Elf (2003)

After discovering he is a human, a man raised as an elf at the North Pole decides to travel to New York City to locate his real father. (IMDb)
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).
6.5/10 (Alright)

Your Highness (2011)

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When Prince Fabious’s bride is kidnapped, he goes on a quest to rescue her… accompanied by his lazy useless brother Thadeous. (IMDb)
I suppose there’s some humour to be found in throwing crude content and expletives into the typically haughty dialogue and setting of a medieval period piece, but it’s done to such a (literally) gross extent here it wears very thin very quickly, and when even the (bland and suspense-less) main plot is misogynist and centered on sex, the whole film just feels like the adventure fan-fiction of a snickering 15-year old who plays Age of Empires and has porn mags stashed under his mattress.
4/10 (Bad)

 

Yes Man (2008)

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A guy challenges himself to say “yes” to everything for an entire year. (IMDb)
The central motif is well developed, as Carrey’s charming Carl moves from melancholy conservatism to inspiring free-spirited-ness before a well-placed stick in the spokes adds nuance to the message (see the “no” in his ex’s apartment). The romance narrative isn’t as impressive; it’s formulaic, with a predictable fall out (the FBI twist that instigates it also seems far fetched), though Carrey and Deschanel have decent chemistry. Darby’s hilariously nerdy Norman is a notable supporting character.
6.5/10 (Alright)

Almost Famous (2000)

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A high-school boy is given the chance to write a story for Rolling Stone Magazine about an up-and-coming rock band as he accompanies it on their concert tour. (IMDb)
In light of the quick and witty opening (Deschanel and McDormand have great mom-daughter chemistry) and satisfying end (“There’s still hope for you”) the middle feels a bit messy and tonally inconsistent (the airplane scene was hilarious but could have been a great serious moment), but probably appropriately so, given the film’s coming-of-age plot and wild rock ‘n roll tour setting. Themes of love, integrity, and fame pop in and out of the busy script–interesting, but not always fully impacting.
7.5/10 (Really Good)