Mike Karz

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Blended Review


OK

Even with its inane script and limp direction, this film is watchable simply because Drew Barrymore is present to humanise Adam Sandler. How she does this is a mystery, but the fact remains that he's annoyingly unlikeable without her. And history proves the point: Sandler's best-ever performances were in two films opposite Barrymore, 1998's The Wedding Singer and 2004's 50 First Dates. Although this movie isn't quite in that league.

They play Lauren and Jim, who meet on a disastrous blind date and vow never to see each other again. But they end up inadvertently sharing a safari holiday to South Africa when Lauren's best pal (Wendi McLendon-Covey) and Jim's boss cancel a holiday with their five kids. Which is handy since Lauren has two energetic sons (Braxton Beckham and Kyle Red Silverstein) while Jim has three needy daughters (Bella Thorne, Emma Fuhrmann and Alyvia Alyn Lind). Of course, the children are happy to have same-sex role models along, even if Lauren and Jim can't bear to be around each other.

There isn't a split-second when we don't know exactly where this plot is heading, even though the script veers wildly between wacky slapstick mayhem and sappy lesson-learning sentimentality. Every scene is carefully concocted to elicit either laughter or tears, and the manipulative filmmaking occasionally works. Although the movie's funniest moments are offhanded gags that feel improvised between Barrymore and Sandler. The child actors are all decent, carefully cast so each each simplistic character can have his or her corny journey to some sort of personal discovery.

Continue reading: Blended Review

New Year's Eve Review


Terrible
The team that made the thin-but-enjoyable Valentine's Day in 2010 reunites for another massively overextended rom-com with a remarkable A-list ensemble. But this time the stories and filmmaking overdose on ill-conceived schmaltz.

As the countdown to 2012 begins, an executive (Swank) is frazzled about a technical glitch in the iconic Time's Square ball-drop. Meanwhile, a courier (Efron) is trying to help a frumpy secretary (Pfeiffer) achieve her dreams. A chef (Heigl) is catering a glittering event while trying to avoid her rock star ex (Bon Jovi), whose back-up singer (Michele) is stuck in a lift with a lovelorn slacker (Kutcher). A mother (Parker) is worried about her teen daughter (Breslin). And a tuxedoed millionaire (Duhamel) is trying to get to an important event in the city.

Continue reading: New Year's Eve Review

Valentine's Day Review


Good
With an enormous ensemble cast and more intertwined plots than you can count, this fluffy concoction is shamelessly sentimental and silly, and yet it's also an undemanding crowd-pleaser.

Valentine's Day in Los Angeles brings a series of romantic crises. A flower seller (Kutcher) has proposed to his less-than-keen girlfriend (Alba), then discovers his best friend's (Garner) boyfriend (Dempsey) is married. A phone-sex operator (Hathaway) is afraid to tell her boyfriend (Grace) what she does for a living. An romance-hating publicist (Biel) is helping her client (Dane) manage a media storm. A group of teens (Swift, Lautner, Roberts and Jenkins) are grappling with chastity. And two strangers (Roberts and Cooper) strike up a conversation on a trans-Atlantic flight.

Continue reading: Valentine's Day Review

Sorority Row Review


Bad
A remake of the 1983 schlock horror The House on Sorority Row, this film is too bland to catch our imagination. There are plenty of cheap thrills, plus some camp excess to keep us laughing, but it's never scary.

Five sorority sisters get themselves into trouble when a practical joke goes violently wrong. Pushy leader Jessica (Pipes) wants to cover up the crime, and Claire and Chugs (Chung and Harshman) agree. But Cassidy (Evigan) wants to come clean, and Ellie (Willis) can't cope with the guilt. Eight months later it comes back to haunt them, when the girl (Patridge) they thought was dead seems to return with a vengeance on the night of their year-end party.

Continue reading: Sorority Row Review

Good Luck Chuck Review


Weak
Despite what the marketing folks would have you believe, Good Luck Chuck is not, in fact, an average guy/beautiful klutz romantic comedy, and it's pretty baffling that this is how they choose to sell it. Sure, Jessica Alba plays an endearing young girl who regularly gets the crap beat out of her in elaborate ways, but that's a rather irrelevant aspect to her character. Plus, that totally misses the point of what the movie is actually about: sex.

There is (very) slightly more to it, I suppose: Charming, commitmentphobe dentist Charlie (Dane Cook) is attempting to romance the reluctantly interested Cam (Jessica Alba). But the real snag in the relationship is Charlie's curse/good fortune to be a lucky charm for the lovelorn -- women sleep with him, and find their one true love with the next guy they date. So after Charlie takes advantage of his abilities by plowing his way through half of the population of Seattle, he begins to see the curse when he wants to both sleep with Cam and also get to be her one true love.

Continue reading: Good Luck Chuck Review

Max Keeble's Big Move Review


Good
Good news! Max Keeble's Big Move is the greatest movie ever made... if you are 12 years old. Its depiction of junior high is surprisingly enlightening; kids from all over can identify with these simple characters. There's plenty of preteen gossip, wacky school staff members, and drooling over attractive girls. Thus it is a sure-fire hit for its unabashed target audience.

Unfortunately, I'm not 12 years old, and I really didn't need to be reminded of those times I spent fighting with teachers, standing up to bullies, and getting poor grades. So if you're not in the 11- to 13-year-old target market, this film is only remotely amusing.

Continue reading: Max Keeble's Big Move Review

Malibu's Most Wanted Review


Good
Presenting the Hollywood theme of the month: dumb white boy poses as street thug at an all-black nightclub. First, it was Steve Martin as an uptight lawyer in Bringing Down the House. Now, it's Jamie Kennedy (TV's The Jamie Kennedy Experiment) in the race relations comedy Malibu's Most Wanted. The major difference: Kennedy's creation, white gangsta wannabe B-Rad, isn't just posin'. He really thinks he's down. In his mind, he ain't playin'; he's the real shiznit.

That's the crux of director John Whitesell's semi-parody on ethnic and societal stereotypes, and while suffering from being too thin and silly at times, the idea is pulled off better than one might expect. B-Rad is really Brad, as in Brad Gluckman, a super-privileged white Jewish boy who is forced to see what life in the 'hood is really like -- and finds that he actually fits in a little.

Continue reading: Malibu's Most Wanted Review

First Daughter Review


Weak
We now understand why Forest Whitaker and the suits at Fox held off releasing their own presidential daughter romance after Mandy Moore's Chasing Liberty beat them to the punch. Basically, we're looking at the exact same movie save for some minor alterations.

Both involve an overachieving first daughter who, tired of living up to elevated expectations, cuts loose from the presidential apron strings and strikes off in search of pre-twentysomething independence. Moore, in her film, bounces around Europe, while Holmes tests the waters of college life. And while each daughter truly believes they're sowing their wild oats, they both are being watched over by undercover agents planted in their path by the overprotective president. (Liberty was even titled First Daughter in an early incarnation.)

Continue reading: First Daughter Review

Mike Karz

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Mike Karz Movies

Blended Movie Review

Blended Movie Review

Even with its inane script and limp direction, this film is watchable simply because Drew...

New Year's Eve Movie Review

New Year's Eve Movie Review

The team that made the thin-but-enjoyable Valentine's Day in 2010 reunites for another massively overextended...

Sorority Row Movie Review

Sorority Row Movie Review

A remake of the 1983 schlock horror The House on Sorority Row, this film is...

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Max Keeble's Big Move Movie Review

Max Keeble's Big Move Movie Review

Good news! Max Keeble's Big Move is the greatest movie ever made... if you...

Malibu's Most Wanted Movie Review

Malibu's Most Wanted Movie Review

Presenting the Hollywood theme of the month: dumb white boy poses as street thug at...

First Daughter Movie Review

First Daughter Movie Review

We now understand why Forest Whitaker and the suits at Fox held off releasing their...

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