really do. It has a lot of people I like. Munn seems to mostly make bad film choices after she left Attack of the Show. Miller is usually my favorite supporting character in movies and can usually make a shitty one slightly more bearable, but he did nothing for me in this one. And I love Miller in Silicon Valley.

Aniston still keeps showing up in comedy films while failing to be funny herself. Bateman is playing the exact same role he always does. Mackinnon is forced into an awkward character that is supposed to be an HR exaggeration but every joke is cheap and easy.

It is frustrating because it is a comedy that barely got me to smile, making me laugh maybe twice at a quick joke. It tries to show a crazy and crude party, but doesn’t push the envelope at all. The majority of the party just seems to be Miller rapping over music to very happy employees.

There have been crazy out of control party movies in the past, which is what this one tries to do, but it is surpassed by most of them easily. And the ending where they have to leave he party and deal with pimp problems? It doesn’t help the plot, takes us away from the main focus, and gives us boring action scenes disguised as something interesting.

This is another low effort film, based on a single subject, where the filmmakers really didn’t know where they wanted to take it. Easy jokes, low brow humor, some stereotypes, a penis and some boobs, and I just saved you time explaining what you would see in this film.

Office Christmas Party is not something you’d want to watch with your work friends, as a Christmas tradition, or even as part of a lay party. Easily forgettable, but not easily forgivable for the waste of time it provides.

1 out of 4.

Goosebumps

I feel strange reviewing Goosebumps in the month of December. THAT’S NOT THE RIGHT THEME.

Well, I had to cancel my eventual trip to see Goosebumps in theaters back end of October. Things were crazy. And now things are crazy, but a bit less. So while some people are thinking of Star Wars or Christmas, I can think about scaring little kids.

After all, what are the holidays, if not for scaring little kids?

Back to the film, I read probably 75% of the main Goosebumps books when I was a youthful lad, and I watched every episode of the TV Show. Hell, I’ve been watching the episodes on Netflix slowly for the past two years. It is great to see how shitty the effects are now, but how much they scare the kids. And occasionally you get to see Ryan Gosling out of nowhere, so that was fun.

Needless to say, I was nostalgia-ing pretty hard, so I couldn’t wait to see what weirdness they went with for the new film.

Gang
A whole lot of white people. Makes sense.

Zach (Dylan Minnette) and his mom (Amy Ryan) are moving to the best place to be a kid. Discovery Zone! Wait no. He is actually now in Madison, Delaware.

New school, new high school life. And a crazy aunt (Jillian Bell) who is way too energetic also now nearby. What’s not to love?

Oh hey, his neighbor is a teenage girl. That’s a plus. Because he is a boy and boys like girls. Hannah (Odeya Rush) is homeschooled and her dad (Jack Black) is very protective and won’t let Zach interact with her. Fuck.

Let’s cut to the chase. The dad is totally R. L. Stine. Yes the “real one” who wrote all the Goosebumps books. And he has original manuscripts of all of his books in the house locked up. What’s that? If they open it up, the bad creature comes out! Holy fuck, shenanigans! Magic and stuff! And eventually Slappy, the doll is released (also voiced by Jack Black), and he decides he should open all the books around town, burn them so they cannot be recaptured and fuck all the shit up. Because Stine wasn’t letting them wreck things. Fuck that small town up, hard.

Also with Ryan Lee as the weird male friend and Ken Marino as creepy gym teacher.

Monsters
All these monsters and the scariest one is still the clown.

Okay, without taking off the nostalgia glasses, I can say I was a bit disappointed. Especially when “all” of the books are unleashed upon the town into one big army, my main thought was “Yes! Let’s see all the other bad guys! Even the lame ones!” But no, they added only a handful of villains, with mostly zombie hordes to make it look bigger. So I was disappointed I didn’t get to see more Goosebumps staples. I am mostly shocked I didn’t see a haunted camera and there was only a vague reference to a mask. Bring out the props, damn it!

Nostalgia glasses back off. On its own, the film felt relatively safe. It had a few in jokes for adults more aware of the series that would fly over the heads of new kids. Hell, there was an R. L. Stine cameo that I found incredibly hilarious and well placed. But for the most part, nothing too crazy or unexpected happened. The main character was generic.

There were still a few good scenes though. The abominable snowman in the hockey arena was very tense. The first lawn gnomes attack was great. And I enjoyed the shocker and the werewolf. Slappy makes since as the big bad guy, only in that he has a voice, but he didn’t do enough creepy things on his own.

I will say this. When the first trailer released, I made a guess on a twist that would happen near the end of the film, and I ended up being correct. It is something that avid Goosebump readers might also have figured out before the movie, due to book plot lines and character names. It was just one of those tidbits that just popped in my head, seemingly out of nowhere. So once the twist occurred, it didn’t land too strongly.

As I was saying. Perfect Christmas film.

2 out of 4.

22 Jump Street

If I told you four years ago that not only would a 21 Jump Street comedy be made, but that Jonah Hill would be involved, and they’d have a sequel called 22 Jump Street, you would have kicked me in the nuts. Then publicly shamed me for being a terrible person. You also may have been slightly confused at the oddly specific-ness of that foretelling.

For all intents and purposes, 21 Jump Street should not have done as well as it did. But it ended up being funny, making a lot of money, and here we are. And this time, they don’t care what you think.

Fuck You
Picture speaks for itself.

College! That is where our heroes, Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) are going. Same aliases. There is a new new drug that has its own list of side effects that killed a girl. So they are going to infiltrate the dealer, find the supplier and take them down. Hmm, same plot too.

But this time it is different. Because in College, people can be free thinkers. You also don’t need a hall pass.

This time, Jenko is going to try out for football looking for dealers, where he meets the quarterback Zook (Wyatt Russell), who is basically Jenko’s clone and instant best friend.

Schmidt is going the art kids route, looking for drama and poetry geeks who might be hitting the WHYPHY up hard. That is where he meets Maya (Amber Stevens) and gets a girlfriend out of it. It isn’t creepy like the last movie, because she is of age.

But no! It is not just the same! After all, their bosses are still played by Ice Cube and Nick Offerman. Because that makes sense. But the new thug bad guy is Peter Stormare. That is different. Not to mention we have people from Workaholics, like Jillian Bell and uhh. That might be it.

Basically, what is important though is that they have the same blanket set as I do in real life.

Rocket Car

After viewing, I determine that 22 Jump Street was like one very long and elaborate inside joke. That would be annoying normally, but here is the good news. You are in on the joke, too. It all makes sense, because you are a person who saw the first film and understands that everything probably has an extra layer of meaning to it.

That’s right. This film is really aware of itself/meta/whatever you want to call it. And it will beat you over head with the jokes and at least for me, it didn’t get stale at all. Not only did it just keep building and building, along with an increase in action, but they didn’t even stop when the movie ended. It had to be one of the more amazing/funny credits I have ever seen. And they didn’t even fill the credits with dumb outtakes or anything.

Tatum might just be a comedy guy. Hill’s character had its moments, mostly dealing with one fight scene near the end and his interactions with Ice Cube, but Tatum had so many laugh out loud lines and moments. Only a few were shown in the trailer. The “lightbulb” scene with Tatum might be the funniest thing I have seen in a movie in over a year. Just thinking about it makes me laugh.

I feel like I am giving out this rating far too much over the last few weeks, but seriously, movies are really earning their keep this summer. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are comedy gods and they should be worshiped as such.

4 out of 4.