Masterminds (2016)

masterminds_ver6_xxlg

A night guard at an armored car company in the Southern U.S. organizes one of the biggest bank heists in American history. (Letterboxd)
The plot is just-got-robbed-poor (there’s no heist, fugitive, or character tension to be found), and only a couple of the many jokes land, so two acts in and things are looking bleaker than a corn dog at a hot dog party before the marvelous moustached Mike McKinney shows up and finds his fate to add a jolt of comedy and give the plot a needed twist. The climax lets things down again but by then the continued earnest charm of David Ghantt has at least made him somewhat of an engaging lead.
5.5/10 (Poor)

Booksmart (2019)

booksmart_xxlg

On the eve of their high school graduation, two academic superstars and best friends realize they should have worked less and played more. Determined not to fall short of their peers, the girls try to cram four years of fun into one night. (IMDb)
Feels a little contrived as it sets itself up but the payoff is well worth it: the oddball central duo have great chemistry (see their mutual flattering outside the party) and the rest of the diverse character ensemble all have their moments and even arcs (see Jared’s tear-jerking vulnerability). Good writing is made even better by stellar direction: Wilde’s theatrical flair (see the ceremony entrance) and excellent use of music perfectly capture the extreme drama and emotion of teen life.
8/10 (Great)

 

The Campaign (2012)

campaign_xlg

An incumbent congressman embroiled in personal scandal faces a no-holds-barred challenge from a naive newcomer funded by two unscrupulous billionaire lobbyist brothers. (IMDb)
The American political satire has its moments, particularly early on as Brady is introduced (“America. Jesus. Freedom.”) and Huggins learns the ropes, but it quickly wears thin, with only occasional outside relief (see the uproarious Huggins family confessional), as its growing ridiculousness offers more misses (see the CGI baby-punching) than hits (see the popularity-increasing sex tape and shooting), and bland side-characters (see the Motch bros) don’t help. It ends nicely though.
6/10 (Mediocre)

Horrible Bosses 2 (2014)

hb2

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.
7/10 (Good)

Horrible Bosses (2011)

horrible-bosses-poster-jason-bateman-28471971-1013-1500

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.”)
7/10 (Good)

We’re the Millers (2013)

The four leads are each loveable and hilarious in their own way, and have great chemistry together, while Helms, Offerman, and Hahn make up a solidly funny supporting cast. The plot is perfect (albeit a little too perfect) for providing good amounts of humour (often wonderfully shocking and raunchy) while simultaneously setting it up for a touching happy ending. Jennifer Aniston hucking the pot baby onto the highway was a standout laugh-out-loud moment among many in this great road-trip comedy.
7.5/10 (Really Good)