Ant-Man and the Wasp

The first question you have to ask yourself, does anyone care about Ant-Man? Does anyone care about the Wasp? Does anyone care about Ant-Man and The Wasp?

So soon does this film come out, when just two months ago we had Avengers: Infinity War, a film that made some people cry. Now these titular characters were missing from Avengers of course. Does this happen before IW? After? During? That has to be the majority reason why anyone is watching this film. To see how, if at all, it connects to Avengers. People care about the larger story, not these minor characters.

And this is coming from someone who really enjoyed Ant-Man. I thought the villain was great, and it had the best superhero teaser for a film, that they sadly didn’t recreate for this film.

Either way, if this film ends up being completely stand alone, then a lot of people will be disappointed.

Amatw
Hey look! The titular characters! Together!

This film takes place pre-Avengers: Infinity War, so don’t expect it to start with chaos. Scott (Paul Rudd) is under house arrest for two years following the events in Captain America: Civil War, before he has probation. All of this is explained neatly by the FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) early on, don’t worry. It is boring, he has no contact with Hope (Evangeline Lilly) or Dr. Pym (Michael Douglas), but his daughter (Abby Ryder Fortson) still visits frequently and his ex wife and her husband (Judy Greer, Bobby Cannavale).

But hey, he lives with his ex convict buddies still (Michael Peña, David Dastmalchian, T.I.), and they started a security business themselves.

AND THEN THANOS ATTACKS. Wait, no not yet. Things start to change however, when Scott has a vision of himself inside the Quantum Realm again, including a vision of Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), the lost Wasp. This sucks him back into the technology rich, very steal heavy world of Ant-Man, despite only having days left on his house arrest.

Now they are in a race against time to finish developing a safer way into the Quantum Realm to find their wife, mom, and lady they don’t actually know, depending on what character you ask. We also have a skeevy business man who wants in on the potential profis (Walton Goggins), a girl phasing in and out of the physical realm (Hannah John-Kamen), and an old S.H.I.E.L.D. research buddy (Laurence Fishburne) also going in and out of their plans.

Ghost
Hey look! Ghost is joining their dance party!

I almost gave this film a 1 out of 4.

Figure that is a good starting place for this review. Sure, it is entertaining. It is funny. The cast has good chemistry. A specific Rudd scene where he has to act like an entirely different person is nailed perfectly and doesn’t feel wrong. The crew has less screen time, T.I. almost feels nonexistant, but they still have their moments. And Ghost fights were relatively cool to watch, as was the Wasp kitchen fight scene.

And yet I almost gave it a 1 out of 4. Technically, the reason I gave it the 2 instead is because of Peña’s character. I was worried they wouldn’t continue a joke from the first film and declared it to be an okay movie if they continued it on. Eventually? They continued it on, and sure, an average review.

Because lets face it, you aren’t getting your Avengers tie in until the credit scenes. This movie overall feels like a filler film. We don’t have any real villains, we just have things that consistently make the plot longer. There isn’t a lot of fighting, it is more just car chases and shrinking and growing. It isn’t a film that can feel smart, because all of the science behind it is fake anyways, so when scientific breakthroughs happen, it happens because the characters say it work, not that the audience could figure it out on our own.

Overall, it sets up a little bit in the universe. But it feels too clunk with no real established threat besides time itself. Ghost isn’t even a villain, just another damaged person, which they make sure we understand very early on.

If the MCU was Buffy the Vampire Slayer instead, this movie would fit in the middle of season one, instead of how most other films are clearly in the 2-7 territory.

2 out of 4.

Fun Mom Dinner

Bet you never heard of Fun Mom Dinner!

With words like that, it sounds like an absolute blast! It has fun! Mom! And dinner! The exclamation points are provided by me, free of charge!

First things first, it looks like it is trying to be a quick cash grab for those Bad Moms fans, which I am sure there are dozens of them. Or at least enough dozens to make a sequel worthy. There have actually been a lot of girl group films this year, with also Girls Trip and Rough Night both happening this summer. I wonder if this is all a result of Bad Moms, or are women just being catered to in films finally?

If so, I apologize that the movies they are throwing at you seem to be so shitty.

Karoke
A less famous version of Bad Moms, no way?

Being a mom is hard and usually it lacks fun. So some mom’s like to go out once a month or so and just have fun, drink some booze, and make sure they aren’t surrounded by kids 24/7. Namely it has been Melanie (Bridget Everett), a high intensity mom who volunteers a lot and is rules happy at the school, and Jamie (Molly Shannon) who is divorced, loves Instagram, and also very involved. But they want to invite Emily (Katie Aselton) to their ranks on the next night. She is relatively new to their school, seems involved and seems nice.

Emily seems to think it will be a good idea. After all, she does want a break and she does need new friends. She just asks if they can bring her other mom friend, Kate (Toni Collette), who has been bringing kids to that school longer. They actually know about Kate, as she has been downright rude most of the time and pretty stuck up when it comes to hanging out with moms. But they agree, in honor of the spirit of their night.

After some husband convincing, the ladies are off, and of course, their plans are not going to go as expected. Thankfully, I am sure, they will grow with each other on this crazy night of theirs and no one will get hurt.

Also starring some dudes like Paul Rudd, Adam Scott, (both of them were producers) Adam Levine, Paul Rust, David Wain, and Rob Huebel.

CheezIts
I will agree that unicorns and Cheez-Its is my kind of party.

I went in expecting Fun Mom Dinner to be a worse version of Bad Moms. And what I got instead was not something worse than Bad Moms, just something just as as bad as Bad Mom’s.

And that is really all I should have to say. It has a lesser production quality, more people in it, an occasional laugh, but an incredibly forgettable story.

What was it about again? I forgot, especially since this review is coming out many weeks after the fact that I wrote this. I don’t want to read the middle part later again. They have more drugs and alcohol than expected, we have to watch the dads actually be fathers (shocking), and people make mistakes. Thankfully, they come closer through the experience.

I honestly don’t have anything really to say about this one. It wasn’t the worst film of the year, it just wasn’t close to being good.

1 out of 4.

Nerdland

Nerdland on initial glance looks like some late night show on Adult Swim or Comedy Central. Looking at its concept history, I am sure that at some point that was the goal as well. It definitely features people who have worked with these networks in the past, and an art style that is detailed and…well it is hard to describe. Rough around the edges? Chaotic?

Maybe even grotesque. Yeah, grotesque. That is how this film looks, and it has an adult tone. Sort of a Heavy Metal crudeness to the whole thing. So I am expecting, ass and titties, hard language, maybe even hard violence, despite a simple nice sounding title.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to live in Nerdland?

Apartment
Well, Nerdland doesn’t look to clean, which I guess I should have expected.

John (Paul Rudd) and Elliot (Patton Oswalt) are best friends, living together in an apartment in Hollywood hoping to make it big. John is an aspiring actor, kicked out of an acting class, and taking that as a sign he had nothing to learn and was ready to star. Elliot is an aspiring screenwriter, who had a pedophile teacher who hung out with him a LOT, so he figures he is great at writing.

And they are not famous. They have side jobs that they keep losing, an apartment they cannot clean, and strong dreams of success when they both are complete sex craved losers. They think they have pseudo-girlfriends in Sally (Kate Micucci) and Linda (Riki Lindhome), but really they are just creepy and talk to them while they are at work.

After another unsuccessful attempt at reaching the big leagues and getting embarrassed, the two decide to put their fates in their own hands and get famous in a day. No matter the cost. No matter the effort. No matter the depths. And they will use their friend The Nerd King (Hannibal Buress), who runs a comic emporium, to get some help.

Also starring the voice work of Mike Judge, Charlene Yi, and Paul Scheer.

Nerd King
The Nerd King is not the ruler we need, but he is the ruler we deserve.

Grotesque is my word to best describe the film, but crude would be a high number two. A lot of this film seems to want to go to extremes, not for great reasons, but just because they wanted an extreme animated film. Not as bad as The Human Centipede levels, but high enough to realize that you are just going to get some fucked up shit.

And yet it all seems to make sense coming from the minds of our two losers heroes. They are typical beta males who feel friendzoned and think the world is out to get them for their intellect, not for the fact that they are complete assholes. It is almost like a character study, just taken to extremes so that maybe some similar people out there in the world and on the internet can see themselves in John and Elliot and maybe grow the fuck up.

At the same time, in their attempts to become famous, the film stalls out and becomes a bit of a drag. Watching them try a few different schemes to get famous all peter out isn’t as interesting as it seems. It does garner more interest in the end, as it starts to piece together a better narrative, but really, this film is just so extreme it is hard to derive a real message out of it.

Well, don’t be a fucker. That is one of them.

2 out of 4.

Sausage Party

I wanted to see Sausage Party, I honestly did. I loved the first trailer, avoided all other spoilers, and wrote it on my calendar. But then real life made me miss it and I had to wait weeks to see it. Having kids doesn’t help.

But I didn’t mean to see Sausage Party for today’s review. No, I went to the theater to see Hell or High Water, everyone told me I had to! Well, word of mouth is powerful and it was in a small dinky theater and sold out. Thankfully, Sausage Party was roughly the same time starting, so I easily went ther and just moved it up my schedule a couple weeks.

Hey. Sweet. Now I can have some laughs and review two animated films in a row this week! And also dick jokes. Dick jokes, sex jokes, death jokes, stoner jokes. Hilarious.

Party
I haven’t seen food party this much since Foodfight!

Frank (Seth Rogen) is a sausage. Not just any sausage. A horny sausage, ready to fuck. He has some other wiener palls, like Carl (Jonah Hill), Troy (Anders Holm), and Barry (Michael Cera), who is a bit deformed and smaller than normal. His package is right next to a nice package of buns, including Brenda (Kristen Wiig), his soul mate.

Or fuck mate. They really wanna screw. They want to get picked together by one of the Gods to go into the Great Beyond, outside of the supermarket. And soon is “Red, White, and Blue” day, so their chances of getting picked are high! And of course, the Gods have spoken, and they were chosen together to live out their wildest fantasies.

But then the unthinkable happens. The Honey Mustard (Danny McBride) was returned and he went crazy. He said the Great Beyond was a lie. Everything outside was terrible. And he caused a cart accident. Food went flying, Disaster. Frank and Brenda were left outside the cart to survive on their own. With Sammy Bagel Jr. (Edward Norton) and Kareem Abdul Lavash (David Krumholtz), who keep fighting.

Can they determine the truth of the Great Beyond? Or were they punished by the Gods for touching tips? How will their friends survive in the outside world? Can I ask more questions about the food sex?

Also featuring Bill Hader as a Native American stereotype, Salma Hayek as a taco, Craig Robinson as grits, Paul Rudd as a nerdy sales clerk/jerk, James Franco as a stoner, and Nick Kroll as a big douche.

Gasp
Some say a big douche is just the roll that Nick Kroll was born to play.

Sausage Party at its core is an insane film. Apparently it came out just wondering what a film would be like if food had feelings (something Pixar hadn’t touched on yet), and Rogen realized it would be an incredibly fucked up film. And a fucked up film is what we got.

It is basically the most adult animated film since South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut and even has a musical number! And by adult humor, I don’t mean sophisticated tax jokes, but you know, sex, language and drugs. So 14 year old humor, if you will.

It will make you cringe, make you laugh, and maybe make you cry. The references are out of control, including an amazing visual from Saving Private Ryan. It was constantly surprising with the direction it went, including two different turn of events near the end. You know, when they fight for freedom and celebrate their potential freedom.

Because like I said earlier, they just wanted to fuck. That’s life in a nutshell.

Sausage Party is raunchy and honestly a film I can imagine watching and hiding from my own kids for years to come.

3 out of 4.

The Little Prince

I have never read or heard The Little Prince book before, but that because I had an empty childhood. Just kidding, I had Pokemon and that was enough for me.

I did, however, play a board game The Little Prince: Make Me A Planet before though. Only once. And like, three years ago. But it apparently stuck with me, so that many elements present in the game I was able to remember and notice in the actual film version of The Little Prince.

But let’s get to the issue. This took way too long to get released in America. It was released in the summer of 2015 last summer in France! Agh! Not America! It was supposed to be released by Paramount in March in America, but a week before release they suddenly decided to drop it from their schedule as well. No news on distribution or eventually released. Sometime later, the pros at Netflix said they would handle it and gave it a nice worldwide release, finally in America and other countries. All hail Netflix, bringer of tales, singer of stories.

Prince Prince
They took one long look at the script and declared the crazy old writer to be a genius!

As you would have guessed from the title, The Little Prince is a story about a girl. The Little Girl (Mackenzie Foy) is being pressured by her mom (Rachel McAdams) to get into a very good school for kids. The interview does not go well, so they decide to move into a house in the school’s neighborhood, getting in by proxy. The girl’s whole life is scheduled by the mom, to ensure future academic and financial success.

The reason they were able to get the house is because it was next to a shoddy house. In the house lived an old man, an aviator (Jeff Bridges). He was constantly fiddling with his plane and making a racket. Eventually The girl goes and talks to him, finds out he also is an artist. Over time, he tells her the story of his encounter with The Little Prince (Riley Osborne), a boy who lived on a planet barely big enough for a single person.

The aviator learns of his travels around the galaxy, learns some life lessons and so on. And you know what? The little girl is going to learn some lessons of her own.

Also featuring the voice work of Marion Cotillard, Paul Rudd, James Franco, Benicio Del Toro, Ricky Gervais, Bud Cort, Paul Giamatti, and Albert Brooks.

Modern
“Trust me little girl, I’ve got a beard!”

The Little Prince was unlike most other animated films. Yes, it is accessible to families and kids of all ages, but it seems like something an adult would learn more from than their kids. We have a story within a story, where the inner story is the normal The Little Prince story. The added elements of the overworked girl are completely original and the entire last third act is all about her and her own adventure.

I was worried that it would be too complex for kids but a 5 and 6 year old seemed to enjoy it throughout, despite the slower beginning. The layered stories kept me interested, but the ending wasn’t as good as the beginning and middle.

The animation was different for the different story parts as well, with the animation for The Little Prince segment being unique and fantastic. The rest of the animation is pretty standard CGI and a bit uninspiring. It makes sense for the animation to be different, but one would hope that the animation for the majority of the film was just standard.

The Little Prince is still worth your time, although book elitists may get annoyed at the extra material. My only real annoyance was that the new material wasn’t as interesting in the very end and that the animation was a bit uninspiring in an otherwise inspiring story.

3 out of 4.

Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: The Winter Soldier before 2016 was the best Marvel movie to date. It was solid all around, had the best action, the biggest stakes, and was nearly perfect. Before that, Captain America: The First Avenger was probably the second most solid solo film of Phase 1, behind Iron Man and also behind The Avengers.

Despite the resounding success of Captain America films and the Russo Brothers at directing, I was worried about Captain America: Civil War. Like, really really worried.

First of all, it is one of the only full plot lines I have actually read the comics for, so it holds a special place in my heart.

Second, I had seen a few trailers and I was worried about a lot of things. If the trailers gave too much away. That the plot felt forced (unnatural) and the big fight between the two groups would be cheesy. That the previous films didn’t set things up enough for the resentment to be believable.

A huge list of worries. I only need to state them out clear so I am not shown to be a fanboy. Especially after Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, I was ready for disappointment.

Shield
And no matter what happened, I would be Team Cap all the way.

This movie will make more sense if you saw Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man. I assume you did, because come on, Marvel.

The film actually starts out, after some flashbacks, in Lagos, Nigeria! Some current avengers (Captain America (Chris Evans), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen)) are staking out important buildings, looking for Crossbones (Frank Grillo). Needless to say, not everything goes perfectly and some civilians get hurt. Namely, a group of missionaries!

Based on those events, the events in NYC, in Sokovia, and more, the world has decided to stand up in unity and demand action. Over 100 countries have signed the Sokovia Accords, which states that the Avengers will now only act if they have permission from a UN Panel, and of course, have to act if they deem it necessary. A few of the Avengers agree with these accords. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) is feeling guilty and War Machine (Don Cheadle) is on his side. Hell, even Vision (Paul Bettany) feels it is necessary to avoid problems in the future.

But not Captain. He has trust issues with these sorts of groups now, and doesn’t want to be forced to step aside if he sees wrong doing, or be forced to do something he sees as wrong. So he doesn’t sign the papers. The papers are led by the King of Wakanda, T’Chaka (John Kani), who is especially pissed that their primary export was used to make Ultron. And sure enough, more bad things happen. Apparently The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) is at it again!

Fuck, so much shit. Captain believes Bucky is just brainwashed and wants to protect his old friend and not let the government kill him. So yeah, there is some conflict here. Captain and a few others agree to help him out, to get to the bottom of all of this, while the other guys have to stop them for negligently doing bad things to the UN and other officers. Fuck, who is right, I don’t know?!

Also featuring the return of Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), and Agent 13 (Emily VanCamp). And of course, introducing Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, Tom Holland as Spider-Man, Marisa Tomei as Aunt May, and Daniel Brühl as Baron Zemo. William Hurt plays the Secretary of State and Martin Freeman as the head of the UN Avengers Council thing.

Shield2
Shit Spider-Man, why do you gotta go and steal my boy’s shield like that?

Captain America: Civil War is two and a half hours long, but I found myself wanting more. I needed more. More of everything! I could spend the next 500 words just comparing it to BvS, but that wouldn’t be a review of this film, it’d just be a shitty comparison. So I will keep it short: Civil War did a lot of things right that BvS did not.

Civil War turns out to be a fanboy’s wet dream. The action is incredible throughout most of the film. For each and every spout of athleticism, you can understand the fight. There aren’t a thousand quick cuts or shaky cameras. You will not only see well choreographed fighting skill sets before your eyes, but each character fights true to their persona and powers, so no one ends up fighting the same. Of course, a lot of heroes end up fighting and battling with other heroes. We also get tons of team ups you haven’t seen before. All of this creates for some intense scenes with a whole lot of fan service.

Now now, I know what you are thinking. If basically everyone is a good guy with future films, the tension can’t be real. Well, for the most part you shouldn’t expect people to die. Because it is a comic book movie and all that reason. I am not saying people don’t die, but I am saying for sure a lot of people do get hurt, both physically and emotionally. This is not a movie that wraps up everything with a nice big bow, it changes the future landscape of the films…much like The Winter Soldier did.

On another note, Civil War doesn’t go the obvious route throughout the plot. It didn’t go the typical Marvel movie route. It didn’t just keep escalating the odds to ridiculous levels. It had emotional backing behind it, on every side and even on the villain side. Some can complain that the villain is too calculating, but when I compare his plan to someone like Lex Luther’s (fuck I did it again), his makes a lot more sense without ridiculous stretches.

Shield3
Thank’s Black Panther. You are clearly just aggressively giving the shield back here.

Now here, allow me to hype things.

Black Panther HYPE! What a great introduction to this guy. He was shown to be strong, agile, moral with conflicting issues given his royal upbringing. His inclusion in this film was well written and explained, along with why he chose to fight. He is in this film a bunch, more than most of the other Avengers. I am so excited for this eventual film and future roles.

Spider-Man HYPE! Spider-Man was in this film a lot more than I expected as well. We got to see him as Peter Parker a bit as well for an introduction. His fighting was very spider like, along with his normal combat quips. They also showed his age really well, when compared to the old ass fuckers on the team, giving a clear and distinct gap in knowledge bases and general attitude.

Future films HYPE! I can’t wait for more. Like I said originally, I wasn’t looking forward to Civil War. After BvS, I certaintly wasn’t looking forward to Suicide Squad. All of my hopes were riding with X-Men: Apocalypse, which I don’t see as being good as the last two, and Doctor Strange, which I am pretty excited for. But now I have higher hopes for the future of Marvel films. Higher than I already anticipated.

On a final note, despite the large cast and significance of the plot, Civil War was worthy of being called a Captain America film. It wasn’t just Avengers 2.5. His characters was largely the focus of the film, but at the same time he wasn’t a simple protagonist. Chris Evans is GOAT, hooray movies.

4 out of 4.

Ant-Man

If you want a movie in production hell, then you want Ant-Man. Sure, Iron Man was technically in development since the 1990s, but those were with different studios before Marvel got it back in 2006. If you didn’t notice, they then pushed out the movie just two years alter.

Ant-Man, however, was also in development since 2006 and took just nine years to finally get released. That is a long time of trying to make a movie work and never giving up. Well, they technically gave up a little bit. Edgar Wright who was signed on to be the director since the beginning was fired early 2014 from the project which scared a lot of movie fans. Wright is well liked and has an awesome style. And the movie was roughly a year away! How could they do this? And with script re-writes as well!

I will admit that I too overreacted, expecting that Ant-Man would unfortunately be Marvel’s first real disaster of a movie in a long time, possibly meaning bad news for the other new franchises coming down the time lines. But as a not so secretive fanboy, I was also of course hoping for the best.

Yes
Thumbs up, seven new franchises up!

The movie starts in Taylor Swift’s favorite year, 1989, where some dude named Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) is upset over S.H.I.E.L.D. turning his science into weapons! He made a Pym Particle, but he refuses to let them have it for warfare, so he quits and starts his own company. It should be noted we get to see Agent Carter (Hayley Atwell), an older Howard Stark (John Slattery), and a random tool, Mitchell Carson (Martin Donovan).

Now, in the present day, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is just getting out of prison. He stole from his corrupt company who took millions from customers and gave it all back. He has a masters in Electrical Engineering, but he is also a pretty great thief it turns out. He has tried getting a regular job, but his crime history makes it hard. No job means no money, which means he can’t pay child support to his ex (Judy Greer), and thus he can’t really see his daughter (Abby Ryder Fortson). To make things worse, the ex is now dating a cop (Bobby Cannavale) which is all sorts of awkward.

So Scott gets with his friend, Luis (Michael Peña), who has a heist for them. With a few friends (David Dastmalchian, T.I.), they are going to rob Pym’s house who has the biggest safe ever. Unfortunately, the only thing in it is an awkward suit.

Turns out it was all a test. (I swear I am not spoiling the whole film). Pym’s company is no longer in his hands, and his protege Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) is about to discover the shrinking secret. Once he gets the formula right, he is going to sell the Yellow Jacket suits to the highest bidder, making an unstoppable army at whomever’s disposal. Their only person on the inside is Pym’s daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly).

So it is simple. Break into an extremely secure facility, destroy the science and the suits, save the day. A nice heist. Perfect for someone who can shrink and control ants, right? Also Wood Harris! Fuck, I couldn’t fit him in naturally!

PENA
Super powers are overrated, you da real MVP!

Again, it looks like I told too much, but I think I told the basic motivations of our main characters and also threw in most of the side players as well. You got to see the two good guys, where they are coming from, and of course the bad guy.

And I fucking loved it.

Ant-Man had everything I wanted in a Marvel super hero film. It wasn’t ever super drama serious, but it had its touching moments. It was funny, and then it was also hilarious. Many characters brought the charm in. And the action was exciting. The CGI ants I thought would be cheesy, but they worked really well in the context of the rest of the film. Going back and forth between small and large to fight everyone was very slick. There was a wonderful montage and we even got a pretty significant Avenger cameo.

I really need to acknowledge Michael Peña, who was the best part of this movie and for all I know, not based on any comic book character. He was hilarious and I hope he gets to be in future Marvel films.

There was a weak part though. The relationship between Pym and Hope was supposed to be strained, but the actors didn’t act it well and it instead kind of just sucked. I am more incline to place the blame onto Lilly, but it could be that she was just given a weaker character with terrible lines and development.

Ant-Man has it all. It even has a villain who seems realistic and isn’t just a dark brooding figure. He has his own real motivations and a backstory and his arc makes a little bit of sense. Their fight scenes were wonderful. And on paper he may seem like a minor bad guy, but I think he is the best villain since Bucky and Loki.

Bring me more Ant-Man.

4 out of 4.

They Came Together

Heh. Heheheheh. They Came Together. That title. Oh man. Oh boy.

I’m done. I can’t even think of a good intro because of that.

However, I would feel like an asshat if I didn’t first mention that this movie had already been reviewed on my website. Yah! Here is a link! Because I totally have guest reviews on my website, not a lot, but they are there. And from them, of the seven, one I had reviewed already, one I reviewed soon after, and this one I reviewed way way later.

I think I am just stalling.

Leaves
Like how I am avoiding cleaning up my leaves in my yard.

This movie is your classic romcom. And that is how they sell it. It is literally a spoof movie on romcoms, and they basically say that in the opening scene.

It is your classic boy meets girl. Joel (Paul Rudd) is a big corporate man working for a candy shop. Molly (Amy Poehler) is a klutz and owner of an independent candy shop. Oh my goodness, conflict!

Joel has a long term girlfriend (Cobie Smulders) who doesn’t love him like he does. Molly has an ex-husband and a kid.

Joel has a best friend (Jason Mantzoukas) who introduces him to a girl from work. Molly also has a best friend (Melanie Lynskey) who also wants to do that same thing!

Joel has a group of best friends who help him decide relationship advice. Molly has a black coworker friend (Teyonah Parris) who helps her keep it real.

Joel also has to deal with his younger brother (Max Greenfield) who is busy following his dreams and not making a living. Molly has other options, like a banker (Ed Helms) who wants to get closer to her.

I think you get the gist. It has a lot more people in it too! Like Christopher Meloni, Bill Hader, Ellie Kemper, Michael Ian Black, Kenan Thompson, Jack McBrayer, and Ken Marino.

Bear Suits
I don’t have a joke here. I just like the picture a lot. 🙁

I felt ridiculous writing this, because in all honesty, it was a ridiculous movie. I actually put off watching it for so long, because I thought I wouldn’t like it, or it would be as average as a romantic realistic indie movie. And hey, it was weird and unique! So that was good.

It is hard to find a nice spoof movie nowadays. And I think They Came Together gave one of the better attempts at it. I did laugh at quite a few of the absurdities, and found it pretty funny. But, by the end, I thought aspects of it were going too strong and the joke was losing its luster. A bit. You know? Maybe too much of a good thing. Hell, I even had a good time explaining some of the jokes to others, but I didn’t think this is a movie I could really watch again and enjoy it as much of the first time. I think it will quickly stale out.

This is all conjecture. I might love it forever. But if anything, these reviews are first impressions and my impressions can often change through time. I usually don’t like changing a review later, because who would notice and ehhh, apathy. This time I am pretty sure that I would only enjoy this movie once though. And that is why it is just an okay film in that regard. Without staying power, I don’t want to buy it. If I don’t want to buy it, then is it really that great?

2 out of 4.

Guest Review: They Came Together

Spoof movies have a pretty lumpy track record. For every great one like Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story or Airplane, there are a million stinkers like Epic Movie or A Haunted House.[Editor’s Note: A Haunted House I thought was on the right track of spoofs at least, not great, but far better than Scary Movie 5] They are a very hard film to create. The line between smart satire and dumb, obvious mockery is a thin one to cross, and so rarely does a film do it right. They Came Together treads that line masterfully, putting both acute observations on the genre and slapstick gags to great effect.

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They came together.

One thing most spoof movies do wrong is focusing on the wrong thing. The reason movies like Date Movie and Vampires Suck! don’t work is because they trade actual humor with throwing a bunch of remakes of scenes from popular movies starring actors that aren’t allowed to explore in a blender and shoving them haphazardly in no sort of order and with no purpose into the film. The reason They Came Together works so well is that it knows that that is worthless. I never found a reference to a specific romantic comedy, rather tons of observations that apply to the genre as a whole, a genre that has been repeating itself for years.

They Came Together doesn’t have much of a story apart from that that you get in any other romantic comedy. Paul Rudd‘s a guy and Amy Poehler‘s a girl and they meet each other and fall in love. It’s uninteresting but purposefully so. The meat of this movie is in the gags. The story just gives an excuse to run from one joke to the next. And the jokes land 90% of the time, an impressive number given how densely packed full the movie is with them. It seems like every two seconds you’re given some absurd thing to laugh at, whether it be something big like Jason Mantzoukas flying through a plate glass window at the top of a skyscraper or a small visual joke like the fact that after a full night of love-making Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler wake up completely clothed in what they wore the night before, the joke almost always lands.

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Honestly, if this picture doesn’t make you want to see the movie you can quit reading now.

 

Rudd and Poehler play their parts extremely well. It’s been a while since I’ve seen either of them have to use their physical comedy skill to this degree. Probably since director David Wain‘s last collaboration with the both of them, Wet Hot American Summer (another genius parody film). The film is also supported by a great cast mostly made up of comedy movie regulars like Jason Mantzoukas and Jack McBrayer. Even the smallest roles shine in this movie. Basically, if somebody is on screen, they are there to deliver something that will make you laugh.

If you’re looking for a quick and breezy film to sit down and watch when you are bored or if you just need something silly to cheer you up, They Came Together is a great choice. Fans of both slapstick and brainy comedy should both be satisfied because this movie really is for everyone. It sucks that the film is only getting a limited-release run in theaters, because I’m only imagining how much bring-down-the-house laughter the film could elicit from a completely packed theater. Still, watching it through VOD is a totally valid option. You may even want to watch it a couple times. A second viewing helped me see a big number of small details that made the film even more entertaining in hindsight.

However you choose to watch They Came Together, you will have a good time.

They Came Together: A-

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

The boys are back in town.

The legend of Ron Burgundy continues, with Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy came out in 2004, and from what I can tell, the first draft was horrible. So horrible that they had to rewrite and shoot the entire movie. The leftover original footage and other B rolls created another movie, Wake Up Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie, but people wanted a real sequel, because it quickly became a cult success after its initial success.

The sequel came quite easily! Just kidding, it took a lot of work, and lots of convincing. But eventually the money numbers worked, so they did it because people like money.

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Money can literally elevate any person.

At the beginning of the film, Ron (Will Ferrell) and Veronica (Christina Applegate) are married and cohosting a news program in New York. Living the life! That is, until Ron gets fired and Veronica gets upgraded to hosting the prime time show on her own, a first of her kind in New York! This upsets Ron a lot, so they separate, and he starts living a shitty life again.

That is until he gets an offer he can’t refuse. Someone wants to invent a 24 hour news network channel, and they want Ron to fill in a time slot. What? How ridiculous. However, it pays well, so sure. He just has to reassemble the news team (Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner) and he is good to go. And win back his woman from the psychologist (Greg Kinnear). And get excellent ratings at the 2am spot to make Jack Lime (James Marsden) look bad. And survive his incredibly aggressive boss (Meagan Good).

And in the search for ratings, will he accidentally change the face of national new forever, for the worse?

Dylan Baker and Kristen Wiig and Josh Lawson are also in this movie. BUT SO ARE SO MANY OTHER PEOPLE. Oh my goodness, the cameos! I didn’t tag the cameos, but if you want to not know who to expect, skip the next part.

We have cameos from: John C. Reilly, Marion Cotillard, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Sacha Baron Cohen, Harrison Ford, Kanye West, Kirsten Dunst, Liam Neeson, Jim Carrey, and Will fucking Smith.

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And lets not forget this Shark based cameo.

I am a big fan of ridiculous comedies, and this one had me laughing a lot from start to finish. There was a part after the halfway point where I did find it a bit dull, one joke going to the extremes and lasting a lot longer than I would have liked. But overall, many jokes, much laughs, and a good continuation of the characters.

So here is my one real complaint. I am worried that this movie won’t be as hilarious for a long tim after watching, like the first movie. I was worried the sequel would be nothing more than a carbon copy of the first film, rehashing the same jokes but in different ways, playing off that nostalgia humor. I hate nostalgia/reference humor. To a certain extent, as expected, there was a lot of that. The film ended very similarly to the first one. There was a gang news fight. There was a singing scene. A sex panther joke. And there are more examples. Although I laughed during the watch, I would have preferred probably less references, and more original material.

But outside of that, this movie will make all of its production back and then some. Will hasn’t had the best movies lately, so hopefully this puts him back on the right track.

I don’t accept this as an end to the Mediocre Man Trilogy. Anchorman and Talladega Nights were the first two, with the third one rumored to be about a guy who works on porn, named Rusty Butte or something. The title themes should give it away, and the RB characters. I want that movie, damn it. Get to work, Will.

3 out of 4.

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