THE HOUSE REVIEW

The House always win? Not with jokes like these.

After the town takes away their daughter’s college scholarship, a couple (Will Ferrell/Amy Poehler) start an illegal casino in their friend’s (Jason Mantzoukas) house to make back the money.

Sheesh. What is going on with comedies these days? Look, I’m not looking for groundbreaking stuff BUT a time filler with a few laughs isn’t too much to ask . . . Is it?

Apparently so.

Okay, the opening act wasn’t that bad and Ferrell and Poehler made an entertaining duo as the mollycoddling parents rehearsed a “What if” scenario with a “shady college guy” to their daughter Alex (Ryan Simpkins).

I don’t know how many of the one liners were improvised BUT I just wish the two comedians were allowed to break free from the weak material more.

Ferrell pretending to be “Geppetto” (Because he makes all the girls his puppets) had me in stitches. He worked well off Poehler. BUT alas, that banter couldn’t stick.

Scott’s (Ferrell) numbers anxiety and shrieking got on my nerves. Seriously, his miscalculations gags weren’t funny the first time, so why did we have umpteen of them? Thank God for Poehler’s put downs.

Jason Mantzoukas (Dirty Grandpa) stoke the show as their emotionally unhinged friend Frank. A supporting act that didn’t overstay his welcome.

The group dynamic (thankfully) worked a lot better once the couple lost their daughter’s scholarship and things did get a little more entertaining.

The casino set-up was quite fun as the gang evaded the local authority’s wandering eyes.

The House excelled with some of its more sillier moments. BUT when it didn’t work, it felt drawn out and cringe worthy.

A Casino gag in which the trio taught a “cheat” a lesson delivered the laughs and some unexpected gore as Ferrell fumbled around, looking for said cheat’s thumb after an unfortunate encounter with an axe.

Nope? Not selling it. That was the best bit.

Nick Kroll (Sausage Party) and Alison Tolman’s (Fargo) philandering council officials’ subplot was bland and uninteresting. Great actors in their own right BUT they brought nothing to the mix.

I would have been happier to see more of Frank failing to win back his wife.

The first hour did kill the time and was surprisingly watchable as the neighbourhood soon joined in on the action. At one point, there were bets being placed as neighbours participated in bare knuckle fist fights.

Yeah, it’s that sort of movie.

BUT the film soon run out of steam (and material) as the big life got to the couple’s heads. Seriously, it just wasn’t funny. Poehler and Ferrell beating people up and throwing money around was just overkill.

It spiralled downwards into one big chaotic mess in the worst way possible with repetitive comedy falls, endless swearing, unfunny gags and hammy sentiment.

Even a surprise cameo in the fiery finale couldn’t save the day. I couldn’t believe this particular Avenger had popped up in this as a mobster. It was just a shame that he wasn’t any funnier.

Despite its moments, I wouldn’t bet big with this one. Unless you really want a gamble with your time, then be my guest.

2/5

*NEW* NOW YOU SEE ME 2 REVIEW *NEW*

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And now for my next trick. Watch a franchise that nobody wanted . . . DISAPPEAR!

The Four Horsemen resurface and are forcibly recruited by a tech genius to pull off their most impossible heist yet.

Now You See Me was an enjoyable romp. Hardly ground breaking BUT easy going fun with a group of magicians hustling some rich conglomerates. I didn’t expect the finale and was even more surprised when a sequel was confirmed.

I hoped the next outing would carry that same level of energy and fun BUT this was utterly dreadful. Irritating characters, drawn out pace, a terrible story line, farfetched stunts that pondered all levels of plausible acceptance and really shoddy CGI made this one to avoid.

It’s not essential to watch the first outing. You get the entire plot summarised in the first 30 seconds. The opening showed promise as we explored Dylan’s (Mark Ruffalo) past and the reason behind his rivalry with Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman).

BUT once it flashed forward to the present, the intrigue was lost. Eisenberg’s Atlas was far too serious and sulky. I don’t know whether he was still getting over losing his hair for the shambolic superhero saga that was Batman vs Superman BUT his griping and silly backstabbing antics were dull as dishwater.

We had a new Horseman, person or Female Horseman (Whatever) in Lizzy Caplan (Mean Girls). I thought she would be a worthy addition to the mix. BUT she was incredibly annoying. She wasn’t funny and her verbal diarrhoea was insufferable. I think Isla Fisher made the right decision not to come back.

What didn’t help was the agonizing pace. The film should have been cut by a good 30 minutes. Mark Ruffalo (Avengers) was the most interesting character and he was barely in it! Every time Dylan appeared, things happened and I was hooked. I was happy to follow his subplot NOT the Horsemen. Battling to keep his cover under the watchful eye of Sanaa Lathan (who was wasted in her role).

Proof in the pudding when one of the best scenes was Dylan causing havoc in a Chinese street brawl. The fight sequences combined with a series of magic tricks were well choreographed and stopped me fidgeting in my seat.

I have to admit the Horsemen really did infuriate me. Woody Harrelson had been on resurging form with his recent endeavours (True Detective) BUT this was a complete misstep. He went full retard as Merritt’s twin Chase with his Will Ferrell-esque wig and badly capped teeth. An unnecessary character that tested me in every scene.

Dave Franco (NERVE) did his best with his role BUT was lost in the mix. Eisenberg eventually lightened up and delivered his usual schtick BUT it was too little, too late.

You know you’re onto a loser when Morgan Freeman’s dulcet tones are doing your head in. His silky voice couldn’t save this leaden script. If anything, it highlighted the clunky exposition. A revelation about Bradley unintentionally undermined pretty much a good portion of the premise from the first one.

Daniel Radcliffe wasn’t too bad as the weasely Walter Mabry. He played the slimy techno villain well BUT he wasn’t in it enough. NOT even the return of Sir Michael Caine did anything for me. He was laughable. Doing his best Victor Meldrew impression. Dismal.

What made matters worse was that the actual hustle and magic tricks were far too OTT and farfetched for my liking. I know it’s only a movie BUT some of the big reveals defied physics or common sense to work even in a Hollywood universe.

An elongated card flinging sequence took the biscuit. Watching the gang flick a badly CGI’d card in the air and around their torsos to smuggle a computer chip was just plain terrible.

However, the finale delivered a little of what I expected from the get go. The effects actually did impress; especially when Eisenberg disappeared into a puddle of rain. Tense, engaging and watchable. WHERE WAS THIS FOR THE REST OF THE FILM?!

The characters were dull, the pace was too long, the effects were hit and miss and the twists were either too predictable or just plain ridiculous. They even missed a trick by not calling this Now You Don’t BUT if there any rumours for another; my title would be:

NOW, PLEASE STOP!

2/5

*NEW* DADDY’S HOME REVIEW *NEW*

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Daddy should have stayed away.

Marky Mark and Ron Burgundy take each other on in a mediocre reunion.

Stepdad, Brad Whitaker (Will Ferrell), is a radio host trying to get his stepchildren to love him and call him Dad. But his plans turn upside down when the biological father, Dusty Mayron (Mark Wahlberg) returns.

Not bad. If you’re expecting The Other Guys 2, you might be left a little disappointed. We open to a ridiculously OTT sequence with Ferrell’s sickly sweet Brad praising fatherhood. Well, step-fatherhood. He plays the dim-witted simpleton so well. It doesn’t even feel like the guy’s acting. He’s a natural. Happy to have a family even if his delightful step kids draw demented doodles of him with a knife in his head and “homeless man poop” for hair. His response? Relief. Relieved that he’s NO longer dead in the pictures.

It’s easygoing enough BUT not quite as laugh out loud or as engaging as I hoped. Things pick up when Wahlberg makes his introduction. The game afoot from the get go as Dusty leaves Brad waiting at the airport.

The pace dipped in and out as Brad’s naive step dad is repeatedly duped and manipulated by the ultra cool Dusty. The 12A rating restricted the pair from really pushing the envelope. I missed the random improv that they had in The Other Guys. Don’t get me wrong. They still had that chemistry and worked well off each other. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t think it would have worked.

The OTT stunts were stupid BUT delivered the laughs. Ferrell trying to showboat on a motorbike resorted in half the house being renovated. A back yard skate off drew some unexpected laughs BUT soon went on far too long. And that was the problem for me.

For every snappy one liner and crafty gag, there were a dozen duds. Thomas Haden Church’s (Sideways) radio producer was a mixed bag. If it wasn’t for his random stories that had no relevance, I would have cut him out altogether. The kids were funny. To be honest, they could have been in it more. The stunning Linda Cardellini (ER) was far too straight faced in this mad mess. The running gag with Griff (Hannibal Buress) the handyman overstayed its welcome like the character. Seriously, it really annoyed the hell out of me.

The whole “he’s better at you in every way” spiel was a little predictable. BUT that wasn’t to say that it didn’t deliver. Dusty’s fairy tale bed time story of the wicked step king wasn’t too bad and the endless battles to outdo each other on giving the kids presents or saying good night had a chuckle here and there.

Bobby Cannavale (Ant Man) was terrible in his cameo as a fertility doctor. Merely setting up a gag for the pair to draw swords (If you catch my drift). The recurring gag of Marky Mark without a shirt pops up yet again. It didn’t quite work as well as Date Night BUT I’m sure the ladies won’t be complaining. Performing crunches and lifts while Ferrell watches in awe.

Brad’s desperation to win the family back got the better laughs. His drunken meltdown at a basketball stadium had me in stitches. I may have shook my head at the nauseating father/daughter dance finale BUT I couldn’t resist the buffoonery of Wahlberg and Ferrell.

It did feel like a case of the “best bits in the trailer”. If you were lucky NOT to see them than it might be a bit more entertaining. It was all far too cheesy, OTT and a little slow at times. If NOT for Gamble and Hoitz, I mean Brad and Dusty, this would have been a write-off. It killed the time BUT not their best.

2.5/5

GET HARD REVIEW

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It’s going to be hard to say anything good about this one.

When millionaire James King (Will Ferrell) is jailed for fraud and bound for San Quentin, he turns to Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart) to prep him to go behind bars.

Oh boy, what a mess!

It was never going to be a satirical masterpiece that tackled the issues of race and poverty. Come on. At best, it could have been something OTT, stupid but funny.

A lot of people dodged a bullet from the heavily flogged trailers but I thought, “You never know”. Won’t be saying that anytime soon.

I was a big fan of Ferrell and Hart (Notice I put was). The thought of them working together should have been comedy gold.

The premise was weak with nothing but lazy jibes about how the rich are destroying the country and naff stereotypes that have been done to death.

The racial jokes weren’t controversial but they weren’t clever either. Just went for any old area and milked it dry.

Not even the talented supporting cast made much of an impression. You know you’re onto a loser when T.I. is the only actor getting things going.

Alison Brie looked stunning. Oh my goodness. But she wasn’t funny at all. Effing and jeffing and playing a manipulative gold digger.

Don’t get me wrong. She played it as well as she could. BUT there were no laughs. A shame considering how funny we know she can be. Just look at Community and The LEGO movie. Gutted.

While Craig T Nelson just played a clichéd and uninteresting evil corporate businessman. I’m getting bored just writing about him.

John Mayer made a highly unfunny cameo. I mean, if his goal was to be a douche then bravo! But it wasn’t funny and his improvised song about Ferrell was juvenile. It didn’t help that the guy can’t act.

There were a few chuckles BUT every time that I did laugh, I then realized, “Wait. That wasn’t funny”. My anticipation getting the better of me.

My smile faded more and more as the film continued to pull every unfunny gag out of every orifice.

An impromptu teaching session at a gay hook-up spot was completely unnecessary and revolting.

“When life gives you dick, you make dick-ade” Haha. Ha- No!

Will Ferrell trying to sing songs to a penis probably sounded good on paper. BUT it was just uncomfortable viewing and not even in the guilty “I shouldn’t have laughed at that” sense.

The prosthetic penis popping up in the scene was even worse than the glory hole sequence in Unfinished Business.

When Ferrell and Hart were allowed to improvise, I was finally rewarded with what I expected in the first place!

They weren’t a bad pairing but their gags went on too long; an elongated prison sketch with Hart pretending to be three different “prison gang” members should have been a minute at a push NOT five.

Ferrell resorted to mindless swearing just to get a quick titter, “I’m going to punch you in the f**k!”.

To be honest if Ferrell hadn’t applied his delivery, I don’t think I would have laughed at all.

Hart’s role seemed a lot more straight faced. A change. It worked. Using the plot of Boyz in Da Hood as his prison cover was hilarious.

Some gags did work. Will Ferrell dressed as the lovechild of Lil’ Wayne and Tim Westwood was hilarious. Deluded to the max with an “El Mayo” emblem stamped on his head. His pose for a gang picture got a guilty smile from me.

King’s naivety in the whole fiasco could have got a lot more funnier moments out of it. Shame.

The gag in which he is forced to pick fights with people in the park was hilarious (To begin with) but the more fights he got into, the worse it got.

The endless height gags and watching Hart being used as a gym weight just bored me. Lazy.

BUT Hart being used as a prop to dispense off some unlikely foes, on the other hand. That was an unexpected sight that tickled me.

The last 20 minutes finally seemed to hit its stride and I found myself actually laughing. It was ridiculously OTT and stupid as hell but it was better than what I’d had to endure.

Ferrell and Hart fighting on a yacht was the most random thing I’d seen in some time. Ron Burgundy flailing around and dispensing foes with some strange Brazilian dance fight technique was brilliant.

The Wedding Ringer bitch slapping people and smashing them round the head with computer monitors was mental.

BUT the story was so flat, predictable and lazy that it killed any enjoyment I managed to muster out of it.

Not good enough boys.

Sloppy and unfunny for the majority of the time. If not for the two comedy actors, this wouldn’t have made the DVD bargain bin at my local corner shop.

2/5 at a push

LEGO MOVIE REVIEW

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Everything in this is AWESOME. Finally, a fun family movie, not without it’s imperfections, but enjoyable none the less. 3D makes certain scenes stand out but not a MUST. Apart from that, the makers behind the equally brilliant Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs have assembled a hit.

Basically, the plot follows Emmet (Chris Pratt), an oblivious construction worker who is mistaken for the ‘most extraordinary person’ in all of the LEGO universe, and according to an old prophecy, must defeat the evil tyrant with the best bad guy name . . . Lord Business (That one got a tweet out of Michael Moore), voiced by the legend that is Will Ferrell, who is plotting to destroy the world with his secret weapon, the Kragle (brilliant. When you see what it is). The animation is brilliant, considering it is LEGO. The detail and the fun it pokes at the limited movements of the LEGO pieces is hilarious. The fact they make great expressions with their little black eyes is nicely done and the action pieces although rapid are great to watch.

The cast are fantastic. Chris Pratt is on form as naive dimwit Emmet. Morgan Freeman providing his infamous voice and gravitas to the senial wizard Vitruvius. Will Ferrell grumbling and picking at the craziness of it all as the sinister Lord Business, President of the Octan Corporation . . . and the entire world. Elizabeth Banks as the loveable rogue Wyldstyle who is tasked with protecting Emmet (“Come with me with you wanna NOT die”). However, cudos must be awarded to the supporting characters. Will Arnett’s (The Millers, Arrested Development) LEGO Batman is hilarious. His dark love song being a personal highlight.

Charlie Day (Horrible Bosses) as Benny, the bonkers 80s LEGO astronaut guy (SPACESHIP!). Alison Brie (Trudy from Mad Men?!) as the bi-polar Unikitty, who unhealthily bottles up her negative thoughts and last not but least, “I don’t have much money, but particular skills legend” that is Liam Neeson as the two faced good cop, bad cop was fantastic. Such a surprise to see the huge cast attached to this and that they can all poke fun at themselves. Don’t look at IMDb if you want to guess them.

There was an unexpected twist near the end that dipped the film a little bit. It worked but I couldn’t help but feel that it was a slight rip off of another animated hit, hint hint, cough, The Spongebob Squarepants Movie. As usual, some of the better bits are in the trailer. But it zips along at a great pace, keeping it light and fun. I was impressed with the clever satire they put in as well. The fact that Emmet is completely unaware he is under the rule of a dictatorship with propaganda everywhere. Most annoyingly so, in the incredibly catchy song Everything is Awesome by Tegan and Sara featuring the Lonely Island. 3D is not neccesarily an investment for this. A couple of bits stand out with the lasers and machinery but not a must. The animation would look just as good as in 2D.

Do you like Lego? Do you like the games? Then this is for you. Is it fun? Absolutely. One the family will enjoy? I don’t see why not. Hardly a classic but a fresh take that stands out from the churned out family movies these last few years. Get on it. 4 pieces (just) out of 5!

Currently ranks #25 out of 141!

 

ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES * REVIEW

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Was it an Anchorman too far?

Ladies and gentlemen, can I please have your attention. I’ve just been handed an urgent and horrifying news story. I need all of you, to stop what you’re doing and listen. Cannon- No, the verdict is in! The streets, I mean, the box offices will rain with Burgundy’s blood.

A mixed bag. From the get-go, it was random, mental and funny as hell. It ticked all the boxes; the epic voice over, the crazy soundtrack and all the original cast back. But bigger and better? Well . . .

The first 45 minutes were epic. I was worried that this sequel would suffer from a case of “all the best bits in the trailer” syndrome BUT the Winnebago scene was so much funnier than I thought it would be. In fact, some of the trailer tasters weren’t even used. For example when the news anchor team mistake a gay guy for a vampire.

It was always going to be tough to top the original. It was a sleeper hit that, by any standard, shouldn’t have worked. I mean, come on. News anchor street brawls, bear fights and some of the most insane quotes possible! Unfortunately, this time around, it fell short of the hype.

I couldn’t believe it had been over a decade. The cast certainly hadn’t lost any of their mojo BUT once the two hour marker had passed, my smile had gone. That frenetic hilarity of the first half had evaporated into a dull and drawn out affair with the jokes getting worse.

David Koechner’s Champ Kind originally annoyed me in the first one BUT this time around, he was fantastic! BUT Steve Carrell, on the other hand. The legend that was Brick Tamland. He infuriated me the most. He may have delivered the odd moment BUT the dull love subplot with Kristen Wiig’s Chani (Bridesmaids) really spoiled things. It wasn’t what I expected at all.

On paper, the pairing of these two incredibly funny people sounded perfect. Their first encounter was hilarious and the chemistry was superb. BUT it went on far too long and fizzled out very quickly. There wasn’t one quotable gag. Not even an “I LOVE LAMP!”

Anchorman was always ridiculous but enjoyable. Adam McKay and Will Ferrell take this second outing to a whole new level of crazy that just doesn’t quite come off. The outcome of this film will depend on your level of expectation. Some will be left disappointed and peeved while others will love it. BUT for me it’s NOT as good as the original.

There was another news fight brawl and the cameos! My God. I couldn’t believe how many people popped up in those five mental minutes. However, the longer it went on, the sillier it got. It was too much and withered away after a funny if stupidly long build up.

As the film carried on, the gags were very hit and miss. Some were just random as hell and baffling while others had me in tears. There was barely any Baxter this time round. I don’t want to spoil too much BUT it was still very watchable and for a good portion, I enjoyed it.

BUT I wouldn’t hold out for a third outing. IT IS DEFINITELY WORTH A GANDER IF YOU’RE AN ANCHORMAN FAN OR JUST A FAN OF ANY OF THE CAST, JUST DON’T SET YOUR SIGHTS TOO HIGH! (I’m sorry, someone put it in capital letters and an exclamation mark, I thought I had to shout it).

3/5