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Zoolander 2 Review

Good

With virtually the same blend of wit and idiocy as the 2001 original, this fashion-scene comedy is funny enough to spark some solid laughter in between the gags that fall flat. The punchlines are simple and the characters paper thin, but this world is so ripe for parody that the rather awkward mix of in-jokes and satire can't help but hit the bullseye every now and then.

Things haven't been great for top supermodel Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) over the past 15 years. His reading school collapsed in tragedy, sending him to live as a "hermit crab" in the wilds of northern New Jersey. And with a facial injury, his cohort Hansel (Owen Wilson) has retired in the wasteland of Malibu. Then Italian designer Atoz (Kristen Wiig) summons them to Rome, just as Interpol agent Valentina (Penelope Cruz) is investigating a series of popstar murders that seem linked to Derek's past. Teaming up with Valentina, Derek and Hansel track down their old nemesis Mugatu (Will Ferrell), reconnect with Derek's long-lost son (Cyrus Arnold) and discover a sinister conspiracy.

Stiller directs the film as if it's the next instalment in the Da Vinci Code saga, complete with shadowy secret rituals and ominous chase sequences. But the dialogue remains utterly ludicrous, as this "ridiculously good-looking" duo go through their individual existential crises, clueless that the world has moved on without them. Stiller and Wilson reprise the hang-dog charm that made the characters so likeable the first time round. Although this time Derek gets some emotional depth, while Hansel plays the action hero. Ferrell and Wiig camp it up to the rafters in their colourful roles, while Cruz vamps through the film in bombshell love-interest mode. Her deadpan performance might actually be the funniest thing in the movie. And each scene is packed with big-star cameos, some of which are genuinely amusing.

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John Hamburg Sunday 24th April 2011 John Hamburg and Joan Hamburg Opening night of the Broadway production of 'Born Yesterday' at the Cort Theatre - Arrivals. New York City, USA

John Hamburg
John Hamburg

Little Fockers Review


Weak
While this second sequel to Meet the Parents features the same comedy of embarrassment and vulgarity as its predecessors, it also takes a strange sideways step into machismo that leaves it feeling rather joyless.

As their twins (Daisy Tahan and Colin Baiocchi) are about to turn 5, Greg and Pam Focker (Stiller and Polo) are planning a big birthday party involving both of their sets of parents. While Pam's intense dad Jack (De Niro) is pressuring Greg to be a family leader, her mom (Danner) tries to keep the peace.

Meanwhile, Greg's parents (Streisand and Hoffman) are on separate quests of their own. But it's Pam's ex Kevin (Wilson) who really stirs things up. As does a drug rep (Alba) who gets a bit too close to Greg.

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John Hamburg Wednesday 15th December 2010 The World Premiere of 'Little Fockers' held at the Ziegfield Theatre - Arrivals New York City, USA

John Hamburg
John Hamburg

I Love You, Man Review


Very Good
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to come up with the plot for a romantic comedy. After all, most follow the same basic recipe: boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back, the end. I Love You, Man was born when someone tossed a gimmick into the formula. The film doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it does turn the ingredients upside down, and it's quite refreshing.

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.

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John Hamburg Friday 6th March 2009 attends a private screening of 'I Love You Man' New York City, USA

John Hamburg

Safe Men Review


Very Good
See what Sam Rockwell and Steve Zahn looked like before they both let their hair go insane. This very little-known (and just plain little) indie comedy is extremely witty and often perverse. Even without the humor, the film is worth seeking out to see all the other roles by up-and-comers (at least at the time), including Paul Giamatti and Mark Ruffalo. The nutty premise involves two wannabe singers (Rockwell and Zahn) who are mistaken for safecrackers and threatened into doing a series of safecracking jobs. Not a single serious moment ensues. Excellent.

Meet The Fockers Review


OK
Will Teri Polo be remembered for any other movie aside from Meet the Parents and its sequel?

The answer is irrelevant and really doesn't matter at all. It's just something that struck me during one of the many lulls in the surprisingly uneven and marginally entertaining Meet the Fockers. Trust me: You'll have plenty of time to ponder this and other cinematic riddles when you're watching Fockers.

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Zoolander Review


Very Good
In Zoolander, the world's most successful, influential and intellectually-challenged male model Derek Zoolander wonders, "Is there more to life than being really really really good looking?" Obviously, the film's creator and star Ben Stiller asked a similar question when crafting a feature-length movie out of his hilarious VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards short-film subject: Can there be more to this film than being really really really silly? No, of course not, and it never aspires to be anything more.

Much like Derek, Zoolander is a sweet simpleton of a movie. It's not complex in either its social commentary or its comedy, and it never produces any gut-busting laughs (except maybe a scene when Derek's model roommates all die in a tragic "gasoline fight" accident -- a riotously funny take-off of Tommy Hilfiger ads). But it has a satisfying handful of strong chuckles, wild characters and performances, and mildly harsh potshots at the fashion industry to keep you amused. Better yet, this exaggerated version of the original three-minute skit is only blown out to an efficient 95 minutes -- just enough time to string together its goofball plot without exhausting the gag.

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Along Came Polly Review


Weak
Maybe Ben Stiller should take a break. Not a big one. Just a little breather. Along Came Polly is the first of his four 2004 releases, and it feels like a project coasted through between commitments, some freelance rom-com work to fill the few weeks where Owen Wilson or Janeane Garofalo are busy. Stiller could play Reuben Feffer, an over-cautious risk-management specialist, in his sleep, and Jennifer Aniston's work as the titular Polly -- down-to-earth yet worldly, always late and allegedly loveable -- feels almost remedial after her participation in The Good Girl. And oh, the plot turns they must suffer through! Reuben's marriage falls apart; he asks Polly out on the rebound; their personalities clash; there's even a variation on that old bit where the girl reads something mildly insensitive that the boy never meant for her to see; did Aniston, I wonder, find motivation for this scene from its appearance on Friends years ago?

The thing is, on paper this movie doesn't seem like a pointless timekiller -- or at least like such a forgettable one. The writer-director is John Hamburg, who previously worked with Stiller as a writer on Zoolander and Meet the Parents, two projects that make particularly good use of the actor's talent for silliness and embarrassment, respectively. And there's a fairly crack supporting cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alec Baldwin, Hank Azaria, and Debra Messing. The lack of inspiration and the accompanying clichés about the value of "taking risks" and opposites attracting, then, are like a supernatural force, weighing the movie down. Like gravity, but more persistent.

Continue reading: Along Came Polly Review

Duplex Review


Weak
You've seen the funny trailers and are so encouraged by Ben Stiller's presence that you're certain Duplex will prove itself to be a latter-day Meet the Parents.

I feel for you. I thought the same thing. But it's only a few short minutes into Duplex when you realize just how wrong you were. Two things clue you in to the lackluster experience to come. First is an animated pre-credits sequence that shows a cartoon Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore haplessly looking for a home. One knee-slapper vignette even puts them in a shack in the Sahara desert! Man, that's funny!

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Meet The Parents Review


Extraordinary
Pity poor Greg Focker. Not only is the man employed as a male nurse with an unfortunate name, but he's about to meet his girlfriend's parents in order to ask dad for her hand in marriage. Only dad is about as humorless as, say, Robert De Niro. And poor Greg can't do anything right to save his skin.

It all reminds me, with flashback-like intensity, of meeting my own father-in-law-to-be, a guy so stern he makes De Niro look like Jim Carrey. Picture Ben Stiller as Focker (or me) and De Niro as himself, and, like magic, you've got yourself one hell of a comedy that will see few equals this year or any other. (Note to Dr. Carder: This is just a joke that I know you'll laugh about because we have such a great relationship! See you this Christmas!!!)

Continue reading: Meet The Parents Review

Safe Men Review


Very Good
See what Sam Rockwell and Steve Zahn looked like before they both let their hair go insane. This very little-known (and just plain little) indie comedy is extremely witty and often perverse. Even without the humor, the film is worth seeking out to see all the other roles by up-and-comers (at least at the time), including Paul Giamatti and Mark Ruffalo. The nutty premise involves two wannabe singers (Rockwell and Zahn) who are mistaken for safecrackers and threatened into doing a series of safecracking jobs. Not a single serious moment ensues. Excellent.
John Hamburg

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John Hamburg Movies

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

With virtually the same blend of wit and idiocy as the 2001 original, this fashion-scene...

Little Fockers Movie Review

Little Fockers Movie Review

While this second sequel to Meet the Parents features the same comedy of embarrassment and...

Meet the Fockers Movie Review

Meet the Fockers Movie Review

Will Teri Polo be remembered for any other movie aside from Meet the Parents and...

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Zoolander Movie Review

Zoolander Movie Review

In Zoolander, the world's most successful, influential and intellectually-challenged male model Derek Zoolander wonders, "Is...

Along Came Polly Movie Review

Along Came Polly Movie Review

Maybe Ben Stiller should take a break. Not a big one. Just a little breather....

Duplex Movie Review

Duplex Movie Review

You've seen the funny trailers and are so encouraged by Ben Stiller's presence that you're...

Meet the Parents Movie Review

Meet the Parents Movie Review

Pity poor Greg Focker. Not only is the man employed as a male nurse...

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