The idea of children become functioning adults is often a terrifying thought for parents, especially when their innocence is at stake. 'Blockers' explores the hilarious results of when a group of parents become hellbent on preserving their teens' virginities in the run up to their prom night.
It only seems like yesterday when Lisa (Leslie Mann), Mitchell (John Cena) and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) waved goodbye to their young daughters on their first day of elementary school. Now, more than a decade later, those girls are still the best of friends - but everything else has sure changed.
Julie (Kathryn Newton), Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) and Sam (Gideon Adlon) are excited to celebrate a milestone in their teen lives: the high school prom. And just to make their parents' insecurities more profound, Julie carelessly leaves her laptop open for the grown-ups to find one day, where her and her friends' phone conversations are being stored.
More than just a misfire, this attempt at a rude comedy goes so spectacularly wrong that it actually contradicts its own jokes even as it's telling them. But then it undermines everything as it goes along, for example indulging rampantly in comical cruelty before trying to say something meaningful about the dangers of bullying. The real question is how the cast members could have agreed to make a movie in which they all come across as incoherent idiots.
The story opens as Dan (Vince Vaughn) clashes with his boss Chuck (Sienna Miller) then quits dramatically, taking newly retired Tim (Tom Wilkinson) and airhead newbie Mike (Dave Franco) with him to start a new sales company. But after a year, business isn't good, and the future hinges on making a massive deal with Bill and Jim (Nick Frost and James Marsden). The problem is that Chuck is also bidding for the business, so Dan, Tim and Mike fly off to Maine and then Berlin to seal the deal with a handshake. Impossibly they arrive in Berlin at the same time as Oktoberfest, the marathon, a gay S&M festival and the G8 Summit, with its accompanying anarchist protest. Meanwhile back home, Dan's wife (June Diane Raphael) is having problems with the kids.
Frankly, there is so much going on in this film that it's exhausting. It's as if screenwriter Conrad just threw everything he could think of onto the page and didn't worry if it made even a lick of sense. Every scene feels interrupted by a bit of random chaos that isn't remotely amusing. And despite making a movie that's obsessed with sex, the filmmakers are unable to decide whether they want to make fun of it or are terrified of it (so they end up being both at the same time). Each time something interesting or funny threatens to happen, it's sideswiped by something so breathtakingly bungled that we don't know where to look.
Continue reading: Unfinished Business Review
Despite his business acumen and ability to land important deals, one businessman named Dan Trunkman (Vince Vaughn) still managed to get a pay cut from his uncaring boss - who may be hot but she's still widely hated throughout the company. A year later, he's set up his very own business with only two employees: one man who's old enough to have retired a decade ago (Tom Wilkinson), and a boy who's barely out of college (if he ever managed to get that far) hilariously named Mike Pancake (Dave Franco). Even in spite of the unsual trio, they still manage to secure a lucrative deal with a top company and make way for a trip to Germany to shake on it. However, another company threatens to disrupt everything - Dan's former employers. In order to be noticed over his busty blonde former boss, he has to pull out all the stops. And we mean all of them.
Continue: Unfinished Business - Red Band Trailer
Even though this comedy has a tendency to dip into cartoonish silliness, it's anchored by a razor-sharp performance by Wiig as a woman forced to confront everything she hates about herself. The film is also packed with hilarious moments that keep us laughing, and it also gets surprisingly sexy and emotional along the way.
Wiig plays Imogene, who has done nothing with her career after winning a rising-star playwright award. Then she loses her day job as a listings editor just as her high-flier boyfriend (Petsos) leaves her. When she fakes a suicide attempt to get some attention, she's court-ordered to move in with her free-spirited mother Zelda (Bening) back home in New Jersey. There she struggles with Zelda's colourful boyfriend George (Dillon), who claims to be a top-secret spy, her goofy-inventor brother Ralph (Fitzgerald) and the smart, sexy and very young lodger Lee (Criss) who rents her old bedroom. But just as she's beginning to cope, a family secret shakes her to the core.
Even as the script strains to be improbably zany, Wiig holds the film together with a startlingly honest comical turn. From the start we knew she didn't fit in with her Manhattan friends, and her slightly out-of-control personality is much more suited to the Jersey Shore. Her scenes with Criss are very nicely played, as they develop an unexpected relationship. By contrast, Bening struggles to appear as dim as Zelda seems to be, while Dillon hams it up as her fantasist toy boy and Fitzgerald's Ralph is so nutty that he seems to be from another movie altogether.
Continue reading: Girl Most Likely Review
Imogene cannot seem to move on from her unsuccessful career as a playwright in New York and her destroyed relationship with a former boyfriend. Dreaming of the past and what could've been, she goes into meltdown and wakes up in the bed of a psychiatric unit with a doctor informing her that she must either stay in hospital or be cared for by a close relative. She is ultimately forced to go back to her hometown in New Jersey to be with her wayward mother who has never had the ability to take care of her properly as a child let alone as an adult. However, when she gets home, she discovers that her mother is living with an eccentric compulsive liar and has rented out Imogene's bedroom to a young man, who happens to be rather charming. She soon learns that in order to get better and be able to stand on her own two feet again, she must accept her family as it is and forgive her mother for her past struggles.
Continue: Girl Most Likely Trailer
When Erin and Garrett have a chance meeting in a bar in New York, both feel a connection to one and other but they know it's not going to go anywhere. Erin is a charming and witty woman and Garrett can't help but fall for her. The only problem is Garrett is a New Yorker, all his friends and job are based in the city and Erin lives in San Francisco.
Continue: Going The Distance Trailer
These are not preliminary selections for the inaugural class of an as-yet-unfounded Hollywood Hall of Shame. They are instead the most recent cinematic abominations to have been released in the early weeks of the new year, dating back to 2005. My colleagues and I regularly joke that if a studio hopes to bury a movie in the cold, efficient style of the mob hiding Jimmy Hoffa, they release it in early January (late August is a suitable alternative). And I've long believed if an intelligent studio sought a surefire hit, they'd counter-program a halfway decent film against the post-holiday garbage, then sit back and watch the box-office receipts pour in.
Continue reading: Bride Wars Review
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