High school can be the worst time for some people, and for Greg Gaines (Thomas Mann), it turned out to be especially horrible. His parents inform him that his classmate, Rachel Kushner (Olivia Cooke), has been diagnosed with leukemia. The two make a fast friendship out of a mutual intention to not be sympathetic, but that plan doesn't work out as well as planned. Greg and his best friend Earl make 'bad films' in their spare time, and decide to devote a film to Rachel. Unfortunately, as they specialise in bad films, they struggle to make something that will truly honour her and cheer her up.
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Like a comically deranged Twilight Zone episode, this colourful animated feature underscores its fantastical story with some intriguingly serious issues. But it never gets preachy, and a stream of warped humour will keep adults chuckling all the way through.
Geeky inventor Flint (voiced by Hader) has finally created something that will make him famous: a machine that makes food from water. When it's inadvertently catapulted into the clouds, it starts raining cheeseburgers, much to everyone's delight. Now famous, he remotely programmes the machine to rain everything from ice cream to spaghetti and meatballs. While Flint's mono-browed dad (Caan) doesn't really get him, the greedy mayor (Campbell) wants a piece of his success. Meanwhile, Flint meets weather reporter Sam (Faris), who might actually understand him.
Filmmakers Lord and Miller somehow manage to keep the film utterly silly, with outrageous visual flourishes and zany comical asides, while maintaining a sharp intelligence beneath the surface. As a result, grown-ups will probably find the film funnier than kids, who will be entranced by the visual antics and miss the sophisticated wit. And they quietly hide the serious subtext as well, including a knowing look at celebrity and pointed comments on how tricky it is for people to truly communicate.
But all of this is mere icing on the cake, as it were, for a film that's raucous, nonstop fun. Images of food falling from the sky are pure dreamlike fantasy, especially when Flint's machine overheats and produces oversized culinary delights that look utterly delicious even as they flatten the houses they land on. Of course, this gives the screenwriters plenty of running gags and punning opportunities, which the talented vocal cast run wild with.
Even side characters like Mr T's supercop and Bratt's Guatemalan cameraman get terrific moments along the way, while Flint's relationship with his dad has a surprising resonance. And along the way, there are some superb sequences that combine goofy humour with awkward emotion plus a hint of unhinged weirdness (such as the Jell-O palace). And as global chaos threatens to erupt, along with Mt Leftovers, the film develops into a hysterical disaster movie satire that's brilliantly animated and, for once, makes full use of 3D to throw everything right into our faces.
Evan (Murphy) is a high-flying financial executive who's not as attentive to his perky daughter Olivia (Shahidi) as he should be. Sharing custody with his ex (Parker), he only barely hears what Olivia says, and is shocked to discover that her imaginary friends are giving sound investment advice. So he starts using their tips at work, which both improves his job prospects and his relationship with Olivia. But this comes undone when his boss (Cox) offers a prime promotion to either him or his smarmy office rival (Church).
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This parallel world has no internal logic, but neither does any single scene.
We don't really expect logic in a goofy movie like this, but is it too much to ask why Holly speaks fluent monkey-language only some of the time? And while there are plenty of amusing moments (the vampire mosquito, the T-rex pole vault), there's not a single big laugh. Or any real reason for this film to have been made, for that matter.
As with his past two efforts, Wain's latest is top-lined by the invaluable Paul Rudd, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Wain. He plays Danny, a spokesperson for Minotaur Energy Drink who spends his days telling teenagers not to do drugs with a fluffy Minotaur dancing behind him. Inside that jolly Minotaur costume is Wheeler (Seann William Scott), a co-worker who wants nothing more than to be Dan's friend and get laid. This comes as a surprise as it seems that Danny has no friends save for his girlfriend Beth (Elizabeth Banks), and even she is beginning to tire of his wasting-my-life hissy fits. It's when Beth breaks it off that Dan loses it and tells a cafeteria filled with teenagers how awesome drugs are and how life sucks. That's before he mounts the Minotaur Mobile upon a statue of a horse.
Continue reading: Role Models Review
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