*NEW* BAD MOMS REVIEW *NEW*

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Bad, just bad.

Well, that’s what I thought I was going to say. Kunis and co killed it! A surprisingly watchable and mad little movie.

When three overworked and under-appreciated moms are pushed beyond their limits, they ditch their conventional responsibilities for a jolt of long overdue freedom, fun, and comedic self-indulgence.

I went in expecting nothing and came out with a big ol’ smile for all the right reasons this time!

The opening zipped along as Mila Kunis’ workaholic mom Amy (Family Guy) raced around ferrying the kids from school to all their extra-curricular activities, as well as PTA meetings and holding a part time job. You could relate and empathize with her character as she dotted about the place at 90 miles a minute while her childish husband lounged about the place.

To be honest if I didn’t know that this was penned by the writers of The Hangover and exaggerated so heavily, this could have passed as a dramedy. Emjay Anthony (Chef) and Oona Laurence (Southpaw) were pretty good as Amy’s mental kids.

Kristen Bell (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) was perfectly cast as the nerdy “weirdo stay at home” mom. Her eccentric behaviour and random one liners had me smiling throughout. I wasn’t sure whether I was going to like Kathryn Hahn’s (We’re The Millers) loudmouth trailer trash talking slutty single mom. The endless dick references did go on a bit BUT she soon won me over. An absolute nutter.

The dynamic between the three leading ladies worked really well. I think there were genuine moments where they improvised which made the scene better for it. Especially during Amy’s mom-bra and sex talk scene. I don’t know how Bell kept a straight face while Hahn was using her as a prop.

It felt like a “What if Mean Girls became Mean Moms” scenario. Especially when you look at the PTA board. Jada Pinkett-Smith (The Women) was great as Applegate’s snidey underling. Christina Applegate (Vacation) was brilliant as the stone cold bitchy PTA chairwoman and Annie Momolo (Bridesmaids) was funny as the ditsy Viv who really hadn’t a clue. You kept wondering why she was in their little entourage in the first place.

David Walton (About A Boy) played Amy’s obnoxious husband Mike well. It annoyed me how quick their relationship was breezed over. You got the idea that maybe marrying too early and having kids was the only thing keeping them together BUT it could have been explored so much more.

BUT it wasn’t that type of movie. It was all swept under the carpet for the new widower on the block (Jay Hernandez – Suicide Squad). Kunis had great chemistry with Hernandez which helped drudge through the hammier scenes as their romance blossomed.

I had a laugh watching the ‘bad moms’ break free from their “jobs” and “roles”. Giving the kids a life lesson about fending for themselves instead of being entitled little gits. Getting drunk, going to the movies during the day and getting fooked up. It was OTT, mad BUT for a good portion of the film, entertaining.

Kunis was excellent and redeemed herself after her shambolic performance in Jupiter Ascending. My only quibble was the endless “being a Mom” speeches. I got the point after the first one BUT we had several more cheesy speeches in between the drunken parties and crazy supermarket shenanigans.

Clark Duke (Hot Tub Time Machine) wasn’t really that funny as Amy’s childish boss. The whole new generation gag was good BUT not quite as effective when Kunis’ character was 32.

It may have been a little corny and stupid BUT it was fun and went past any expectation I had. Especially after the mixed reviews I read. It was a nice touch in the closing credits to have the actresses sharing childhood memories with their real mums. Kristen Bell’s mum was hilarious.

If you’re in the mood for an easygoing laugh, give it a go.

3/5

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THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY REVIEW

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I wish it was done in 100 minutes. An easygoing feel good movie that is light on the drama but heavy on the cheese. Nice to look at but a little overcooked.

Enough food punnery! Let’s tuck in. It’s Chef meets Slumdog Millionaire in a nutshell.

The opening quickly establishes that from a young age, Hassan has a taste for flavour. A passion for food. It zips along, skimming past all the usual cliches as Hassan (Manish Dayal) tells the story of his humble upbringings from India to an uninterested stuffy French customs officer.

There are some predictable if endearing revelations as to why the family are now emigrating to France. “England was too bloody cold”, grumbles the talented Om Puri (East is East and my personal favourite The Parole Officer). An easygoing half hour has enough to keep me watching as the Kadam family reach the beautifully shot pastoral French countryside and open a restaurant directly across the road from Madame Mallory’s (Helen Mirren) Michelin-starred eatery.

An inevitable war brews between the restaurants as they compete for custom. Mirren plays the stubborn snotty French hostess with aplomb. Even if she had her upper lip pumped (tut tut tut Madame). It’s all quite tame and silly, with the odd chuckle as Mallory buys all the food in the local market so the Kadams have to drive 50 miles to the next village, for example. Inconveniences and minor scrabbles is as far as the tone of the film will allow. Puri delivers some cracking one liners and is instantly love-able. A character you’re happy to see more of.

However, he doesn’t quite get the screen time or depth to really make as much of a impression as you first thought or expected. A shame for a talented actor who has proven successful with comedies. He works well with Mirren and they have good chemistry. However, not enough was made of the tension between them and it all wraps up so predictably.

Dayal plays the role of Hassan brilliantly and is a very charismatic lead. More to see of him in the future, methinks. Inevitably he falls for fellow chef, the adorable Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon). For me, it all felt a little tame. Every obstacle felt more like a hiccup in which the family stumble but get back on their merry way with a cheesy grin.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still some surprises along the way. Especially in the brewing spat. Moments that I thought this fluffy film may not have touched. An event that resolves itself all too quickly, which leaves little for conflict after. Hassan and Marguerite’s ambition for becoming a renowned chef soon puts the sprinklers on their spurning romance. However, you just know how that story is going to end.

Hassan soon has to deal with the stress and pressure of fame as his cooking soon boasts his reputation among the cooking elite. As much as we can feel and relate to Hassan’s frustrations, you can’t help but know and predict how it’s all going to pan out with everybody smiling by the end.

For me the length was questionable. It meandered along way too much like the picturesque lake that Hassan and Marguerite share their picnics. There just wasn’t enough being made of the story or the talented cast with their loveable characters to justify it. Amit Shah, an up-and-coming comic talent was wasted in his role as Hassan’s brother-in-law Mansur. He has proven how funny he can be in The Infidel and the ITV sitcom Honest. Restricted and unmemorable.

It just about keeps you going but the tone of the film indicates what film you’re in for. An easygoing, nicey-nicey film, which isn’t a problem BUT it’s a shame because it could have been a lot more hard hitting and done in less time and been better for it.

You just can’t help but feel that if Mirren wasn’t attached to this vehicle that it might not have made the big screen altogether. The ingredients enough to serve as a ITV TV movie, at best. Uplifting, certainly. Funny, so-so. Easygoing? Yes plus it makes you want to go to France. But drama, tension and intrigue, it seems that the chef Lasse Hallstrom skipped a few steps in the cook book.

3 (just) out of 5 for me.

CHEF REVIEW

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Jon Favreau cooks up another treat, a little overcooked and missing a little seasoning. This meal may be a little overhyped but a treat none the same.

Don’t worry, there will be more food punnery somewhere. Overall, not bad. An easy going, nice film. Makes a change to have an upbeat movie. The only problem is that it may be too nice and gets absorbed too much in it’s running length and preparation that it forgets to deliver the dessert (There we go) or in my case, drama or conflict.

The film is about . . . let me guess, a chef? Come on, stop it now. A chef (Favreau) who loses his restaurant job starts up a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative premise, while piecing back together his estranged family. Favreau plays a likeable lead and the initial preparation in which we see his character’s relationship with his son and torn obligations between cooking the set menu and being creative makes for a watchable, if a little long, opener. However, once he ends up getting into a Twitter feud with a pestilent food critic (Oliver Platt) and has a Gordon Ramsey-esque meltdown, it all kicks off.

Favreau has a fantastic cast at its fingertips. Dustin Hoffman plays the arrogant owner to perfection. Scarlett Johansson is hot . . . What? And plays a restricted supporting role but pulls off the tattooed dark brunette look. Platt doesn’t really get to say much as Favreau’s chef lays into him before he has a chance. A shame as we know Platt could have done more with that role. His grimacing and face pulling were convincing, if that’s any comfort. Sofia Vergara (you may remember her from Modern Family) was surprisingly not irritating at all. I expected her to be whining and yelling like Gloria. Nope, a much more subdued role and to be honest, I wanted to see more of her. Not like that . . . well a little.

The main focus is on Favreau finding his passion again but also restoring his relationship with his son (Emjay Anthony). Anthony and Fav work well together and there are some nice moments. One critic did mention how this film was like food porn and my word, some of the dishes that are prepared, I was sweating and panting. My lord. Anyway, moving on. John Leguizamo and Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire) plays Fav’s knuckle head sous-chefs well. Leguizamo, in particular, proves yet again to be a good supporting choice. He doesn’t quite get enough of the laughs or time that his character deserves.

The only problem is the length for me dragged in parts. Once they have got on the road with the truck and served a few people, it gets repetitive. Mainly because everything is all tickety boo. No real drama along the way. Vergara is very supportive. Every one is getting on. The police appear at one point but only in the form . . . of the hilarious comedian Russell Peters. His Lady and the Tramp pic with Fav brought a chuckle. It’s all too nicey, nicey. Favreau seems to suddenly realise at the end. Hang on, can’t make it that easy. Let’s throw a quick spanner in the works but still make it alright in the end. It leaves little in plot development or surprises and gets a little predictable.

But it does keep you watching. The scenery and the dishes look fantastic. There are some funny moments. Robert Downey Jr makes a five minute, if slightly overhyped, cameo. He does deliver the laughs with him bumbling and baffling poor Fav. Friends doing what they do best. A nice touch.

The whole social media jibe worked really well, especially in this day and age with Favreau failing to understand the impact of one tweet and the issue of becoming a viral phenomenon. Favreau’s previous works have always seemed to suffer from either an overlong pace with little story or too much story and not enough pace. This was a mish mesh. Started off with a story but then the pace dragged it out that for a certain moment, I felt I was just watching two chefs work. But it’s not all bad. Chef is a nice movie to look at but just not as tasty as you hoped. Still worth a bite or two. 3/5

Currently ranked 63 out of 196!