Wild West Weirdness, but Theron Rocks It!

West

 The days of the Wild West movie have become scarce, with only the occasional director up to the task of returning to the rugged frontier.  It seems that chasing bandits, riding horses across the plains, and surviving Native American attacks are no longer popular, replaced by a sea of romantic comedies and big budget book remakes.  My second review this weekend goes back to the world of the 1800’s, though not in the way nostalgic fans like my grandpa expect.  Yes I’m talking about Seth MacFarlane’s latest creation A Million Ways To Die in The West, and boy is it an… interesting project.

 

For those who haven’t seen the trailers, this tale is about a coward named Albert (MacFarlane) who hates the desolate cesspool the West is at the time.  After breaking up with his girl (Amanda Seyfried) and describing plenty of ways to die out in the desert, Albert plans on moving out of the town, only to be pulled in by the newcomer Anna (Charlize Theron).  Interested once more, Albert soon finds himself in a gun standoff where his chances of winning are nil, and must be guided by Anna’s tutelage to secure victory.  What hilarious antics will ensue?

 

In MacFarlane’s world, there are no limits, which we saw with Ted, and this movie is no exception.  From the very start, MacFarlane acts like a fool, stumbling around, both physically and in his words, trying to get a laugh.  His material is very similar to his cartoons, filled with offensive references, racist jokes, and curse-laden sexual innuendos you haven’t heard a million times already.  What started out funny soon became stale, for MacFarlane takes a dead horse and mercilessly beats it into oblivion. MacFarlane has a variety of comedy styles blended in this movie, but often he takes a joke too far as he grinds into your face without relent.  For me in particular, the sexual stuff was the material that failed the most, often presented in some fashion that was a bit over the line, i.e. semen on the face, or a full front view of a sheep’s penis.  Once again the lack of restraint in R rated movies allows his writing to get lazy, no longer clever, or witty as his TV shows are filled with.  Yet some of his talent still remains amidst the cheap laughs, often executed in just the right spots for maximum laughter.

 

However, the best part of the movie for me is Theron.  Her character Anna is a center point for this shell of the story there is, and the most balanced of the cast.  Anna has morals, a conscience to balance the darker secrets she holds, as she teaches Albert the ropes of life.  Surprisingly MacFarlane and company wrote some touching dialog, and integrated a few life values that served as good lesson and helped develop her character.  Yet the blonde beauty is also funny, delivering well-timed jokes without overacting or over emphasizing the lines, plus the girl has got skills in stage shooting.  Theron does all of this so naturally, and was a fantastic pick for this well designed character.  The combination of great acting and a great character is why I loved her so much, plus her gorgeous looks didn’t hurt.

 

What about the rest of the cast?  Seyfried is okay, her character merely a ploy to drive Albert’s actions as the remnants of her Mean Girls’ days shows itself.  Liam Neeson brings his Taken voice to the game, using the steely stare to deliver some imposing threats to help get the village shaking, though he is not in as much of the movie as you might think.  Giovanni Ribisi is still awkward as ever, playing the innocent virgin whose naivety and child like manner provide some interesting comedic moments.  His lines have a little more creativity behind them, but they were not too impressive for me, and would have been worse had Sarah Silverman not been partnered with him. Finally the legendary Neil Patrick Harris wraps up the cast.  Fans of Barney will love his character, the cocky ambience radiating from Foy and his prop mustache.  NPH had me laughing most of the time as he brought all his talent, including singing and dancing, to the Wild West, adding spunk and pizazz to a rather bland world.  He plays the rival so well, and thankfully, wasn’t forced to spout out sexual innuendos or curse like a sailor.  The writers allowed him to be his self, and it fit so well into McFarland’s world.

 

There isn’t much more I can say about this movie.  It’s a western comedy from one of the dirtiest minds in Hollywood.  The movie is filled to the brim with stupidity, making this film one for just a stress reliever or an outing with your friends.  If you are a die-hard fan of MacFarlane I recommend you see this movie, but otherwise save your cash for future movies and rent this on RedBox. 

 

My scores for the film are:

 

Comedy: 6.0

Overall: 5.0

A New Tale, A New Maleficent

Maleficent

            It seems that Disney pumps out a new movie every month these days, as the studio releases yet another film.  Instead of baseball throwing Indians though, this weekend’s film revives an old tale in a new form.  Yes, I’m talking about Disney’s Maleficent, director Robert Stromberg’s adaptation to the animated Sleeping Beauty.  Did he fill the big shoes and hype the trailer’s brought?  Read on to find out

If you haven’t been swept away by the cascade of trailers, this tale focuses on the dark fairy’s origins and how she became so wicked.  At least that is part of the story. Stromberg took some interesting steps in his rehash, putting enough spin on the tale to make it almost an entirely different story that is sure to bring mixed reviews.  I myself rather enjoyed the tale, despite it’s predictability, creating a character-centered story with emotion, passion, and a little bit of surprise while still bringing other elements into the tale.

Of course the main support of the movie is Angelina Jolie, who captured the villainess in both looks and spirit.  Her natural beauty, combined with fantastic makeup and wardrobe, was accentuated in this film, ditching the green skin for a more natural look that radiated power.  Jolie’s beautiful eyes seemed to act on their own, mirroring the emotions trapped within the dark fairy.  Even her voice sounded like Maleficent, grabbing the arrogant and malicious smoothness the cartoon made famous, though her screaming and moaning were a bit overdone. Jolie nailed the spectrum of emotions her part required, and had me fall in love with her acting all over again as well as have a different look on Maleficent.  Of course I am a reviewer who likes his balance, and Maleficent fails to spread the acting weight around, relying on Jolie a little too much

The other cast in this movie were okay, their limited screen time just long enough to bring something to the movie.  Sam Riley as Maleficent’s raven Diablo… er Diaval , was my second favorite of the cast.  His character was a mini version of Maleficent; helping to keep the sorceress on her toes, while providing well timed comedic relief to keep the tale running.  Elle Fanning brings cuteness and positivity, but doesn’t add much more than that, often reduced to walking and smiling at the green screens around her.  Sharlto Copley as King Stefan is an important character, but his overstretched accent, and acting made him a bit more humorous than what I think they intended.

However, the greatest thing about this movie for me is the world Stromberg and company created.  Maleficent’s design is gorgeous in all aspects, as the fictional kingdoms come to life in spectacular detail, that would look even better in 3-D.  While the human kingdom is fitting, the true masterpiece is the Moors, as the mythical beasts and enchanted creatures come out in dazzling colors and light that fits the whimsical nature befitting fairy tales. The integration of nature into each creature, allowed for a variety of creatures to be seen in the movie, each mirroring their place in the hierarchy of Maleficent’s kingdom.  My particular favorites were the tree warriors, not just for the action they brought, but for the integration of cultures and movies in their design, though I’ll admit they are a bit similar to the tree ents in Lord of the Rings.

Maleficent does have some weaknesses at hand.  Some of the creatures were a bit too similar familiar characters we’ve seen in other films, the biggest being the fat elves that look like an overweight Dobby from Harry Potter.  The pixie’s were my biggest problem. Their design was a bit too fake, exaggerated, and sometimes very similar to what Smeagle would look like as a girl.  On top of that, they were airheads that were meant to be funny, but were more annoying, very similar to a certain Star Wars character we all know.  I think Stromberg made them the way that Maleficent saw them, but he just went a little too far for my tastes, luckily they aren’t in most of the movie.  As for the story, the twists are interesting and well needed, but at times I was a bit bored, wanting something else to happen instead of getting an eyeful of Maleficent stalking in the shadows.   It seemed they fast-forwarded through some parts, focusing on the visuals and Jolie, more than the actual story.  Of course I may have been a little close-minded at parts from my expectations of the film.

Maleficent took a different path, but there are so many good elements to this movie that make it worth a trip.  Visually it is gorgeous, and Jolie brings so much to the part though it was at the cost of the other actors. Story wise it is fine, but try to go in with an open mind or you may be disappointed with Stromberg’s approach.  Is it worth the hype?  For me it wasn’t as good as the trailers made it out to be, but it was still good and emotionally fulfilling, despite some of the odd antics.  I would say it is theater worthy to see.

In my book Maleficent scores:

Action/Adventure/Family:  8.0

Movie Overall:  8.0

 

A “Blend” of comedy styles, makes this a cute, though stale, story

Blended

            Adam Sandler movies, you either love them or you hate them.  Over the last few years, the crazy comedian has given us plenty of comedies, some great and some not so great.  Yet like many stars, Sandler has found his niche and does not seem to veer out of his comfort zone of … comedy.  This weekend the latest film in Happy-Madison productions has been released titled Blended, which may raise the question, was this movie worth watching?  I’ll do my best to answer that question.

 

The plot of Blended is simple, two families led by Sandler and Drew Barrymore go on vacation together, by accident, and bring their families along.  Coincidentally genetics has chosen to give the single parents kids all of the opposite sex, which sets the stage for the repetitive, predictable plot elements.  Although stale, the delivery is very cute, showing that happiness can still be achieved despite being thrown a bum rap, (i.e. divorce and death of a spouse).  Both characters being single parents have issues with their kids, especially coming to terms with teenage problems that range from simple boy drama, to coping with alone time and some “interesting images”.  And as you might guess, the predictable transformation into the perfect parent starts to take place, with each family head fulfilling a role the other can’t.  It’s heartwarming, and it gave me goose bumps at seeing true family bonding, but it is done in the same, over dramatized way that borders the line of cheesiness.

 

Of course in an Adam Sandler movie, the “plot” is not really what many go for, but more for what laughs Sandler and his crew can bring out.  Well Blended manages to do just that, blend lots of comedy topics into a formula that was very entertaining. We can start with Sandler himself; the giant kid at heart does the same style he’s known for years.  He still screams like he’s got something in his throat, often falling into what I call his Billy Madison voice to make fans scream with laughterOther times he is actually delivering some well written quips, emphasizing key words or putting just the right spin to get the point across, like Chandler from friends.  And of course what would an Adam Sandler movie be without a funny face or two to keep things even kiddier.  All of these qualities are in the mix for this movie that will entertain loyal fans for the entire two hours.

 

Sandler alone isn’t the only thing funny about this movie though, he is merely the medium of a choice to bring a lot of the comedy to life.  For me, the funniest aspect of the movie is the writingUnlike other Sandler movies, and comedy films in general, Blended has decided to spread out the comedy styles and mix them together in a script full of fun and laughter.  Awkward conversations about periods, analogies comparing overprotective behavior with that of a prison warden, jabs at character flaws that blow back up in their faces, and well-timed sarcasmEach of these qualities is seen throughout the movie, integrated into the sentimental plot to keep the mood fun, without taking away from the compassion within the scene.  The writing team did a nice job actually using the comedy as relief; instead of just throwing out a storm of comedic gibberish that loses it’s edge over time.

 

We all know that Sandler’s latest projects lack a certain balance either being insanely kiddy (Bedtime Stories), uncomfortably focused on inappropriate sexual things (That’s my boy), or just a mish mash of stupidity (Grown ups 2).  Not the case for Blended, I felt they didn’t overdo most of the jokes and found a way to keep me laughing throughout the entire film.  Even repeats of jokes retained their humor, except for the head-bashing thing, because they added just a little unexpected extra that kept it fresh.  Having the rest of the cast also participate also helped with the humor.  I said that Sandler did a lot of the jokes, but the rest of the cast got to put their two cents in for making us laugh.  Hearing mispronounced biological processes from an 8 year old’s mouth, or seeing the name of lingerie misunderstood as candy are just some of the examples that had me nearly in tears.  While some things do go a little over the line for the younger audience members, most of the mature jokes are masked well enough, but still exercise caution before bringing your family.

 

Despite the balance in comedy though, Blended is something we’ve already seen.  It’s a plot line that has been done a million times with a comedy style we’ve known quite well for years.  Haters of Sandler’s comedy style, or super predictable endings should stay away from Blended, even though it is one of the better comedies he’s put out in a while.  It is cute, and while incredibly silly and juvenile, it’s a feel good movie that is meant for family outings.  Such simplistic films are good to have OCCASIONALLY. So if you are looking for a comedy that will truly entertain you, I recommend this film, otherwise skip the theaters this weekend and get prepped for next weekend.

 

My scores are:

 

Comedy: 7.0

Movie Overall:  6.0-6.5

Sandler movie:  8.0

Three stories unite into one suspenseful tale

x-men

 

Happy Memorial day weekend my friends, and what better way to welcome the weekend than with another movie review. Today we cover the new X-men movie, a series which over the last 14 years has split into three story arcs that has led to a mixture of receptions. Yet director Bryan Singer has returned to the project to hopefully clean the mess others have made, hopefully returning the spark the first two movies held. Did it work?  Read on to find out.

 

From the trailers, X-men Days of Futures Past is a time traveling adventure that sends the rugged Wolverine back into the past to meet up with the youthful, though distraught, X-men.  The goal of this mission is to stop the construction of the legendary mutant hunting sentinels, and prevent a dark future from arising that could mean the end of humanity.

 

I know a bit cliché, but despite the stale time traveling story line the latest X-men feature has a lot of great qualities.  We’ll start with the acting.  Days of Future Past has a lot of characters that fans will recognize and perhaps be excited to see.  Hugh Jackman has stepped back into the Wolverine role, still bringing the tough guy with a big heart and even bigger edge back to the screen. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender reprise their roles as young X and magneto, bringing back some of their chemistry, while bringing other qualities to their characters.  Of course most are interested in Ms. Popularity herself, Jennifer Lawrence, playing the young, and deadly, Mystique.  Of all the characters, she has the broadest emotional spectrum, which Lawrence once again brings to life in her typical fashion that makes many lover her.  The rest of the group does well, but due to space limitations and the fact they are secondary, I’ll move on.

 

Despite the story being just another time traveling tale, X-men Days of Future Past has great delivery to pull it off well.  The first twenty minutes set the stage in an explosive opening, setting the pace and time limit of the movie.  Once back in the past, Wolverine sets out to accomplish his goals, bringing in the rest of the crew gradually.  This is where Singer’s work speaks for itself as he somehow reveals more of his character’s, while still keeping the film moving.  I didn’t see too many scenes where the mission had to stop while the group had a heart to heart *cough Batman *cough.

 

As these characters changed, for better or for worse, the story twisted, keeping the plot fresh and more unpredictable than some of the tales in the past.  It was great trying to figure out what the characters would do next, wondering how far some of the mutants would go to destroy the evil without throwing the events further into chaos.  Of course, there are plenty of hints that take away from the surprise that, if you pay attention, will help you predict what is coming next, with a few exceptions of course.

 

Yet the thing I really loved about this movie was how balanced everything was.  Singer once again brought a blend of traits to his project that was done in the appropriate amounts.  The comedic timing was top notch, having both old, new, and X-men reference styles present that were not overdone nor rubbed in my face.   Drama was spread out evenly, not focusing on one character’s drama for too long nor was it focused on a single type of drama (i.e. just on romantic affairs), keeping me interested instead of asking when will this end.  Even the action was done well, with the opening getting the pace of the movie started, and ending with heated excitement to wrap up the intense story line.  Such balance is key to many movies my friends, and something that many other genres lack.

 

Of course there is no perfect movie, and X-men does have a few flaws for me.  While they did a great job tying the three stories together, Singer and company had a few story stretches that were a bit too farfetched for me.  The explanation for how Xavier could walk, or how the X-men could so easily sneak about were just two examples.  Another flaw included how some of the characters, primarily first class, were written off, requiring some close attention to detail to determine their fate.  I know there are probably good reasons for this approach, but they best be careful for their next films to avoid any conflict.  As for the action, while very balanced I wanted more.  Special effects wise it was great, but the scenes lacked some excitement, and were surprisingly shorter than I had anticipated from the trailers.

 

Overall Days of Future Past was one of, if not the best X-men movie I’ve seen.  All three stories are integrated into a tale that will keep you on the edge, and is one of those suspenseful movies that keeps you on the edge of your seat.  With a balanced plot line, well done action, and some great acting, fans of the series may have their faith restored that this series can be good.  Yes they still have some things to work on, but I trust that the next movie can be just as good, especially with the end of the credits scene.  Just make sure to bring Singer back for that as well!

 

 

Score overall:

 

Action/Adventure/Fantasy: 9.0

Movie overall: 8.5

 

 

Grand Slam Inspiration, Same Formula

Million Dollar Arm

 

Disney seems to have their hands in every pot these days with animation, superhero movies, even Star Wars is in the plans these days.  However tonight’s review is all about Disney’s sports movie genre.  Now with classics like Remember the Titans and Miracle, we’ve seen the studios make history come alive, yet the current focus for many sports movies is moving out of the arena and going behind the scenes of the athletic world.  Today I share my thoughts on Million Dollar Arm, another addition to the baseball movie franchise.  .

 

Now we all know Disney, they like to open up a film, most of the time, by showing the protagonist being down on their luck, and this film is no different.  After a client decides to look at a different company to sponsor him, JB (Jon Hamm) is forced to take a gamble on recruiting the first Major League players from India.  With the help of his crew, he manages to find Rinku (Suraj Sharma) and Dinesh (Madhur Mittal), two boys with big dreams and big hearts, who are forced to take a trip that will challenge all of their characters.

 

Will they do it?  I’m not telling you, but Disney has combined a variety of things to make a great story for you to enjoy.  First thing to mention is the blending of cultures.  Director Craig Gillepsie has crafted a film that shows off the lifestyles of both Americans and Indians alike.  The comparison and contrast of these cultures is beautifully captured on film, often accompanied by a score that compliments the customs and feel of the scene.  While Disney still has a way of adding sappy, everything is happy moments; they alleviate such antics with comedy relief, often throwing insults to both cultures in a classy way that keeps the movie fun.  This balanced blend is much appreciated, as it keeps the movie fresh and avoids making the movie a two-hour snooze fest.

 

However the cinematography is not just about showing off the unique settings, but also assisting in bringing the characters to life.  Of course acting helps with characters as well, and Million Dollar Arm has a strong cast to support the story.  Hamm has the most dynamic role, forced to transition between various qualities, as his character evolves over the course of the film.  Sharma and Mittal, do a nice job playing the boys discovering a new world who bear a heavy weight of making their country/families proud.  Pitobash and Alan Arkin are the comedy stars, each delivering the lines with well-timed emphasis that adds the kick to make the scene funny, especially when it’s not beaten over your head (take notes people, more doesn’t mean better).  Finally the lovely Lake Bell cleans up for the main crew.  A combination of beauty and acting, Bell’s character Brenda provides confidence, rationality, and fun that makes you feel energized no matter what consequences may arise.  The chemistry between all of them is incredible, and very balanced to craft a family you will fall in love with.

 

   Of course this is a Disney movie and that means, especially when it comes to real life movies, inspirational moments.  Million Dollar Arm is filled to the brim with moments that will make you want to go out and fight for your dreams.  As custom to Disney, these scenes are often elaborate, with great emphasis on the characters challenges, struggles, or skills.  Close ups on their faces are often followed by sequences of audience members watching in suspense, including skeptical scouts and coaches, trying to bring you into the scene.  And of course, Disney quickly offsets such suspense, with a light hearted gimmick that helps relieve the tension you might be feeling.  Such feel good moments are old hat for Disney, especially with the music score they choose to play alongside the scene, but at the end of the movie you will get a warm feeling in your heart that might bring a tear to your eye. 

 

Yet like their heartwarming scenes, Million Dollar Arm is a predictable story filled with obvious foreshadowing and build-up to what comes next.  Those who don’t pay attention to obvious cues may be surprised by the outcomes, but otherwise don’t expect many twists in this story.  Also the stakes for failure seem to be high in the movie, yet when they actually fail, the consequences do not reflect the tone the characters make and are often blown over.  Perhaps it’s because they wanted a quicker movie, or perhaps just wanted to keep it upbeat, but there is a lack of bite to this film.  Even when JB goofs up and upsets his “family” there is no edge, just quick a resolve that makes everything suddenly okay.  A final, minor weakness, is that this movie is like all the other Disney sports movies you’ve seen.  The formula is still the same and the lack of a new approach takes away the uniqueness of the film

 

Regardless of the weaknesses, Million Dollar Arm is a good movie that is great for audiences of all ages.  The chemistry between the actors should pull you into their little group, having you root for the team, as they embark on their journey.  Throw in the comedy and a little love story, and you’ve got something for everyone to enjoy.  Yes, it’s still Disney’s “magical” approach to everything, but I assure you that this movie will put a smile on your face and entertain you nonetheless.  So if you’re looking for a film this weekend, I give two thumbs up for Million Dollar Arm! 

 

My scores are:

Biography/Drama/Sports:  7.5

Movie Overall:  8.0

Oh My Godzilla!

           godzilla

 

Remember back to the day of men in rubber monster suits fighting in a plastic city filled with fake planes and toy tanks? Yeah me too, but despite this cheesy picture, an empire was built on the monster known as Godzilla. Over the years the green lizard has fought countless beasts, robots, and even the human race in rage filled, loud roaring, goodness that many have grown to love. So after fifteen years off the silver screen, the king of the monsters has emerged from the depths of the movie ocean in what looks to be a blend of horror and survival thrills.

 

The trailers painted a darker twist to the franchise, often showing shots of the thunder lizard hidden in a fog of debris and haze. Ear splitting roars mixed with a downtrodden symphony score and military firing into the haze of the unknown had me excited that the beast was back with a monstrous bite. Yet I was surprised tonight, somewhat, when the actual movie started. Godzilla starts off much like the trailers laying a backstory that lays out a bit of the trouble humanity has had over the last fifty years. Bryan Cranston’s character gets tangled up in the mess and suffers a major blow that spans over fifteen years to when a beast gets unleashed. This is where the surprise hits, as the monster I thought to awaken wasn’t the green man himself, but instead was a creature I had long forgotten.

 

This monster, as well as all the monsters that show up, are beautifully designed, with the director doing a great job working with his designers to bring the epic beasts to life. Godzilla himself is gorgeous, from the shading and ruggedness of his scales, to the realistic throbbing of his throat as he roars. Fans of the rubber suit and cheesy cartoons will applaud as the design favors more of the classical look, while those expecting a modernized goliath will not be as impressed. As for the other creatures, they look okay, but they lack the attention the king of the monsters got, but that’s to be expected right? Yet despite the CGI work, the monsters remained off screen for a large part of the movie, often making brief appearances before the camera cuts to a different scene or shot of their backs as they swim or stomp across the world. Sure at the end we got a bit more of the creatures, including some grandiose, albeit slow, fights that helped the movie finish strong

 

So then what fills the screen most of the time if not the monsters? Well the main focus is on Aaron Taylor-Johnson the British actor now turned into an American GI. His character, ironically named Ford, was in a majority of the shots often staring into the distance with some sort of scowl, or running from an animated obstacle. Ford’s story is not really unique, nor does he really develop that many relationships, as he seems to jump from one situation to the next as if the movie were a video game. The lack of personal development made his character a bit flat for me, though his acting was superb in just about anything they made him do. As for the other characters, they take a huge step back in this role, often in only a few shots to act as a placeholder to reassure the audience that his motivation remains. Even the legendary Cranston takes a back seat in this movie. The only other actor I can say makes a major contribution to this movie is Ken Watanabe, whose character filled in the gaps left behind in the beginning to keep the audience in the “story”. It seems Watanabe was the spokesperson for Godzilla, pretty much trying to tell everyone how amazing and powerful Big G was, when everyone else just wanted to blow his head off.

 

Lack of actors aside, the action promised in this movie really only occurs at the end. A few times, the director led up to what was sure to be an epic clash, only to drop the action and place it in the background, i.e. a quick news clip or explosions in the distance. I get it, he wanted to show the perspective (reality to some) of the humans in a monster pandemic and how powerless we really are, but dangling the carrot got a bit old for me. The special effects tried to keep the suspense going, but for this reviewer, as well as some other fans, more action was needed then just running, screaming, and occasionally firing a bullet. Luckily the director saved the big guns for last, unleashing their power in special effects extravaganza. I won’t say too much more, but trust me in the fact that some classic Godzilla action does come your way, if you can be patient.

 

The latest reboot of the thunder lizard’s career is beautifully crafted, but I expected a little more sustenance to the movie. While Taylor-Johnson certainly plays his part well, his flat relationships and lack of other characters took away from the suspense and left an emotionally stunted ending. Overall Godzilla has taken a step back to the classic monster movie, it just needed a bit more action for this reviewer. There is a lot of slow buildup, and you may get mad that monster king kind of takes a back seat for most of the film. Yet amidst the plethora of destroyed town sequences, and EMP induced crashes, lies a decent movie that will hopefully spark another movie in the future, one with a little more emphasis on the Big G himself.

 

Overall my scores are:

Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi: 7.0

Movie Overall: 6.0-6.5

Rogen and Efron Clash: Vulgar Humor Ensues

tt2004420.jpg

           

 

Did you think I was dead? No, my year or so off has been nothing more than a time of constant studying, assessments, and yes homework, but now I’m back to try and cover the latest movies. This Mother’s Day weekend we have an interesting movie to celebrate the holiday titled Neighbors starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron. Now you may have seen these two in various skits, and Comedy Central specials, but this reviewer was wondering if these two could make a stupid looking movie, fun and worth the seven dollar admission price. Did they succeed? Read on to find out.

 

            If you haven’t seen the trailer, Neighbors involves a couple (Rogen and Byrne) with a newborn baby who suddenly get a batch of new neighbors in the form of a college fraternity led by President Teddy (Zac). For fear of losing sleep and disturbing their daughter’s rest, they ask for the frat house to keep it down, but when they don’t (big surprise right) a rivalry ensues between the two households that is sure to bring some hilarious antics.

 

            Just like This is The End, the producers behind this comedy have brought raunchiness and stupidity into a blend that will have many laughing the whole movie. Fans of Rogen’s typical comedy style, i.e. exaggerated repeating of words and screaming, will be pleased to see his stale character return once more. Efron on the other hand, has stepped into a role that can only be described as High School Musical’s Troy joining a fraternity minus the singing. Ridiculous, overconfident, and yet somehow unsure, Efron brings all these qualities to his character quite well, when he isn’t acting like a drugged out idiot. The two alone were not that impressive to me, but the chemistry between them was not half bad. One can feel the rivalry grow between the two, feeling the emotion seething as the movie continues. Both became lost in their battle of wits, yet somehow have other emotions that make their characters real.

 

            Yet acting really isn’t the focus of a movie like this, but rather what antics the writers can think of to make the audience scream with laughter. Well this movie is jam packed with drug-induced stupidity that somehow tops the box office every other week. Parties and raves make up most of this movie that will bring many people back to the fun days where life was all about losing your self. Amidst the partying, there is a bit of Revenge of the Nerds mixed in, throwing strategic sabotage with modern culture, i.e. bros before hoes concept. It’s clever at parts, but mostly diluted by the vulgar scenes of sex and drinking, throwing in a few “unique” fundraisers to save the day, which had many crying in their seats.

 

The aspect I enjoyed the most had to be the writing. When they weren’t spouting out the F word, the writers put some zingers in the mix that were very funny. References to movies, puns, and some obscene cow tipping jokes had me rolling in my seat. The execution by Rogen in particular made the lines jump out, and perhaps answers the question as to why his character is so popular. Dave Franco as well does a nice job with the comedy, acting stupid just enough to be humorous, without overstepping into the annoying zone, and like Rogen, had great timing and diversity to remain fun. Efron on the other hand was an emotional mess, and forced his lines a little too much on me, unless he was with Rogen and then he wasn’t half bad. Yet many, especially ladies, won’t care as the man has his shirt off for a lot of the movie, and when clothed is usually in a tight shirt. Yet as Taylor Lautner proved in Twilight, this is all you have to do these days to get parts, yeah I went there.   Many will find the jokes relevant, especially with the numerous references to Seth Rogen movies and reality television to make the cows come home. Word of warning, there is a LOT OF VULGAR HUMOR TO THIS MOVIE with numerous references to the male genitalia, lots of swearing, and a few other things I don’t wish to mention, so take caution.

 

Overall Neighbors isn’t that bad of a movie, very dirty minded yes, but overall fun and relevant to the modern audience. The writing and the timing were the strong points to this film, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen in other comedies that have flooded the box office over the year. If you just want some stupid humor fun, or need a quick Zac Efron booty call then grab a group of friends and go enjoy the show. Otherwise save your money for some of the other films that are coming like Maleficent or X-Men.

 

My scores for this movie are:

 

Overall: 6.5

Comedy: 6.5

 

So until next weekend folks, this is Robbie K signing off and telling you to enjoy the movies.