VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Grown Ups 2 (2013)

Clint: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.8/5 stars Netflix, /10 IMDB.

Clint’s thoughts: I don’t know why the fuck this became a franchise, but look! They took something not so good and greatly improved upon it. Much better than the original. Less family stuff, and more jokes.

Carolyn’s thoughts:  This was funnier than the original.  It wasn’t made up of them just razzing each other the whole entire time.  The jokes were better and more structured.  It was a pleasant surprise that this was better, as we were expecting a lot worse since sequels generally don’t live up to the originals.  I see they added another writer who had worked on more of Adam Sandler’s older movies, so maybe that contributed to the improvement.

Directed by Dennis Dugan (You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy, Problem Child, Just Go With It, Jack And Jill).  Written by Adam Sandler & Fred Wolf (Without A Paddle, SNL) & Tim Herlihy (SNL, Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, Big Daddy, Little Nicky, Mr. Deeds).  Maybe the addition of that last writer made the difference between how much better this movie was than the first…

Starring the same people from the previous movie:
Adam Sandler as Lenny Feder.
Salma Hayek as Roxanne Chase-Feder.
Chris Rock as Kurt McKenzie.
David Spade as Marcus Higgins.
Rob Schneider as Rob Hilliard.
Steve Buscemi as Wiley.
Kevin James (50 First Dates, uncredited in You Don’t Mess With The Zohan) as Eric Lamonsoff.
Maria Bello (Thank You For Smoking, Coyote Ugly, Shattered) as Sally Lamonsoff.
Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live, Shrek 3, Idiocracy, 50 First Dates, Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie, Gattaca, 1 ep of The Simpsons) as Deanne McKenzie.
Ebony Jo-Ann (Kate & Leopold) as Mama Ronzoni.
Colin Quinn (Saturday Night Live, 1 ep of The Larry Sanders Show, 3 Men & A Baby) as Dickie Bailey, the enemy rival.
Tim Meadows (Saturday Night Live, Mean Girls 2, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Coneheads, 5 eps of Bob’s Burgers, 2 eps of The Life & Times Of Tim, 1 ep of The Venture Bros. as Malcolm, the rival black guy.

New faces:
Jon Lovitz as Squats Fitness Janitor.
Taylor Lautner (Jacob from the Twilight movies) Frat Boy Andy (uncredited). He seemed to have a pretty big part for someone who was uncredited…. Oh, someone in the imdb forum said he did this movie for free…
Nick Swardson (Grandma’s Boy, Just Go With It, The House Bunny, Blades Of Glory, Click, 1 ep of The Human Giant) as Nick.
Shaquille O’Neal (the basketball player, Scary Movie 4, Smurfs 2) as Officer Fluzoo.
Alexander Ludwig (The Hunger Games) as Braden, David Spade’s son.
Georgia Engel (Mary Tyler Moore, 14 eps of Everybody Loves Raymond, 4 eps of The Love Boat, 2 eps of The Office, 2 eps of Mork & Mindy, 1 ep of Unsupervised) as Mrs. Lamonsoff, Eric’s mom.
Peter Dante (Just Go With It, Grandma’s Boy, Mr. Deeds, Big Daddy, The Waterboy, Little Nicky, The Wedding Singer, 3 eps of The Larry Sanders Show) as Officer Dante.
Oliver Hudson (100 eps of Rules Of Engagement) as Kyle.
Allen Covert (Soul Patch in Just Go With It, Grandma’s Boy, 50 First Dates, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, Airheads) as Hippie Teacher.
Steve Austin (the wrestler, Celebrity Deathmatch) as Tommy Cavanaugh.
Milo Ventimiglia (Peter Petrelli in Heroes, Wolverine in the English version of Wolverine) as Frat Boy Milo.

Missing:
Rob Schneider and his family

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2191701/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Grown Ups 1 (2010)

Claire: 2.8/5 stars, 5.4/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Native ratings: 3.7/5 stars Netflix, 5.8/10 IMDB.

This movie did not live up to its potential, and also got kind of family-lamey. Familelamey. Familamey.

Good cast, but they’ve gotten older, started doing familamey movies, and just got more familamey. It’s not even slightly as good as what would have happened if you’d put this cast in a similar movie 10 or 15 years ago. And family movies can still be funny, anyway! The Fockers trilogy, for example.  But this one just got too sentimental, with too many pullings of strings related to kids, having kids, blah fucking blah fucking blah blah fucking blah.

Carolyn’s thoughts:  If you want to watch a movie about people getting older and dealing with families, then watch This Is 40 and skip this one. [Editors note: Carolyn rated both movies 3/5 stars on Netflix, but rated This Is 40 7/10 on IMDB, vs 6/10 for this film] [Claire rated This Is 40 3.2 & 7.2]

Directed by Dennis Dugan (You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy, Problem Child, Just Go With It, Jack And Jill). Written by Adam Sandler & Fred Wolf (Without A Paddle, SNL).

Starring Adam Sandler as Lenny Feder.
Salma Hayek as Roxanne Chase-Feder.
Chris Rock as Kurt McKenzie.
David Spade as Marcus Higgins.
Rob Schneider as Rob Hilliard.
Steve Buscemi as Wiley.
Kevin James (50 First Dates, uncredited in You Don’t Mess With The Zohan) as Eric Lamonsoff.
Maria Bello (Thank You For Smoking, Coyote Ugly, Shattered) as Sally Lamonsoff.
Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live, Shrek 3, Idiocracy, 50 First Dates, Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie, Gattaca, 1 ep of The Simpsons) as Deanne McKenzie.
Joyce Van Patten (Unhappily Ever After, 1 ep of The Sopranos, 1 ep of Oz, she’s been around since the ’50s.) as Gloria.
Ebony Jo-Ann (Kate & Leopold) as Mama Ronzoni.
Di Quon (Maid In Manhattan) as Rita, the nanny.
Colin Quinn (Saturday Night Live, 1 ep of The Larry Sanders Show, 3 Men & A Baby) as Dickie Bailey, the enemy rival.
Tim Meadows (Saturday Night Live, Mean Girls 2, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Coneheads, 5 eps of Bob’s Burgers, 2 eps of The Life & Times Of Tim, 1 ep of The Venture Bros. as Malcolm, the rival black guy.
Madison Riley (Fired Up, Miss March, Without A Paddle 2) as Jasmine Hilliard, super fucking hot daughter #1.
Jamie Chung (The Hangover 2-3, Sucker Punch, Dragonball: Evolution) as Amber Hilliard, super fucking hot daughter #2.
Ashley Loren as Bridget Hilliard, not hot daughter?

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1375670/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)

Clio: 2.8/5 stars, 5.8/10.
Carolyn: 2.6/5 stars, 5/10.
Native ratings: 3.2/5 stars Netflix, 5.9/10 IMDB.

Man. This movie had such potential. The main cast is Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Jim Carrey, Olivia Wilde, and (less so) James Gandolfini (Sopranos!) and Alan Arkin (The Change-Up, Argo, Gattaca, Grosse Pointe Blank, The Last Unicorn, Edward Scissorhands).

These are all great actors.

The premise was suspicious — rival magicians? Well, it’s just ridiculous enough that it could work! They make fun of Criss Angel, and do make a valid point that these new “magicians” aren’t doing tricks… They are doing stunts, and that’s not “magic”.

It’s directed by the 30 Rock director. People say that’s funny, right?  Well at this point, I’m less likely to watch 30 Rock than ever… Because this movie FELL FLAT. Let’s look at who wrote it… A guy involved in Shit My Dad Says (the show). If I’d known that… I’d probably have steered clear of this movie. The other writer was Mitch from the movie Waiting, but yea… These guys don’t write funny things I’ve heard of.

So yes. Magic-partner buddy bromance with a side of romance, and a side of friendship. Many ingredients that could have worked together well, but ultimately did not.

 

This movie is hollow and fell flat. It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t that good.

There were definitely laughs, and a scene or two I’ll never forget in my entire life. But I don’t know if it was worth our time. Perhaps we would have enjoyed it better if we had seen The Prestige.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0790628/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Youth In Revolt (2009)

Clio: 3.4/5 stars, 7.4/10.
Carolyn: 3.4/5 stars, 7.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.3/5 stars Netflix, 6.5/10 IMDB.

This was decent. It was sort of a romance/comedy/drama — a rom-com that is a bit heavier on the romance than on the comedy.

It was still funny a lot of the time, in part because it had this vague Fight Club-ish weirdness to it. Michael Cera developing another personality in order to get with the girl. He needs to be bad to get himself kicked out of his mom’s house to go life with his dad, so he develops a split personality disorder.

There are actually several moments where this movie is basically a disturbing psychological thriller…. But then the comedy or the romance kicks in, so it doesn’t stay disturbing throughout (like, say, Fight Club, or The Number 23).

Definitely an interesting and entertaining romantic comedy — with a side-serving of disturbingness.  And definitely the widest range of acting I’ve ever seen coming from Michael Cera (which isn’t saying much).
Directed by Miguel Arteta (3 eps of Six Feet Under, 1 ep of The Office).
Based on a novel by C.D. Payne, who had a cameo as “neighbor on porch”.

Starring Michael Cera (Superbad, Arrested Development, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Juno, Childrens Hospital) as Nick Twisp / Francois, and Portia Doubleday (relative beautiful newcomer) as Sheeni Saunders.

M. Emmet Walsh (Big Guy And Rusty The Boy Robot, The Iron Giant, Wild Wild West, Twilight) as her strict religious dad, and Mary Kay Place (Smashed, Being John Malkovich, Pecker, Girl Interrupted, 6 eps of My So-Called Life) as her strict religious mom.

Cera’s family is: Jean Smart (Designing Women, Martha Logan in 24, Pickles Oblong in The Oblongs, I Heart Huckabees) as the mom, and Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover, Between Two Ferns, Visioneers, Tim & Eric, It’s Kind Of A Funny Story, Due Date) as her douchebag boyfriend, and Steve Buscemi as his dad. His mom’s later boyfriend is Ray Liotta (Observe And Report, Date Night, Blow, Hannibal, Field Of Dreams).

Cera’s friends are: Erik Knudsen (Scream 4, Scott Pilgrim, Degrassi:TNG) as his friend Lefty, and Adhir Kalyan (3 eps as Dr. Raj Paresh in Nip/Tuck, Fired Up!) as Vijay Joshi.

Fred Willard has a small part as their neighbor, Mr. Ferguson.

Jonathan B. Wright as the rival boyfriend, Trent. He played a beefy guy in Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Seems a lot of Nick & Norah people were in this movie, such as:

Ari Graynor (Caroline in Nick And Norah, What’s Your Number?, 4 eps of The Sopranos, Date Night) as Lacey.

Justin Long (Unsupervised, Funny People, Zack And Miri Make A Porno, Dodgeball) as Paul Saunders, the girl’s brother.

Rooney Mara (The Social Network, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo remake, A Nightmare On Elm Street remake) as Taggarty.

And oh, there’s an old man played by Michael Collins. He’s the astronaut who went to the moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and had to stay in the ship and not step foot on the moon. Is his minor role (that nobody noticed) in this movie a symbol of his moon role? Nobody rememebers him. I don’t know his name. Most don’t. And now he’s in a movie where nobody will remember him. That’s too bad. :/

By the way: There was a pilot for a TV series of this made in 1998 for MTV: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0173998/combined

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0403702/combined