They Came Together (2014)

A small business owner is about to lose her shop to a major corporate development. (Letterboxd)
“You look out of breath!” Tell me about it. “Well, it looks like you just watched a comedy where the jokes came with the frequency and intensity of a taut thriller.” You can say that again. “You look like you just watched a comedy where the jokes came with the frequency and intensity of a taut thriller.” Tell me about it. Poehler and Paul head up a pitch-perfect parody parade with endless energy, bite (“Whatthefuckareyousaying?”), and genuine chemistry on display. “Hey Joel?” Yeah? “Thanks.”
8.5/10 (Amazing)

Tag (2018)

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A small group of former classmates organize an elaborate, annual game of tag that requires some to travel all over the country. (IMDb)
The goofy premise is a lot of fun, providing its share of incredulous comedy and wacky slapstick (Renner’s inner-voiceovers a la RDJ’s Sherlock Holmes were hilarious; see especially the AA attack), and the characters are all funny (stoner Chilli was a personal fav) and have great chemistry. More than that though, they both work together to spark interesting discussion on adult friendship, ethics in competition, and the value of play, leading to a moving final scene (the soundtrack was perfect).
7.5/10 (Really Good)

 

Love the Coopers (2015)

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The intertwined stories of four generations of Coopers unfold right before the annual family reunion on Christmas Eve. (IMDb)
A cliche multiple-narrative dysfunctional family script is made nearly unbearable by the omniscient narration (by the family dog, somehow, and for some reason) spoon-feeding you what the acting and visuals should just be showing you (though some things are still left unclear-like Ruby and Bucky’s relationship). Some interesting editing choices (see the quick flashbacks) and asides (see the great Santa montage) get points for trying to do something different, even if they come off as contrived.
5.5/10 (Poor)

 

Vacation (2015)

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Rusty Griswold takes his own family on a road trip to “Walley World” in order to spice things up with his wife and reconnect with his sons. (IMDb)
No, it’s not a particularly clever comedy (the “what could go wrong?” formula provides most of the jokes–usually telegraphed and juvenile) and the family bonding/marital drama sub-scenes are bland (family vs. family brawl and roller-coaster sing-along–regrettably cut off–aside), but so help me, I still laughed quite a bit (a few highlights: Day’s self-destructive rafting guide, Rusty as a terrible wing-man for his son, classic Clark fumbling a guitar, hot springs mix-up, police stand-off).
6.5/10 (Alright)

 

The Hangover (2009)

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Three buddies wake up from a bachelor party in Las Vegas, with no memory of the previous night and the bachelor missing. They make their way around the city in order to find their friend before his wedding. (IMDb)
The “what happened last night?” premise here provides a uniquely engaging and mystery-tinged plot–along with plenty of hilarious “WTF” moments (naked guy in the trunk, tiger in the bathroom, baby in the closet)–for what is in its slowest moments just a seen-before raunchy comedy with hit-or-miss humour. When things are at their most chaotic is when the film is at its best, so the ending is a bit of a come-down (especially the “here’s what happened” credit pics) but it’s still a fun ride.
7/10 (Good)

Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011)

Dispatched from his basement room on an errand for his widowed mother, slacker Jeff might discover his destiny (finally) when he spends the day with his unhappily married brother as he tracks his possibly adulterous wife. (IMDb)
The doc-style camera work here is a bit annoying but it doesn’t take away from the heartfelt performances and intriguing one-day storyline. Segel’s philosophical optimist, Helms’ neurotic husband, and Sarandon’s lonely single mother all feel wonderfully real, as do their own personal journeys that converge in a beautiful and moving ending. It’s an understated film that packs a powerful emotional punch, thanks to its endearingly simple script and focused character development.
8/10 (Great)