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Bad Teacher Review


Weak
This film strains so badly to be a black comedy that it does itself an injury.

Aside from the general lack of funny gags, miscasting is the major problem.

There's also an unwillingness to commit to the characters' dark sides, opting instead for gross-out silliness.

Continue reading: Bad Teacher Review

The Other Guys Review


Excellent
A sharp script sets this fast and furious action comedy apart from other brainless summer movies. And it's played with such deadpan precision that it keeps us laughing from start to finish, even when things get bogged down by the plot.

New York cops Gamble and Hoitz (Ferrell and Wahlberg) have been relegated to unimportant positions by two teams of flashier detectives (Jackson/Johnson and Wayans/Riggle). But when Gamble arrests a millionaire investor (Coogan) for a minor infraction, he and Hoitz are plunged into a murky case involving a ruthless Aussie goon (Stevenson) and bribed city officials. Even their captain (Keaton) tells them to leave it alone, but Gamble can't let go and Hoitz sees this as a chance to stop being the "other guys".

Continue reading: The Other Guys Review

She's Out Of My League Review


Very Good
For all its rude humour and chucklehead antics, this is actually a sweet and shy romantic comedy. It also boosts Jay Baruchel into leading-man status with a thoroughly charming performance.

Two years after taking a break from his girlfriend (Sloane), geeky airport security guard Kirk (Baruchel) still pines for her. Then he meets the unspeakably hot Molly (Eve), who improbably takes an interest in him. But Kirk's buddies (Miller, Vogel and Torrence) and his parents (Rupp and LeFevre) wonder how this dork could land such a gorgeous, smart, successful girl. The truth might be that he's not such a loser after all. But how will he ever believe that?

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Land Of The Lost Review


OK
Although you can see the filmmakers trying to pay homage to Sid & Marty Krofft's nutty 1970s TV series, this film is just too random and silly to make any sense at all. Although there are a few laughs along the way.

After a humiliating appearance on TV, Dr Rick Marshall (Ferrell) continues with his research into time travel, seeking a parallel dimension where past, present and future all mix together. The missing ingredient turns out to be a sexy-brainy assistant, namely Holly (Friel), who urges him to test his invention. They're zapped into chaotic jungle-desert world along with the clueless Will (McBride). While looking for a way home, they team up with monkey-boy Cha-Ka (Taccone) and encounter a psycho T-rex and an army of lizard men.

Ferrell can do this kind of wackiness in his sleep; indeed, he often seems to be dozing off during this film as this food-obsessed, showtune-loving sketch comedy character. Fortunately, he's terrific at offhanded improv, making it feel utterly effortless. Friel and McBride must work a little harder opposite him, but both have hilarious moments along the way as the plucky scientist and up-for-anything chucklehead.

Around them, director Silberling blends first-rate effects and visually arresting images along with alien creatures who look like men in homemade costumes. This is obviously meant as a nod to the original TV show, but the strange mix is more of a distraction than a gag. And the whole film feels utterly random, like the script was loosely outlined by 10-year-old boys and then never fleshed out. It's essentially a bundle of silly set pieces punctuated by running gags about bodily fluids and Holly's breasts.

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.

Get Smart Review


Very Good
Remaking the satirical '60s spy sitcom Get Smart without Steve Carell in the Maxwell Smart role would have been pretty dumb.

Lucky for them -- and, by extension, us -- the creative team behind this rejuvenated Smart wisely tapped the unassuming funnyman to fill the late Don Adams' telephone-disguised-as-a-shoe. Carell's nimble turn as a calculatedly incompetent agent of CONTROL ensures that this modern spin on an outdated television property -- while rarely intelligent -- is consistently witty.

Continue reading: Get Smart Review

Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby Review


Very Good
America, meet your newest folk hero. His name is Ricky Bobby, and unlike his more humble legendary predecessors like Davy Crockett and such, this dim-but-daring NASCAR driver was born to win. He's a brand new kind of champion for the "shock-and-awe" America, living his life by one motto: "If you're not first, you're last."And whether you're a member of the NASCAR Nation or dead on the other side of the fence with the rest of us urban-intellectual elitists, you'll find Ricky Bobby and Talladega Nights funny and entertaining. It skirts the line between parody and homage so well that you will hardly be able to tell whether Will Ferrell and his Anchorman collaborator Adam McKay are poking fun at or celebrating NASCAR culture.The story follows Ricky (Ferrell) from his childhood, in which his deadbeat racecar driver dad (Gary Cole) instilled in him that lifetime motto, to his redneck adulthood, where - with the help of loyal pal Cal Naughton Jr. (John C. Reilly) - he climbs the NASCAR ranks to become the best racer in the land. He's got it all: the "smoking hot" wife (Leslie Bibb), his sons Walker and Texas Ranger, product endorsements galore (lampooned a little uncomfortably with many product placements), and the love of fans everywhere.But it all comes crashing down when gay French driver Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen of Ali G fame) comes on the scene, stealing his days of thunder. When Ricky tries to take him on in a big race, they both wreck spectacularly, putting Ricky in the hospital and into a career tailspin. In order to get his groove back, he heads home and rediscovers his original sensei, dad Reese Bobby. And so begins the long road back, which is hilariously strewn with cougars, blindfolds, and Lucky Charms (you'll see).The biggest question for most fans is, "How funny is Ferrell?" Well, for my money, he's very big on the chuckle quotient, but I wasn't falling out of my chair, as I have with some of his other efforts. It's subjective, of course, but much of the material seems a little tame. Instead, I found that the most ingenious moments came when Ferrell, Reilly, and Cole are just allowed to riff, and they end up with these incredibly wacky, edgier, side-splitting bits. One of my faves involves Reilly's Naughton telling a half-comatose Ricky about his foray into nude male modeling. Priceless.Overall, the gags throughout are funny but sometimes come a little cheap. While I don't think any of our Southern, NASCAR-loving friends will take offense, some of them do cut a little too close to just pointing out how ridiculous white-trash Americans live. But, whatever... everyone seems to love Larry the Cable Guy, right?The bottom line here is that this movie is created to be so likeable and probably tested against the broadest mainstream audience possible that it's going to be a monster hit. If you want your wild and crazy Will Ferrell, look for him elsewhere. But if you just want a few laughs from a movie that you know everyone's going to enjoy, Ricky Bobby's definitely your man.Hey, Macarena!

Kicking & Screaming (2005) Review


Excellent
Shame is the name of the game in Kicking & Screaming. Will Ferrell's latest outing finds the funnyman trading his Anchorman hairpiece and crippling ego for a clipboard and whistle so he can coach his son's last-place soccer club. The concept comedy comes off as an excuse to have Ferrell yelling at innocent children for two hours, but the script by Leo Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick explores alternating levels of humiliation and redemption that bring Screaming to emotional corners you might not expect to visit.

An unhealthy level of competition exists between Phil (Ferrell) and his father, Buck (Robert Duvall). The day that Phil announced his engagement, Buck stole his thunder. They even had baby boys on the same day. Buck's boy weighed one ounce more than Phil's, of course. The rivalry has continued.

Continue reading: Kicking & Screaming (2005) Review

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Jimmy Miller Movies

Bad Teacher Movie Review

Bad Teacher Movie Review

This film strains so badly to be a black comedy that it does itself an...

The Other Guys Movie Review

The Other Guys Movie Review

A sharp script sets this fast and furious action comedy apart from other brainless summer...

She's Out of My League Movie Review

She's Out of My League Movie Review

For all its rude humour and chucklehead antics, this is actually a sweet and shy...

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Get Smart Movie Review

Get Smart Movie Review

Remaking the satirical '60s spy sitcom Get Smart without Steve Carell in the Maxwell Smart...

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby Movie Review

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby Movie Review

America, meet your newest folk hero. His name is Ricky Bobby, and unlike his more...

Kicking & Screaming (2005) Movie Review

Kicking & Screaming (2005) Movie Review

Shame is the name of the game in Kicking & Screaming. Will Ferrell's latest outing...

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