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.
Willowdean (‘Dumplin’), the plus-size teenage daughter of a former beauty queen, signs up for her mom’s Miss Teen Bluebonnet pageant as a protest that escalates when other contestants follow her footsteps, revolutionizing the pageant and their small Texas town. (IMDb)
There’s not a lot of tension or even momentum to be found in the plot (the revolution meets surprisingly few external obstacles, and conflicts with mom or friend appear and disappear) but that’s because at its core it’s simply a story about Willowdean (Macdonald is great) and her touching journey through grief and self-acceptance, and gosh, it has so many beautiful moments (the underdogs performing at the pageant was wonderful of course, but I’m pretty sure heaven will be like that Dolly show).
A guy who complains about God too often is given almighty powers to teach him how difficult it is to run the world. (IMDb)
Though Carrey as Bruce is charming throughout, after a compelling first act set-up culminating in him cursing God, the second act has a little too much fun with his newfound powers, lazily letting some inconsistencies pop up (power corrupts, but Bruce’s transformation to douche was very sudden; wouldn’t his tampering with Evan be considered interfering with his free will?). A sentimental third act borders on mawkish at times but ultimately wraps things up with a nice “be the miracle” message.
Three company workers who hate their jobs decide to rebel against their greedy boss. (IMDb)
The corporate office culture satire of the first half is pure gold (see the TPS reports gag, Cole’s outrageous Lumbergh, poor Milton’s marvelous mumbling, Peter’s unexpected promotion, the consultants). It loses a bit of its unique flavour once a plot is introduced (could have done without the relationship drama), but still entertains. Bonus points for the two gangsta rap-backed slow-motion montages of Peter not giving a fuck and then the three smashing the photocopier in the field.
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.”)
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)