This Gringo Was Not The Heffe



Dark-Comedies are an acquired taste, but once you develop it you have the ability to appreciate more satirical comedy.  David Oyelowo attempts to bring this genre to life this weekend in the movie Gringo, a film that has some bite I didn’t expect from a movie this early in the year.  But what zany adventures will unfold when a black man is stuck between the high stakes world of pharmaceutical development and the cartels?  Well that is what this film attempts to answer, and it is my job to give you the 411 on the latest movies to storm the screen.  Let’s go!




-David Oyelowo Acting

-Morale dilemma

-Funny at times



Gringo is a movie that likes to go over the top, with characters that are all about going to one extreme or the other. However David Oyelowo is the character that has a little more dynamic than the other.  Oyelowo is fun to watch, for me being the funniest character with his loud, rambunctious delivery of lines that are loaded with high-pitched panicking screams. Yet he is able to turn that energy around, and focus it to give a character that is worth looking into as he tries to navigate the hostile world he wound up in.  Like his character Harold, Oyelowo keeps things very relatable and invests his time to making a good adventure.

But what is an adventure without a little ethics debate to come into the light.  Gringo does this just right as the conversation of doing the right thing vs. the selfish thing constantly rears its ugly head in the cartel wastelands that this film takes place in. Harold’s journey not only tests his own morals, but inspires others to address their own life choices, from settling on abusive boyfriends to what one will do to get money to accomplish their personal goals.  It fits okay into the movie, but there are some hard hitting dialogue moments to help reassure that the best stuff doesn’t mean the best life.

As stated earlier, dark comedies are a little dryer than other, more modern comedies so you have to be ready for more delivery and timing to do the lifting.  Gringo has some legit comedic moments, really taking an awkward situation and turning it into a tear inducing riot of laughs.  These moments often have a nice, clever zing to them, that Oyelowo maximizes using his natural accent and mannerisms.

And all of these components are able to be placed in a decently paced run time that minimizes the slow and maximizes the thrills.




-Curse heavy dialogue

-Not as funny as I had hoped

-Much ruined by trailers

-A little chaotic at the end


You’ve read my reviews, but you know that lazy writing that relies of cursing doesn’t get my stamp of approval.  Gringo has extreme characters that don’t use the most advanced language, relying once more on F-bombs and sleazy pick up lines to do the talking.  While pertinent to the story, for once, and sometimes entertaining, Gringo utilized these tactics too much for my tastes.  Even the yelling of Oyelowo got old, with many of his pleas soon running dry like the desert he ran through.  As such, this movie didn’t really have the comedic punch I wanted, but more a thrill seeking, dark adventure with a little comedic buff thrown in.  Perhaps this is also due to the fact that a lot of the funny parts had been advertised to death in the trailers, resulting in the overplayed scene being boring by show time. And once the last scene started to end and all the stories came together, things sort of wrapped up in a chaotic package that wasn’t in time with the movie.  Not the worst mind you, but not what I quite expected from the trailers.





Gringo is okay, and designed for a select audience that wants the darker things in life to be ridiculed.  This film is a legitimate mixture of drama, crime, adventure and comedy, taking these aspects and twisting it into a semi-entertaining story with some moral obligations to address.  While I enjoyed Oyelowo and the well-timed zingers, I still can’t say this was the best, most unique comedy to hit the screen.  The extreme characters, mundane dialog, and chaotic organization (ruined by the trailers), didn’t deliver the expected feel I got from the advertising and as such left more to be desired.  So I recommend skipping this one and hitting something else in the month of March.


My scores are:


Action/Comedy/Crime:  7.0

Movie Overall: 6.0



Game On For This Night Of Fun

Game night


Comedies, another genre that crashes into theaters, like waves crashing on a beach.  Whit is often lost in the flood of comedy movies, but every so often, the minds are able to once again give us something fresher to laugh at.  Today’s flick involved the ever-popular game night, a tradition that works its way into the homes of all ages to help with establishing friendly rivalries, a local watering hole, and the chance to drink and compete.  Tonight I finish my reviews with Game Night starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, which hopes to amp up the stakes of tradition for the chance at big wins and adventure.  Let’s get started on the review to determine if the house paid.




-Multiple comedy styles

-An intriguing mystery

-Decent Character Development

-Clever Adventure at times


Game Night is a comedy that works well in terms of the multiple styles of comedy packed into the small-time frame of the movie.  Slapstick, stupidity, one liners, over the top stunts, and overacted delivery are balanced together to keep things interesting and fun in the 100 minutes or so of content. And while much of this is dumb fun, there is an intriguing mystery to ground it all to a common point and keep things in line.  How far does the rabbit hole descend in terms of crime, you’ll have to see for yourself, but there are plenty of twists to keep you guessing.  Surprisingly, Game Night’s players have a little more background than the usual pawns of this genre, with each member dealing with some issue that plagues them.  Themes like responsibility, jealousy, and self-worth are all here, gradually expanded upon as the teams try to find the clues to rescuing their kidnapped colleague.  It’s a clever adventure and gets my two thumbs up in terms of a unique flair.




-Sometimes too stupid

-Tried to Hard

-More Game Night Antics needed


No surprise, this movie is jam packed with idiotic antics to tickle the funny bone.  At first these gags were good, some of the running jokes building momentum to deliver some well-timed punches.  Soon the audience and I started to give pity laughs at the jokes being entirely too stupid, dragging on to levels that made napping look like a better option.  Even worse, sometimes the characters tried too hard to be funny, Bateman in particular putting too much behind his delivery.  These moments are fairly obvious and start to overshadow the game night qualities I was hoping this movie had.  Given all the mysteries, and theme of game night, I had hoped for a little more antics that mirrored the games one usually plays at a game night, like an intense scrabble mystery, or a Jenga like obstacle course.  Instead, the movie resorted to the usual stunts and tactics, that while entertaining at times just lacked the originality they could have held.




When it comes to comedies, Game Night wins in terms of the variety of comedic ploys it unleashes in such a short time frame. With an intriguing mystery and some decent character development, you will get a decent adventure compared to most other ridiculous comedies that grace the theater. Still, Game Night suffers from overacted antics and stupidity that gets stale quickly, lacking that full-on game night cleverness you might have expected.  It is a start mind you, but there is plenty to work with should a second game night be picked up should it make enough money this weekend. As much fun as this movie is, I can suggest a trip to the theater for this one for a group night out, but otherwise hold out until the rental services get it.


My scores are:

Comedy/Crime/Mystery:  7.5

Movie Overall: 6.5

Early Age Comedy

Early Man

            This year is a big year for sports with both Winter Olympics and The World Cup ringing in the sporting events that we all flock too.  The latter event in particular is one of the most recognizable sports of all time and a big influence for a variety of games, television series and of course movies.  My review today is one of those movies, about this international sensation that tries to put a comedic spin on the potential origins of this obsession.  As you’ve read, today’s review is on the latest animated adventure Early Man, the stop motion/clay animation like movie to try to charm the modern-day audience.  What is in store?  As always read on to find out!



AnimationNo surprise, an animated movie has good animation, but Early Man gets bonus points in terms of using more traditional methods to make the story come to life.  This film’s animation is solid, with fluid motion being beautifully presented as they practice stone age soccer.  I admire the fact that they did not take short cuts in this film and appreciate the unique character design that the studio presented, no matter how odd they look.  Early Man certainly isn’t the prettiest of the animated features, but it does net points in the unique category.


Story:  Yes, the movie is certainly one of the more childish based movies, but the story is surprisingly deeper than you might be imagining.  Early Man is indeed a comedy centered in soccer and trying to have the little guy beat the big guy.  However, loaded with this time-tested tale is a story that involved building confidence, the development of the mentor, and of course the quality of teamwork.  These values are well-crafted into the fun at hand, putting some relevance to the antics at hand.  And of course, the movie is wrapped up in that family friendly package you G-PG seekers are looking for, though be warned there are a few words (not cursing related) that may be repeatable by little ears.


Clever:  Early Man is certainly not the most unique story, but the humor has a bit more wit behind the mindless babbling that sometimes comes out.  The writers settle on the British style of laughs, using accent heavy presentations, pokes at popular cultures, and some inside, cultural reference jokes that I thoroughly enjoy.  While the movie has a lot of slapstick for kids, the adults will get some chuckles at these references, some of which are indeed only understandable by older ears.


The Pig:  One character that particularly stands out is the pig.  This studio always seems to give more prowess to their animal characters than humans, with Hognob being no exception to the rule.  Semi-anthropomorphized, Hognob has the most dynamic nature of all the cast of heroes.  With little, to no words, the pig is able to bring a lot of feelings to the scene while also bringing the most laughs.  His constant attempts to save his masters, act as a decoy, and even training with the team makes for some entertainment.



Too Silly:  Despite the cleverness behind the movie, Early Man is still geared toward the younger audiences.  Therefore, the silly, kiddy factor takes the helm and steers it headlong into that area.  All the slapstick humor of soccer injuries, impossible chases, and attempting to devour various people/animals are going to be the majority of the humor you’ll see.  It is well timed at certain points, but this humor got stale quickly for me and sometime was unimpressive.


Anticlimactic:  The premise of the film was soccer match between the stone and bronze age, therefore you were hoping for a semi-epic match against the two.  Unfortunately, the exciting climax actually gets diluted by the funny business, reduced to a few quick plays, some over the top slapstick, and a very lackluster finale.  It seems like they still need to take a page from Disney, and actually deliver on a big bang finale to make the journey worth it.  Had they been able to expand upon this, add some more tension, and smarten up the comedy a little more, the older audience members could have enjoyed this. 


Rushed/Lacking:  In a world owned by the mega studio Disney, unique is hard to come by without their big-time budget.  Early Man is certainly a unique idea, but the problem was they didn’t deliver through with it.  Much like the climax, the movie failed to put our characters through ordeals to make them have meaningful development.  Despite being cute, and somewhat funny, most of the characters have difficulty with being relatable, resulting in a slightly dull group.  In addition, the desire to appease to a younger crowd also had this movie pacing blindingly fast and therefore leaving little room for actual plot building.  While by far not the worst tale to drop into theaters, Early Man still needs work for any future sequels.



Early Man is an animated feature that gets points for the hard work of stop motion animation.  It’s a cute adventure that has a family friendly story, with a couple of characters that will make you laugh at various points.  The problem is, that the movie was focused too much on the younger audience and failing to expand into the territories needed for older members.  Early Man’s concept needed more developing and attempt to moisten the dry comedy this movie has contained within it.  In addition, the film needed a little more friction to add thrills to the story, thereby getting more engaging characters to latch onto.  Worth a trip to the theater?  You are better off checking out Peter Rabbit instead, but I’d save this one for a home rent. 


My Scores:

Animation/Adventure/Comedy:  7.0

Movie Overall:  5.5

That Cute, Wascally Rabbit

Peter Rabbit


The beloved tale of Peter Rabbit are stories that many of us remember watching/reading growing up.  Yet like many beloved childhood series, they are often lost to memories and stored away to be forgotten.  So how in the world did this tale resurface after being buried for so long?  Well, get set my friends, because this weekend, Peter Rabbit is back in town to make his mark back on the world and get kids interested in his merchandising.  Robbie K back with another movie review to try and help you answer the question, “should I see it in theaters?”  As always read on to find out my thoughts.




Animation:  Let’s get over the obvious, Peter’s transition into 3-D, realistic looking visuals was a smooth process. The designs of all the characters are on cuteness overloaded, and are certain to be the next line of plush animals for your young ones to grab on to.  Past the design, the movement of the animated five is fluid, a nice balance of natural rabbit movement meeting anthropomorphized anatomy that really brings the action and gimmicks to life.


Cute:  A movie like this relies on being adorable, and by golly this too was a big factor in this film.  Peter and company’s adventure into the new age has adapted well with the times, and the campy, fun, warmhearted nature of the adventure was totally adorable for many.  Both young and older will have a hard time choosing between barf inducing cute and just the right amount, so it really depends on your preferences.


Comedy:  Surprisingly enough, Peter Rabbit’s comedic antics are surprisingly humorous on many levels.  From the trailers you can certainly expect two things:  Slapstick comedy and Repeatable Quotes from Kids.  And the film delivers these expectations using a variety of material to have your little ones in tears at the juvenile antics.  Like Home Alone meets Hop, Peter Rabbit pulls out loads of tricks to keep things fun and wasting little time on other tricks.  Yet, what earns major points with me is the cleverer writing that is indicated for adults.  Not so much in terms of sexual comedy, Peter Rabbit uses other forms of comedy to get laughs from older adult groups, primarily at poking fun at how ridiculous the story is itself.  Throw in some comedic jabs at movie stereotypes alongside some movie references and you got yourself some comedic gold.


All 5 bunnies used:  Though it may be titled Peter Rabbit, this tale is not shy of utilizing all of the rabbit family into the film.  Certainly, it is going to be for advertising, but this installment did a nice job using all five of the rabbits to further the plot.  From sisterly arguments about being the oldest, to the naïve friend who gets dragged into plots, this film will keep the little fuzz balls as involved as possible.


Soundtrack: Props to the music selector for this film, because the movie picked tracks that felt perfect for the sequences.  Sure, many of them are outdated 90s songs, but they are utilized so well many won’t care.  Throw in a few parodies and some dance remixes and you have a nice track list to keep everyone’s toes tapping.




Lacking Emotion:  We all know that the animated films we remember are the ones that tear are hearts out right?  Peter Rabbit does have a few emotional zingers, but none of them really have that childhood ruining edge that will scar your mind.  Thankfully this means no unhappy endings, but Peter Rabbit could have used a little more emotional growth to round out the tale.  Certainly, there are life lessons to be learned, and Peter’s crew does somewhat develop over time, it’s just not in a form or manner that is life changing/memorable in comparison to others.  Therefore, the movie could have used a little more feeling to give it that emotional edge it was looking for.


More Rose Byrne:  She had plenty of screen time in terms of montages of laughing, smiling, and skipping, but her character is a little limited compared to the others.  Like the CGI supporting animals, Byrne’s character simply appeared at the convenient moments.  For being a central chess piece to the whole farmer vs. rabbit dynamics though, her character was a little disappointing.  There were few interventions by her character and she didn’t expand much as a character outside of joke fodder and that motherly atmosphere.  For such a big name, they might have made the extra effort to expand on this role.  I mean, even the climactic ending was missing the thrills, partially because Rose didn’t seem to have much enthusiasm in solving the ordeal.


The trailers show a lot of the movie:  if you’ve seen the copious number of showings for this movie’s trailer than chances are you have seen much of the shenanigans involved in this film already.  Much of the McGregor bashing has been captured in those short airings, so don’t expect too many surprises or laughs if you are sick of it.  Thank goodness that some of the more adult humor has been left out as a nice surprise, but much of the movie has been revealed in the three trailers.  Don’t you hate over advertising?




          Peter Rabbit is a fun tale that all ages will enjoy.  It holds many movie references and comedic styles to keep one entertained, and is certainly the family friendly movie of the year so far.  One will have a lot of fun at this movie, becoming lost in either the cuteness overload that is the movie or having their young at heart selves chuckling at the craziness within.  However, aside from having fun, the movie suffers from a lack of emotional punch to really drive the lessons home.  In addition, thanks to the simple dialog and over advertising, the movie loses some of its uniqueness/edge to boredom at seeing it a thousand times.  Still, if you can stomach the downfalls and accept it for the cute factor it is… than you should have no problem enjoying this film with the family this weekend.  Worth a trip to the theater?  I would say yes. 


My scores are:

Animation/Adventure/Comedy:  8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0

It’s a Paddington of Fun!

Paddington 2.jpg


Animated films are a risk these days in terms of going to the theater, unless of course you are Disney in which case you are guaranteed quality.  Other studios, however, struggle to find the balances in cuteness, kid vs adult, and storytelling vs. gimmicks.  So, enter Paddington, the loveable, raincoat wearing bear who is hoping to make another mark in the theater.  Can this CGI, anthropomorphic animal in a real-life cast filled world hit home again with a second movie, or have the morale antics been lost to the ocean Disney has crafted?  Robbie K here with another review hoping to help guide your movie going pleasures.  Let’s get started.



Animation/Acting:  In the modern-day world, animation with computers has never been at its highest point.  Paddington’s team continue to nail this category starting with the stunning, realistic design of the bear that dreams big and loves even bigger.  His movements are fluid, not just limited to simple walking and blinking, but expanded to running, cooking, and even…washing windows with his butt.  It’s impressive to see so much human in this animal, and maintain the realism of the bear anatomy.  Even better is how well the cast is able to work with the animated star, flawlessly transitioning amidst the scene as if her were actually there.  A strong shout out to the editing for the victory in this one, for executing a performance worthy of a kid’s movie.


Cute: In a kid’s movie like this, you want cuteness to be a factor, as this usually means a kid friendly film that little ones can go to.  Good news parents, Paddington’s second adventure is just as adorable as the first.  Outside of the adorable design, his big heart, voice acting, and even his mistakes are reminiscent of a new puppy without having to clean things up. My showing was filled with laughter at this adventure and awing when the heart filled moments come up.  Yes, this film is certainly kid friendly and cute as a button.


Engaging characters:   Yet despite being kid friendly, Paddington 2 is able to inject heart into the mix and create characters that older audience members will want to latch onto.  Paddington himself evolves on new levels once again, expanding upon the lessons learned in the first installment, and tackling the cruel nature of the world.  The rest of the family including Sally Hawkins and Hugh Bonneville go through their own transitions as well, expanded enough to not be obsolete, but not so much to hog the spotlight.  Instead new comers like Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson are the secondary characters who have more development, both going down same, but opposite paths that are entertaining to see.  All the development goes with the flow of the story, and didn’t feel too much of a stretch for me.


Story/Presentation: Paddington’s story is not the first time we’ve seen to come to the theaters.  Getting over this, the story is one that has many levels to it.  Superficially, it’s a bear going on a journey to clear his name, all while looking precious in the process.  However, moving in tangent with this film is a mystery centering around Hugh Grant’s character trying to uncover.  In tandem with that is the family also trying to solve the mystery to potentially help their friend out.  All these stories fit well together, and keep the plot in motion, never in static boredom and to have these decently balanced works for this reviewer.  Yet, the biggest component of this story, is how heartwarming and emotionally packed it is.  Like a good Disney film, Paddington 2 has those powerful scenes and sequences that hit my heart deep.  Some are uplifting and laugh worthy, primarily those that involve politeness, respect, and love.  Others are a bit sadder in tone, primarily in the struggles and setbacks where the look of disappointment on the little bear’s face brings out your empathetic side.  Regardless of what scene affects you, the ability to illicit such a response gets points in my book, especially when you nearly make me cry.  Paddington’s moral filled tale is not unique, but it certainly presented well to warrant an investigation.





Predictable:  No surprise, Paddington’s kid friendly tale doesn’t have too many twists or turns that will leave you in shock and awe.  Older audience members will be thankful at the fun this movie has, because in regards to story you can see everything coming within 30-45 minutes of it actually happening.  This is of course difficult to do without going to the dark side, but still there could have been some slight twists.


Character Stupidity:  With how much Paddington has done for his community, one would have thought the town would have been a little wiser in terms of the crimes at hand.  Much of the cast is ridiculously ignorant or surprisingly dumb in the details and clues that are missed, or the fact that the police don’t warrant investigations.  This approach does set up the stories that I described in the likes section, but you have to suspend your understanding of characters to accept it, amazing how fickle people can be.


Expanding More:  This would be difficult to do in a movie, but I would have loved to see more of the secondary characters expanded the way Paddington was.  Primarily, the jail scenes needed a little more spreading out, not only to give more time with the prisoner cast, but add a little more adventure to this movie.  Expanding the struggles to obtain friends might have added a little more to the movie and made the hero’s journey a little more epic.  In addition, Hugh Grant’s tale was the sillier of the bunch, and could have either used a few more stunts and examples to at least add a little more to his plot.





            Paddington 2 is a prime example of what a kid’s movie can be when one pays tribute to all audience members.  While the cute animation and characters who perform slapstick, silliness are good for your little ones, the surprisingly deep character and story really works to entertain the masses. British led movies continue to impress me and this movie is certainly great for all ages, perhaps even illicit a few tears upon first viewing. Still it has some work to be a perfect movie including mixing up some of the predictable plotlines, not turning their characters into doubting imbeciles, and expanding more on their new gimmicks.  Overall though, this is the movie to see this weekend in my opinion and certainly one worth hitting the rental for, assuming you don’t hit the theaters first. 


            My scores are:

Animation/Adventure/Comedy:  8.5

Movie Overall:   8.0

You Might Get Down In The Dumps With Downsizing: Artistic Politics Meets Indecisive Plot



Political issues continue to storm the world today with the constant media flood of negative events and the violence/greed that plagues the world.  One would think that we would learn from these mistakes, but sadly the human psyche is difficult to change given the effort that is required to actively change your lifestyle. So perhaps a movie will be an inspiration, because that seems to be the theme of my next movie to review Downsizing starring Matt Damon. Depending on which trailer you’ve seen, assuming you have seen the trailer, you might not know what to expect from this movie. Robbie K is back again to provide some thoughts on the latest release.  So let’s get started!




-Cinematography:  For those who appreciate the art of camerawork, editing, and world building, this movie is a beauty to say the least. Downsizing’s impressive visuals start with bringing the shrinking to life, blending the use of giant props with camera angels to give you the illusion of being small. This gimmick is nicely balanced, dropping the relativity factor in now and again to keep you in the world without crossing into Honey I Shrunk The Kids Territory. Aside from that, the visuals are stunning from the modernized apartments and slums to the beautiful rich European countryside.  It all makes for a stunning display to help you appreciate the majesty of the world.


The Acting:  Downsizing is a movie that does not rely on flashy stunts and slapstick humor, but it does rely heavily on the actors bringing the issues to life.  Much like the Martian, Damon holds a lot of the movie on his shoulder and he does a nice job playing the broad spectrum role of Paul. Despite some character directions they took, Damon plays the balanced role well and keeps you engaged in his discovery of the brand new world that downsizing brings.  Christoph Waltz on the other hand is the entertainment factor of the group bringing his charisma, arrogance, and fantastic delivery to bring the selfish, materialistic slime ball role to life.  He offset the drier tone of the movie, and helped keep things a little more exciting in this rather long run time. And the third key player is Hong Chau who has the humanistic role down pat.  Chau captures the cultured mannerisms of an activist and mixes it with the blunt honesty many people have these days.  Her character is certainly the moral compass, and Chau does it in a mostly natural way devoid of cheesy, impressive speeches that Hollywood writing is famous for.


-The Morals:  I said earlier this movie was political, and that perhaps is the central component of downsizing. Like a glossed up version of an Inconvenient Truth documentary, Downsizing is a movie  all about the evaluation of cultural trends from equality in living to the global crises that plague our world.  Downsizing hits all of these in a very tasteful manner, working them into the story via natural dialogue and the nice cinematography to support it via the world they have created.  Those who love talking politics are going to love the artistic discussion this movie provides, and how it makes you think about all the issues present in this movie and where the world is heading.  This movie is certainly Oscar worthy in terms of the ethic content it contains.



-Boring at times:  I know, I like action, which this movie wasn’t expected to have. However, I like a story that has a little more drive and feels less like a new bulletin brought to life.  Downsizing’s plot is very thin outside of the morals it presents, with little progression outside of moving from one setting to another.  The character development is interesting to say the least, and I feel the movie got too caught up in the artistic presentation to really flesh out the story.  The pacing is just off for me, with documentaries having more drive than this movie did for me, and that depreciate the theater value for me.


Aimless Plot:  Part of the reason I found this movie boring is due to the indecisiveness of the story they wanted to tell.  The movie is filled with political food, but they never stick around long enough to flesh out an entertaining plot before addressing the next moral issue.  Eventually a humanitarian vibe takes hold in the background, but it never becomes a progressing plot, because we have to tackle the issues of divorce next. Even worse, a rather pathetic love story started to take root, but it happened to late in the movie to really make it worthwhile.  This is an example of too many plots in a single production and a little sad that the director couldn’t figure out which plots to really focus on.


Depressing:  I mentioned earlier that it depends on which trailer you saw as to what to expect.  A majority of the initial trailers I saw painted this movie as a fun drama of minuscule proportions with a little socialism and romance to tide things over.  Unfortunately, the movie is not as much fun as I had hoped. Clever writing, witty comedy, and solid delivery are there, but the impending messages of the film heavily crush the fun to be had to sell the point. Combine this with my other dislikes and you understand why this may not have been the movie to release so close to a time of joy.  Ho, Ho, Ho, human race not a go!




            Downsizing is a fantastic representation of the art movie making can be in regards to presenting political issues in a unique angle.  The beautiful cinematography and acting really bring these issue to life, and it is one of the smarter films to grace the silver screen in a long time.  Yet, the movie suffers from too many issues brought into one installment, which is only further weakened by the aimless development of these plots because they have to cram another issue in. There was so much potential to be cultivated and yet… it failed to take fruit and become the fun drama I think the trailers portrayed in the beginning.  I recommend you hold out on this one for home viewing, or at least wait until the holidays are over to avoid depressing yourself into sullen madness. 


My scores are:

Comedy/Drama/Sci-Fi: 6.5

Movie Overall: 5.5

Like a Bad Dad Jokes, This Movie Is Stale From The Start

Father Figures

Father’s, a staple in many families to teach wise lessons, take care of booboos, and hopefully impart some wisdom and love in their families.  Unfortunately, many Hollywood film fathers fall on the opposite side, portrayed as selfish losers, who flee when that woman announces a bun in the oven.  If they stick around, well they don’t often shine in the brightest light.  And it is this trend that has provided kindling for my movie review tonight to rise from.  Father Figures starring Ed Helms and Owen Wilson released this weekend, in hopes of providing the comedy spirit of the season amidst all the other released.  What lies in store?  As always read on to find out.




-Consistent Pace:  Most movies can be enjoyed, or at least less annoying, when the pace is consistent and moves to minimize unimportant tangents.  Father Figures is one of those movies that does a bang up job keeping the plot moving, going from point A to point Z in a linear fashion with few side trips.  As such, the film remains entertaining, given the limited comedic strategy involved in this film.


-The Ending:  Perhaps one of the few twists I didn’t predict all the way through, the ending is a great finale to salvage some parts of the film. After all of the silly, unemotional sequences in the film, the ending scenes really bring things into a feeling rich brilliance that sort of seals the deal on all the relationships.  Cheesy?  Absolutely, but the editing, the score, and the acting all mesh together to bring the journey to a very satisfying end that might be a little bit of a tear jerker in this desert of drab humor.


Katt Williams By far my favorite aspect of the movie is Katt Williams as the Hitchhiker. The trailers only highlight the comedy this character brings to the screen.  His timing is better than the two leading characters, with a delivery that comes out more naturally and fluid to maximize the laughs. In addition, the directors managed to develop a new comedy scheme for him, using him as a volunteer psychiatrist who somehow seemed to have all the answers, but be awkward about it.  They didn’t abuse his character, which perhaps resulted in why he was my favorite part of this movie. 





Predictable:  Let’s start out with a minor dislike and work our way up.  Father Figures’ comedy is dependent on two things:  Your love vulgar comedy lines and trying to make it relate to the story.  Unfortunately for the second factor, the story is very predictable and with it the comedy is also predictable as well.  You’ll see both jokes and plot twists a mile away, leading to a rather mundane holiday comedy that has nothing to do with the holiday spirit.  And despite all the opportunities for twists to the adventure, the movie failed to act upon the potential, instead choosing for shallow comedy shout outs.


Lazy Writing: I’m all about a good stupid laugh or two, but many know how much I hate for curse laden dialogue with little point.  Certainly not the worst of the offenders, Father Figures relied too heavily on the cursing to do the heavy lifting.  A good F bomb or two can get the emotion of the scene wrapped up, but the constant use soon becomes a space filling ploy with little else being accomplished.  In addition, much of the writing is repetitive, not necessarily like a good running joke, but the fact that the same lines that keep coming up over and over again.  


Victim of Trailers:  My friend Tim subscribes to the thought of avoiding trailers to avoid ruining the movie.  That’s a good philosophy for this film, because even seeing one trailer spoils a lot of this movie in more ways than one Father Figures fails to deviate from its advertising in a good way, and depending on how many times you have seen the trailers, determines how stale the jokes are going in.  My theater didn’t laugh much in this film, and a few stated this is because they had seen it on the trailers already.  In fact, most of the deviations from the trailer came in the form of scene deletions and/or alterations in lines to be more R rated.  I don’t know if they were that desperate to decrease the run time, or if the scenes didn’t fit into the grand scheme, but nevertheless, those differences did not help the movie.





If you thought Father Figures looked bad from the trailers, you weren’t too far from the truth to be honest.  The movie has little in terms of unique comedy/plots and is merely a holiday pass over for those not looking to watch half of the other things releasing this week.  Katt Williams and an emotional ending cannot save this film in terms from mediocre jokes, predictable plots, and stale comedy via the trailers. While it gets points for cuteness, the movie is not really worth the trip to the theater and is best saved for a RedBox rental or if you have cable a television premier on TBS.  


My scores are:


Comedy:  5.5

Movie Overall: 4.0