Call me bewitched but I found this really charming. It doesn’t waste any screen time (love how it introduces the “want to be normal” crisis right off the bat), and the many narrative states (on TV, in real-life, in a dream, in an alternative timeline, under a spell) put a unique twist on the typical romantic arc. Ferrell and Kidman are both engaging in their own way, and the side characters have their moments too (Nina especially: “We could electrocute him. There’s a ton of wires around here”).
Light on plot (feels like the climax in Central Park was the first major event), and the “Christmas spirit” motif feels a little shoehorned in on top of the family/redemption arc, but Ferrell’s goofy and (syrupy) sweet fish-out-of-water schtick is infectious (answering the phone: “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favourite colour?”) and is complemented by a good smattering of other delights (see Newhart’s matter-of-fact Papa Elf and the rest of the solid supporting cast; stop-motion North Pole).
Should’ve called itself “Behind Two Ferns” (I try) and stuck with the effective mockumentary/making-of format of the first act, because what followed was a terribly flimsy attempt at a movie. The premise was pitiful (Zach *owes* Will 10 interviews, so how is he able to negotiate something in return for them?), the plotting pathetic (see the instant reunion at the gas station), and there’s virtually no themes or character development to speak of. It was funny though (deadpan Zach is a delight).
The supervillain Megamind finally defeats his nemesis, the superhero Metro Man. But without a hero, he loses all purpose and must find new meaning to his life. (IMDb)
The script’s dialogue-based humour is inconsistent at best (the opening voiceover intro is kinda lame; Megamind and Metro Man’s cliche convo was funny: “Revenge is best served cold!” “But it can be easily reheated in the microwave of evil!”) but it’s helped by a great voice cast (Cross as earnest Minion tops the list), and the overarching premise offers both some quirky satire of the typical good guy vs. villain dynamic as well as, of course, a refreshingly nuanced look at the villain itself.
Three friends attempt to recapture their glory days by opening up a fraternity near their alma mater. (IMDb)
Call me a party-pooper, but it felt more enraging than funny watching Frank throw away his wife to live like a just-hit-puberty frat boy and Beanie pretty much do the same in spirit. Thank God for more level-headed Mitch (see his rant to Beanie), though in the end he isn’t quite enough to make the movie’s portrayal of stupidity (which does bring some decent laughs) anything more than a distasteful celebration of it. The third act with the misfits vs. uptight dean plot is slightly redeeming.
On his latest expedition, Dr. Rick Marshall is sucked into a space-time vortex alongside his research assistant and a redneck survivalist. In this alternate universe, the trio make friends with a primate named Chaka, their only ally in a world full of dinosaurs and other fantastic creatures. (IMDb)
I think it was when Rick, Will, and their ancient primate friend Chaka are chilling in a motel pool in the middle of a dinosaur-populated desert getting high off a weird jungle fruit that I realized this movie was actually kind of good, with its zany mix of campy 50s-esque sci-fi (see the actors in alien suits) and raunchy comedy (Ferrell’s pee-drinking scene had me in stitches), not to mention a few instances of surprisingly appealing visuals (the “cosmic lost and found” scenes especially).
Family man Phil Weston, a lifelong victim of his father’s competitive nature, takes on the coaching duties of a kids’ soccer team, and soon finds that he’s also taking on his father’s dysfunctional way of relating… (IMDb)
A wholly uninspired underdog rag-tag kids sports story (somehow Byong Sun’s ridiculous goal still hit me in the feels though) is matched in poor quality only by the predictable yet badly executed central character development (Phil gets real crazy real fast, and repents even faster), hit-and-miss humour (more misses, obviously; the final “balls” commercial got a laugh out of me though), and Mike Ditka’s acting skills–so yeah, I guess pretty much everything else. 0-0 tie game.
Derek and Hansel are lured into modeling again, in Rome, where they find themselves the target of a sinister conspiracy. (IMDb)
A convoluted and lazily written plot (see the terrible climax that renders pretty much everything previous irrelevant) is jammed onto a non-stop ride of ridiculousness that more often than not doesn’t generate laughs (the sexual innuendos are lame; Armisen’s head unnerving; the celebrity cameos mostly tiresome, straight-faced and dramatic Sutherland aside-“minus one”) but earns points for Wiig’s hilariously accented Alexanya and just for the sheer amount of insanity thrown out there by the end.
Brad Whitaker is a radio host trying to get his stepchildren to love him and call him Dad. But his plans turn upside down when their biological father, Dusty Mayron, returns. (IMDb)
Mostly painful to watch, partly because of its flat humour (see the lame CGI-enhanced slapstick), but mostly because of the excruciating humiliation and loss nice-guy Brad undergoes at the hands of bad-boy Dusty (the halftime disaster was more tragic than comedic). It makes the reconciliatory payoff that much more rewarding though (it was surprisingly mature too–see their airport convo), and the climactic dance scene promoting pacifism and selfless fatherhood was the perfect cherry on top.
With the ’70s behind him, San Diego’s top-rated newsman, Ron Burgundy, returns to take New York’s first 24-hour news channel by storm. (IMDb)
The bad: A recycled rise-fall-redemption plot, flimsy satire, and a painful new-love-interest side plot (Good’s bad turn doesn’t help). The good: All the ridiculous comedy of the first film is pushed to eleven. The news team still offers loads of great humour (see Ferrell’s blind bit), with the unpredictability of the nonsensical Brick in particular coming fast and furious, just like the outrageous plot-gags (see the shark adoption; bat-shit crazy cameo-loaded everything-loaded final brawl).