*THROWBACK REVIEW* PLANES 2: FIRE AND RESCUE

planes_fire_and_rescue_ver2

I was surprised and anxious to hear that Planes had earned a sequel. To be honest Cars was a bit of a misfire. Watchable but hardly memorable. I didn’t even get round to watching the sequel. It reeked of desperation when they tried to merge the Cars and Planes universe together.

The problems was that Planes felt old fashioned before it even got to start. There was enough silly punnery and charm but it felt oh so flat. Proof that even Pixar can make mistakes. But yet enough money was made to make another and this time . . .

Despite being a visual sight to look at (which was to be expected), it pretty much delivers the same old silly wordplay and punnery, cheesy one liners and bland characters but without the charm and gusto that managed to make it scrape by last time. This really is one for the little ‘uns who are interested in planes and cars.

Dusty (Dane Cook) is now a renowned racer. However he is hit with the bad news that he can no longer race after his out of production gearbox starts failing. But Prop Wash Junction is in need of a new firefighter cue another re-tread (I mean journey) as Dusty must overcome the odds and prove everyone wrong again.

It’s a shame that Cook is having to voice such a dull and unmemorable lead character. You can’t help but feel that they have to keep bringing in crazier and funnier supporting characters to compensate for it. The 3D. What 3D? I could have taken my glasses off and not noticed a difference.

Terrible considering the price of a cinema ticket these days, let alone extras for 3D. 2D if you are still intrigued.

The new range of characters do their utmost to make this flailing film soar but to no avail. Hal Halbrook delivered an endearing turn to the ageing fire truck May Day. While Julie Bowen (Modern Family) was on voice stealing form as the neurotic Ms. Dipper who is infatuated with our hero.

The fact she watches him while he sleeps brought a little chuckle, if a little creepy. Wes Studi (The Last of the Mohicans) pretty much plays a parody of Magua in the form of a helicopter titled Windlifter. The legend that is Ed Harris played a straight faced, stern and predictably bland authority figure. A shame.

To be honest, it made me miss the incredibly OTT El Chubacabra. His presence was sorely missed. There was one good skit that parodied the old 70s cop show Chips. However, this time it was Chops. Tut all you like. There was a guilty chuckle. The fact a familiar voice made a cameo return made it all the better but unfortunately it was always going to go over the little ‘uns heads. The fire sequences were interesting and watchable enough but it all seemed by the numbers and a little stale.

The odd gag and punnery will get a chuckle from the kids and adults but it all feels like it should have been a straight to DVD film. If not for the Pixar label, I’m sure it would have been. A real shame despite the best efforts of a talented voice cast (that consisted of the likes of Cedric the Entertainer, Teri Hatcher, Patrick Warburton, Brad Garrett) to make their flat characters stand out but one for the scrap heap.

Sorry, Pixar. It didn’t work the first time, the second hasn’t improved. I don’t think third time’s the charm this time around.

2/5 for me

Advertisements

MRS BROWN BOY’S D’MOVIE REVIEW

mrs_brown_s_boys_d_movie_41a26c91e00cb17d5009c74d7dfd7173

What the feck did I just watch?

Brendan O’Carroll is back as Ireland’s favourite Mammy, Agnes Brown. Better than ever and on the big screen? Tragically, no. Maybe Mrs Brown should have stayed on the small screen.

Now I know, that’s not nice. I am actually a fan of the TV show and got caught up in the craze that was Mrs Brown’s Boys. Critics slated it back then, despite huge success and ratings. However, this time round, this sluggish effort gives quite a few of the critics’ justification.

I went in, wanting to like this but my lord, I always thought that a number of sitcoms had that irritating canned laughter as an act of desperation to make the jokes sound better. Not the audience I was sitting with. I felt like I was sitting in an Andy Millman audience from Extras. Laughing at the littlest thing. I mean, they were just laughing at O’Carroll dressed as Mrs Brown, for fecks sake. I mean, come on. He’s been doing it for three years now.

If you are not familiar with Mrs Brown’s Boys, do not see this as an introductory course. You’ll just sit there thinking why do those crazy English like this so much? And that’s the problem with translating TV to film; it doesn’t always work.

So many sitcoms have tried in the past and failed, bar the Inbetweeners Movie (which wasn’t perfect), Mr Bean (minus the sequel) and Kevin and Perry Go Large. Unfortunately, this was a case of best bits in the trailer and even those bits weren’t laugh out loud or that particularly brilliant anyway.

O’Carroll had found a winning formula back on the small screen. It wasn’t subtle or particularly clever. But it was funny, entertaining and most importantly . . . FUNNY! It felt like he knew he would be onto a winning horse and just slapped anything together, thinking “Well, they’ll go see it anyway. Who gives a feck?”.

It has a couple of moments. But that’s it. Moments. Some of his zippy one liners still manage to crack a much needed smile in this stale treat. I mean the little bits may bring a tut but a guilty grin all the same. Dermot Crowley’s (Luther) character Keep a PRIC in power. Sloppy satire but a chuckle none the same.

To be honest, it was such a mess that for every good gag (and there weren’t many), we had to endure drawn out unfunny dialogue and a feeble attempt at trying to make social commentary. Even the family moments bar one scene with O’Carroll and Jennifer Gibney (his wife) who strangely plays his daughter Kathy, seemed hammy and desperate.

It was an endearing moment but didn’t seem to fit in this film. The format that brought three successful series didn’t really work. The scenes where they messed up their lines seemed forced to get a cheap laugh. One did get a guilty laugh.

Not even the OTT moments were that great, just desperate and still unfunny. The gag with some blind ninjas went on far too long. It was great to see some TV personalities showing up. I mean Eamon Holmes, it was a little obvious. Robert Bathurst (you may recognise him from Downton Abbey) as a solicitor with Tourette’s was unexpected and did bring the laughs.

Ironically, the last 20 minutes did seem to find a pocket for some gags that did manage to make me less angry and disappointed. The exact length each TV ep was, near enough. Maybe the feature length was a challenge and it felt like one.

Not even Winnie (Eilish O’Carroll) and Buster (Danny O’Carroll), two of the better characters, couldn’t save the day. Interesting, both are Brendan’s real life sister and son. Buster certainly got the most laughs but even his moments weren’t that great.

I just felt that O’Carroll went for lazy stereotyping. The shady Russians were incredibly clichéd and bland. His impression of a Chinese kung fu master got a few frowns. And the legendary Grandad reuniting with his old IRA cronies was a little stereotypical and felt a bit desperate that it had to lead to another IRA gag after avoiding it for all three TV series. But it did get a cheeky gag involving a colleague with Parkinson’s and a ticking bomb.

Rory and the Channel swim was cringeworthy and seeing running away, squealing again. It felt repetitive and that Borat swim suit. There’s an image that will haunt my dreams for nights to come.

The play on names worked to some extent. Guilty punnery. I mean, come on. Tom Crewes and Irma Byke. The moment in Ol’ Agnes is dripping wet then miraculously dry the next. Cue a cheeky exchange at the camera, “I love the movies” worked.

But for every little cheap titter, there’s just a bad gag or a pointless one. I mean the dance number at the beginning? What the feck was that all about? And that’s all I kept asking myself. At times, I felt like I was watching a really bad amateur adult panto.

Maybe it’s time for O’Carroll to hang up the wig. Stop milking the cash cow because the udders were well and truly dry on this one.

1.5/5

Currently ranked 183 out of 196!