Astute and genuinely funny teen comedies don't come along very often; this one starts with a smart script and lets the spirited cast run with it. Director Ari Sandel and writer Josh A. Cagan also acknowledge their debt to high school classics like The Breakfast Club (30 years ago) and Mean Girls (10 years ago) as they poke fun at the various types of teenagers within the school hierarchy. Of course, the focus here is a postmodern type, the "designated ugly fat friend", also known as the duff.
It's 17-year-old Bianca (Mae Whitman) who is horrified to learn that she's a duff. She's neither fat nor ugly, but her casual appearance makes her the most accessible one alongside her hot friends Casey and Jess (Bianca A. Santos and Skyler Samuels). Yes, she's the third Charlie's Angel. So Bianca sets out to change her status, enlisting the advice of sexy jock-next-door Wesley (Robbie Amell) in exchange for helping him with his chemistry homework. Her real goal is to build up some confidence so she can pursue the sweetly sensitive musician Toby (Nick Eversman). But Wesley's on-off girlfriend Madison (Bella Thorne) is the campus queen bee, and doesn't like him hanging out with a duff.
The cast and filmmakers have a great time playing with adolescent stereotypes, constantly undermining expectations while pointing out that of course everyone is actually a duff in one way or another. This sharply observant approach gives every hilarious exchange of dialogue a pointed kick. We can't help but laugh simply because we see ourselves in the characters, remembering that when you're a teen everything seems overpoweringly important. Whitman is superb as the brainy, cute girl who has refused to unleash the hottie within, and her spiky chemistry with the energetic Amell is great fun to watch. Although it's the adults who shamelessly steal their scenes, including Allison Janney in a layered role as Bianca's too-helpful self-help guru mother and an unusually restrained Ken Jeong as her journalism teacher.
Continue reading: The Duff Review
Ken Jeong has revealed why he took his famous Hangover role.
Actor Ken Jeong - best known for his memorable Mr Chow character in The Hangover movies - says he took the role in a reaction to his wife's fight against breast cancer. His role in the comedy movie won him an MTV Movie Award.
Ken Jeong explains why he took his famous Hangover role
However, in a short film to accompany the new PBS documentary Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, Jeong said he was caring for his wife and their one-year-old twins as she was undergoing chemotherapy.
Continue reading: Ken Jeong's Wife Urged Him to Take 'Hangover' Role over Cancer Diagnosis
Bella Thorne, Allison Janney, Bianca Santos, Skyler Samuels, Mae Whitman, Robbie Amell, Nick Everman, Chris Wylde, Romany Malco, Ari Sandel and Ken Jeong - Los Angeles fan screening of THE DUFF at TCL Chinese 6 Theatres - Hollywood, California, United States - Friday 13th February 2015
Ken Jeong, Bella Thorne and Mae Whitman - Celebrities attend Los Angeles fan screening of THE DUFF at TCL Chinese 6 Theatres. at TCL Chinese 6 Theatres - Los Angeles, California, United States - Friday 13th February 2015
The social pecking order of high schools has to be hard enough without discovering that, without your knowledge or consent, you have received a less than flattering label. When high school senior Bianca (Mae Whitman) is at a party, she discovers that she is supposedly a DUFF, or Designated Ugly Fat Friend. The revelation comes as a shock as she is neither ugly nor fat, and soon she discovers that she is in fact simply being labelled as such because she isn't as popular as some of the other members of her high school. Thus begins Bianca's popularity revolution, in which she fights to clear the name of anyone previously landed with the title of DUFF.
Continue: The Duff Trailer
With the upcoming release of 'The Penguins of Madagascar', Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich who star in the film. Cumberbatch plays Classified, an arctic wolf and leader of the team The North Wind, while Malkovich plays Dr. Octavius Brine - a villainous octopus. The two actors quiz each other on the animals that they play in the film, with Cumberbatch answering questions like 'how many members are in the average wolf pack?', and Malkovich being asked 'how many hearts do octopi have?' In between questions and answers, the interview contains clips of the upcoming film.
Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private return from Madagascar with their own adventure as formidable and super sharp espionage agents. Their world is under threat from a dangerous octopus villain named Dr. Octavius Brine who plans to dominate the Earth with his sea-dwelling cronies and the penguins are the only things standing in their way - well, them and elite crackforce The North Wind. The organization, led by the dashing wolf Agent Classified, are on a mission to stop Brine in his tentacle-y tracks using Classified's formidable presence, Eva's analytical power, Short Fuse's explosives expertise and Corporal's terrifying brawn. Together with the penguins they may have a chance at saving the world from whatever dreadful scheme Brine has on his mind - though his ignorance of modern technology lessens his menace potential just a little.
Continue: Penguins of Madagascar Trailer
Yahoo has announced a takeover of the series for 13 more episodes.
Yahoo!’s planned foray into long form digital content was met with some confusion when the appointed executive producers of the new projects Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) and Mike Tollin (Smallville) made the announcement at Digital Content NewFronts back in April. However, after a Community revival was announced as one of the first projects, viewers’ doubts seem to have been assuaged.
Yahoo had the show's devoted fanbase in mind, when acquiring the rights.
The deal was announced earlier this week, with creator Dan Harmon saying in a statement: . "I am very pleased that Community will be returning for its predestined sixth season on Yahoo. I look forward to bringing our beloved NBC sitcom to a larger audience by moving it online."
Continue reading: Good News, "Community" Fans! Season 6 Heading Your Way Courtesy Of Yahoo
The newest addition to the 'Madagascar' franchise arrives in the form of spin-off 'The Penguins of Madagascar', which centres around the penguin characters, Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private. Details of the plot are yet to be unveiled, but the trailer suggests that in an attempt to save the day, the penguins are interrupted by an elite group of animals known as North Wind, which results in them being stranded in a desert.
Each of the penguins will be voiced by the same actors who played them in the Madagascar films; Tom McGrath as Skipper, Chris Miller as Kowalski, John DiMaggio as Rico and Christopher Knights as Private. In terms of new characters, ever rising star Benedict Cumberbatch voices wolf Classified, the leader of North Wind, while John Malkovich (RED, Being John Malkovich) is the film's octopus antagonist Dr. Octavius Brine. Also, comedy actor Ken Jeong (The Hangover franchise) plays North Wind's explosive and demolition's expert Short Fuse; Annet Mahendru stars as Eva, North Wind's snow owl intelligence analyst; and Peter Stormare is the Norwegian bear Corporal.
The film is directed by Simon J. Smith and Eric Darnell. Darnell has directed all the other films of the 'Madagascar' franchise, as well as 1998's 'Antz'. It's Smith's first time one of the movies, though his previous animation directorials include 'Megamind: The Button Of Doom' and 'Bee Movie'.
Continue: The Penguins Of Madagascar Trailer
'The Hangover' star exchanged vows with fitness trainer Smith in a Hawaiian ceremony
The Hangover star Justin Bartha said "I do" this weekend, tying the knot with long-time girlfriend Lia Smith in front of family and friends in Smith's native Hawaii. The pair exchanged vows in a quiet ceremony on the island of Oahu - the island state's third largest but most populous island - just before sunset on Saturday, 4 January, evening, People first reported.
Bartha and Smith have been together for over a year
Details on the wedding are scarce at the time of writing, with their union only becoming wide-knowledge today (5 Jan.), however it is known that the ceremony wasn't lacking in any form of star power. The wedding ceremony itself was attended by a select few, however the reception at Kualoa Ranch saw Justin's Hangover co-star Ken Jeong among the attendees. Jesse Eisenberg, Reese Witherspoon and her partner Jim Toth were also among the celebrity guests attending the reception do, partying into the night after the tender ceremony.
Continue reading: Justin Bartha Ties The Knot With Lia Smith
Whizzy and superficial, this isn't the most complicated animated film ever made, but it's a lot of fun if you can buy into its silly premise about a snail who moves at super-fast speed. Aside from its riotous sense of energy and thrilling action sequences, the script is also packed with enough deranged humour to keep the adults laughing along with the kids.
It starts in a normal garden, where Theo (voiced by Reynolds) dreams of racing his human idol, the Indy champ Guy Gagne (Hader). Theo even calls himself "Turbo", annoying his pragmatic brother Chet (Giamatti). Then a freak accident involving nitrous-oxide gives him lightning speed. In search of a chance to race, he meets another dreamer with a practical-minded brother: Tito (Pena) is a man who owns a taco truck with his grumpy sibling Angelo (Guzman). And it's Tito who works with local business owners (Jenkins, Jeong and Rodriguez) to help Turbo achieve his goal to enter the Indianapolis 500 and race against his hero. On the track, Turbo is assisted by a pit-crew of Tito's pet snails (Jackson, Rudolph, Dogg and Schwartz).
Yes, the plot is preposterous, but the script openly acknowledges the insanity of the "snail vs car" race, maintaining the dizzying size discrepancy as all of the characters are just as incredulous as we are. The filmmakers also create a hilarious snail underworld packed with running gags about the perils of being so little. Although they haven't included much slime, which is a strange omission for a movie aimed primarily at pre-teen boys. Still, each snail (and each human too) is such a bundle of big personality traits that we don't really mind the gender and ethnic stereotypes.
Continue reading: Turbo Review
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