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The Hangover Part III Review


Terrible

For the final instalment of the trilogy, filmmaker Todd Phillips takes a sharp left turn, abandoning the formula of the first two movies to send the Wolf Pack on a road thriller that isn't remotely funny. A few wacky moments are provided by the actors, but there isn't one punchline in the entire film. And it doesn't really work as a thriller either, since there's no real suspense.

Once again it starts in Los Angeles, where everyone has recovered from their antics in Bangkok. But Phil, Stu and Doug (Cooper, Helms and Bartha) are worried that Alan (Galifianakis) is refusing to grow up, so they hold an intervention and set out to drive him to a desert retreat. On the way, they're waylaid by mobster Marshall (Goodman), who holds Doug hostage to force the the Wolf Pack to find renegade nutcase Chow (Jeong), who has stolen Marshall's stash of gold bars. They track Chow to Mexico, but things quickly get even messier as Chow slips through their fingers. And to catch him, they'll have to return to the scene of their original adventure: Las Vegas.

There isn't much to the screenplay, which is a series of action scenes and caper-style set-pieces strung together with rapid-fire dialog and general vulgarity. But while the film is expertly shot and edited, with a solid cast and terrific settings, there simply isn't any actual humour. No one gets drunk, so there's no hangover this time. And the only amusing moments are offhanded character bits that are utterly irrelevant to the nonsensical chaos of the plot. Which kind of makes us wonder why we ever found these losers so hilarious to begin with.

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The Hangover Part II Review


Grim
Proving that 2009's The Hangover was a fluke, this sequel returns to filmmaker Todd Phillips' more usual mean-spirited style, abandoning laughs for a series of painfully awkward scenarios held together by a contrived plot.

Having finally put the embarrassment of "that" weekend in Las Vegas behind him, Stu (Helms) is ready to settle down with fiance Lauren (Chung), who's planning their romantic wedding in Thailand. But after a night drinking on the beach, Stu wakes up in a Bangkok flat with fast-thinking friend Phil (Cooper), nutcase Alan (Galifianakis), an eerily smart monkey and Mr Chow (Jeong), the criminal who caused such chaos in Vegas. The problem is that Lauren's 16-year-old brother Teddy (Mason Lee) is missing. But what exactly happened last night?

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Due Date Review


Terrible
This film purports to be a comedy and yet doesn't contain a single genuine laugh. Although there are a few very cheap ones. But the strangest thing is that it seems to have been written more as an angry drama.

Peter (Downey) is an architect in Atlanta on business, ready to go home for the birth of his first child. While his wife (Monaghan) waits for him in Los Angeles, he heads to the airport but gets entangled with dorky aspiring actor Ethan (Galifianakis) and ends up on the no-fly list. As Peter and Ethan drive cross-country a series of adventures ensue, from a stop to buy medical marijuana to a car crash caused by a spot of narcolepsy to an action-packed encounter on the Mexican border.

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The Hangover Review


Excellent
The guys' trip to Vegas. The bromance of the bachelor party. These are current cultural givens, situations that suggest their own outrageous events without you ever visualizing the final results. It's all sin, shots, and strippers (mandatory on the strippers). Anyone venturing into such territory -- artistically, that is -- runs a two-fold risk of failing anticipation and flatly fulfilling expectations. It's within such complicated comedic realities that Old School's Todd Phillips comes to the concept, and he delivers big time. Uproariously funny, with one certified star-making turn among all the anarchy, this pre-marriage road trip turns the events of one night of drunken debauchery into the stuff of movie myth -- and you can't help but laugh all the way through.

Doug Billings (Justin Bartha) is getting married in two days, and his best friends Phil Wenneck (Bradley Cooper) and dentist Dr. Stu Price (Ed Helms) are taking him to Vegas for his bachelor party. Unfortunately, the groom's freakish future brother-in-law Alan (Zach Galifianakis) is tagging along as well. With their villa at Caesar's Palace secured, they head up to the hotel roof for a round of shots before hitting the strip. The next morning, Doug is gone and the remaining "party" members awake in a sea of destruction. Stu has lost a tooth. There's a newborn baby in the closet. And there's a real man-eating tiger in the bathroom. Hoping to track down their pal, Phil, Stu, and Alan begin searching. Eventually, they run into Asian gangsters, Mike Tyson, and Stu's quickie stripper bride Jade (Heather Graham), but no Doug. And time is running out before the groom has to walk down the aisle.

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School for Scoundrels Review


OK
In School for Scoundrels, director Todd Phillips (Road Trip) proves that his truest virtue is also his greatest vice. Most comedies made in Hollywood today are stuffed to the gills with joke after joke after joke, with seemingly little regard for whether the humor actually works. In the bizarre logic of studio filmmaking, a lame joke is better than no joke at all. Phillips takes the opposite tack in his films. He's more concerned with the quality of laughs than with the quantity of them. His best effort, Old School, is a riotously funny movie with a surprisingly conservative sprinkling of jokes. It's a model of comic efficiency. Every bit works and every gag hit its target. However, there's a dark side to this approach. The slightest miscalculation in the quality of a joke can lead to long stretches without so much as a chuckle or even a smirk. And it's this problem that unfortunately afflicts School for Scoundrels.

Scoundrels gets off to a sluggish start as it introduces its main character, Roger (Jon Heder), a geeky New York City meter maid (meter butler?) whose life is falling apart. He gets robbed at work. His boss is unsympathetic to his problems and his coworkers ridicule him. He regularly humiliates himself in front of his gorgeous neighbor, Amanda (Jacinda Barrett). And even his volunteer work is a disaster, as his Little Brother asks to be assigned to someone else. Heder channels the inner nerd that carried Napoleon Dynamite to its stratospheric success, but the script doesn't provide enough originality or comic punch to bring his character to life. The opening 15 minutes are flat, dimensionless, and largely laugh-free.

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Road Trip Review


Good
Tom Green might say: Road Trip is the greatest movie of all time.

He'd be right. If you're a 15-year old boy.

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Heavy Metal Review


Good
There wasn't a more seditious movie you could watch as a kid growing up in the 1980s than Heavy Metal, a film that not only relished in its sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but was animated, too. The collection of a handful of hand-drawn sci-fi vignettes are loosely connected by an evil, glowing green ball which tells its story (huh?) to a young girl it soon plans to kill. Some of the stories are funny. Some are gruesome. Some look cool. Some are drawn terribly. All of it amounts to a graphic, guilty pleasure that features a soundtrack from the era's biggest rock groups. And, uh, Stevie Nicks. Anyone from the era will love it, while everyone else simply won't get it at all.

Stripes Review


Extraordinary
This sloppy but popular comedy stands just behind Bill Murray's best movies -- Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Lost in Translation -- in quality, but stands with them in establishing the film comedy as we now know it: irony-soaked, lowbrow, and funny. As late as the mid-'70s, too many film comedies were earnest, cute throwbacks without a single real laugh. (Thank God for Mel Brooks, who made the only consistently funny comedies of the decade.) Supposedly hilarious films like Shampoo and The Goodbye Girl (or insert another '70s comedy here... I'm having trouble remembering any of them) now seem naïve and lame -- all the more so for trying to be trendy and sophisticated. Such films tried harder to please the critics than the crowds, not by being highbrow but by being frothy.

All that was dead the moment Bill Murray threw the candy bar in the pool in Caddyshack. Critics hated Caddyshack, and called Saturday Night Live skits "mean-spirited," but for everyone else, it was finally OK to be crude, clever, offensive -- and funny. Subsequent films like Stripes, often featuring one or more cast members from SNL (Murray, et al.) or Second City TV (Harold Ramis, John Candy), set the mold. The formula hasn't needed much tweaking since then, either; the successful comedies of recent years (There's Something About Mary, American Pie, etc.) owe everything to them.

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Eurotrip Review


OK
Who would've thought, in this dreary month of studio-dumped product, that true joy could come in the form of Vinnie Jones and a busload of football hooligans barreling down a French highway in the wrong lane with Vinnie screaming, "Piss off! Drive on the right side of the road!" Well, me neither, but nonetheless Eurotrip manages to be that oddly rare quantity these days: the actually enjoyable stupid comedy.

Starring a bunch of nobodies, leavened with a few clever star cameos, and written and directed by guys you've never heard of, Eurotrip wastes no time with the setup and getting its young stars to Europe. Upon graduating from high school, Scotty (Scott Mechlowicz) gets dumped by his girlfriend (Smallville's Kristen Kreuk), who then makes out with the lead singer of the band playing at the graduation party (an oddly-placed Matt Damon, lip-synching a song called "Scotty Doesn't Know"). Simultaneously, Scotty discovers that his German e-mail pen pal, whom he thought was a guy, is actually an extremely hot blonde. Unfortunately, drunk and despondent, he has just told her to stop writing (thinking it was a guy coming on to him). Spiritually devastated, Scotty decides to head across the Atlantic with his friends - requisite crazy guy Cooper (Jacob Pitts), nerd Jamie (Travis Wester), and Jamie's tomboy sister (Michelle Trachtenberg) - to seek the Aryan beauty of his dreams.

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Space Jam Review


Terrible
As a teenager, when I was rabid New York Knicks fan, I hated Michael Jordan. I hated how smug he was on the court. I hated how he always hit the big shot. I hated his commercials. I hated his Chicago Bulls teammates and his Zen-poseur coach, Phil Jackson. I hated the obnoxious bandwagon fans he created (second only to ignorant, win-happy, tradition oblivious, fair weather Yankee fans), as well as the wannabe playground showboaters he inspired.

That being said, I am probably not the most impartial person to watch Space Jam, the 1996 outing in which Jordan helps the beloved Looney Tunes gang compete in an interplanetary basketball game. However, any die-hard Bulls fan can agree with any Knicks fan on this one fact: Jordan is a terrible actor

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Evolution Review


Grim
Here's my candidate for most creative casting of 2001....

In Evolution, you get David Duchovny, (former) star of TV's The X-Files who has failed miserably to cross over to any kind of success in film. Julianne Moore, former independent darling before she started making movies like The Lost World and Hannibal. Orlando Jones, 7-Up pitchman and easily typecast goofball. And Seann William Scott, whose most visible role was as a stoner in Dude, Where's My Car?

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