Category Archives: Comedy

REVIEW: “Anaïs in Love” (2022) Magnolia Pictures

From the very moment we first see her on screen, it’s clear that Anaïs (Anaïs Demoustier), doesn’t have her life together. It’s also clear that that is exactly how director Charlene Bourgeois-Tacquet wants her lead character to be. Anaïs is a whirlwind on the screen, as it is the films running joke throughout that Anaïs is a frenetic girl who is habitually late to everything. She is late to appointments, late to school, late to parties, late to family functions, yet she is never out of breath while being late riding her bike to all these events. To continually make it clear, she is late with the rent on her Paris apartment, late with her University dissertation, and yes, late with her period. She is also late in telling her live-in boyfriend Raoul (Christophe Montenez), that because she is late taking her birth control as she ‘just forgot’ that she is pregnant. But somehow everyone from her landlord to her professor, all look past her seemingly carefree approach to real life as she talks her way out of all of it because, you guessed it, she is late and running off to the next thing that she is late for.

This is all cute and whimsical enough until, suffice to say the one thing she on time for is when she has her abortion. The problem here is how nonchalantly this is all noted as if having the abortion is just another blip in her day. This is supposed to be comedy and there was nothing funny about the way this is handled in the story. Abortion, as we all know, is a serious right, a right for a woman to make a choice. It is not however to be shown so dispassionately and be treated as though it’s just another form of birth control. That something so critical and important of an issue and decision is taken here, by a female director of all people, should’ve been handled with more aplomb instead of being made to look easy to do and be played off as if she is cool as a cucumber doing it. The film lost its comical ‘pretense’ then and there.

So it’s really no surprise then to see as the film goes on that Anaïs takes an older, married man Daniel (Denys Podalydes), whom she met as she was late to a dinner party, as her lover, He then turns it around and ends the affair by stating he doesn’t want his life to change. Anaïs as per usual, just shrugs it off and turns her attention to Daniel’s wife, Emilie (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi). Emilie is a famous author and Anaïs worms her way into Emilie’s life after reading her book, tracks her to Normandy, where she’s holding a symposium, even though she was hired and supposed to be helping at a completely different symposium in another town. Once again, she just abandons something dependable for something whimsical. In the midst of all this and without warning, the women begin a sexual relationship. It comes as a complete surprise as neither character had up until that point in the film, even the slightest bit any previous indications that this was even something that either of them was interested in. All the while this is going on, Anaïs is coming to terms with the return of her mother’s (Anne Canovas), liver cancer. While this isn’t an excuse for her bad behavior, it seems to be given as some sort of explanation for it all.

There is a lot lacking here in terms of it being a comedy at all and it lacks any sort of dramatic punch even with the side-story of her mothers cancer. Anaïs the character, is never concerned about what the outcome of her actions are, so neither are we. Anaïs Demoustier the actress, is beautiful and does well with what the character is supposed to be, it’s just not enough to make the film any better. This is essentially a movie about an thoughtless young woman, whose mother is dying of cancer, and who makes the lives of those around her unpleasant. And that just isn’t funny no matter which way you twist it.

Grade: D+

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Review Screening: Courtesy of Ginsberg/Libby PR

“ANAIS IN LOVE” IS NOW IN THEATERS April 29, 2022 and VOD May 6, 2022.

REVIEW: “THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT” (2022) Lionsgate

The Man. The Myth. The Legend that is Nicolas Cage.

If “THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT” had been made with and about anyone other than Nicolas Cage, it probably wouldn’t have worked. That being said, it is and it does. The film was written to highlight some of Cage’s best moments in his career, leaving the viewer with Easter eggs galore. Director Tom Gormican, who wrote the film as well, along with Kevin Etten, takes the direction of the film and taps into the action genre while still being a true comedy. And then, just when you think it’s just a comedy, it switches gears into a crime drama, and then just when you think it’s a crime drama, it shows it’s heart and gives us the family moments. This film is truly candy for your soul.

The premise is pitch perfect with Nick Cage (Nicolas Cage), realizing his life is a mess not just personally, but professionally and biggest of all, financially. So he accepts a crazy one million dollar offer from his agent Richard Fink (Neil Patrick Harris), to attend the birthday party of super-fan Javi Guiterrez (Pedro Pascal). Javi is either his best friend or a villain, and we are not sure which for some time, and there-in lies the bromance fun. Nick somehow winds up being recruited by Vivian (Tiffany Haddish), and Martin (Ike Barinholtz), and working for the CIA to find a kidnapped young girl.

If you love whacky and crazy then Nic Cage and Massive Talent is the film for you. Between this fictionalized version of the star and the younger Moonstruck/Peggy Sue got Married version he sees in his head, the references to the actor’s past films fly left and right. To be clear, this is a downright crazy-fun, goofy movie and everyone involved knows it, which is all part of it’s charm. Cage isn’t the only one taking this film by storm as the scene stealer here is Pascal, who is delightfully charming as the purported cartel kingpin. Pascal’s portrayal of Javi is so over-the-top fun, as he doles out his fandom praise onto Cage at every turn, ensnaring the persona of the actor into every part of his orbit, including the big reveal at the end. Adding in tons of side plots like that of Javi’s brother Lucas Guiterrez (Paco León), and even a romantic sidebar with Gabriela (Alessandra Mastronardi), adds to the film as it never stops moving and making it all work together.

With a supporting cast of Tiffany Haddish and Neil Patrick Harris backing you up, it would be hard for them not to add to the fun, and they do in their key supporting roles. Sharon Horgan is the perfect opposite for Cage, playing his ex-wife Olivia, and Lily Mo Sheen as his daughter Addy Cage, whose whole life has been playing second fiddle to her dad’s career. But it’s the chemistry between our two leads Cage and Pascal, playing off each other that is nothing short of brilliant and  whom deliver it all in one fail swoop of comedy, drama, action, and family combined.

The cinematography brings you to the gorgeous paradise of the film’s setting as the story is incredibly self absorbed and is essentially a film about film where they talk about making a film and maybe will make a film. It has its slower heart-felt moments, but they are timed perfectly and never boring, as it then it flips the script and hits you with belly laugh-worthy bouts of comedy, and true action. For as strange a film as this is, Gormican brings it all together and has everyone playing ball for the same team. Massive Talent is a tight, albeit almost looney film that works from beginning to end. It’s good original fun and goes to show audiences that in order to make a great movie – you do not need to be from the Marvel/DC Universe or more than two hours to be an excellent film. Seems as though all you really need is Nicolas Cage and Pedro Pascal.

Grade: A+

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Review screening: Tuesday, April 7, 2022 ~ courtesy of 42West PR/Lionsgate

“THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT” FROM LIONSGATE IS OUT IN THEATERS FRIDAY, APRIL 22, 2022

REVIEW: “THE BAD GUYS” (2022) Dreamworks/Universal

DreamWorks Animation is back with “THE BAD GUYS” movie, based on the beloved children’s book by Aaron Blabey. The film, directed by Pierre Perifel, delivers our favourite book characters  in animation wonderment as they are meticulously animated and modeled. Vibrant visuals and stylistic choice makes this a true feast for your eyes. And doing voice-over justice here are: Sam Rockwell as Mr. Wolf, Marc Maron as  Mr. Snake, Craig Robinson as Mr. Shark, Anthony Ramos as Mr. PiranhaAwkwafina as Ms. Tarantula and lastly, the lovely Zazie Beetz as Gov. Diane Foxington aka The Crimson Paw.

(from left) Wolf (Sam Rockwell), Piranha (Anthony Ramos), Snake (Marc Maron), Tarantula (Awkwafina) and Shark (Craig Robinson) in DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys, directed by Pierre Perifel.

It’s a delightful tale of a crazy gang made up of have been a team of notorious animal criminals that have been together for years, creating havoc around town and feared by all. But when they try to go straight after getting caught at one of their most notorious heists ever attempted where Professor Rupert Marmalade (Richard Ayoade), wins the Dolphin Award for Good Person of the Year, and the Bad Guys set out to steal the trophy. With Police Chief Misty Luggins (Alex Borstein) hot on their heels for a prize arrest, all that can go wrong does and they are caught red-handed. Rupert and Governor Foxington get the gang to undergo a Good Guys transformation to avoid jail time. But trying to fool people into thinking they are now model citizens proves much harder than it seems. That, along with realizing there is a whole new Bad Guy in town, takes us on a whirlwind of a ride.

Now Looney Tunes this is not, as if you’ve ever really sat down and watched those as adults, they have way different themes to you as they did when you watched them as a kid. This film doesn’t have the quick-barbed gags of those toon days, but it does have some decent plot twists that aren’t to hard for the kids to follow, or the adults for that matter. The villains here have hearts of gold, along with being a lot of fun. As an adult you might think the film suffers from a bit of a generic plot, which does knock the film down a few points – but if you have kids, this comes with a high recommendation, and they won’t even notice.  

The animation is stylistic and beautifully done, with maybe only a few quips on editing to speak of, it’s just a good fun time. As well, kids and adults alike will enjoy this one, a true film for the whole family!

Coming to theaters Friday, April 22, 2022 from DreamWorks Animation and Universal – run, don’t walk to get your whole family tickets for this one.

Grade: B

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Cast and Crew review screening: Tuesday, April 12, 2022 ~ courtesy of Universal/DreamWorks Animation

DREAMWORKS ANIMATION/UNIVERSAL “THE BAD GUYS” will be out in theaters Friday, April 22, 2022

REVIEW: “THE LOST CITY” (2022) Paramount Pictures

Coming out in theaters this Friday, the 25th is “THE LOST CITY” with Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, taking the leads in this comedy of a shut-away romance book author who gets talked into doing a book tour by her agent Da’Vine Joy Randolph. What ensues is complete hilarity for a good first portion of the film.

Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock), is a successful romance novelist, though she is also grieving the loss of her husband. She reluctantly agrees to do a ‘final’ book tour by her agent Beth (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), as she adds in the books ‘famous’ cover model Adam (Channing Tatum), to the tour much to Beth’s chagrin. As we soon find out, with Loretta and her husbands love of history, she has accidentally wrote in the book on where to find the location of fortune in an ancient burial spot of a notable King and Queen. This brings our villain, Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe), out in full force with his team Rafi (Héctor Aníbal), and Julian (Thomas Forbes Johnson), who kidnap Loretta with the thought being, she can lead them to the site.

The first half of the film comes at you fast and hard, with one-liners and features most spectacularly, our two scene stealers. The first is ex-Navy Seal Jack Trainer (Brad Pitt), who is hired by Beth and her social media assistant, giving us our second scene stealer, Allison (Patti Harrison), that will have you laughing your socks off for the first half of the movie. Albeit, in the second half, the laughs slow down drastically as the film gets a lot more serious with attempts at character arcs and story moments, while not bad, they are ones we’ve seen a many times before. Going into full romance novel mode without as much comedy, the second half falls a little flatter than what it was going with.

Directors Aaron and Adam Nee do the smart move here with giving Bullock and Tatum most of the screen time, as their chemistry is undeniable. As well, Tatum doing full nod to ‘Fabio’ cover-boy in the beginning gives us a hoot of fun. Supporting cast does well to keep the pace and relevance with Brad Pitt, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Patti Harrison and Oscar Nuñez getting their fair share of inclusion in this movie to stay relevant to the plot and relationships of the character. I wasn’t in love with Radcliffe who seems a bit out of place as he goes almost too big in his role as villain, when some subtlety might have played better.

Had they stuck with the formula they were going with, this would be a great comedy instead of just a good one. As is, it’s still a load of fun and brings something new to the box office this weekend where it should do well.

Grade: C+

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Review Screening: Tuesday, March 18, 2022 ~Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

“THE LOST CITY” from Paramount Pictures is in theaters Friday March 25, 2022

SXSW REVIEW: “SERIOUSLY RED” (2022) Roadshow Films

“It’s Hard to Be a Diamond in a Rhinestone World” – Dolly Parton

Director Gracie Otto makes a bold choice and opens her film “SERIOUSLY RED”, with a terrific and unorthodox lead into to her main character, Raylene or “Red” (Krew Boylan), as we come to know her. She captures her sitting in the bathtub while on a real estate client call, drinking a glass of wine with ice in it. The call reflects this perfectly, and it is as well, the perfect introduction to a character and story that will take us down so many different roads of life as we watch, often predicting what will happen before we see it.

The aptly named Red – due to the gorgeous red hair she was born with, has been fixated on one celebrity in particular her whole life – Dolly Parton. The obsession rolls to the point of going to her company awards banquet dressed as Dolly, which in turn leads to a karaoke performance one will not soon forget. But deep down, Red is a woman with low self-esteem, thanks in part sadly due to her mother Viv (Jean Kittson), with whom she can’t seem to please. Red has pursued this, that and the other, her whole life, with nothing being truly successful in any of them, and can now add Real Estate to that list of things, as she gets fired. But within this crazy evening Red has discovered the world of impersonators, in no thanks to a fantastic Elvis (Rose Byrne), and set’s off to pursue her dream of becoming a Dolly Parton impersonator.

After meeting a talent scout Teeth (Celeste Barber), who has a story about her own name that needs to be heard to be believed, the rest of story follows Red as she first discovers this whole new world of messy artist impersonators. She goes full tilt when meeting Wilson (Bobby Cannavale), who himself was once a Neil Diamond impersonator, and still looks it. Red hits it hard going from a fair, homemade karaoke singer to actually fully immersing herself into Dolly, and not just the big wig, heavy make-up, and frilly costumes, but to some darned fine singing as well. She takes it one step further and falls in love with a Kenny Rogers impersonator named, if you want to believe him, Kenny (Daniel Webber). Losing herself completely though is costly and not just for the implants she gets as well, but for the loss of one of her truest childhood friends, Francis (Thomas Campbell), as he begins to question her losing any identity of her actual self.

But oh this journey is fun at moments, it’s exciting, it’s hard, it’s sad and it’s so heartfelt as you really get a good look inside this entire world of impersonators. With it always being said celebrities have influence, you see just how it can be fun, but also how it can go completely overboard and overblown in someone’s life. The acting here is sublime by Boylan who hasn’t been seen much out of her home country of Australia and note is given here to the native lands and those whom live on them by her as well. As well as acting, Boylan wrote the screenplay, got Rose Byrne to do an amazing Elvis, and Bobby Cannavale, while being the only American in the film, belts out an “I Am.. I Said” as Neil Diamond that will have you up and singing along.

At the end, Red will also reflect on her own life choices, learn to trust herself, and find her way through her crazy journey of life. ‘Seriously Red’ is a story with heart and soul threading throughout it’s journey – it’s fun along with being an oh-so-charming of a watch. And remember to always ALWAYS: “Be Yourself Because Everyone is taken.” – Dolly Parton

Grade: B+

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SXSW REVIEW: “I LOVE MY DAD” (2022)

“The following actually happened. My Dad asked me to tell you it didn’t.”

One thing I can honestly tell you going into SXSW Film Festival is, I didn’t expect to utter the words, “Patton Oswalt is in the best film I’ve seen from the festival so far”. But alas, here I am with “I LOVE MY DAD”, from first time writer/director James Morosini – who picks up the co-lead role as well, which makes sense as it’s his story that is being told, though as noted by the opening credit quote, his dad says it never did. And away we go on one of the most entertaining road trip comedies to come along in some time.

The story opens with Franklin (James Morosini), leaving a mental health institution having gone through a treatment program after a suicide attempt, leaving his mother Diane (Amy Landecker), overtly concerned about his well-being. While in group therapy, Franklin decided to set some “emotional boundaries” for himself, with the very first one being with his father, Chuck (Patton Oswalt). Chuck has always been a distanced dad in Franklin’s life, one who calls or posts on his sons social media sites, but always missing the big moments from his life leaving Franklin to have always felt he doesn’t care. So Franklin does what we all do when we ‘break up’ with someone, he blocks his father on social media and his phone, which in turn, freaks his dad out once he realizes what has happened.

From there what takes place can only be believed if it is seen as Chuck, feeling left out of his sons life, becomes “Becca” played wonderfully by Claudia Sulewski, a local waitress from the diner in town. Setting up a in ‘real life’ relationship with his own son, knowing well before hand, it’s not going to end well. But before you know it, there he is, driving his son to Maine to meet his dream girl all the while digging himself into a deeper and deeper hole as the trip progresses. You might ask yourself what kind of person would do this – yet alone to their own son – well that is what makes the story here as if there ever was an award for ‘worst dad ever’, then we would have a strong candidate for the winner right here with Chuck.

Of course, there must be some liberties taken as Morosini handles the story with aplomb in the way he dictates the pace, taking it to various levels and making it all the more uncomfortable for his father character along the way. With the adding of catfish lies, the discomfort level raises both comedically adding a tense, crazy suspense, knowing the outcome here is going to be brutal. The weaving in of wonderfully filmed sequences wherein it’s like Becca and him are together, with the bringing text sequences to life, only adds to this.

In the end, the success of this entire film is brought down on it’s leads with a lot of us forgetting that Patton Oswalt is not just a stand up comedian, but can really act, including myself as told in the opening lines here, but then you remember ‘United States of Tara’ or ‘Justified’ and it all comes back to you. As for Morosini, he is gold here – not just doing double duty, but triple duty and it all comes to fruition. Add in a great supporting cast of Lil Rey Howery as Chuck’s friend Jimmy, who tries to tell him how wrong what he is doing really is, and his kinda girlfriend Erica, the always wonderful Rachel Dratch, and you’ve got yourself the Grand Jury Prize winner for Narrative Feature as SXSW Film Festival folks.

Grade: A-

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REVIEW: “TURNING RED” (2022) Pixar/Disney+

Admittedly, it’s been a while since I’ve been a 13 year old girl, yet here I am reliving it and loving almost every moment of Domee Shi’s new venture which captures that adolescence feeling once again in Pixar’s “TURNING RED”. But this little coming of age story does so much more than just take you back to a place in time of your life, as it reaches across not just cultural boundaries not usually seen, but just what being a young girl that is different is all about, and best of all – letting us all know, it’s okay to be different.

With our throwback setting here being Toronto, Canada in 2002, 13-year-old Meilin Lee (voiced by Rosalie Chiang) is a girl on a mission. She is a straight-A student with her group of loyal ride-or-die best friends Miriam (Ava Morse), Priya (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), and Abby (Hyein Park), by her side, and all they dream of is going to see the hottest boy band on the planet ‘4*Town’ (Jordan Fisher, Finneas O’Connell, Topher Ngo, Grayson Villanueva, and Josh Levi). A kind of apt name considering there are five of them, but isn’t that part of the fun of loving a boy band? Things like these are not valid to adults, but to 13 year old’s ‘in love’ they make perfect sense. On the other side of her life, the family part, there is a bit of a problem though as she feels held back by her overprotective mother, Ming (Sandra Oh). Mei Mei loves her mom, and while they may seem to enjoy doing the same things, noted in the many photos they take together, along with the job they do of keeping the family temple clean, and most of all, they enjoy dad/husband Jin (Orion Lee) cooking, or should we say eating his cooking! But they are worlds apart from having the same mindset, though only one of them is aware of this.

MOTHER, PLEASE! — Disney and Pixar’s all-new original feature film “Turning Red” will debut exclusively on Disney+ © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Taking all this into mind, imagine how Mei feels when she discovers she transforms into a giant red panda when she can’t contain her emotions and then finds out that not only her mom has had this happen to her, but her aunties and grandma (Wai Ching Ho), as well. The trick is to control it, but that isn’t as easy as it seems. From here, we are taken on a fun little journey of just what the girls all do to get themselves to see their musical loves. In between the up and down journey is where there are a few slip ups here and there with some adult panda transformation material, that to reveal would give away all the spoiler points of the story. But otherwise the catchy soundtrack that you will be singing for awhile after it ends, will also bring back some fun memories of the early 2000’s as the music is almost a character in and of itself.

WE’VE GOT YOUR (FLUFFY) BACK © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

There are moments where the discussions that take place that in truth, are refreshing to see and hear as things like this should be done and made more acceptable, instead of girls always having to feel shame at things like starting menstruation and what it all entails. Along with some fun comedic moments, ‘Turning Red’ all in all, is an incredibly cute coming of age story. In a world where girls aren’t afraid to be smart or different any more, along with the cultural influences and point of view that we don’t usually get to see on screen, this is one not to miss on Disney Plus for all ages.

Grade: B-

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Review Screening: Courtesy of Disney

TURNING RED ARRIVES ON MARCH 11, 2022 ON DISNEY+.

REVIEW: “FRESH” (2022) Searchlight Pictures

One thing not to be expected upon watching the opening scene of “FRESH”, director Mimi Cave‘s new horror comedy thriller, is laughing your head off at said opening scene with Chad (Brett Dier) and Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones), while watching them on a date. Chad is the guy you never want to find yourself on a date with, but it’s hilarity like this that makes you think this is just going to be a harmless little rom-com. Well you will have sorely mis-judged your expectations because you are about to be taken on a fantastic wild little ride that you will not soon forget.

As we’ve now met Noa on the date from hell, we soon find out she is just one of the many young, single women who has been looking for love in all the wrong places, like dating apps, hence the terrible date with Chad. So when she randomly meets the charming and very good looking Steve (Sebastian Stan), in the produce section at the local grocers, she falls for his charming ‘cotton candy grapes’ line and ends up exchanging numbers. From there, things move fast, a little too fast if you were to ask her best friend Molly (Jojo T. Gibbs), as Noa ends up throwing caution to the wind and goes on a weekend getaway with Steve. But I mean who wouldn’t – honestly, they have great chemistry and he is fun, different and yes, re-‘Fresh’ing.

Honestly, not knowing much about this film is how you should go into watching this one, as it made me feel glad to not have anything revealed to me beforehand. Watching everything unfold as it does and finding out who Steve really is, is just something that needs to be as savoured as the meals Steve prepares for Noa. But be prepared as this skillfully directed film has a plot that is as diabolical as they come and those meals Steve cooks, can be profoundly disturbing. But perhaps the best part is as psychologically terrifying as this one is, it barely touches on any in your face violence or gore, but instead its the sheer psychological terror of each minute, that keeps you entirely focused on what’s happening in front of you. And mind you, some of the things happening will chill you to your core as the subject matter is grisly, but in mostly in the thought of it all because it is so realistically handled by Cave’s direction here as it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

Fresh can be genuinely disturbing and unsettling, at times even nauseating, but you will also find that you can’t look away for a second and this is mostly because of two factors, those being Sebastian Stan and Daisy Edgar-Jones. They are insanely good here as Stan is so charming, yet so dark and mysterious, turning into almost repellant, and yet feels like he is what you would get if swiped right on a hot Tinder version of Hannibal Lecter, because yes, we would swipe right on him. Edgar-Jones, plays her persona more than just convincing as she uses reverse psychology on Steve and does it so competently and never gives into the victim cliché. And there is a dance scene that should just not be missed by anyone and this whole film should truly fall into cult classic heaven. Even the supporting cast comes through here adding belief into each scene. While I admit it’s one fault is the ending felt a bit rushed and cheesy, but with the first 30 mins getting you in the mood before revealing the big “surprise” twist, it really doesn’t matter.

Sebastian Stan and Daisy Edgar-Jones in the film FRESH. Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

But again, I can’t stress enough to go into this as blind as possible but also be prepared for what’s to come as It can get quite unnerving and rather intense at times, but in oddly all the right ways. Here is what I know and what will stick with me for some time – Mama Rosa’s meatballs will never look the same for me for some time to come, and after watching this and The Tinder Swindler, I am never dating again – well that is until ‘Steve’ pops up on my phone.

Grade: B

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Review Screening ~ Courtesy of Ginsberg/Libby PR

“FRESH” premieres exclusively Hulu Friday, March 4, 2022

REVIEW: “MARRY ME” (2022) Universal Pictures

“MARRY ME” is the new rom com directed by Kat Coiro rolling itself out just perfectly for Valentines Day weekend release. All I can say is something has happened to me where I think someone has cast a spell on me as this is the second rom com that I will scream at the top of my lungs “YES! YES! YES!” to in one week. Who am I right now? Someone who loves this movie apparently even though you think it might be cheesy and full of fluff, and it is, but it all works so well.

(from left, center Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson) and Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez) in Marry Me, directed by Kat Coiro.

The film is about pop singer Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez), who together with her singing and real life partner Bastian (Maluma), are about to release their new album called, you guessed it “Marry Me”. With the simultaneous release they will then get married themselves onstage while filming live to an audience of over 20 million people. When Kat learns that Bastian has cheated on her with her own assistant no less, she cancels the wedding plans on the spot and while on film getting ready to married LIVE. While looking out into the audience in pain, she then randomly sees Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson), who was bribed into coming by his co-worker Parker (Sarah Silverman), and with his daughter Lou (Chloe Coleman), in tow ends up in the with a sign that says ‘Marry Me and next thing you know, Kat spontaneously asks to marry him instead. With this one singular act, the lives of both Kat and Charlie both change completely, well at least Charlie’s does. With the assumption that Kat now seems a bit desperate by marrying a total stranger, and Charlie finding himself in the world he does not know with publicity he is not used to at all, the two just put on a show of trying to make the best of it together.

Look, we all know where this goes from here as let’s face it, it’s not rocket science. But it all comes down to how the story is told – even if we think we know the ending. And this is one story that is just all goodness, from how Charlie is the awkward math teacher who does Mathalons with his students, or as we watch as Kat basically continues with her life as well with what I’m sure might just be a bit of a glimpse into what Jennifer Lopez’s actual life is like. But it works, it just all works. Whether is be a moment where JLo pops in another amazing outfit, or sings and dances with the mathletes to teach them a whole new way to lose their nervousness in competition, or even when comedic Silverman’s character Parker tries to capitalize on Charlie’s new found fame – which ever it is, it all works.

(from left) Kat Valdez (Jennifer Lopez) and Bastian (Maluma) in Marry Me, directed by Kat Coiro.

Best of all here is the acting in the film is well done whether it be the supporting roles of Kat’s manager Collin (John Bradley), or her social media maven/assistant Melissa (Michelle Buteau). For Maluma, this is his first acting job in a movie, and as he’s really just playing a famous singer, much like his own career, he doesn’t really get the chance to come forward as an actor. But that’s okay, because that voice is heavenly and so is he. (sorry guys-a quick girl thing there). Owen Wilson is well, Owen Wilson. The same character he has played so many times with the exact same facial expressions, tonal quality to his voice and all – which is probably the best thing to say about his performance, other than again, it works as they do have chemistry. But guess who does all the heavy lifting here – Yep, it’s none other than our newly crowned Queen of Rom Coms, Jennifer Lopez! She sings, she dances, she blows your mind with how amazing she looks, she’s funny, and probably the biggest point of all – she gives it her all here by giving us hand down, her best Rom Com performance to date.

All I can do is leave you with these parting words. Say “YES! YES! YES!” to “Marry Me” this weekend as Jennifer Lopez sings and dances herself right into our hearts with this one.

Grade: B-

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Review Screening: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

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REVIEW: “I WANT YOU BACK” (2022) Amazon Studios

Have you ever found yourself in a movie where the surprise of how good it is actually stuns you? Well colour me that person with this wonderful little surprise from director Jason Orley and writers Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, with Prime Videos exclusive upcoming release of “I WANT YOU BACK.” It took the rom com cynic in me and turned it upside down and inside out, with this wonderful little switch-a-roo of taking the norms of the genre and well, not just changing them, but owning them and so much more.

It all starts with a little bit less than stellar opening for the first 10 minutes or so, with Emma (Jenny Slate), whose boyfriend Noah (Scott Eastwood), is breaking up with her. All the while Peter (Charlie Day), girlfriend Anne (Gina Rodriguez), is doing the same with him by citing the fact that even though she’s a teacher, she somehow thinks he’s holding her back from her non-existent acting career and life as a worldwide traveler. From there, the two recently dumped strangers stumble upon each other’s breakup anguish in, of all places, the stairwell of the office building where they both work. Terrified at the prospect that, in their 30s they have lost their last shot at love, they each seek some solace in each other and together hatch a desperate plot to win back their ex’s, which ends up turning into a mission to help each other con their respective exes back into their lives. Emma agrees to seduce Peter’s ex Anne’s new boyfriend high school drama teacher Logan (Manny Jacinto), and Peter agrees to become Emma’s ex Noah’s best buddy to distract him from his new pie shop owner girlfriend Ginny (Clark Backo), each in an effort to sabotage their new relationships and remind them of what they’re missing. It’s a setup that can defeat all logic, but as well sets up a classic movie that is a lot funnier than the majority of its counterparts. But what makes it so perfect is everything that happens along the way and boy does a lot happen.

I WANT YOU BACK

Honestly, it’s the fun of watching moments like Emma telling Peter he’s more of a ‘slow-burn attraction’ highlights just one of the many moments of fun in this film that after it’s slightly bumpy beginning that had me wrapped up in it’s palm, in no time at all. Until now, I did not realize that what has been missing from my life is Slate’s character Emma, playing homage to “Little Shop of Horrors” as just one of many hilarious moments in a film packed wall-to-wall with laugh out loud comedy moments. One of complete delights of these moments is when seventh grader Trevor (Luke David Blumm), who is only working on the school’s play to cut some detention points off, becomes friends with Emma, but never in a creepy way, but in like a “I don’t know what platonic means, but you’re my girlfriend now” hysterically funny, but also sweet way.

But it’s truly the chemistry between Charlie Day and the wonderful Jenny Slate that does everything for this movie and when I say everything… I mean EVERYTHING. They are wonderful together and make every little twist believable, laughable or emotionable. The entirety of this supporting cast is so spot on, diverse and wonderful. And I would be remiss to not mention some keep-your-eye-out-for-them-cameos, that will just make you love this movie till it’s very end.

So honestly, take it from a rom-com cynic, this movie will de-ice your heart, make you laugh and maybe…just maybe, you and me both will find our ‘plane mask buddy’.

Grade: B

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Review Screening ~ Courtesy of Ginsberg/Libby PR

“I WANT YOU BACK” premieres exclusively on Prime Video Friday, February 11, 2022