Posts Tagged ‘comedy film’

You killed my wife and left my baby outside?

Year Released : 2014

Director : Scott Foley

Cast : Donald Faison, Patrick Wilson, Scott Foley, James Carpinello, Dagmara Domińczyk and Greg Grunberg

So whilst browsing Netflix I found a film that looks different to what I normally review, in other words a comedy. Many of you that read this site on a regular basis will know that I don’t really like comedies, often finding them anything but funny. I have a very specific sense of humour and find it hard to really enjoy a film aimed to make me laugh. I enjoy a more subtle or intelligent form of comedy.

That’s one of the reasons that I didn’t really enjoy films such as “Deadpool”, it tried far, far too hard to be funny and this caused it not to be for me.

If you went through my collection of roughly 70 Blu Rays and several thousand DVDs you would find very few comedies at all, and the ones that are there are several decades old. It is arguably my least favourite genre.

Then again, this might turn out to be an hidden gem.

Plot 

Ward (Faison) is a very likeable man who is married to Stacy (Domińczyk), a woman that everyone hates due to being abusive, rude and abrasive, including Ward himself. After he is denied the opportunity to play golf, Ward’s friends Ronnie (Carpinello), David (Wilson) and Tom (Foley) start speculating what it would be like to kill Stacey and the positive impact it would have on everyone concerned. David won’t let the idea go though, but it is actually Tom that succeeds after he strangles her following a slip.

The group and their wives then have a lengthy discussion about how to get rid of the body. After making their decision, they start breaking down the body, but Ward’s neighbour Bruce (Grunberg) is a police officer and is becoming suspicious of the unusual behaviour.

So is it a hidden gem?

No, it is definitely not.

The film currently has a rating of 5.4/10 on IMDB and I find that to be very, very generous indeed. This film is a mercifully shortly 82 minutes, but not once does it get anywhere near anything that’s worth laughing at. It’s stale and largely lifeless, and there is no intention of irony in that statement given that it’s a film about killing someone.

Let’s start with one of the key problems with the film, none of the characters are worthy of your time. They’re all completely one dimensional and even after the death of Stacy, none of them really act like any differently than what they did before, other than obviously being slightly more panicked than they were previously.

Stacy is not a believable character. Whilst I firmly believe that there are some women somewhat like her out there, there isn’t a single secondary characteristic and I find it hard to believe that she would ever convince someone to fall in love with her, or be friends with her for an extended amount of time. I sort of get that Ward would want to stay with her after they have a kid together, but there is precisely nothing forcing anyone else to interact with her when she is not here. The very fact that no-one really gives a shit after she has died says it all. Even Ward ends up urinating on her at some point.

You actually want her to be killed, but the actual scene in which she does actually die is so underwhelming that it doesn’t feel like a satisfying outcome. More to the point it is a bit ridiculous as she basically slips on a piece of cake and smashes her head open on the floor. However, rather than slipping in a natural way, she sort of casually falls over.

I can’t think of a single redeeming feature from this film other than the aforementioned runtime.

Summary

A painfully unfunny comedy, “Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife” is an attempt at the genre that I can’t imagine anyone actually enjoying. I can see why it’s only got a 5.4/10 on IMDB at the time of writing, and even then I think that rating is being exceptionally generous.

There characters are one dimensional and it’s hard to really care about any of them. It makes the whole film a bit pointless when they eventually killed Stacy and their lives are barely affected.

Just don’t waste your time.

David smells really great, and also I am very bad at sexual intercourse!

Year Released : 2016buddymoon
Director : Alex Simmons
Cast : David Giuntoli, Flula Borg, Claire Coffee and Jeanne Syquia

So it’s been two weeks since my last review. I hadn’t intended to have a two week gap but I generally couldn’t be bothered, I started a new job and I have moved again (to another area of Leeds), so I didn’t really have the time or the desire to review a film for a while, but after watching a film at the local cinema the other night, I really needed to watch something else.

I went to watch “The Neon Demon”, a film I had no interest in watching before hand, and it hasn’t exited my head since. I’m sure anyone who has seen it will know what I mean when I say “the morgue scene”. That and the final act have stuck with me and it’s now more than 48 hours later.

So to take my mind off of it (don’t get me wrong, I did like it), I scoured the internet for something recent that came out to lighten the mood and I found this comedy. I don’t often review comedies so I thought it’d be a nice change….even if it does look a little bad.

Plot

David (Giuntoli) has just split up with Frankie (Syquia), a girl who he was going to marry a few days later. Whilst drinking away his sorrows, his best-man Flula (Borg) tries to cheer him up and eventually comes to the realisation that the two of them should still go on David’s intended honeymoon, a walk through a forest in Oregon.

Despite being initially skeptical, David agrees and intends to use it as research on Lewis and Clarke, the famous explorers, as he hopes to land a role in a new movie about their lives. Flula eases into the hike, whereas David regularly becomes exhausted, and this isn’t helped by Flula constantly acting in an unusual fashion, such as recording the sounds of the forest so he can create a song.

Eventually the pair meet up with another group of hikers, and David falls for Polly (coffee), but Flula’s unusual behaviour continues to irk at David and it puts their friendship at risk.

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Has it taken my mind off of Neon Demon?

Well, no. Throughout the entire runtime of “Buddymoon” I was completely disengaged and it felt more like an advert to get people to visit the state of Oregon (which looks beautiful by the way) rather than an actual attempt at a film.

Let’s start with the characters and where better than the main character, David? Now David is a reasonable character in principle, but there is very little development in his throughout the entire run time of the film and you never really get to a level in which you feel sorry for the situation he finds himself in. It’s hinted in a flashback that he is abusive to Frankie and yet it’s rarely addressed again. The character was more suited to a supporting character rather than the lead, and this doesn’t make for a strong start.

Then we get onto Flula, a character that is basically the equivalent of someone who is going begging you to like them, and the film tries to make you find him funny, but he just isn’t. Very little about his character drives you to like him and I wish filmmakers would realise that being zany isn’t necessarily enough to make a character not only likeable, but also engaging. He is very similar to the main character in “Frank”….infact he even copies his attempts to record random noises in order to create a song.

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At not one point during the film did I felt like I was getting the most out of either of them as characters, and this is a shame because it’s a missed opportunity for a life-affirming buddy-film, and the comedy throughout feels forced. Nothing about the film feels natural, especially the scene in which David and Flula encounter another man in the woods and the latter goes along with the joke that they have just been married to each other, and in many ways I think the actual character of Flula is the main reason that I never considered this for recommending.

He is basically a stereotype of the German people, such as what he is wearing during the entire trip, his sense of humour and so many other aspects to the character that it makes it genuinely surprising that the actor playing Flula (also called Flula…..seriously, why do filmmakers bother doing this?) is German himself. Whether it’s self-referential mocking I do not know….but what I do know is that it just isn’t particulally funny.

Visually the film is stunning, and the environment is beautiful, but again it often feels like this is intended more as an advert for Oregon rather than a film. You know those scenes in movies in which it’s obvious that there are companies paying their products to be there? Well that’s what it’s like in “Buddymoon”, there are shots that seem to be there simply to say “hey, this is Oregon, please visit us…..please.” I know nothing about the state of Oregon, other than some of the cities that are in it, but it’ll state more than being the setting for a poor film to encourage me to go.

But for me the biggest sin of the movie is that it is just predictable. I was able to accurately state how the film would end before I had even started. It’s very formulaic and just downright easy to call.

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Summary

An unfunny film that fills 80 minutes of your life and yet offers very little in terms of enlightenment or enjoyment. It’s just kind of there.

The characters aren’t particularly likeable, the story isn’t particularly interesting and the situation is non-engaging. It’s a comedy that tries hard to be different, but it ultimately fails miserably as has very little original ideas or story to it.

If you must watch it, just remember that at least it’s not even an hour and a half long.

 

That is some mystical shit!

Year Released : 2015ridic_key_002_h-720x1066
Director: Frank Coraci
Cast : Adam Sandler, Terry Crewes, Taylor Lautner, Jorge Garcia, Rob Schneider, Luke Wilson, Nick Nolte, Steve Zahn and Harvey Keitel

In my upcoming look at all of the mainstream films I saw during 2015, I describe Adam Sandler (the film I write about when saying that is Pixels) as a man who can single-handedly make me not want to watch a film I would have always been excited about. Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing personal against Sandler, and I have seen a lot of his films and enjoyed them, but his misses far outweigh his hits.

He’s an actor that needs a big hit to resurrect a film that sees his films regularly panned by critics, but the problem is that he constantly chooses stupid projects, or brings his stupid Sandlerisms (such as doing gloating in a really sarcastic, high pitched voice) into other serious films.

Anyway, I stumbled across this the other day and despite it more than likely becoming well known in time, at the moment it is not and I’ve decided to take the chance to review a film which has a plethora of well known stars, but can they turn make a success of a film that has the word ridiculous in the title, or will that be an appropriate word to use?

Plot

Tommy (Sandler)’s mother was killed when he was a young child, and in the absense of a father in his life he lives with a local native American tribe. There he falls in love with a local woman and lives an ideal life. One day the camp is visited by a man named Frank (Nolte), who claims to be Tommy’s real father. After some bonding, Frank is seemingly kidnapped by a passing cowboy gang that claims he stole $50,000 from them.

After doing some soul searching, Tommy decides that he needs to find his father and to do that he will need $50,000 to do so. He soon sets out and as time moves on he gradually meets men who also seem to have been fathered by Frank, including Ramon (Schneider), Herm (Garcia), Chico (Crews), Danny (Wilson) and simple-minded Pete (Lautner).

The group is successful in stealing $50,000 not once, but twice, but they are hunted by various gangs and groups, but the most dangerous person that they meet on the way might be the man that they’re trying to find in the first place.

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So, is it ridiculous?

There was a time during this film when I had high hopes, mainly because Sandler seemed to be playing the role straight and not with any intention of using his usual approach to films, however, that soon disappears as within minutes of the first scene as he single-handedly takes out a gang, some of which he takes out whilst walking on his hands. It’s one of many scenes where they could have actually been considerably more impactful than it actually is, and it’s easy to understand why The Ridiculous 6 has been panned by critics.

A lot of the jokes just aren’t funny. For example, Terry Crew’s character acts as if people won’t notice that he is black, and is creates an awkward atmosphere in the film for a minute or two as it’s just not funny. I know that they’re trying to be funny, almost as if they’re trying to a satire of genre stereotypes, almost like a modern day attempt at Mel Brooks’ satires of the 70s, 80s and early 90s, but the different is that Brooks’ were funny and had some ingenious jokes.

For a film that is two hours long, very few genuinely funny jokes makes that a very long two hours indeed. For example, there is a scene about half way through in which Pete is getting hanged, however, having a rope around his neck has no impact on him, and he basically mocks all those that are having him by swinging from side to side, flapping around purposefully like a fish and so many other unfunny movements.

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To be fair to the mainstream cast, no-one is truly awful in their roles, it’s just the roles are unfunny. Taylor Lautner is just bizarre as the mentally-handicapped Pete, and most of the jokes in the film revolve around the character’s inadvertent stupidity, and in many ways it feels almost like it’s being disrespectful to those who do have disabilities, not to mention that pretty much all of the women in the film that aren’t native-American are portrayed as sex-obsessed and have no other traits.

The cast is full of cameos from established actors who have been in far, far better films than this and have been acclaimed within them, and it makes you wonder why they agreed to this. Now don’t get me wrong, I did like the game of spotting the cameos, and some did take me by surprise, such as Chris Kattan, Steve Buscemi, Harvey Keitel and even Vanilla Ice makes an appearances, although the less said about the latter’s performance as a “street” version of Mark Twain, the better.

I briefly alluded to the run time of two hours a few paragraphs ago and as well as the poor jokes, that run time is one of the main problems with The Ridiculous 6. Two hours is far, far, far too long for any comedy, let alone an unfunny comedy. Comedies are the only genre that should never really go beyond the 90 minute mark, 100 minutes at the absolute most, and there is a reason for that. If you make your comedy too long, people will stop caring, and the final twenty of so minutes of The Ridiculous 6 fit that heavily.

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Summary

The Ridiculous 6 could have been Sandler’s chance to prove that he can still produce a hit every now again, but unfortunately he has chosen yet another project that will only harm his reputation. Even if I were so inclined, it’s impossible to stick up for Sandler in reviews.

That being said, Sandler isn’t the worst thing about Ridiculous 6, infact, he was relatively tolerable in The Ridiculous 6, which isn’t a good thing. Ultimately it’s a poor film with awful jokes and I can’t think of a single good word to say about it.

Don’t waste your time.

Twelve milkmen IS theoretically possible. Thirteen is silly. Looks like there’s one milkman too many, Coogan!

Year Released : 1993frea
Director : Alex Winter and Tom Stern
Cast : Alex Winter, Randy Quaid, Megan Ward, Alex Stoyanov, William Sadler and Keanu Reeves

One of my favourite films from the late 1980s is the Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter comedy “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and it’s early 1990s sequel “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey”, but few know that Reeves and Winter were in another film together shortly after that sequel with the rather unique “Freaked”. One of the main reasons for this is that Reeves isn’t credited in the film, that despite having a large role as “Ortiz, the dog boy”.

You are not likely to see a more unique comedy than Freaked, not only due to it’s subject matter but how it’s also presented. Even now, 21 years after it’s release, it still holds up rather well and that is probably because there is very little CGI and the make up for each of the characters is excellent.

The film has gained a minor cult following since it’s extremely limited cinema released and even had numerous merchandise created for it, including a comic book series, action figures and many more, and is one of the few films with a running time of less than 80 minutes than you actually get a good level of enjoyment from.

Plot

Ricky Coogin (Winter) is a self-centred TV star that is picked by the Everything Except Shoes corporation to travel to South America to promote the fictional chemical “Zygrot 24”. He travels with his friend Ernie (Stoyanov) and environmentalist Julie (Ward) before the trio see a sign for a freak show and decide to check it out.

Despite initially being warmly welcomed by Elijah (Quaid), the three are eventually taken to a secret lab that uses Zygrot 24 to cause mutations. Ernie and Julie are merged into one person, whereas Ricky is partially transformed into a monster. Realising that they are now part of the freak show that they came to see, all of them struggle to adapt to the new life, especially as there is virtually no chance to escape due to Skuggs’ security team (a frogman and two giant eyeballs with machine guns).

Coogin refuses to accept that he is forsaken to his new life, contained with a group of people he calls freaks, such as the Cowboy (half man, half cow), Worm (a scientist turned into a human sized worm), Sockhead (a man with a sock for a head) and several others.

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So, freaked out?

Although it may sound like a horror film, Freaked is hilarious in it’s subtlety. The jokes are exceptionally well done and you can laugh without being fed a laugh-track to tell you when to laugh. I’ve always been into bizarre comedies and this certainly fits into that category.

With just a 75 minute run time you wouldn’t expect the film to actually be that good. Some of the worst films over the last few years have been of a similar length and whilst a short run time isn’t necessarily an automatic ticket to being a bad film, but you’ve got to do something pretty special to fall into the category of rubbish as you don’t have a long time to develop your characters, establish a story before the finale or even allow the audience to settle in as before they know it, the first hour is up and they’re ridiculously close to the end of the film.

I think the reason that the film works really well is that despite it’s limited run time and unnatural story, the film does feel very natural. You genuinely feel the struggle that Ricky goes through when he is transformed because you know that if you were turned into a monster or some kind of animal that you would really struggle to adapt. Winter’s portrayal of a character refusing to accept his fate is excellent.

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There are two types of reactions film characters have to transforming into something else. Either they accept it and just move on knowing that there is nothing that they can do to change their fate, or they can refuse to accept it and do whatever they can to either reverse it themselves, or escape their captors and get help that way. Such examples of the latter include Wikus in “District 9” or Seth Brundle in “The Fly” and whilst the film is not to the same level as those two in terms of scale, and the acting might be as “tour-de-force” as the latter, the reaction of Coogin on an emotional level, and the way that it’s acted, is superb and makes you care for the character of Ricky.

Some of those that fall into the “accepted their fate” category in this film are also interesting characters and the only that stands out for me is the character of Worm. Worm is a former scientist who stumbled across the freak show in search of a rare worm, Skuggs said he has some and subsequently transforms him into a human sized worm. The character admits that he initially found the transformation fascinating as it allowed him to truly understand the worm, but then he started getting more and more frustrated as he started realising that this wasn’t just a temporary transformation, and to quote, “I’d give anything to be able to wipe my own arse!”

 

That’s where this film really works as a comedy, it brings you emotionally and makes you feel one thing before completely changing how you feel about within a few seconds. For this review I watched the film for the first time in a while for this review, but I enjoyed it as much as the first time I saw it and that’s what you want in a comedy. I’m not generally a fan of the comedy genre as you often see the best jokes in the trailer, and in some examples everything in the trailer happens within the first twenty minutes.

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I’m not a big fan of the comedy genre as I find all the movies to similar to each other. If I watch a comedy I want it to be one where I can laugh everytime I watch, and that in particular is why I hate the romantic comedy genre. Virtually every romantic comedy is the same and I can predict what will happen early on……boy meets girl (or they already know each other), they fall in love, everything’s going well before one makes a stupid decision, that decision is discovered by the other about 20 minutes from the end and they break up before eventually ended up together. Where’s the fun in that?

Freaked is one of the most unique and enjoyable comedies I have ever seen, not only in it’s storyline but also in it’s look. Every detail has been looked at with regards to making this comedy look fantastic. The costume design is fantastic for the characters and the half-monster part of the Coogin character looks far better as it is than if it was presented by CGI. Obviously CGI in the early nineties was not as largely used as it is now and I would argue that’s the last time when films that required a lot of special effects where it didn’t look unrealistic. If “Freaked” was made now I very much doubt that I would find it as enjoyable

 

Despite that the film certainly has it’s flaws and one of the most important flaws is a lack of interesting secondary characters. Half of the freaks aren’t explored properly. “Nosey” for example, has no character development. His head a just a giant nose with a tiny mount and cartoonish guys, and his whole personality is just an angry person, there is nothing else too him. It’s only a minor complaint for sure, but it’s definitely a big one.

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Summary

Freaked is one of the most unique comedies that I have ever seen and certainly doesn’t hold back from it’s unusual look. It has some approvedgreat acting performances from Winter and Quaid, if a little exaggerated and the Coogin character changes more than any character I’ve ever seen in film.

It didn’t get a large release in the 1990s because it was described as “too weird” by critics, but that’s not a bad thing. I think some of the best films around are the ones that are out of the ordinary. If you’re sick of seeing the same type of films over and over again, and have 75 minutes to spare, this is a film for you.