Pam Brady

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Hamlet 2 Review


Weak
Andrew Fleming's Hamlet 2, a hot potato at this year's Sundance Film Festival which was purchased by Focus Features, takes nothing seriously and that should be taken both literally and pervasively. The humor has an illimitable ardor for defecating on political correctness but it has a similar indifference toward any sort of continuity in filmmaking, storytelling, or style. Written by Fleming and Pam Brady, the film brandishes the sort of overtly offensive, partisan political taunting gags and guffaws that one might find on Comedy Central's South Park, the show Ms. Brady writes for regularly.

In the Mesa high school in Tucson where Fleming sets his gonzo theatrics, culture is either alive-and-well or being beaten to death with a sack full of cantaloupes, depending on who you talk to. The drama department has just finished a stage production of Steven Soderbergh's Erin Brockovich, under the tutelage of Dana Marschz (Steve Coogan). An actor who hit his peak on commercials for herpes medication and Jack LaLanne's Power Juicer (two products that aren't always mutually exclusive), Marschz has moved his wife (Catherine Keener) and random friend Dave (David Arquette) to Arizona to teach acting. It's the first day of the new semester when Marschz finds out that his class has grown from a closeted homosexual (Skylar Astin) and a goody-two-shoes (Phoebe Strole) to an entire class made up mostly of Latino outcasts and some white dude who has a jones for rave culture. It's no small wonder that Marschz's dementia, once goofy and lovable, becomes unstable and leads concurrently to the attempted dismantling of the drama department and the writing of Marschz's titular brainchild, Hamlet 2.

Continue reading: Hamlet 2 Review

Hot Rod Review


Good
If you're reading this review of Hot Rod, you are likely on the internet, which means you have probably seen previous work by filmmakers Andy Samberg (star), Jorma Taccone (co-star), and Akiva Schaffer (director), whose Saturday Night Live snippets have been passed around the web almost as much as quotes misattributed to George Carlin. And if you've read other reviews of Hot Rod anywhere, you've heard about how Samberg and company went from minor online sensation (as part of video-comedy troupe The Lonely Island) to SNL staff (Samberg performs, Taccone and Schaffer write) to SNL internet ambassadors (most famously for the rap video "Lazy Sunday") to, finally, a keen summer job translating their sketch-comedy sensibility to the big screen.

But the appeal of Hot Rod is simpler than viral internet paradigm shifts: it is a very silly movie with a nature equal parts good and strange. Samberg plays Rod, who we infer from other characters to be a twentysomething, but who based on demeanor, ambition, and Samberg's crooked, sometimes crazed smile may be as young as 12. Rod's goal of becoming a much-loved, professional, stand-alone stuntman is such a deliberate anachronism that it's almost completely original, if not for the faintly memorable existence of Evel Knieval -- an existence that gives Rod a lot of hope (his deceased father's profession is explained as more or less Knieval's understudy).

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South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut Review


Excellent
I'll say it up front: This is not your classic four-star review. South Park is definitely an acquired taste, but it's one I've picked up, despite the series' lackluster performance over this season.

South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut certainly makes up for it, taking the comic adventures of four boys in the "redneck town" of South Park, Colorado to new highs, er, lows, in their feature debut.

Continue reading: South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut Review

Team America: World Police Review


Excellent
Say you're a couple of clever but potty-mouthed guys from Colorado. You make a crude and crudely animated cartoon for cable, and it becomes a huge hit. You parlay your cartoon into a successful feature film and collect an Oscar nomination on the merits of an anti-Canada song from that film. After taking such an improbable path to the Hollywood success, what can you possibly do for your big screen follow-up?

You make a comedy about terrorism. With puppets.

Continue reading: Team America: World Police Review

Pam Brady

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