Two con men try to settle their rivalry by betting on who can swindle a young American heiress out of $50,000 first. (IMDb)
Takes too long to set up its juicily comedic premise (a boring training montage headlines a needlessly in-depth relationship history) but it’s pure hilarity and delicious dramatic irony as soon as Freddy rolls in on that wheelchair, hamming it up. Lawrence’s first counter-move is probably the funniest (see the leg-whipping scene) but I would be remiss not to mention the delightful ending that subverts the scoundrels’ sexism with not one but two punches–the first being shame, the second mercy.
A man must struggle to travel home for Thanksgiving with an obnoxious slob of a shower curtain ring salesman as his only companion. (IMDb)
Martin and Candy are in top form here as a perfectly non-compatible odd couple in a Murphy’s Law plot that’s got plenty of laughs early on (see their first night together), even more as Neal nears his breaking point (see his f-bomb laden car rental rant) and more than I’ve had in a long while when he crosses over to join Del in his happy-go-lucky world (see the uproarious singing-in-burnt car scene and the talking to the cop that followed). Neal’s final thought-train adds a nice touching moment.
With his oldest daughter’s wedding approaching, a father finds himself reluctant to let go. (IMDb)
With only mild morsels of safe humour (Martin’s conservative and protective Dad bit can only go so far, and Short’s flamboyant addition gets tiring), cute but never captivating sentimentality (the “letting go” theme is sweet but predictable and bland), and hardly any lasting drama (conflicts are resolved without too much work), there’s not a lot that sticks here. Martin’s narration, meanwhile, is charming, but too straight-forward to help spark a screenplay in need of something more striking.
*If you noticed my absence, I’m flattered and surprised, and apologies for the lack of posts! I’ve been preoccupied with more important matters lately, like taking care of my wife and my newborn first child, Gemma! I’m a very proud papa, to say the least. And this next movie review (which had already been qued up before my wife went into labour) couldn’t be more appropriate:
The Buckman family is a midwestern family all dealing with their lives: estranged relatives, raising children, pressures of the job, and learning to be a good parent and spouse. (IMDb)
The script here is well-developed, and its multiple narrative strands are expertly pieced together; you get a really good feel for each of the characters (thanks also to a great cast), and the film never feels disjointed. The stories contain a nice blend of comedy and drama, never becoming too outrageous in either aspect, favouring realism over shock value, and they are capped off by a touching silent final scene as the family comes together to welcome yet another generation.