Spirited and very funny, this movie should actually be rather disturbing since it's a true story about torture and murder. But director Michael Bay is so slick with the action and comedy elements that he lulls audiences to sleep, entertaining us with events that really should send chills down our spines. So the movie feels rather tasteless when you begin to think about it.
Wahlberg stars as Daniel, an obsessive bodybuilder in 1990s Miami who works as a personal trainer at a local gym. But he's becoming increasingly annoyed by the fact that his clients are much wealthier than he is. So he convinces his steroid-addicted colleague Adrian (Mackie) to help him kidnap a customer (Shalhoub) and steal his fortune. Realising that they need some help, they enlist born-again ex-con Paul (Johnson) in their plan. But none of them is very smart, and the kidnapping goes badly wrong from the start. Still, they manage to steal quite a lot before a tenacious private detective (Harris) notices something isn't right.
For a story that deals with such intensely serious themes, this is an oddly broad comedy. Bay never even tries to find dark irony here; he just focusses on how stupid these criminals are, convinced that they are as cool as the characters from their favourite movies and eerily unbothered by the fact that they are inflicting pain and even death on people for their own greedy ends. The actors inhabit the roles with a disarming naivete, so we can't help but laugh at their idiotic actions. Wahlberg plays Daniel as a muscle-head so focussed on getting what he wants that he doesn't notice the carnage in his wake; Mackie at least gives Adrian a sense of self-doubt, plus some comical romance (with scene-stealer Wilson); and Johnson has a tricky role as a religious guy with a weakness for drugs and women.
Continue reading: Pain & Gain Review
But at least it's rather undemanding good fun while it lasts.
At Jellystone Park, Yogi Bear and his sidekick Boo Boo (voiced by Aykroyd and Timberlake) drive Ranger Smith (Cavanagh) crazy with their picnic-stealing antics. But just as they reach a kind of agreement, things are complicated by the arrival of nature expert Rachel (Faris), who wants to make a documentary about the talking bears. Meanwhile, the local mayor (Daly) decides to sell the park to logging companies to pay the city deficit, luring Smith's sidekick Jones (Miller) in as an accomplice. It's going to take a miracle to save the park.
Continue reading: Yogi Bear Review
By never taking their ludicrous plot seriously, they've made a true guilty pleasure.
Fed up with dead-end Iowa, Ali (Aguilera) heads for Hollywood. Despite having no experience or training, she's sure she can make it as a singer-dancer. After a series of rejections, she stumbles upon the Burlesque Lounge on Sunset, run by jaded diva Tess (Cher) with the help of her long-suffering buddy Sean (Tucci). Ali charms sexy barman Jack (Gigandet) into a barmaid job, while keeping her sights on the stage. And she's also wooed by Marcus (Dane), a developer who's trying to buy the financially strapped club.
Continue reading: Burlesque Review
When a cosmetics counter employee named Brandi (Anna Faris) becomes the pervert's latest victim, management calls a police detective (Ray Liotta) to help catch him. Ronnie is livid that his supervisors have outsourced an investigative team. He feels that he's perfectly capable of handing the case, and would love to prove it to Brandi to win her affection. He quickly discovers, however, that Brandi's "affection" isn't difficult to win.
Continue reading: Observe and Report Review
Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) is a mild-mannered Los Angeles real estate agent, and his girl is Zooey Rice (Rashida Jones). They have been dating for less than a year, but are madly in love. As the movie opens, Peter proposes, and Zooey accepts. Immediately, she calls her friends to celebrate. This makes Peter realize that he has no buddies to call; he doesn't even have anyone to be his best man.
Continue reading: I Love You, Man Review
Three childhood buddies, now in their early thirties, have reunited to mourn the death of a close childhood friend. Since their last encounter ten years prior, each man has taken his life in a different direction. Dan (Seth Green) is a doctor with a laundry-list of phobias, Jerry (Matthew Lillard) is an executive with a fear of commitment, and Tom (Dax Shepard) is a lying barfly who refuses to grow up and act his age.
Continue reading: Without a Paddle Review
An obvious John Travolta vehicle, it features the healthy-looking, tanned, hit-or-miss star as Frank Morrison, a loving but divorced father who is earthy enough to build wooden boats for a living, and honest enough to not charge a profitable fee. He's nice. He loves his young son Danny (a natural Matthew O'Leary), and is dealing with his ex-wife's (Meet the Parents' Teri Polo) marriage to rich investor Rick Barnes (a stale Vince Vaughn, playing a whole other kind of psycho).
Continue reading: Domestic Disturbance Review
The 1975 Stepford (and Ira Levin's book) was a piece of Americana that was so influential it became part of American slang. It unfortunately isn't a very good movie: If anyone can even remember how it ends, I dare you to e-mail me.
Continue reading: The Stepford Wives (2004) Review