When his uptight CEO sister threatens to shut down his branch, the branch manager throws an epic Christmas party in order to land a big client and save the day, but the party gets way out of hand… (IMDb)
Has its funny snippets of dialogue–usually from McKinnon’s prude Mary, but obnoxious taxi driver Lonny’s “Carol” bit is great–but the party “humour” is mostly just blandly and unnecessarily crude, and a travesty of a plot, aside from being contrived and far-fetched (see the miraculous last-minute company-saver post-party) ends up embracing its over-the-top hedonism in a cringe-worthy final scene that destroys what could’ve been a decent character arc for Miller’s life-of-the-party/loser Clay.
A group of friends who meet regularly for game nights find themselves entangled in a real-life mystery. (IMDb)
Keeps things fresh, to its credit–the plot and humour don’t rely solely on the initial premise of dramatic irony, the characters are funny but develop depth too (see dumb, cocky Ryan’s vulnerability in the van; big shot Brooks’ pavement penitence), and the cinematography takes creative turns (see the game-board zoom-ins, one-take egg exchange)–even if the choices don’t always work (the third act has one or two too many twists; the dark comedy isn’t always funny–see Annie’s “Oh no, he died!”).
Hancock is a superhero whose ill considered behavior regularly causes damage in the millions. He changes when the person he saves helps him improve his public image. (IMDb)
Starts off as a strong character drama, with Smith’s asshole Hancock playing well off Bateman’s earnest straight man for some laughs early on before some well-executed scenes bring out further depth (see his vulnerable press conference; small group sharing) and his mysterious superpowers add tasteful intrigue. If only it ended after the bank rescue, for from there an unwanted twist takes it down a mess of a new path populated by some laughable sci-fi, a barely-there villain, and a lame ending.
In a city of anthropomorphic animals, a rookie bunny cop and a cynical con artist fox must work together to uncover a conspiracy. (IMDb)
A solid buddy-cop detective tale provides a convenient basis for a thorough and engaging exploration of the vibrant Zootopia–a modern city cleverly contorted to house anthropomorphic animals of all kinds (the DMZ sloths, Mr. Big, and the nude commune were three hilarious highlights)–which, in turn, was the perfect setting for a pointed discussion (heavy-handed at times) on racial stereotyping and discrimination. An imaginative and well voiced and animated film with a good–if not nuanced–message.
7.5/10 (Really Good)
Dale, Kurt and Nick decide to start their own business but things don’t go as planned because of a slick investor, prompting the trio to pull off a harebrained and misguided kidnapping scheme. (IMDb)
The three leads’ superb chemistry, shown most spectacularly in their spastic script delivery, saturates this sequel, with scene after scene of their escalating schemes loaded with their hilariously argumentative, expletive-filled dialogue (their whiteboard brainstorm session is an early highlight). Pine, meanwhile, brings even more crazy to the still solid supporting cast. The plot is capped off by a disappointingly happy ending, but it has enough outrageous mishaps throughout to make up for it.
Three friends conspire to murder their awful bosses when they realize they are standing in the way of their happiness. (IMDb)
Seven great characters deliver brashly hilarious material following from an outrageous premise to create an overall solid comedy: Bateman, Sudekis (the straight guys), and Day (the maniacal third wheel) share great chemistry (their frantic dialogue is gold) that only gets better as the plot gets crazier; the three antagonists are each wildly funny and terrible in their own right; and Foxx’ underwhelming bad-ass is a total riot (“I need $5000.” “No.” “Alright, look, just pay for my drinks.”)
Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child. (IMDb)
For all of the film’s briefness, the characters have remarkable depth–the most surprising being the supporting Bateman and Garner’s cool but flaky Mark and uptight but sympathetic Vanessa. Their shaky marriage adds an intriguing layer of drama to the already witty yet genuine teen pregnancy/love storyline, featuring the awkward but gentle Cera and the offbeat quick-talking Page, and dressed with a quirky screenplay and an ever present soundtrack both cutely whimsical and sugary sweet.