Author Archives: Jenna Zine
Hancock (Will Smith) is an alcoholic superhero with a penchant for cutting a wide swath of destruction, even as he’s helping people. The citizens of Los Angeles finally get sick of footing the multi-million dollar bill to clean up after him and begin to turn on their formerly beloved savior. Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), a public relations expert, steps forward to help Hancock rehabilitate his image, with life changing results for all.
[Review contains spoilers.]
What you need to know is that Will Smith plays a great drunk. Hancock opens to a wild freeway shoot out, juxtaposed with our superhero passed out on a park bench clutching a bottle of booze. As he dozes, a young boy tries to alert him to the major crime spree that’s taking place. Hancock hassles him for waking him up; the boy shakes his head in disgust and calls Hancock an asshole. That’s your first clue: this ain’t no Disney flick.
It’s this dissolute, downtrodden, angry, irresponsible version of Will Smith’s character that makes this film so fun (ironically). We’ve seen the powerful, clean-cut superhero a million times before – and, while that version is great (Superman, I’m waiting for you) – the alcoholic with superhuman powers who saves people simply because he can (versus wanting to) is a great twist.
Now that’s what I call a bender!
Kudos to the director and screenwriter for keeping up this premise for the majority of the film. Yes, Ray does succeed in swaying public opinion in Hancock’s favor (after a stint in jail); but Will’s character retains that gristle and confusion over the necessities of niceties to the end.
Hancock needs to be dark, given that Ray provides more than enough earnest sweetness to saccharine up the whole movie. Lord knows I love me some Jason Bateman, but he does seem to play the role of “good-natured everyman” in nearly all of the projects he chooses.
Ray Embrey is not only a naïve, well-intentioned PR agent (he lobbies corporations to give their best-selling products away for free in exchange for a heart symbol so consumers know that they’re do-gooders. He’s not successful with this particular initiative, needless to say.); he’s also a happily married father. Did I mention that his wife happens to be played by Charlize Theron? No wonder he’s in such a good mood all the time!
If giving excellent side-eye is a superpower, this super-hottie has a lock on it.
Charlize’s character is both the best and worst thing about the movie, though it’s not her fault. As Mary Embrey, she’s the sweet soccer mom who saved Ray from the desolate life of raising his child alone. (Yep, Ray was a widower whose first wife died in childbirth. He was apparently doomed to walk the planet alone until he met Mary at the grocery store.) But Mary is more than she’s cracked up to be and her hand is finally forced to reveal her own tragic past when Ray takes on Hancock as a client.
Unfortunately it is Mary’s mysterious connection to Hancock that causes the film to go awry. It turns out Mary is also a superhero who was created to be Hancock’s soul mate. They are immortal and have roamed the world together for centuries. But, for whatever reason, destructive forces are always chasing them and when they’re together they start to lose their powers. Say what?
Mary’s exposition into their past, and why she chose to leave him, gets so overwrought and sappy, even as they’re sparring, that the viewer is left wondering where in the hell this left turn came from. In addition, their back-story has bigger holes than the Grand Canyon. It’s a complete plot failure in the middle of an otherwise solid film.
Hancock can’t decide if it wants to be a comedy, drama or action film. It’s a hell of a lot of fun (for the most part) and definitely worth a watch, but it’s still a bumpy road.
Take a Drink: every time Hancock does!
Take a Drink: every time someone calls Hancock an asshole.
Take a Drink: every time you find yourself nodding to a song – this flick has a great soundtrack!
Take a Drink: every time Hancock destroys something.
Do a Shot: for Charlize and her utter hotness.
Alejandro Griffin (Ben Barnes) is about to marry Missy O’Connor (Amanda Seyfried), the love of his life. The only problem? Alejandro’s uber-religious biological mother (Patricia Rae as Madonna. No, not that Madonna) is attending the ceremony and will reportedly take great umbrage to the fact that Alejandro’s adoptive parents are divorced. Hijinks (do not) ensue when the Griffins agree to pretend to married for the sake of smooth sailing at the wedding, despite the fact that Don Griffin (Robert De Niro) now lives with Bebe McBride (Susan Sarandon), Ellie Griffin’s (Diane Keaton) former best friend.
[Review contains spoilers – though not really, because anyone who sees this film will be able to connect the most obvious of dots.]
Oh, where to start? First off, I would like to thank the main guest at the wedding, codependency. Though the Griffins adopted Alejandro more than 15 years ago, somehow everyone decides to frantically scramble to please Madonna – a woman who gave up her son for adoption in hopes that he’d have a better life. (Never mind that Madonna also has a daughter that she raised, who apparently is not eligible for the upgrade to wealthy American parents.) No one has seen or spoken to Madonna in the intervening years leading up to Alejandro’s wedding, but they suddenly remember that she is Catholic. And there is nothing a Catholic abhors more than divorce.
Here’s where codependency takes center stage. Instead of – oh, I don’t know – simply telling Madonna the truth, the family agrees to take the ridiculous course of elaborately lying to her. A ton of credit goes to Madonna (no last name that I caught, other than “Devout Catholic from Colombia who conveniently doesn’t speak a word of English.”) – apparently she’s able to send the entire party into a tizzy, simply by showing up. I didn’t have this much pull on my wedding day when I was the bride.
I probably should’ve mentioned that the film starts off with lusty-in-love senior citizens, Don and Bebe, chatting about cunnilingus as they stroll in the door of their mansion by the lake. Though Don mentions that he “just had lunch,” he is more than happy to “eat again.” The fact that he lifts Bebe up onto the kitchen counter and proceeds to remove her underwear leaves no mistaking to his meaning – though I wished to god they weren’t quite so literal. Apparently god couldn’t hear me – probably because I’m not Catholic. Unfortunately Don’s dessert goes awry when his ex-wife, Ellie, stumbles into the room after letting herself in with the spare key that hasn’t changed location since their divorce more than a decade ago. Why is she letting herself in? Because she’s going to stay at said lakeside mansion, with her ex-husband and ex-best friend, during the wedding weekend. Of course she is!
Could everyone please keep their pants on? Seriously.
If cunnilingus-interruptus wasn’t enough, the film also costars the incredibly annoying Katherine Heigl as Lyla Griffin, Bob and Ellie’s oldest daughter. Yes, I was equally traumatized by the Heigl as I was by having to watch Susan Sarandon’s Bebe pull up her panties by the kitchen island. That should tell you something. Not to mention Katherine is sporting the most matronly haircut of the entire cast – and that includes Muffin’s (Christine Ebersole, as Missy’s mom) wig. Katherine’s character Lyla mopes around the entire film, having just left her husband (the delightful, but barely there, Kyle Bornheimer as Andrew) because she can’t conceive. She throws up and often gets dizzy – but she couldn’t possibly be pregnant after all… could she? (Spoiler alert – of course she is!)
Note to Katherine Heigl: the only women who got away with spread-eagle, Cosmo-infused happy hours starred on Sex & The City.
Speaking of Muffin, and her husband Barry (David Rasche); they’re quite the lovely couple! Not only is Barry being investigated for insider trading, he and Muffin are also racists. What fun. Though the O’Connor’s are broke, they are still putting up a rich front for the sake of Missy’s wedding – including hosting a dinner at the exclusive country club they belong to. However, when they learn that Madonna and her daughter (Ana Ayora as Nuria) are joining them that evening, they book a private outside table, even though a storm is coming, so the other members of their club won’t have to see them dining with “those people.” They also pronounce their future son-in-law’s name as if their mouths are full of marbles. How can these white people possibly be expected to pronounce a name as exotic as “Alejandro,” after all? Oh, and they fret that their daughter will produce “beige babies.” This is what passes as acceptable comedy, much less an acceptable storyline?
The O’Connor’s aren’t alone in their not-so-veiled racism. Lyla asks who she “has to lynch around here to get a Cosmo” while at the perceivably all-Caucasian country club. And Missy’s priest (the grating Robin Williams as Father Monighan) asks if Harvard-educated Alejandro can speak English. At this point you’ve got to ask why Alejandro wants to join himself to Missy’s family, regardless of how vapidly cute Amanda Seyfried’s Missy is.
Personally Blondie’s family would be a deal-breaker from me.
The fun ain’t done yet! The sexual shindigs and innuendos continue to pepper themselves throughout the movie. Topher Grace plays Jared, the youngest Griffin son. He’s a 29-year old doctor who’s a virgin, waiting to do the deed until he’s in love. That is until he meets his adoptive brother’s sister, Nuria, and decides he needs to bang her, posthaste; preferably in his boyhood bedroom while his family is milling around. All is going according to plan, until Ellie catches Nuria giving Jared a hand-job at the dinner table (which we all know is a sacred plot point in the hilarious Wedding Crashers). Ellie intercepts Nuria at the rained-out rehearsal supper and tells her to cut out acting like a hobag; she deserves to be treated with respect. Nuria then starts deflecting Jared’s horny advances, so much so that Jared complains to Ellie, “I can’t believe I’m getting cock-blocked by my own mom.”
Don also decides to get in on the inappropriate sharing with his children when he beds Ellie while Bebe is out of the house, and proceeds to tell his daughter Lyla that he “laid pipe for 40 minutes.” I don’t know if I’d barf, cry, or run screaming if my dad ever uttered the phrase “lay pipe” to me. Probably all three.
But wait – there’s more! It’s revealed that Ellie cheated on the much-maligned Don first, with Missy’s dad Barry, back in the day. Missy turns to Alejandro and says, “My dad’s penis has been inside your mom’s vagina.” Thank you for breaking that down for us, Missy. I needed to hear exactly what happened. Barry’s not the only cheater in the O’Conner house – it turns out the conveniently-named Muffin is bisexual. (Though she doesn’t admit to being a lesbian – she simply licks her lips at Bebe and Ellie, saying she has “fetishes.”)
We’re having the time of our lives flushing our careers down the toilet!
Do I really need to go on? The Big Wedding, a remake of the 2006 French movie Mon frère se marie, is chocked full of great actors (save Heigl and Williams), yet inexplicably fails to entertain. I have seen worse, but that’s only because I had to review Tyler Perry’s Temptation last month. I almost wondered if The Big Wedding was penned by Perry, given the shared plot device of using religion in tandem with racism, homophobia and misogyny. Instead screenwriter Justin Zackham (The Bucket List) gets the “credit” for this release. I’d make a joke about “release” because I know he wouldn’t hesitate – but I’m anxious to reward myself for sitting through this mess by actually drinking my beers now.
Despite a big name cast, The Big Wedding sets the bar incredibly low.
Take a Drink: every time Don gets punched in the face.
Take a Drink: every time there’s a cultural impasse. That’s putting it nicely…
Take a Drink: every time there’s a sexual innuendo made…
Take a Drink: every time there’s a trio of sick ladies coughing in the theater. Oh, wait – that was just my luck.
Do a Shot: for Jared’s awesome shirt, “Owls Are Assholes.” It’s probably the funniest part of the movie.
Nada. That’s Spanish for “nothing,” as Alejaaaaandro would be able to tell you.
Welcome to Pillow Talk, a He Said/ She Said review of films! We’re just a married couple trying to navigate sharing the Netflix queue while balancing our diverging tastes in movie genres. Sometimes we agree – and sometimes one of us loses our place in line!
Charlie McKenzie (Mike Myers) is a San Francisco-based beat poet terrified of commitment. He invents random reasons to repeatedly breakup with girlfriends, experiences that are later used as inspiration for his performances at a local café. His fear of relationships suddenly dissipates when he meets a local butcher, Harriet Michaels (Nancy Travis), and falls head over heels in love. The only catch? The new apple of his eye just might be a serial killer. Bummer, man!
This year marks the 20th anniversary of this delightful film – and it was a pure pleasure to revisit it for this review. I can’t recall a movie in recent history that so deftly melds comedy with horror and suspense. In short, this ain’t your cookie cutter rom com. We normally break down the plot as it follows our discussion, but there’re too many great spoilers we didn’t want to reveal. Instead sit back and enjoy, as Larry and I rave on…
He Said: The first thing I want to say on the record is, “Will this hold up, or am I going to be annoyed?” Also, what ever happened to Nancy Travis? [She's had a long, successful career and is currently starring in the television sitcom, Last Man Standing.]
She Said: I’ve got my fingers crossed – I really loved this movie, back in the day. I’m also really digging the Seventies-era TV cop show/Odd Couple music.
He Said: They were coming out of the Eighties when they filmed this, so everyone’s eyebrows are too big. There’s some funny-ass writing in this. [For example, “What do you look for in someone you date? I know everyone always says ‘sense of humor,’ but I’d have to say ‘breast size.’”]
She Said: It’s pretty frickin’ awesome, so far. I love that The Weekly World News is used as a plot device (as a way to introduce the axe murderer crimes). It’s great to see shots of classic SF too. Oh, and the cop subplot is fantastic. [Charlie’s best friend, Tony Giardino (Anthony LaPaglia), is a cop dissatisfied with his work because it doesn’t reflect the drama he sees in the movies. He begs his sweet boss (Alan Arkin as the police captain) to act more short-tempered with him, in hopes of making his workday feel grittier.]
He Said: I hope Nancy’s not a vegetarian! I can tell you one thing – a movie set full of raw meat and hot lamps? Disgusting. [Charlie visits Harriet at her butcher shop, Meats of the World; which is pretty much the best business name I’ve ever heard of.]
Nothing makes me giggle more than a day of butchering animals.
She Said: Smells or no, that sunflower in her hair has got to go. The butcher scene allows for some of Mike’s best improv. By the way, regarding Mike Myers hairdo, is it even legal to part your hair in the middle anymore?
He Said: I wonder if they set this in SF in honor of Vertigo? It’s got that same Hitchcockian air of mystery, but mixed with humor. Everything comes back to Vertigo; it’s the best movie in the world.
She Said: Oh, man. I’m tearing up. Pour one out for Phil Hartman (as John “Vickie” Johnson, the Alcatraz tour guide). [Charlie and Tony take a day trip to Alcatraz, for some unknown reason.]
He Said: Yep, he was the best. I wish he were still around. [Clinks glasses] I think this film is a lot funnier than the critics gave it credit for. It’s really great.
She Said: I agree. I vote “cult classic.” [It unfortunately was considered a bomb, both at the box office and by critics. Don’t believe the (lack of) hype!]
Do you ever get that ‘not so fresh’ feeling?
He Said: I think, for the mass audience, it just wasn’t dumb enough. It’s pretty witty.
She Said: I agree. I mean, not to be shitty – but it’s quirky and there’s the off-base, darker aspect that could’ve been off-putting to the general public. But it’s rockin’ my balls. I’m glad we’re seeing it again.
He Said: It’s hilarious! Plus it’s a ninety-minute movie. There’s no extraneous filler bullshit. Spoiler alert – hijinks ensue! It’s just so great. One of the best things is that you can’t see the twist coming. It’s such a highlight.
She Said: You just don’t see much stuff like this these days. They keep you guessing to the end. It’s fun, suspenseful, clever and ridiculous.
Whether seeing it for the first time or revisiting it like a beloved relative, this film is sure to make its way into your family of favorites.
Take a Drink: every time you hear Only You… and get goosebumps.
Take a Drink: every time Mike Myers hams it up to the camera, Wayne-style.
Take a Drink: every time you hear a version of “This Poem Sucks.” Wikipedia the details for extra credit. By “extra credit,” I mean a shot. Woman! Woah, man.
Take a Drink: every time Mike Myer’s bonus character gets screen time.
Take a Drink: every time you think you see a clue as to who the axe murderer might be.
Take a Drink: every time you can name a San Francisco landmark.
Reese Witherspoon and Kiefer Sutherland star in this violent, modern retelling of the classic fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood. Reese plays Vanessa Lutz, a near-illiterate teen that most likely won’t graduate high school, who is quickly earning a diploma in the life of hard knocks. She lives in the slums of L.A. with her crack-head mom (a perfectly cast Amanda Plummer as Ramona Lutz) and creepy stepdad (Michael T. Weiss as Larry). When Ramona and Larry are hauled off to jail after a particularly wild afternoon, Vanessa finds herself on the way to foster care. Instead, she hijacks her social worker’s car and starts her long journey to get safely to Grandma’s house. Too bad she meets the Big Bad Wolf (Kiefer Sutherland as Bob Wolverton) along the way…
Holy hell, who knew America’s Sweetheart had it in her? This Southern belle can throw down! Most filmgoers equate Reese Witherspoon with Elle Woods, the ditzy accidental law student from Legally Blonde. But before she became one of Hollywood’s go-to rom-com heroines, she embraced her dark side in Freeway, with stunning results. The film works so well, in large part due to Witherspoon’s no-holds-barred performance. She gives Vanessa a yearning sweetness that leaves you rooting for her basic humanity, all while pairing her character’s vulnerability with the shockingly tough veneer of a seasoned criminal. Add in a trucker’s mouth, and you’ve got the jaw-dropping portrait of a young woman prepared to fight for her life, at all costs.
All I need to live is my will… and a red leather miniskirt.
Of course nods go to Kiefer Sutherland as the pitch-perfect Bob Wolverton. The plot wouldn’t work without Sutherland’s unctuous performance. It’s fascinating to watch Bob’s shifting nuances, as he slithers from a well-meaning good guy who picks up Vanessa after her stolen car breaks down, to revealing himself as the psychotic 1-5 killer who’s been offing prostitutes along stretches of freeway between San Diego and Los Angeles. Sutherland’s character plays on all of our fears – that a seemingly sweet-natured person (Bob’s a high school guidance counselor by day) is actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He makes the most of his role, embracing Bob’s horrendousness with verve.
It’s a must to also give props to Freeway’s supporting cast. The aforementioned Amanda Plummer (costar in the fabulous So I Married An Axe Murderer, plus so much more) rocks it in her brief screen time as Vanessa’s cracked out prostitute of a mom. Beloved and prolific character actor Dan Hedaya brings warmth as Detective Garnet Wallace, who’s on Vanessa’s tail as she cuts a wide swath of mayhem. Brooke Shields brings her best 80’s eyebrows and preppy sensibility to Mimi Wolverton, Bob’s socialite wife who’s unwittingly living a lie. Brittany Murphy (RIP) pops up as Rhonda, a whacked out teen Vanessa meets in juvenile detention. The actors ping off Reese’s white-hot intensity, with everyone getting a moment to shine.
I’d add a caption, but I think Vanessa’s got this one covered.
The Little Red Riding Hood subplot keeps things on track, helping move the plot forward at a rapid, if somewhat obvious, pace. The use of the allegory is interesting; it adds another layer to the character’s motives, elevating what would otherwise be a bleak exploration. Some of the references are hilarious – for instance, when Vanessa leaves home, she packs her meager belongings in a red basket. (As if girlfriend doesn’t own a tote bag.) Others are quite sad. In the Brothers Grimm version of LRRH, the young girl is saved from the Big Bad Wolf by a lumberjack. Vanessa’s not so lucky – her savior, boyfriend Chopper Wood (get it?), is offed in drive-by shooting at the beginning of the movie. Of course Red’s story wouldn’t be complete without the action culminating at grandma’s house – but this ending definitely ain’t for kids.
I used to think Reese really dug deep for her inspiration in Freeway– however, in light of her recent drunk and disorderly arrest, I’m thinking this lady might’ve had a little Vanessa in her all along. (Witherspoon even pulled a big no-no with the arresting officer. Yep, she actually said, “Don’t you know who I am? You’re about to find out!” Or, as Vanessa would’ve emphatically insisted, “I’m pissed off and the whole world owes me.”) In life, as in film, Witherspoon always knows just what to say.
Having trouble visualizing Reese Witherspoon’s recent arrest? Here’s a handy clip! [Video NSFW.]
Take a Drink: every time there’s a nod to Little Red Riding Hood.
Take a Drink: every time Vanessa says, “Bob!” in her delightful Southern twang.
Take a Drink: every time you find yourself holding your breath. This film is intense!
Take a Drink: every time Vanessa beats the crap out of someone.
Do a Shot: in honor of composer Danny Elfman and executive producer Oliver Stone.
Mary Jensen/Matthews (Cameron Diaz) is the object of many men’s desire, including sweet-natured Ted Stroehmann (Ben Stiller), who’s been in love with her since an ill-fated prom date in high school. Despite the (massively funny) fallout, Ted still finds himself unable to shake his feelings for Mary and decides to track her down thirteen years later.
Filthy, gross-out humor and… romance? Yep. The Farrelly Brothers (Dumb & Dumber, Kingpin, Hall Pass, etc.) somehow deftly blended the two and, in the process, created an endearing classic. It tops my personal pick as one of my favorite comedies of all time, and the American Film Institute agrees. The flick lands at number 27 on their 100 Years, 100 Laughs: America’s Funniest Movies list. Not too shabby for a sleeper hit.
A lot of the credit goes to the perfectly cast roles. Cameron Diaz radiates natural beauty and charm as the title character and Ben Stiller is at his peak as Ted, the “every guy” archetype one can’t help but root for. Matt Dillon is hilarious as Pat Healy, the sleazy private detective Ted hires to help him find Mary. Treasured actress Lin Shaye just about steals the film as Mary’s quirky lush of a neighbor, Magda.
Magda would be a pretty awesome neighbor – instead of a cup of sugar, you could borrow a cup of vodka!
The casting props don’t stop there. Even the smallest roles are memorable, including Mary’s parents (a smokin’ hot Markie Post as Shelia Jensen and a hilariously gruff Keith David as Charlie, Mary’s stepfather. You may recognize Keith from the cult classic, They Live. If not, familiarize yourself posthaste!). It’ll take you days to shake Harland Williams cameo as an off-the-rails hitchhiker and the always-welcome Richard Jenkins warms up the screen as Ted’s wildly inappropriate therapist. I could go on and on – literally every actor in this movie warrants a mention.
Truly a cast of characters!
Adding another unique layer to the experience is the duo of singer/songwriter Jonathan Richman and drummer Tommy Larkins, serving as the Greek chorus for the film. Each of Jonathan’s songs is tailored to the plot, dropping clues regarding the narrative without giving away any surprises. Fun fact: Tommy Larkins and I briefly lived in Tucson, Arizona at the same time. I had the pleasure of not only befriending him, but getting to buy one of his famous cocktail drum kits as well. Before we arranged the sale I asked him, “Can I buy the pink one from the film?” And he replied, “Are you fricking kidding me? You’ll buy the gray one and you’ll like it.” Note to Tommy: I do like it, very much! It was the one time in my life that being broke was a bonus. Tommy, ever the gentleman, let me pay him in installments. That meant we got to hang out numerous times, as we’d meet for beers and a cash exchange. Those are some special memories; and I still have that kickass drum kit to boot.
I totally have that drum kit in gray! Not that I know how to play it, but that’s another story…
One thing that makes this movie so great is the genuinely amazing plot-twists. The writers did an outstanding job of creating some legitimately surprising turns and, for once, they are devices the audience can’t see coming from a mile away; an all too rare experience in today’s spoon-fed cinema.
This surprisingly delightful comedy classic is worth revisiting, again and again. Even the gross-out gags stand the test of time. “Hair gel” anyone?
No post regarding There’s Something About Mary is complete without this image.
Take a Drink: every time Ted laments the loss of Mary.
Take a Drink: every time Ted’s pal Dom (Chris Elliott) grows another eye stye.
Take a Drink: every time Pat Healy uses clunky technology to spy on Mary.
Take a Drink: every time Jonathan and Tommy perform an ode to the plot.
Take Shots for these classic scenes: Frank & beans, 7-minute abs, “Is that hair gel?”, “The dog is just like Benji,” and the famous football player’s cameo at the end.
Judith (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) is happily married to her childhood sweetheart, Brice (Lance Gross). The two are six years into a content, if placid, union. But she tempts fate when she’s lured into a torrid affair with a wealthy client at her firm (Robbie Jones as Harley) and learns the hard way that home is where the heart is.
[Review contains spoilers and some seriously adult language.]
For the love of god, I don’t even know where to start. I have so many questions about what in the hell I just saw, but chief among them is this: how on earth did Temptation make it into mainstream theaters instead of being relegated to the Lifetime television channel? Seriously, it would’ve rocked the Lifetime ratings harder than a ‘tween at her first Justin Bieber concert. Alas, the reasoning may forever remain a mystery. (Actually it’s not a mystery. We all know Tyler Perry has seriously deep pockets and can afford to push his agenda. But I’m still reeling with shock, so work with me here.)
I’d say there are no words to describe the horror – yet I must dig deep and deliver for you, dear reader. So here we go…
Trust me, I feel your pain.
Judith and Brice are perfect for each other. We know this because we watch them, in a flashback, meeting at six-years old and immediately hitting it off. Their love is unshakeable and neither one seems interested in exploring beyond the cocoon they created in elementary school.
Judith thinks nothing of this – she’s perfectly happy with her tranquil, albeit mildly boring, life. The only ripple in her seemingly perfect existence is her dissatisfaction with her career. Judith is dying to open her own practice and become a marriage counselor. Instead, somehow, she helps advise potential suitors at a high-end dating service. When lamenting to Brice that she’s not where she wants to be, and is desperately yearning to start her own business, Brice responds with, “Dang, baby. We’re at least ten to fifteen years away from being established enough for you to do that.” Huh? So, potentially, Judith will be anywhere from 36 to 41-years old before her husband will allow her to start her desired career? Also, I’m completely confused by Brice’s poverty mentality. Even though Judith isn’t thrilled with her job, she still has a good one. And Brice is the lead pharmacist at a mom & pop convenience store. It’s not as if they’re homeless.
First, we’re going to indulge in some missionary-style lovin’. Then you’re gonna make me dinner.
But thank god for Judith’s job – it’s what allows the audience to enjoy both Vanessa Williams as Janice, Judith’s boss (who employs some kind of insane French accent until the end of the film), and Kim Kardashian as Judith’s bitchy coworker, Ava. All I can say is Vanessa must’ve owed Tyler Perry a massive favor, and I hope her debt has now been paid in full.
Kim Kardashian basically plays herself, to the surprise of no one. She harasses her coworker about her clothing, shaming the gorgeous Judith about her modest wardrobe. She stalks around in bandage dresses and, when questioned by Judith if she can even breathe, haughtily responds, “You don’t breathe in Herve.” She also threatens to throw herself out of a window when Judith shows up wearing flats (with gold tassels!) to work one day. So, she’s basically acting the same condescending way she treats her sisters on her reality show, except she’s collecting a paycheck from Very Perry Enterprises instead of the E! Channel.
Could I please go one day without you throwing shade on my outfit?
One day at work, while Judith quietly stuffs her feelings under a shabby cardigan, this super hot dude sweeps in outta nowhere and rocks Judith’s simple world. Enter Robbie Jones as Harley, the social media millionaire who’s just one rung below Mark Zuckerberg. He’s not looking to Janice & Co. for their matchmaking services. Nope, not this wily stud. Instead he’s there to invest in Janice’s company, hoping to help take dating for the wealthy to a global level. This possible venture allows him to spend countless hours with Judith, versus Janice, because we all know everyone consults a therapist when making a major business decision. (Actually that wouldn’t be a bad requirement. Dick Cheney and Halliburton, I’m looking at you.)
Richer than rich Harley is naturally fixated on the one thing he can’t have – which happens to be the very married Judith. He manages to be the perfect gentleman, while simultaneously pointing out to Judith all that her life lacks. She resists his charms, until one day she just can’t. She throws caution to the wind and begins screwing Harley with wild abandon. (Not that the audience will see much of the love scenes, even though the frickin’ movie is supposed to be about the lead character giving into temptation. But whatever.) The timing of Judith’s fall from grace, and subsequent slutty spiral, aligns with requesting a makeover from Kim Kardashian/Ava. A coincidence? I think not!
Steamy love scene? Yes. Visible love scene? Not so much.
What’s Brice doing during all of this? I’m glad you asked! When he’s not watching a football game (which must be on some kind of loop because it appears to be on all the time, even in the wee hours of the morning in which his wife still hasn’t returned to the marital bed), he’s chastely hanging out at the pharmacy with his racist/homophobic coworker (Renee Taylor as Chapman) and their new, mysterious hire (pop star Brandy Norwood as Melinda).
Melinda is cagey, nervous and has big secret. She runs back and forth from work wearing a hood and, immediately upon entering her home, grabs a baseball bat while twirling around her apartment. Could she be on the run from an abusive ex? Yes, yes she could. Wouldn’t it be like, so weird, if Melinda’s ex and Judith’s current fling were the same man? That wouldn’t be an obvious plot twist anyone with two brain cells could see from a mile away…
Meanwhile, the gracious Harley nabs his prey and suddenly turns dominant and cruel. Wow, what a sudden behavioral shift! Judith sticks it out, even as Harley introduces her to drugs and harem of hos at an S&M bar in downtown DC. Of course he does! Apparently he was able to keep his crazy under wraps, but once they had intercourse the jig was up. Jekyll, meet Hyde.
I’m not sure why Harley couldn’t have remained the suave gentleman to Judith’s blossoming womanhood. I mean, at this point, Brice and Judith have known each other for twenty years. Maybe they just grew apart and Harley is now a better match for who Judith hopes to become. But that’s not feasible in Tyler Perry’s world. Not when there is a lesson to be learned!
Brice and Brandy/Melinda pout while their exes are off splitting the sheets.
And the lesson is this: married ladies, if you have even the slightest tingling in your vaginal area for another man SHUT IT DOWN. It is not only important in saving your love, this piece of advice will SAVE YOUR LIFE. If you are bored in your marriage, I implore you to work it out at all costs, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from Temptation it’s that stray dick will kill you.
Did your husband forget your birthday – not “just” once, but two years in a row (like Brice did to Judith)? Suck it up girlfriend; be happy that you and your lady parts are coveted under the contract of monogamy. Perhaps your husband expects you to cook all of his meals (like Brice did of Judith)? Honey, this might not be the Fifties – but please try to remember this is your wifely duty. You and your vagina should rejoice in that casserole. Cooking that casserole is deeply satisfying and should cover all your needs.
Also, please be aware that one cannot go wagging one’s pussy at every guy one meets. Instead pick a singular penis, preferably when you’re in grade school, and stick with it. We all know it’s best to choose a life partner before we’re even in double digits, wait until marriage to consummate this unwavering love, and then never want for anything else, ever again. Works every time.
[Big spoiler] Judith gets her comeuppance big time when Harley not only savagely beats her; he also infects her with HIV. Somehow Harley, a fit jogging enthusiast, is HIV positive and has more than enough energy to spread it around (Melinda also has the virus).
Brice is able to save Judith from Harley’s whaling fists, but he can’t save her from the sickness that will soon consume her. The end of the film has a rapidly aging Judith shuffling into the pharmacy to collect her medication from Brice, while Brice’s new, healthy wife and son come bearing down behind Judith to kiss and hug him. Judith embraces her sad turn with nobility. She deserves it, after all; so she stoically nods at Brice as she limps away to attend a church service with her mother. Hope that wild fling was worth it, lady, because you literally will not be allowed to fuck again.
From the Tyler Perry School of Sex Ed.
If you commit adultery, you will die. And if you bother to see this film, you’ll be tempted to stab yourself in the thigh. Hey, I made a rhyme!
Take a Drink: every time Brice plumps the pillows and lights candles in anticipation of some quality lovemaking within the safe confines of his and Judith’s one-bedroom apartment.
Take a Drink: every time Kim K makes a comment about Judith’s peasant wardrobe.
Take a Drink: every time Judith upgrades a piece of said wardrobe as she makes her transition from innocent waif to hedonistic ho-bag.
Take a Drink: every time Harley employs a cheesy line to hook Judith. (My personal favorite is, “It’s very sexy how slow you’re breathing.” Talk about a panty-dropper. Also, note to self, make sure to breath rapidly if ever meeting Tyler Perry.)
Take a Drink: every time Judith’s mother conducts a religious service in her living room to rid her daughter of the Devil; because that is not at all creepy, or in any way reminiscent of a scene from Rosemary’s Baby.
Take a Drink: every time you think you see Harley and Judith snorting cocaine. (The director decided to imply, instead actually show, the drug use. There’s nothing like having to guess at a major plot point.)
Did I stick around for the bitter end of the credits? As Vanessa Williams might be tempted to say, “Bitch, please.”
Meanwhile, I did see all the fabulous previews, including an upcoming summer release of Tyler Perry Presents Peeples. Tag, MovieBoozer staff. Not it!
Lola (Greta Gerwig) is on the verge of two life-changing events: turning 30 and getting engaged. Only one of them turns out to be a sure thing.
[Review contains spoilers.]
Lola Versus is a cute and somewhat unique concept. The story follows Lola through the arc of becoming betrothed to her longtime boyfriend, the perfect-seeming Luke (Joel Kinnaman), through the sudden dissolution of her relationship, and to the ways she finally puts herself back together again. The movie is interesting, in that it’s not a typical rom-com – the girl does not get the guy, but only because it turns out she doesn’t really want the guy after all. It’s nice to have a twist on the usual happy ending. My only issue? The film is just so dang boring.
Let’s get engaged! Psych.
I have to admit that my biggest problem is with the lead actress. Greta Gerwig is simply not my cup of tea. (It doesn’t help that she costarred in that unforgivable Arthur remake.) She’s the girl-next-door who can’t make the leap to Hollywood star – in short she’s simply not compelling. She’s the embodiment of beige. Sure, it goes with everything, but it’s nobodies first pick on the color wheel. While I don’t find her offensive, I certainly don’t find myself rooting for her – and that’s a huge problem for a lead actor who’s expected to carry the plot.
Stop trying to make Greta Gerwig happen. She’s not going to happen.
I applaud the ambitious and accomplished Zoe Lister-Jones – she not only costars as Lola’s (funnier and more captivating) best friend, Alice, she also co-wrote the script with director (and real life boyfriend) Daryl Wein. They’re both deft at capturing the Brooklyn hipster experience of romance (that’s a compliment, not a slam) – but, like their peer Lena Dunham, the reference comes off as a bit navel-gazing. Which bounces me back to Gerwig – perhaps the story would’ve resonated in the hands of another actress, but Gerwig’s take on the role comes off as weak, whiny and wimpy. And it’s not the fault of the script, given how Zoe makes Alice’s lines pop. I wanted Alice to be my new best friend; meanwhile Lola had me rolling my eyes in frustration. Yes, her character’s reaction to a breakup was real – perhaps a little too real. A life lesson isn’t necessarily compelling viewing. I signed on to watch a comedy, not a documentary.
I wish the movie was as funny and endearing as this video. Zoe and Daryl so need to be my besties – if they can forgive me for this review.
Again, kudos to the writer and director for going in a bold direction with the ending – but does the last line really have to be, “I’m just gonna do me”? Kids, leave that at the Jersey Shore for Sammi and Ronnie (apparently pronounced Raaaw-knee), please!
I’m gonna do me, but not before I do you. [Photo Credit]
Gosh dang it, I really wanted to like this movie. Let me know when they remake it with Jennifer Lawrence.
Take a Drink: every time Lola binge-eats while navigating her breakup.
Take a Drink: every time Lola does something selfish.
Take a Drink: every time Alice does something cool (like giving her pal pot candy).
Take a Drink: every time you root for a character other than Lola.
Evangeline “Eva” Dandridge (Gabrielle Union) is the uncompromising leader of the Dandridge family, a role she took on, as the eldest, after the four sisters lost their parents in a car crash at a relatively young age. Eva’s siblings adore her and follow her advice without question. The adoration causes a lot of problems for the sister’s respective mates, infringing on all areas of their lives. The guys come to believe that single, demanding Eva is the cause of all their woes. They hatch a plan to hire playboy Raymond “Ray” Adams (LL Cool J) to romance Eva, believing they’ll get her off their backs if she’s distracted by romance. Their plan goes off without a hitch, until Ray does too good of a job, and the men find themselves now being compared to Ray. Hijinks ensue!
[Review contains spoilers.]
Deliver Us From Eva is a modern retelling of the Shakespeare classic, Taming of the Shrew. Gabrielle Union is hilarious (and stunningly beautiful, as always) as the harsh Eva, spewing directives at her brothers-in-law with the accuracy of a sharpshooter. The guys roil with resentment, but are terrified to challenge her.
The tipping point finally comes when Eva’s control reaches the bedroom. Kareenah Dandridge (Essence Atkins) decides she can’t yet try for a baby with sweet husband Tim (Mel Jackson) because Eva’s shared a statistic that most married couples split at the five-year mark; Kareenah and Tim have only been married for three. Jacqui Dandridge (Meagan Good) repeatedly staves off the advances of husband Darrell (Dartanyan Edmonds) because she’s trying to focus on school. She sees all that her oldest sister has accomplished and strives to do the same, eschewing cuddle time with Darrell for constant studying. Youngest sister Bethany (Robinne Lee) won’t even let fiancé Mike (Duane Martin) spend the night because of Eva’s high standards. Eva would never settle for “letting someone get the milk for free” and she refuses sleepovers with Mike due to the same logic.
So who better to distract a gal and sweep her off her feet than LL Cool J? The ladies love cool James for a reason – he’s the complete package of a suave gentleman combined with perfect boyfriend material, while being wildly hot. Eva, consider yourself tamed! Of course LL does too good of a job at the lovin’. Did anyone expect anything less?
LL Cool J, excelling at his job.
The cast is tight and believable; the camaraderie amongst the actors is evident. Everyone shines in his or her role. It’s difficult to pick a favorite, as all have deft comedic timing. It’s hard to believe the guys were able to keep straight faces when delivering such lines as, “You’ve embezzled the booty. That’s like stealing from your job!” Or, “You can take a rain check on kissing my ass later.” And, “You came in here like DMX and now you’re Babyface.”
Here’s the deal. I’m going to tell you what to do, and you’re going to do it.
I love this film because it starts off with a unique premise, Ray’s funeral, and the story is then told in reverse. (Don’t worry; Ray’s not really dead. The beleaguered males kidnap him so they can get back to their lives, free of Ray’s shadow. Does the plan backfire? Umm, yeah!)
I also love that every detail is attended to. The film starts out with Kareenah, Bethany and Jacqui, resplendent in fashionable 50’s garb, dancing with their husbands to Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s tune “You’re All I Need To Get By.” The end shot is a gloved hand closing a vintage photo album, a nod to the opening sequence. Horses are also themed consistently throughout the plot, from the dream job at a stable Eva gave up to take care of her sisters, to the décor in her house, and, of course, the fairytale happy ending. The mysterious opening of the funeral scene wraps around and is included the film’s finale. The surprising funeral aspect helps steer the plot away from the traditional formula of a romantic movie, though all the elements are inevitably there.
Deliver Us From Eva is a solid rom-com. It gets the second beer for the cheese factor and the somewhat clunky ending, but it’s still a hundred times better than the dreck you’ll get from Katherine Heigl.
Heigl couldn’t even buy this sex appeal. They’re playing pool, by the way. Totally safe for work!
Delightful fare for the rom-com enthusiast that includes some fun twists. It doesn’t hurt that the viewer gets to stare at Gabriel and LL for 105 minutes.
Take a Drink: every time Eva bosses around one of her brothers-in-law.
Take a Drink: every time one of the sisters does a 180 with her mate, thanks to Eva’s intrusive advice.
Take a Drink: every time Eva and Ray go horseback riding.
Take a Drink: every time the sisters gather at the salon.
Take a Drink: every time LL Cool J busts out those dimples.
Please forward to the end of the credits for a hilarious reveal about one of the secondary characters.
Hint: It might involve one of these hairdressers…
In a galaxy far, far away is the planet Baab. Baab’s number one citizen is Scorch Supernova (Brendan Fraser), an astronaut who thrills the population with his bravery in the face of daring rescue missions. Scorch is aided by his nerdy brother Gary Supernova (Rob Corddry), who heads mission control, but does not receive the same credit as his charismatic brother. Tensions between the siblings come to a head when Scorch’s boss, Lena (Jessica Alba), sends him on a dangerous quest to “the dark planet” (aka earth). Gary begs him not to go, but headstrong Scorch doesn’t heed his brother’s pleas. He lives to regret the decision when he finds himself caught in a fiendish trap, and Gary is his only hope.
What Escape From Planet Earth has going for it is a fun cast. Brendan Fraser gives it his all as the hotheaded showoff. Rob Corddry is great as the brainy Gary. Despite being extremely familiar with these voices, I didn’t realize Gary’s wife, Kira, was Sarah Jessica Parker and Gary’s sassy mission control computer was Ricky Gervais (I heard the British accent and incorrectly assumed Russell Brand was at the helm). It was nice to be surprised. More obvious was the voice of Sofia Vergara as Gabby, an anchorwoman and Scorch’s love interest. Jane Lynch (Io the Cyclops), Craig Robinson (Doc), George Lopez (Thurman) and William Shatner (as Area 51 head and villain, Shanker) round out the characters Scorch and Gary meet while at Area 51. Between the cast and the sharp animation, the film made for easy viewing. I saw it in 3-D and, while it didn’t blow me away, it did add a nice element to the visuals.
The (predictable) gang’s all here!
I know I’m stating the obvious, given that this is an animated feature, but this one really is for the kids. Escape From Planet Earth is entirely pleasant, but that’s about it. Us adults have gotten spoiled in recent years with high-quality fare such as The Incredibles, Up and MegaMind. While the kiddos were engrossed, we got to have a laugh at the mature double entendres slipped in amongst otherwise benign fare. Unfortunately there’s none of that in this film and, as it result, it drags for older audiences. I was especially bewildered, given that it’s a Weinstein film – it felt like a missed opportunity to spice up the dialogue while still being age-appropriate.
My lack of sassy dialogue has me feeling a little blue.
Speaking of the plot, what you see is what you get. There are absolutely no surprises. The lessons are broad (love is good, nothing is more important than family) and the character’s motives are laid bare with no additional layers added. I was also taken aback by the nasty presentation of Lena, whose nefarious plan leads Scorch and Gary to earth. [Spoiler alert] It turns out Lena hooked up with Shanker, via online dating, and does anything to keep him, including sending him a spaceship full of plutonium – enough to obliterate the entire universe. His plan? To blow up her planet, because he never loved her in the first place. Dang, that’s harsh! Yes, she is one of the movie’s villains, but Lena stays evil to the end and is given her comeuppance by Kira, who says, “What? You didn’t think a mom could kick ass?” Lena’s the caricature of a horribly desperate single gal. She’s got no love, is given no compassion, and never learns even when a “real” woman takes her to task. It might flatter the minivan majority, but it wasn’t the greatest message to impart to young girls.
This should appeal to moms…
Relatively harmless and utterly forgettable. It won’t kill ya, but it won’t make you stronger either.
Take a Drink: every time Scorch’s bombastic personality gets him in trouble.
Take a Drink: every time Gary’s nerd knowledge saves the day.
Take a Drink: every time Shanker dons a wig for his online chats with Lena.
Take a Drink: for every nod to New Mexico’s history with aliens.
Not sure if there’s anything worth sticking around for – the horrible title track, “Shine Supernova” by Cody Simpson, had me running from the theater.