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Archive for the ‘Comedy’ Category

The Informant! (2009)

The Informant

I have to start out this review by stealing one from my husband (not the first time) – go into this film thinking about the character of Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon) as the male Sarah Palin.  It will make the film that much more enjoyable.  Semi-charming in the business world, but completely ridiculous working with the big dogs.  And there’s corn!  Mark works in upper-management for ADM, a lysine developing company (you know, corn-syrup, the additive that is in all types of processed food), but finds himself being an at first un-willing informant for the FBI.  As time goes on, he starts to believe that he is a true secret spy, yes like 007, but better!  0014, that’s how good he thinks he is and you as an audience member can’t help but wonder what the heck is going on.  Slow at the beginning, The Informant! finds its footing about a quarter of the way through the film and once it does you try to sit back and enjoy the idiocy.  One often feels kinship with the FBI agent assigned to this case, befuddlement and confusion is part of that feeling of camaraderie.  3 and 1/2 out of 5 monkeys.

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In the Loop (2009)

in-the-loop-pic-sm-777953528Smart and funny, In the Loop is the best political comedy I have seen in recent years.  With an improv-type feel that works well with the often foul-mouthed characters, this film will have you sprinting to keep up with everything that is going on, leaving no room for boredom.  My favorite character by far was Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi), the aggressive communications chief for the British Prime Minister, who makes everyone in the room feel like a small child.  His complete lack of respect for others around him is insanely amusing.  In order to continue with my commentary on more of the stellar characters in this film, here is a plot summary courtesy of Loop Film Productions Ltd:

“The US President and UK Prime Minister fancy a war. But not everyone agrees that war is a good thing. The US General Miller doesn’t think so and neither does the British Secretary of State for International Development, Simon Foster. But, after Simon accidentally backs military action on TV, he suddenly has a lot of friends in Washington, DC. If Simon can get in with the right DC people, if his entourage of one can sleep with the right intern, and if they can both stop the Prime Minister’s chief spin-doctor Malcolm Tucker rigging the vote at the UN, they can halt the war. If they don’t… well, they can always sack their Director of Communications Judy, who they never liked anyway and who’s back home dealing with voters with blocked drains and a man whose angry about a collapsing wall.”

Every time the character of Simon Foster (played by the always wonderful Tom Hollander) was on screen, I couldn’t help but cringe with the pain of his idiocy.  Gina McKee as July Molloy was also entertaining as she tried to play with the big boys while bleeding profusely out of her mouth.  Honestly, I don’t think there was a bad character in the film.  A must see, worth watching more than once though to get all of the jokes.  Layers of comedy to be had.  5 out of 5 monkeys

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I Love You, Man (2009)

iloveyoumanstillAn enjoyable comedy with cringe-worthy moments and projectile vomiting, I Love You, Man stars Paul Rudd as Peter Klaven and Jason Segel as his potential “man friend” Sydney Fife.  The character of Peter is similar to many men in my life, males that feel more comfortable in the presence of women.  Peter prefers his relationships to women and allows his guy friends to go by the wayside.  Sounds like a dream guy, someone who would be devoted to you and not distracted by guys night out and football games.  Peter begins to feel insecure about his relationships after proposing to his girlfriend Zooey (Rashinda Jones) and realizing that he has no best man to stand with him at the wedding.  So, he decides to go on a quest of male friendship and after many failed attempts (and one intense man-kiss), he finally meets Sydney and a whole new world opens up to him.  Sydney has his faults (and immaturity’s), but these two characters are the types of guys that I would wish to be friends with, just not in the man cave. The movie is worth seeing just for the billboards that Sydney creates for Peter to promote his real estate business.  They are just awesome.

4 out of 5 monkeys

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New In Town (2009)

newintown_584I knew it was going to be bad going in (figured that out from the previews), but every once in a while I like to give bad movies a chance.  Renee Zellwegger plays Lucy Hill, a Miami businesswoman who is sent to deal with a factory in Minnesota.  See, she’s from Miami where it’s WARM (and humid and crappy – I freakin’ hate Miami) and she is going to Minnesota, where it’s COLD.  Get it, it’s funny, right?  And Lucy is of course a career woman who has everything going from her, a great job, fabulous clothes, a comfortable lifestyle, so the only thing that is missing is a man.  Because as we all know, the only thing women really want is a man.

Once she gets to Minnesota she meets a cast of stereotypical characters, all with the same Minnesotan accents and small town ways (poor Frances Conroy and J.K. Simmons, you were so good in the past).  But you see, they are so endearing that Lucy can’t help but warm up to them.  And in walks Harry Connick, Jr. as Ted Mitchell, the union representative that she is “forced” to work with.  Normally, I would be into the idea of Harry as a love interest (any guy who can croon like that gets my mojo going), but he was so scraggly in this film and the chemistry between the two characters was so lack luster that all was lost.  If I was casting a romantic comedy, the first thing I would do would be to have any potential love interests act out all of the really romantic scenes to see if they got it (also because I like to watch people make-out).   Something that would have also helped the film would have been providing the audience with more information about Lucy. As it was, there was no depth to her and she wasn’t very interesting to watch.  They tried to get into it briefly in a scene with Ted, but he talks more about his dead wife and we feel more interest towards him instead of the main character.

I would have also much rather preferred to re-watch other films set in Minnesota such as Fargo and Drop Dead Gorgeous. You still have the stereotypes with these films, but the characters have depth as well.  And they make fun of each other.   2 out of 5 monkeys

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500daysofsummerI am a red-blooded American woman, so I enjoy a “romantic comedy” here and there, but the ones that I am not ashamed to talk about involve a little bit o’ quirkiness, mixed with a little bit of darkness.  That’s why I enjoyed watching (500) Days of Summer so much.  It had me from the very beginning of the movie, although I don’t want to give away what made me laugh so hard (and the whole freakin’ audience), but I will say that it involved text on the screen.   I think that this film is very relatable, but not in the “normal” way that Hollywood likes to do it.  I think it will strike a note with my generation, at least for those of us who are romantics at heart, but who also like to listen to The Smiths. You know who you are, admit it.  We can’t stand movies like He Just Not That Into You (review to come soon) because they are so completely predictable and they insult our intelligence.

500 Days follows the character of Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a greeting card writer, as he pursues the girl that he believes to be his soul mate.  They seem to have everything in common (great taste in music, quirky sense of humor, etc.), except for the fact that she doesn’t feel the same way about him.  They are Sid and Nancy as she puts it – she is Sid.  We journey along with Tom, feeling his extreme happiness (dance sequence of awesomeness) and his utter depression (let’s write some greeting cards about funerals now).  I don’t want to give much else away and ruin the ride for you, let’s just say if you like to wander around Ikea and play house, commenting about the Chinese family living in your bathroom, then this movie is for you.  4 out of 5 monkeys.

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Animal House (1978)

animal-house-groupAnimal House, the film that invented the modern college movie.  The themes that are familiar started here: the pranks, the misfit fraternity, the evil dean, the preppies, the wide-eyed freshmen and of course the obligatory “defending yourself to the Greek council” scene.  If you watch any college movie made after Animal House, you’ll notice that they all follow the same basic formula, from Revenge of the Nerds to Accepted to PCU (one of my all-time favorite films).  Here it all seems fresh and funnier than the overdone plots of today.  Actually it doesn’t have much of a plot at all, but the characters are so endearing that it doesn’t really matter.  My favorite character in the film is Dean Vernon Wormer (John Vernon); from the music that accompanies his time on screen, to the very sound of his voice, I can’t help giggling with delight.  And although Bluto (John Belushi) often grossed me out, he redeemed himself during the guitar scene (his double take, “is that guy really playing that song” is hilarious).  But we must not forget of course the toga parties.  The only downside is that the movie is still celebrated to this day at actual fraternities, who seem to miss the point.  4 out of 5 monkeys

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house-bunnyMany a stupid comedy gets made in Hollywood now, many of them enjoyable (Knocked Up, Super Bad, Anchor Man), but rarely do they star women.  Tina Fey almost did it with Baby Mama (enjoyed greatly by females who have ever dealt with children – 3 out of 5 monkeys), but there are very few comedies helmed by women that can take it all the way (The Sweetest Thing is another example of a comedy that I enjoyed, but that didn’t knock my socks off.  Maybe because it had Cameron Diaz in it).  So, even though I wasn’t entirely keen on the idea for The House Bunny, I was willing to give it a try because Anna Faris was so amazing in Just Friends.  If only it had been making fun of Legally Blond, I might have been on board.  My first thought was that maybe the producers of the film had censored her in some way, but after learning that she was one of them, I was perplexed.  I adored the “sorority” girls that she mentors in the film (especially Emma Stone), but the minute they became more like real sorority girls, at least two of my monkeys died.  The film got shallow and I was no longer interested. The fundamental flaw of the film is that it suggests that traditional sorority girls are somehow the perfect feminine ideal that we should all aspire to; I found that appalling.  What made the girls interesting was their quirkiness.  By transforming them into shallow, vain sorority girls, the movie invalidates any point that it may have been trying to make.  So, go and see one of the other films that I mentioned and skip this one.  2 out of 5 monkeys.

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