Tag: Kristen Schaal

The Bob’s Burgers Movie

As of this posting, Bob’s Burgers just finished its 12th season a few days ago, on the 22nd of May. The film, The Bob’s Burgers Movie, came out on the 27th of May. I appreciate their timing on this matter, that is some good planning.

Now, I am not expecting anyone to have to see 12 seasons of a decent animated cartoon to have to get this movie. Maybe a loose familiarization with the characters, but it isn’t like those episodes all lead to very specific plot developments and a lot of growth. For honest bias reasons, I will point out I need to I have for sure seen at least half of the episodes of the show, but not gone out of my way to keep up with it lately.

I am also surprised they decided to go with a movie this early. Family Guy still hasn’t made a theatrical film. The Simpsons waited 18 years before finally coming out with a movie. I know there are lots of cartoons that decide to do a theatrical film, but those feel like the notable ones given the same station and night of new releases for their content.

More importantly when it comes to cartoon shows to film, the film has to feel necessary. A larger than a multi-part episode plot. Something to make it stand out and look different. The last thing we want is just what feels like 2-3 more additional episodes.

family
Yes Bob, I said that is the last thing I want. Don’t be so surprised.

Somewhere near an ocean somewhere lives the Belcher family. Bob (H. Jon Benjamin), the father and main cook at Bob’s Burgers, a restaurant he named after himself. His wife, Linda (John Roberts), who also works at the shop, and is full of love and hope. They have three kids. The oldest, Tina (Dan Mintz), is almost in high school and obsessed with butts. The next kid, Gene (Eugene Mirman), is the only boy kid, who wants to be a musician and creative. And lastly, we have Louise (Kristen Schaal), a girl who acts older than she is, with wild plans and ideas and a dark sense of humor. Together they live in an apartment above their restaurant. The kids go to school, help out with the shop, and hijinks.

So, that would be the plot for the show. But also basically the movie!

The movie itself, the restaurant is going through a bad time! You see, they are behind on their payments to the bank for their loan for restaurant equipment. And when trying to get an extension, no dice. Instead they now have 7 days to get all the money for it, while also still paying off their rent like normal. Thankfully the wharf has a big event this week, so there should be increased foot traffic. And unfortunately, a giant hole has decided to appear right in front of their store, blocking the entrance.

Dang. How are they going to make the money now?

Oh, and there also happens to be a murder mystery thing, but the kids are more involved with that one.

Also starring David Wain, Gary Cole, Kevin Kline, Larry Murphy, and Zach Galifianakis.

hole
What a messy, messy hole that is.

The Bob’s Burgers show writers really do love their musical numbers, and put songs into their show a lot. A lot more of my favorite and memorable episodes also feature songs! It felt pretty clear that this would likely be a musical, but it was only a light musical unfortunately. From my count, it only features three unique songs, with an additional reprise of a song. There were other instrumental tunes that started up and I thought would lead to a song, but ended up just being some quirky background music. It is maybe four songs, but I don’t really remember if the final concert song had like, actual lyrics, as it was unforgettable.

Three songs is hardly enough to get a buzz from. The best song was the Carnie one. I do love the extremes in the animation they put into the characters movements. They really want to emphasize real and actual dances, and these movements highlight how awkward their bodies are actually drawn. And it really adds to the extra musical feel of these numbers, like they are really big spectacles.

Some of my least favorite episodes of Bob’s Burgers though are the ones that go heavy on the landlord, Mr. Fishoeder, and his family, which is definitely true for this plot. And honestly, even though that this movie had a MuRdEr, it did still just feel like a two or three part episode.

I won’t take away from the animation. The animation was definitely better and richer than a normal episode. The songs were longer than a normal episode. But the plot line didn’t seem to match the standards that should necessitate in a change of format for an established television show. It didn’t use the extra time to give us more music, or really more hijinks. This is just the type of movie that exists to make the fans happy with more content. Not sure if anything here will affect the TV show in the future either, but that is something that will be really shown whenever their next season starts.

2 out of 4.

My Spy

Against all odds, My Spy is finally out today, in the US, legally, August 26, 2020. It is available on Amazon Prime.

So how did it get here? Well, it was supposed to come out in August of 2019 (and likely would have been the best result in retrospect) but got moved back a month before that. It was pushed to a January release of 2020, then pushed again to a mid march release in 2020. You know what happened then. So about a week before coming out, it got pushed back to mid-April, to see what was going on in the world then.

And of course, before that happened, they cut their losses, sold it to Amazon and no theatrical release anymore. Well, it did come out in theaters in the UK in March. And in Australia in January, but hey, whatever, not like pirates exist.

My Spy annoys me because it is the last screening I saw in theaters before everything went down. The last actual movie I saw in theaters was Birds of Prey, the next morning, but that was already out for a month so no one cares about that.

And with it out today, finally, I can tell you why it sucks.

lie
Here is a frame. It combined with all the rest made a poor film.
JJ (Dave Bautista) is a big strong man, who used to be in special forces, and is now in the CIA. He likes to punch things and blow things up and isn’t used to being subtle. And because of that he is being punished. Yuck. He is being sent to Chicago (ew), with a tech support spy (Kristen Schaal) with the only purpose of spying on a family.

Why? Well, silly plot reasons. It involves nuclear weapons surprisingly. But a bad guy stole some weapon blueprints, brother of bad guy stole them from him to be a hero and not let them get out, brother dies. No one knows where the plans are, but maybe they are with the brother of the bad guy’s wife (Parisa Fitz-Henley) and daughter (Chloe Coleman), who have moved from France to Chicago after the death. Very sad times.

Unfortunately for JJ, because everyone is a noob, they almost immediately get found out in their safe house by the daughter character, who thinks she has found spies (accurate) but not sure why. Thanks to hilarious blackmail and set up, she uses JJ as a way to find acceptance in life. She gets “spy” training, and a friend in her lonely world, while JJ gets forced into her life as a neighbor, and starts to fall in love with a widow.

Typical spy stuff. Things go wrong. Bad guys. Ahhh-xplosions.

Also starring Greg Bryk, Ken Jeong, Devere Rogers, Noah Dalton Danby, and Nicola Correia-Damude.

sparkle
Ah yes, tropes. 

My Spy picked a bad year to finally come out. Because of how many movies aren’t coming out this year, it is almost certainly going to make a lot of worst of the year lists. It might have made them last year too, but it probably would have been decent box office numbers, given its probably lower budget.

There is nothing excitingly new about this movie. It is your typical big strong man must become more loving or family man. Like almost wrestling turned actor film. I thought we wouldn’t get one of these any time soon since we were stuck with Playing With Fire last year. But this isn’t the genre’s fault, it is the wrestler turned actor fault.

Since we currently have John Cena and Dave Bautista doing that, they are both likely to have have one of these, and they happened to be very close to each other. It is our burden to bare.

This film offers nothing new, isn’t funny, and is rather stupid. It should have come out in January or August, because it would fit perfectly there in the movies people want to ignore. Now I suggest we all ignore it on Amazon Prime, like most of you planned on doing that anyways.

0 out of 4.

Toy Story 4

Controversially, I did not love Toy Story 3. I thought it was average. I did like it more than Toy Story 2 though, but the first Toy Story was still my favorite.

Oh sure, it made me cry like a sane person, but I didn’t like its main arc with Lotso Bear and it put a damper on the whole thing. But also like everyone else, it felt like a natural end to the series and was happy to see their ending.

Now, then they announced a Toy Story 4. This was terrible news. Not just because of the ending of three, but because Pixar has been splurting out sequels to everything the last few years, very few OC, and they have been average to poor. Toy Story 4 meant the end to their sequels for awhile, but it also felt like it shouldn’t even exist.

The plot had to overcome quite a few hurdles, and couldn’t just be a regular good movie, in order to justify its existence.

forky
Telling a spork about the birds and the bees can take awhile.

The first thing TS4 did was give us a flashback as to what happened to Bo Peep (Annie Potts). Now, in real life, between TS2 and TS3, they just decided to drop Bo Peep because Barbie was on board to lend its brand and that is more powerful. They wanted Barbie for the first movie, and they said no, because why would they give their stuff to an first movie studio?

Anyways, that becomes a very relevant plot to the movie now. Because of course, Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), and gang are with Bonnie, a young girl, who might have different interests than a cowboy. In fact, in her first day of Kindergarten orientation, she makes a new friend out of trash named Forky (Tony Hale). Surprisingly, this trash creation is somehow able to come alive, but he doesn’t identify as a toy, and this causes a lot of conflict.

Woody takes it on his own to make sure that Forky doesn’t try to kill himself, for the betterment of Bonnie. Because damn it, Woody just wants to make his child happy, even if he isn’t actively played with.

This leads them on an adventure, leads us surprisingly back to Bo Peep, and through a lot of weirder places.

Also featuring the returnees of Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Blake Clark, Don Rickles (but barely because he died), Joan Cusack, and Kristen Schaal. But it also features the voices of new toys and people played by Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Kay, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves, Ally Maki, Bonnie Hunt, Carl Weathers, and Madeleine McGraw.


Porcelain dolls have really gained their mobility.

Did Toy Story 4 make me cry? Of course it did. Twice! And that surprised me, because reports from friends had them not crying, but I’ve always been an emotional wreck. But remember, just because I cried does not make it a good movie.

Thankfully, Toy Story 4 is a good movie. It “fixed” the issue that I had with the last installment, in that good and bad characters are able to experience growth and change based on their circumstances. Relatively early in the movie you can sort of tell a few things that will happen by the end, and that is totally okay. You can accept the foregone conclusions early enough about a few of them and go on the ride and brace yourself before the end. Knowing where you will end up is fine, if you don’t know how you will get there. And on the journey to the end, it went plenty of unexpected places with surprises along the way.

And honestly, it feels like a great ending. Most people said after 3 that it was the perfect ending and not to mess with it. And a lot of people are saying that after 4. But I disagree, really it feels like the start of a lot of potential adventures on multiple fronts. Because lets face it, in this franchise with a large ensemble cast (that just gets more and more ensemble-y), many many characters were reduced to just a few lines. In fact, some arguably main tier characters had a few moments, but clearly the focus was on Woody and Bo Peep only. Buzz was humorous side character and Jessie had maybe only a few more lines than Slinky Dog.

I will put that there will be money on a Toy Story 5 in the future. Not just side short films for TV like the Toy Story of Terror event. And this time I will look forward to that. Just give me more original movies first Pixar.

3 out of 4.

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

Dreamworks films never reach their full potential. Or they do, and Dreamworks films just suck, outside of the two Dreamworks franchises that I don’t even have to mention at this point.

They do not aim for universal appeal, they just want to get their cheap kid jokes and run.

I expected to outright hate Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. I have never read or looked into a book with any level of effort, but I see the sort of humor that exists. You know, poop and underwear humor. Like the whole series, all based on one sort of joke. It is a bold move, but it was a hit with kids, and honestly I am surprised it took this long for a movie.

But as I left the film, it had some level of charm, despite all the shit.

Hero
His whole body is just so round.

Before we get to the superhero, we need to talk about George (Kevin Hart) and Harold (Thomas Middleditch). They have been best friends since Kindergarten, thanks to their similar humor styles. They pull pranks on school to get them by, and they love making comics together. George tells the story, Harold is the illustrator. Their favorite comic that they have made is Captain Underpants!

But at school, not everything is okay. The mean Mr. Krupp (Ed Helms) is the principal, and he outlaws fun for the sake of discipline, so George and Harold are a thorn in his side. But he never has proof! When he does get proof, he will be able to separate the two boys into different classes, thus killing their friendship, or something like that.

And thanks to a few other pranks their nightmare is about to come true! As a last ditch effort, they attempt to hypnotize him, and it works! There they decide to make him pretend to be Captain Underpants and wham! A superhero is born!

But can their school be run by a make believe super hero? Can they control him and protect their friendship? What about the evil Professor P (Nick Kroll) who has a weird plan to hurt children too, with the unknowing help of Melvin (Jordan Peele), a humorless nerd. Also featuring Kristen Schaal as the voice of the cafeteria worker.

Kids
Although pretty round, they have a few more edges so this isn’t just some freaky round planet. Whew.

Guess what?! Captain Underpants wasn’t extremely poopy, just somewhere poopy. For the most part, I didn’t find it really that funny. It relied on the same sort of joke over and over again. Of which the film did talk about how “toilet humor” is the lowest form, so they understood what they were doing. The exaggeration of their friendship being killed by being in different classes was a bit annoying, since they straight up hang out with each other as direct neighbors after school all the time as well.

But it was telling the story in their kid point of view, so it made sense on a level. On a different level, they are supposed to be very smart and savvy compared to the rest of the students, so when their characterizations are sometimes very childish versus mature, it is a bit confusing on what they are supposed to represent.

There are however aspects that I really enjoyed. This is a film where all the main characters are voiced by famous people. It is a stupid trend, it still doesn’t lead to more ticket sales like Robin Williams did in the early 1990s. They are paying more money for lesser voices. BUT, the characters in this film didn’t just sound like the normal actors for once. The closest two were Hart and Scahal, but everyone else I would not have been able to tell you the voice at all, so that is wonderful.

The second aspect I enjoyed was their decisions to tell the story in different ways. It is a CGI film, but we weren’t just given a completely CGI movie. It starts off with a paper comic book feel, we are given a flip book scene, various forms of day dream, but best of all, a sock puppet scene. Sock puppets! The changing formats of the film helped keep my interest and make the film a bit more sophisticated?

No, not sophisticated. Let’s just keep it as interesting.

It still caters to a lower form of humor. It still doesn’t have a lot of substance. But hey, it did try a few things I enjoyed and wasn’t a complete shit show.

2 out of 4.

The Boss

Almost every single introduction joke I could think of for The Boss was incredibly lame. There are way too many Boss-based pop culture references that every single one became cringey at just the thought of them. I don’t think there is a single good joke or reference I can make without the readers closing their browser in anger.

If Kelsey Grammer and Tony Danza were locked in a room all night, even they couldn’t come up with something clever to make a chuckle.

Money
Although they would have made something at least more appealing than this turd.

Michelle Darnell (Melissa McCarthy) was an orphan kid and no one wanted her. She got returned a lot. Must be too much spunk. But now, as an adult, she is wickedly rich and famous. I can’t actually tell you what she does, but she is famous and sells stuff. She also sells her image, women love her, she is a rock star and she knows how to put on a show.

But then she gets arrested. For insider trading crap, even though everybody does it. But she is rich so she doesn’t have to go to jail for years, just has to post a bond and honestly, I think everyone forgets about it. Claire (Kristen Bell) doesn’t forget though. She was her assistant for years and never got the raises she deserved as a single mom. With the arrest she had to find a new job and quick. And now Michelle is showing up to sleep on her couch.

Long story short, the daughter, Rachel (Ella Anderson), is in an off shoot girl scouts group. Michelle sees how much they make selling cookies, but dislikes that the girls don’t make anything out of it. So she makes her own alternative off shoot girl scout group, but this time the girls can get commission on their pastry sales and Michelle can also make a lot of money. Hooray money!

Also conflict about other business people, Michelle being not super nice, and girls beating up other girls in the streets. Starring Peter Dinklage, Tyler Labine, Kathy Bates, Cecily Strong, Kristen Schaal, and Eva Peterson as a tall teenage girl.

Gang
Because all out brawls make the best scenes in comedies.

I really need to harp on this. In my eyes, a comedy reaches the lowest levels of its potential if it resorts to an all out brawl between parts of the cast. It was the conclusion of Grown Ups 2, and the most advertised portion of The Boss. As you can see, it is hilarious because there are young teenage girls in the fray, along with overly concerned mom, all dressed super funny. Ha ha ha!

Anyways, outside of that scene there is little else I remember about the film. Wait, I remember Melissa McCarthy making fun of Kristen Bell’s boobs for a long time. And I remember never laughing.

A comedy without laughter is like torture without pain. Wait, no, it actually IS torture and very painful. Sorry, messed that up. The Boss offers nothing new to the movie experience, not even the comedy movie experience. It is a complete waste of space. Thank goodness Ghostbusters also came out this year and was at least mediocre, or else McCarthy would have had her worst year since starting this recent trend.

Don’t watch The Boss. After reading this review, don’t remember anything except for the last line. Just a disappointment all around.

0 out of 4.

Guest Review: Welcome To the Jungle

Ok, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that Welcome To the Jungle is not nearly as bad as it’s 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes would lead you to believe. The bad news is that it isn’t nearly good enough to be entirely worth watching. It’s stuck in the middle. The movie is just fine.

Welcome To the Jungle is just another case of a great concept that is not quite squandered, but it isn’t as good as it should be. The biggest problem is that it isn’t bad or good enough to be remade later.

image
The actors, after realizing how boring their movie is.

Welcome To the Jungle stars Adam Brody as Chris, a low-ranking guy at an advertising agency that doesn’t get the respect that he deserves. He gets crap from coworkers and only has one real friend there. After Chris’s big idea gets successfully stolen by office jerk Phil (Rob Huebel), the company announces that everybody in the office is being flown to a remote private island to attend a retreat led by big-shot muscly tough guy Storm Rothchild (Jean-Claude Van Damme).

The next day everybody is on a the island and everything quickly descends into chaos. The pilot dies, Storm is gone, and the people are split into separate tribes. The good guys, Chris, his love interest Lisa (Megan Boone), his best friend Jared (Eric Edelstein), and his love interest Brenda (the always funny Kristen Schaal), and the idiots (literally everybody else in the movie) who are being lead by a power crazed Phil.

There are very few things I know for sure, but one of them is that Rob Huebel is a damn funny man, especially when he’s playing a total asshole. Luckily, that’s exactly what he is is this movie. Kind of like he was in I Love You, Man, he exists just to give the main character somebody to hate. I wouldn’t be surprised if I found out that his character in this movie is just Tevin Downey after he found a new job in advertising.

image
Jean-Claude had no idea the cameras were rolling for this part, he just got mad at an extra.

Welcome To the Jungle isn’t full of laughs, but there are a few. There are plenty of jokes, but most land with a thud. Jean-Claude Van Damme and Rob Huebel are the main source of laughs in the movie. The problem with Van Damme is that he is underutilized. He disappears too soon into the island trip, but when he resurfaces, he is pretty hilarious.

Bottom line, I think that Welcome To the Jungle is watchable, but not a necessity. The main reason to watch would be if you’re already a fan of some of the comedy people in the movie like Kristen Schaal and Rob Huebel. I can’t really say that it’s worth it to see Van Damme because he really only has about ten minutes of screen time.

You won’t be completely wasting your time with this movie, but there are plenty of better ways to spend it (like They Came Together, which conveniently enough, I reviewed right here.)

Welcome To the Jungle: C-

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2

Puns. Puns are an often overlooked humor tool that are wildly taken for granted. In fact, some people respond to puns with groans!

Those groaners I have to imagine would not enjoy Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 which has more puns than the number of acupuncturists who also happen to be backstabbers.

Dicks In Your Mouth
I wonder how many animated dicks could fit in his mouth. For research.

CWaCoM2 takes places immediately after CWaCoM, with the town of Swallow Falls in disarray and covered with food. Flint (Bill Hader) and his friends are excited for the rebuild, but they are forced to temporarily move to San Franjose, California, while Live Corp cleans up their island…for science! After all, Live Corp is run by Chester V (Matt Forte), Flint’s hero since he was a kid and the coolest scientist ever. It is usually a good idea to let trained professionals take care of a job.

Unfortunately, the clean up isn’t going as smoothly as they had hoped. The FLDSMDFR device was not destroyed after the first film, and it has created animal food hybrids to take over the island! They are also learning how to swim, and if they do, they will spread out and attack the rest of the world! Scary!

So it is up to Flint, with the rest of his crew to save the day. Sam Sparks (Anna Faris), girlfriend and meteorologist, Tim (James Caan), father, Brent McHale (Andy Samberg), former bully and current idiot, Manny (Benjamin Bratt), jack of all trades, Earl (Terry Crews), security guard, and Steve (Neil Patrick Harris) the monkey.

We also get introduced to Barb (Kristen Schaal), the ape. The fact that she is an ape, and not a monkey, is a very important difference.

Green Screen
Charles V reminded me a lot of Professor Hawk from Dexter’s Laboratory.

When I saw the trailer for CWaCoM2, I knew there would be an overwhelming amount of puns, but I still somehow underestimated how many they would actually throw at the viewer. At one point, the PPM (Puns Per Minute) value had to be greater than 10. Just constant puns, one after another, with hardly any time to comprehend them all.

Personally, I think the film was a bit too short to tell the story it wanted to tell. A lot of the movie felt rushed, especially once they first got to the island. In order to appease the kid viewers, they must have moved quickly to keep their interest. That has to be the biggest negative, not giving enough time to really flesh out the island and “foodimals.”

At the same time, I was equally impressed with the film’s ability to include “background jokes.” Once I saw the first few, my eyes were constantly watching the edge of the screen and I was surprised at how often they appeared. Heck, Joe Townee from the first film was snuck into this film twice. Unfortunately he had no lines this time, because his voice actor, Will Forte, was now voicing a new major character.

This film is filled with its fair share of low brow humor jokes, but an almost equal number of intelligent-ish jokes. I guess the point I am really trying to make is that this film has a lot of jokes, and they vary across the whole spectrum (outside of the adult themed joke territory). Despite the new writers and directors, I think it is a very worthy sequel to this franchise, and I would definitely watch a third one should it ever get made.

3 out of 4.

Despicable Me 2

Despicable Me 2 might make the most money out of any CGI movie this summer, so it is kind of a big deal. But does it deserve that money?

Kids yo
The kid vote does not count, damn it.
Despicable Me 2 starts us off soon after the first film. Gru (Steve Carell) is no longer a big bad villain because he has three kid to take care of, and he has had a change of heart. In fact, he has turned his whole secret laboratory into a secret jelly making factory, complete with free minion workers. With overheads that low, he can really make a splash in the market.

Unfortunately, the change in operation has left Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand) with no joy in his life, so he leaves Gru to pursue other opportunities. Speaking of pursuing other opportunities, Gru gets kidnapped by the Anti-Villain League. Silas Ramsbottom (Steve Coogan) wants Gru to lead an investigation on a disappearing arctic base that is researching chemicals that can cause ordinary creatures to become terrible beasts.

He would also get a new partner on the case, young and bubbly Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig). Oh yeah, she totally has the hots for him, too. This movie is mostly about Gru as a single dad and afraid to date. This provides many scenes of him avoiding the neighbors and awkwardly flirting with Lucy. Sure, maybe the world is threatened if this formula gets in the wrong hands, but love is also important.

Benjamin Bratt leads his vocals for El Macho / the mysterious Salsa Dancing restaurant owner who looks like El Macho, Ken Jeong as a mysteriously short wig salesman, and Kristen Schaal as a mysteriously well endowed blind date for Gru.

Sex
Spoiler, he does not choose the well endowed blind date by the end.
Illumination Entertainment made the original Despicable Me in 2010, and is what they are most known for. That is because before Despicable Me 2, they have only made two other films, The Lorax and Hop, both ridiculous flops (and a bit terrible). So it makes sense they are already doing a sequel, and are releasing a spin-off titled just Minions in December 2014. What doesn’t make sense is how they have the rights to so many Dr. Seuss based movies down the pipe line, when they did so badly with their first chance.

Speaking of the Minions, did you love them from the first movie? They were arguably the best part of the first film, and quite cute. They have made sure that they advertise the fuck out of these minions for the sequel and eventual spinoff.

Basically, everywhere I look, there is a Minion based toy, gizmo, commercial, because “Hey, they are cute!” They recognize the best part, gave us a movie with potential for rich new characters, but then threw minions at our faces until we had to get new 3D Glasses. There is an overabundance of minions in this movie. They are in every scene, part of every plot point, and potentially in this movie more than Gru. It turns the entire movie into mostly slapstick based humor instead of witty jokes, which doesn’t help rewatchability or entertainment.

Basically I believe the main character is pushed out of the spotlight, similar to how Cars 2 was handled. At no point in the movie is he even considered despicable. In fact, he is rather admired and chased by women, loved by his family, and just a good guy. The plot is really straightforward, and you will figure out the main bad guy well before the reveal. The bad chemical itself was inconsistent with how it works, where it could have been fixed with a sentence of dialogue.

Long story short, Despicable Me 2 is not really about Gru trying to save the world from a threat (although he does that as well) it is more about Gru the single dad finding love. With minions. So many minions.

 

1 out of 4.

Butter

Mmmm, Butter. Just the sound of it takes me back to the good old days, watching The Glutton Bowl on Fox. That was an eating competition, and yes one of the rounds involved sticks of butter.

But citizens of Iowa might be familiar with another use of butter outside of eating it. Carving it! Which is the main plot point of this pseudo-Dark Comedy, in a tale of betrayal, love, and dairy.

Get dat car
Not to mention great smoothing skillz.

Bob Pickler (Ty Burrell) is the king of Butter carving in Iowa. He has won the best sculpture at the State Fair fifteen years in a row, and has no end in sight. But when the higher ups mention he should probably retire and let someone else have a shot, he agrees and thinks it is a good idea. Too bad his wife, Laura (Jennifer Garner), has built her entire life around their butter empire, from charities, to parties, it is all about butter. There is no way they can survive without it!

So she does what she knows is best and enters the next competition herself. Why not? She has seen her husband do it forever, how hard could it be?

Well, Destiny might have a problem with that. Destiny (Yara Shahidi) is a 10-year old orphan girl, going from bad house to bad house. She already feels out of place, being one of the few black people in the state, but eventually her mother will get better and take her back in! Until then, she is in a new house with the most loving parents ever (Rob Corddry, Alicia Silverstone). On a whim, she decides to also enter the same county competition for the state fair, and it turns out she has the Land O’Lakes touch.

You are probably wondering how this could be a dark comedy, it is a grown woman and a little girl carving butter! Genre wise, I think this has all the features of a normal Dark Comedy, just no death. Oh well, we can’t all be perfect movies. Butter also features Ashley Greene as their teenage experimental daughter, Hugh Jackman as a cowboy car salesman, Kristen Schaal as a Pickler fan girl, and Olvia Wilde as a local stripper getting mixed up in the competition.

Strippah
So some people might watch this just because of Olivia Wilde. But I’ve heard of worse reasons to see a movie.

A major complaint I am hearing about Butter is the accent of Jennifer Garner. Most people in the movie don’t have an accent, just like most Iowans. How dare she have some sort of weird voice! But I think it is silly to complain about having an accent, just as its silly to complain about not having one. Just because most people don’t have accents doesn’t mean everyone has to talk “normal”.

Overall, this movie is an over the top affair about such a unique/weird topic that I just can’t help but love it. For those who complain that there are not enough original ideas in the movie industry, they should be looking for films like this one. I couldn’t help but compare Butter to other odd movies with events that escalate out of control, such as Fargo or Drop Dead Gorgeous. Outside of its general weirdness, I also found it to be quite funny, unsure of just where the film would take me.

If I was a native Iowan, I would be proud to put this in my State’s catalog. But as an outsider, I will just have to settle for my DVD collection.

3 out of 4.

The Muppets

I can’t say I know much about The Muppets. Pretty sure I watched more of the Muppet Babies cartoon than any actual muppet movie or show. And by pretty sure I mean 100% positive. I have seen many episodes of that cartoon, and no episodes of the old Muppets show or any Muppet movie before. Just wasn’t raised on them, my bad.

So needless to say the only preconceived notions I had on this movie was that A) a lot of people loved it and B) the title was dumb/vague.

Muppets
I like that dog one myself.

In this world, I guess Muppets are just real things. I couldn’t tell if all things that were Muppets like were known as Muppets, or if only this select group of /things/ were known as the Muppets. A third option is that they are more or less identical to real people, and the people who were part of the show The Muppets are the Muppets. I think that is the real answer? Kind of weird though.

The story is about a “Guy” named Walter, who clearly is a muppet. Or at least a weird looking human. He is best friends with Jason Segel‘s character, and they are roommates for like, forever. Jason has been dating his girlfriend for 10 years, Amy Adams, and on their anniversary they are going to the magical land of Los Angeles. She also happens to be a school teacher, and I was weirded out when it was her and NOT Alyson Hannigan.

They invite Walter along too, because he is lonely, and wants to see the Muppet studios. He is obsessed with that show. Like, really obsessed. That is all he talks about. Kind of makes sense why not many friends. So of course all he wants to do is see the studio. Amy Adams main goal is to finally have alone time with her boyfriend and maybe get a proposal finally. But shit goes wrong. Turns out an “evil” man (Chris Cooper) is about to but the old studio, because there is oil underneath it. And in the original contract, they have until some time next week to buy it again for $10 million.

Walter flips a shit, and wants to try and stop him. So he finds and convinces Kermit to “Get the band back together” and that people “Still care” about them, and hopefully try and save their studio. So they get all the Muppets they can and work on getting a telethon the day before to hopefully raise enough money, with a lot of musical acts, and host Jack Black!

Also, eventually Jason stops being such a jackass, and realizes he is dating Amy Freaking Adams and does the right thing. Don’t worry.

Tons of cameos of famous people playing themselves or other weird roles, including Rashida Jones, Zach Galifianakis, Sarah Silverman, Kristen Schaal, Donald Glover, and Emily Blunt.

Walter
Look at this noob. He is too fanboyish to be a real Muppet.

Honestly, I thought the plot was pretty weak. The ending didn’t seem to make much sense to me. Heart warming, sure, but nonsensical. I don’t want to spoil it, but feel free to ask me if you saw the movie, haha.

BUT. I did like a lot of the jokes. When they were getting all the muppets, and needed to do it in a montage? That was great. And map travel. I also enjoyed a lot of the music. The songs involving Amy Adams and Jason Segel were my favorite, but the Muppet only songs during their telethon were pretty entertaining as well. Especially the barber shop quartet.

But out of all that, it just means I might be more willing to buy* the CD, and not really care about watching the movie again. It was decent, probably a lot better for those that you know, grew up with the muppets though.

2 out of 4.