Category Archives: comedy

Man Up

manupDirected by Ben Palmer with whimsical music by Dickon Hinchliffe, Man Up is a romantic comedy one doesn’t expect but is still very good and fun to watch. Jack, played honestly by Simon Pegg, and Nancy played heartfelt by Lake Bell, take an unusual situation and make the most of it. It’s not quite a blind date, but still they have a night on the town. The talented supporting cast adds, even more, sparks to the believable and well-honed script by Tess Morris.

The movie starts with Nancy who seems to be having been a hard time in general. She meets Jack at the train station, and they end up spending the day together even though she promised her parents she would give the “Happy Anniversary” speech at their party. Running into Jack sets her boring life on a whirlwind, and the stimulating chemistry and ease they have with each other is fun to watch. Pegg is not the typical handsome leading man, and for him to play Jack makes their situation a bit twisted though the attraction is percolating.

The movie flies along with the couple getting along quite well while sharing sharp-witted humor and going with the flow of just having an awesome time. They move from place to place and become comfortable with each other as they communicate and laugh together.

They have a run in with Jack’s almost ex-wife, Hilary, played caustically by Olivia Williams, with her new boyfriend.  The scene is fun to watch because Hilary is so arrogant toward Jack, and when she gets her comeuppance, it’s so perfect to see.

More twists happen in the story that I will not disclose because I want you to enjoy the movie and be surprised. I will say at one point Jack completely goes whacky with such blatant sarcasm and over-the-top wit that Pegg pulls it off brilliantly as he is so well-known for doing.

All in all, the ending really brings the movie to a nice closure with a feel good, let’s have fun attitude. I am happy I saw this movie and highly recommend it.

For Better or for Worse

For Better Or For Worse DVD 3D (1)For Better or for Worse brings former TV series The Facts of Life co-stars Lisa Whelchel and Kim Fields together again in two very different roles for each actress. If you like the former TV show, then you should find these two women together again a scream. Antonio Cupo also stars in the movie and is a regular in Hallmark movies, appearing in Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade and I Do, I Do, I Do.

Based on the novel by Diana Hunt and directed by Marita Grabiak, Wendy (Whelchel) is a wedding planning coordinator. She is coming to grips with her grief of losing her husband.  In walks charming, and a bit of a thorn in the side, divorce attorney Marco (Cupo). He establishes his practice next door to Wendy’s wedding chapel. Rosanne (Fields) works for Wendy, is a good friend, and offers sage advice to the two business conflict with each other. A feud emerges as it becomes clear that weddings and divorces are like oil and water. When Wendy’s son and Marco’s daughter meet, fall in love and get engaged, Wendy and Marco are forced to team up and plan the kids’ wedding.  Opposites attract and well…you need to see the movie and find out how the romance blossoms between the two.

The movie is fresh and delightful as a romantic comedy and is a little too predictable for my tastes.  Yet, if you are a fan of Hallmark movies, then you will love this happy, go-round, and up and down movie.

Tooken

tookenDirected by John Asher, Tooken is a gut wrenching spoof from Liam Neeson’s Taken.  The movie is billed ‘…a retired CIA agent uses his special skills to get his beloved dog back from Albanian mobsters.”  The mobsters are lead by Brown Finger, play wonderfully by Margaret Cho.

It sure sounds ridiculous, and it is ridiculous as we follow Bryan Millers, played over the top by Lee Tergesen, as the counter version of Liam Neeson’s Bryan Mills. Some of the other cast held their own  like Money Maker, played by Reno Wilson, is very funny, and Dirty Lady, played by Barbara Ann Moore, is pretty funny, too.

If you look at other reviews on the Internet, you will see Tooken doesn’t have much to offer, though some might like it. It is surely not for everyone or just for a selected few with offending nudity and crude humor.  It is nothing but crazy and nonsensical comedy filled with immature situations. Yet, there is even a spoof on “Non-Stop,” which is kind of nice to see.  That is about as good as it gets.

I am not a fan of spoof movies, so I am biased. But, if you are a fan, then you’ll probably laugh your socks off because it is completely stupid.

Ladrones

LadronesDirected by Joe Menéndez, Ladrones follows a pair of modern day hoods who rob the rich and give it to the poor.  This is the sequel to the hit movie, Ladrón Que Roba a Ladrón. Starring two of Univision’s biggest stars, Fernando Colunga and Eduardo Yáñez, they play Toledo and Guzman.  The hoods set out to steal the original 1848 Texas land grants and return them to their rightful owners. The grants were stolen from the lawful owners by Miranda Milroy, played by Jessica Lindsey. She plans on leveling the ranches in order to build a cultural center where she plans to sing opera.  How these two pull off this caper is quite good.

The movie is in Spanish with English subtitles throughout.  It feels like a movie made for TV, though.  Comedy is not raunchy but mild, so I can’t figure out why it is rated PG-13.  The storyline is simple with a little bit of action that makes the movie slow at times. On an upbeat note, Jackie played by Cristina Rodlo is funny as super intelligent, and her ranch hand boyfriend played by Vadhir Derbez is undoubtedly hired for just his looks. The characters keep the movie fun and entertaining, but the plot is just too straightforward with not enough hooks to keep me strongly interested.

Though you think this is a guy’s movie, it is not. Families with older kids can watch this movie without much flack. Some points in the story go unexplained or are just too simple to bother me.  Like when Toledo and Guzman nabbed the land grants. The situation should be handled, but it didn’t. The conflict kept going, which didn’t make sense.

Duck Dynasty Seasons 1-8

duckdynasty18America’s most charming duck hunting family is with us in Duck Dynasty as we learn the hilarious ins and outs of the Robertson family. They run Louisiana’s top duck calling business, Duck Commander. They also employ half their neighborhood as the business continues to grow. True to their roots, they’ve never lost their taste for fun and adventure, or their captivating Southern charm. Here is the brief low-down for each season in this 8 disc set.

Season 1

We meet the Robertson family, and enjoy their taste in humor, innocence, family bonding, and running a multi-million dollar company.  Some would say this is truly American values: Faith in God, Family and hard work while making sure life is to be enjoyed.  Learning the back woods, how to live off the land while wearing a beard is what the show is all about. I wouldn’t call them rednecks, just good old boys sharing what they like to do best, including the family of Love and respect for others. Lessons are the topic of each episode. Not killing for the fun of it. Kill for what you need to eat, or donate it to your favorite charity for people who need the food.

Season 2

Keeping to the original storyline, these guys are not selling-out.  Authenticity makes this show worth its weight in Duck Commander and the family of love and respect for each other.  Phil Robertson (Papa Phil), the Dynasty Godfather, is one lucky dude because he is blessed with more charisma than feathers on a duck.  The whole dynasty is a joy to watch.  We have Uncle Si, Willie, Jase, Jep, and Miss Kay, who is a great cook.  Even the employees, such as Martin and Godwin, make the show hilarious.

Season 3

We know now, for sure, this show is funny.  Yet, Duck Dynasty still manages to teach us how the environment can be used for survival.  We are talking squirrels, frogs, and other mammals as well as oviparous (birds) species are edible and delicious.  However, continuity, folks who make sure the show is continuously correct, must have taken a break during this season. The gang blows up Si’s truck, yet the truck is seen in a couple of episodes later propelling some kind of device in the swamp. Not much charity and Christian moments in this season and I haven’t a clue why not.

Season 4

The family and employees are super happy. Phil Robertson shares his story of how he overcame tribulation and became a real individual. Papa Phil is grateful for women of essence, particularly his wife. He offers bighearted advice to his grandsons on finding the right woman, “When you’re talking…pain can come up on you real fast.” Miss Kay is the charming mother of the family, and a talented cook. She is a true individual, and has a unique connection with her rat terriers.  Along comes her sons Willie, Jase, Si, Jep, and employees Martin and Godwin. Godwin is lucky to have some “ham samiches” and his funny voice sounds to me like a bear or a similar creature.  We are also graced with Uncle Si dancing and “Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynasty’s Favorite Uncle.” After viewing this season, I felt motivated to kick back and not worry about a thing.

Season 5

The show is now truly an original piece of work that is beyond anyone’s imagination. The finale is unique, where Jase and Missy’s astonishing, delightful little girl, Mia, born with a split in the roof of her mouth brought tears to our eyes.  What she went through is an inspiration, as each Robertson is.  After undergoing multiple surgeries with guts, faith, and family, she amazes anyone. Missy sings a song at the end that is pure magical if not angelic.  The whole season is heartening, nourishing, unconventional fun.  Phil inspires us all with his “My Life and Legacy as the Duck Commander.”

Season 6

Robertsons offer more of their commitment to serving God, bringing warmth, fun, and entertainment.  As Christians, they are not flawless, and they live life with its troubles as they bring glory to God.  Uncle Si cracks me up at every turn. He is so funny with his dry wit and humor. It is good, clean humor with a lesson of virtues.  Do I sense a chance in the storyline for the coming seasons?

Season 7

Little too much sentimentality for my taste is my first thought about this season. The family knows the series has endured a long run with great success, and is compelled to focus on their faith.  They build a house for a friend that is a bit staged than reality TV.  Don’t get me wrong, the family is still funny and there are good times with plenty of arguing and family-values.

Season 8

When I first heard of this show, I could not believe it was true. The family-values theme was never used when my friend described the show. But, it is a key character in the storyline where the family performs a quick prayer of thanks at dinner time.  That is one of the unique aspects about show because you don’t see that in other shows today.  Don’t think they are stupid or idiots because they are not for they own one of the wealthiest duck calling companies in the world.

All in all, the 8 disc set features more than just the episodes. The set all so includes exclusive footage not seen on TV, Webisodes, behind the scenes, and deleted scenes.

For a reality TV show, this is the best family show with family values, no foul language, and just ordinary people living. Most of all, if you purchase the collector’s set you get a beard.

Some Kind of Beautiful

somekindDirected by Scottish television and film director Tom Vaughan, the movie follows Richard Haig, played by Pierce Brosnan. Haig teaches the Romantics at Cambridge where he encounters an American student named Kate, played by Jessica Alba. They start a relationship of sorts, after 6 months, she is having his baby. Richard is an honorable man and takes his new and young bride to Los Angles.  He meets Kate’s half sister, played by Salma Hayek. Now, we have a threesome happening here, and Kate has a baby boy.

Haig discovers his wife is leaving him, and his life is crushed. His entire livelihood is concentrated on his son while trying to get a new job.  His situation gets twisted around and he begins to have lusty and romantic feelings for Olivia. The problem is that his Visa renewal comes up. At this point, Richard needs to find a job, remain in the US, and find love with Olivia whom he never wanted to find love with in the first place.

The storyline is nothing new, but it is good to see these actors together. Vaughan has done his fare share of romantic comedies, yet this one misses its mark. The movie is way too predictable and not original with any surprises. Don’t get me wrong. It is funny and easy to watch, but Vaughan holds back the final punch for the knockout of laughs.  The actors do a fine job trying to save the movie from being too cookie cutter while the movie holds its own. Some Kind of Beautiful is worth a watch on cable or on a streaming network if you like these actors and can put up with a so-so, funny story.  But, watch the trailer…you’ll have a good laugh. Fun stuff.

Get Santa

GetSantaI knew I was in for a treat when I saw Ridley Scott as executive producer in the opening credits of Get Santa.  Jim Broadbent plays Santa who ends up in jail because he tried to release his reindeer from the animal shelter. How they got into the animal shelter is about as sane as the movie gets.

The movie is a bit crazy and fun to watch compared to most traditional Christmas movies that are about the meaning of Christmas. Some are set around Christmas but really have nothing to do with the holiday. On the odd occasion, Hollywood releases a movie about the spirit of Christmas like Miracle on 34th Street,  A Christmas Carol, or It’s a Wonderful Life. Get Santa touches on the spirit of Christmas, but presents the story in a refreshing, hilarious and playful way.

Written and directed by Christopher Smith, Get Santa is strictly a British movie. The tale is filled with dry humor where Santa requests the help of a young father named Steve, played by Rafe Spall, and his son named Tom, played truthfully by Kit Connor. Santa needs them to go to the North Pole, ask the Elves to help them get the reindeer back to his sleigh. Then, Steve, who just finished serving time in jail, can help Santa break out of jail and deliver the presents to all the boys and girls around the world before Christmas.

The movie is full of crazy offbeat characters that keep the story moving along.  I had a great time watching it with my family. Broadbent is a master at his craft. He plays the most believable Santa I have seen in a long time.  Not the usual Christmas sentiment but still the message is clear, believe in Santa, so get a copy or watch it on Netflix.

American Ultra

americanultraDirected by Nima Nourizadeh, American Ultra follows Mike Howell, played by Jesse Eisenberg. He is clerk at an all-night convenience store in rural West Virginia. He is laid back because he smokes his pot and spends a great deal of time writing a graphic novel about a superhero monkey. Phoebe, played by Kristen Stewart, is his anchor. She is sweet and loving as his girlfriend while she accepts his unconventional outlook on life. It’s all too perfect for Mike. Something is amiss, not quite right.

Mike is part of a failed experiment to form a force of super-soldiers.   Victoria, played by Connie Britton, ran the experimental program and decided to shut it down after critical psychological side effects were exhibited by the super-soldiers. She let Mike live and gave him a new identity after erasing his mind, then adding new memories.

Victoria discovers that Mike is set for extermination by an associate, Adrian Yates, played by Topher Grace. Victoria turns up where Mike works, says a phrase code and reawakens his previous training. Mike catches Yates team trying to bomb his car. Mike becomes super-soldier once again. The movie takes off in an R rated fashion with action-packed combat and brutal over-kills.

The movie shows tenderness and some humor. It is not super funny, but laughing is part of watching the movie. A neat and surprising twist at the end wraps up the movie nicely. The movie is not your typical action story, but it is pleasurable to watch and is entertaining. If you are a Stewart or Eisenberg fan, then you will definitely like the movie.

The End of the Tour

The End of the TourDirected by James Ponsoldt, The End of the Tour brings to life the true story in 1996 when Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky, played by Jesse Eisenberg, and writer David Foster Wallace, played brilliantly by Jason Segel, hang out together for five days.

Some might call it an intellectual movie, a road movie or dramedy.  The movie begins in 2008, when we are informed that Wallace has committed suicide. Lipsky is invited to present a tribute on NPR.  Here he slowly flashes back to 1996, when Wallace’s book Infinite Jest is released with worldwide praise, including a citation from well-read magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. Lipsky thinks it would be a great idea to interview Wallace and pitches it to his editor. He agrees that it is about time Rolling Stone did a piece on a gifted writer and off Lipsky goes to Ohio for his interview.  How the story plays out is what the movie is all about, and I rather not spoil it for you. Though, there are some interesting points about the movie I’d like to point out.

The movie is based on Lipsky’s memoir Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself.  Published in 2010, the book was well-received by his peers.   Wallace and Lipsky hit it off right away, and engage in philosophical conversations about loneliness, love, writing, fame, and the meaning of life. In other words, they spend time looking for the answers to life that plaques them.  Clearly, the movie is not for everyone. It lacks action-packed drama that populates our movie theaters today.

Jason Segel is very good as Wallace, and this role is quite a contrast to his other characters in movies like The Muppets and The Five Year Engagement. Watching him in this movie is pure pleasure because there is so much depth to Wallace as a sovelist, short story writer, essayist, and college professor.

The sound track by Danny Elfman is brilliant and engages the story.  Elfman adds a bit of spice to the movie with songs from REM and Tindersticks, an English indie rock band.

If you don’t know about Lipsky and Wallace, then it might be difficult to understand and follow the movie.  It is worth watching, though, for the acting is great, including the supporting actors.

Un Gallo con Muchos Huevos (A Rooster with Many Eggs)

Un Gallo con Muchos Huevos, directed by Gabriel Riva Palaico Alatriste, comes in Spanish and English, A Rooster With many Eggs.  The animated movie is not a compelling story, yet it’s not really bad either.  The characters are lovable with lots of slapstick humor.  The story takes a unique approach by being lively, entertaining, and mildly titillating, without due seriousness, and a lot fun with innuendos and double-entendres.

The movie follows an apprehensive little rooster named Toto, voiced by Bruno Bichir. His is challenged with confronting and handling an evil rancher. He threatens to purchase and tear down Toto’s family farm. The farm has been in the family for generations.   Toto’s challenge is to fight Bankivoide, voiced by Sergio Sendel, a mammoth rooster. The cockfight will end with the winner-take-all stakes. Feeling the pressure of such an unconquerable task, Toto cannot face the ordeal alone, so he asks his pals for help. Strangely, his pals are a frog, mucho huvevos and a strip of bacon. Can they conquer Banki and keep his family’s farm.

As mentioned earlier, the movie is filled with innuendos and to some extent racy humor compared to customary animated feature. Easily, the Spanish jokes are lost in the English translation since it is primarily written for the Mexican audience.  As an English speaking viewer, I still found a genuine amount of jokes that hit my funny bone. The characters are over the top on the ludicrous side, but the charm is their saving grace. Such as the favorable-intended frog, he earns a lot of laughs.