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



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

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


Welcome To The Jungle



The drums beat heavy in the air, the impending sound of doom resonating with their deep sounds indicating another threat on the horizon.  Those tribal instruments were just one component of the adventure Jumanji was back in the 90s, well that and about a thousand other things that made for a fun adventure.  Now, decades later, the jungle is to be unleashed once more to the modern generation in hopes of reviving the adventure once more, perhaps for more sequels.  Robbie K here to give you the 411 on the latest movies, so let’s get started!




The References:  It’s always fun to get pleasant memories of your childhood refreshed with a nostalgic reference.  Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, tips its hat towards a couple of Easter eggs that will take you back to the nineties.  The animatronic animals, the familiar sounds of wild life hidden in the bushes, and a few shout outs to previous characters were well placed to revive the spark the prequel made long ago.


Acting:  Okay, this film isn’t going to win any major awards for best actor/actress, but that doesn’t count it out for quality, entertaining talent.  Dwayne Johnson is still a rugged, stud adventure type with a smolder and skill for comedic sarcasm.  Kevin Hart has the rant style down, focusing on energetic, loud delivery with a little cursing to sweeten the pot.  Jack Black provides the awkward comedy, yet manages to take it one step further by acting like a girl trapped in a man’s body, including all the mannerisms that modern teenage girls exemplify. Karen Gillan is edgy, angst filled, yet somehow reserved to bring a fighter not fueled by raging hormones of stress.  While it doesn’t sound that different, there are a couple of things that impressed me.  The first is that the chemistry between these actors, which seemed very natural as they bounced their insults and dialogue off of one another.  The second component is how the actors seemed to portray not only the qualities of their avatar, but also of the kids trapped inside them.  Much like Jack Black, the actors all had to balance teenage adolescent with epic adventure role and it worked very well for me.


Comedy: By far the strongest component for me though is the laugh fest hidden in the foliage of the artificial jungle world.  Jumanji 2 was one of the funniest adventures I’ve seen in a while, filled with a plethora of comedic styles to tickle your fancy in a variety of ways.  Insult humor, one-liners, meme worthy antics, and even sexual innuendos are all crammed into the 2-hour run time.  Spreading the humor throughout kept things fresh for me and changing up the style only further kept me laughingHowever, the component I loved was how tasteful the stupidity was, managing to combine wit and slapstick into a blend that is just a hoot to watch.  I feel this style will work for a wide variety of ages, though beware of the occasional curse bomb to light up the screen.





A Little Corny/Stretch:  Welcome to the Jungle is a stretch in many regards, however there are times where the movie treks of the already ridiculous path.  Some of the action scenes have stunts that defy physics, or performances that are pushing the limits at times.  These inconsistencies are easy to ignore for the most part, and really don’t ruin much with all the fun to be had.  Yet, these components are a little cheesy at times, fake looking even more so, and dilutes the message in a preachy fashion.


The Bad Guy:  The main villain has a cool power to use, but sadly the villain doesn’t utilize it very well.  In addition, the primary antagonist and his cronies are a little anticlimactic in terms of threatening the jungle, being more roar than bite.  A few lousy maneuvers, a threat here or there, and some lame NPC minions just didn’t do it for me in regards to development and design.


Missing Adventure:  As fun as the video game twist was on the movie, I missed the component of the board game that made the original the adventure it was.  Remember the terror of the unknown as the dice rolled and the swirling green mist formed into a message?  How about seeing the horrors of the jungle out into the real world and our heroes having to do everything to keep the board safe?  Yeah, those thrills are what Jumanji was about as the beasts were unleashed in special effect glory.  This movie focused a little too heavy on the biker gang motive and sort of ditched the jungle component for me.  I missed the animal part of this adventure and the blending of these threats together, and the adventure they crafted.




            Welcome to the Jungle is a very fun movie and I was not disappointed as I could have been. It’s funny, with a great cast to bring the crew to life and a great energy to keep one entertained throughout the whole movie.  Yet, the comedy seemed to be the main focus, because the balanced laughs really overshadowed the adventure component the first movie had within it.  Still, many ages will enjoy what this movie has to offer and will be quoting this movie for quite some time after it leaves theaters.  Worth a trip to the theater?  Absolutely, though save your dough and don’t see it in 3-D.


My Scores:


Action/Adventure/Comedy:  7.5

Movie Overall: 6.0

Fantastic Fun Ferd The Whole Family!



In the shadow of the epic saga, there lies an animated field where flowers grow, birds sing, and bulls romp around smelling the fauna.  No, I’m not drunk, I’m talking about Ferdinand the Bull, the latest kid’s animated feature to stamped on to the silver screen. Blue Skies Studio has been advertising this film like crazy, in hopes of nabbing the younger audience this weekend.  Yet with Disney knocking these films out of the park is there any hope for the other studios to put out quality work?  Robbie K here happy to answer that question, as we hit yet another Robbie’s movie review.





Animation: It’s an animated movie and as such you want the animation to be well good.  While not the most realistic looking film to drop into our laps, Ferdinand still has a wonderful style that brings the world to life.  The cartoony looks of the character, a common theme in Blue Sky production, adds to the fun of the film, and will be a welcoming sight to your little ones.  The world has dynamic shades of color to mirror the tone of the setting, and a majority of it explodes to life in a manner that kid’s movies only can. And of course… the anthropomorphized animals move beautifully in all aspects from the simple act of speaking to even break dancing. 


Voice work:  In an animated work, it’s up to the voice work to also bring the characters to life and Ferdinand accomplishes this goal quite well.  John Cena is surprisingly a great voice actor, bringing some range in his emotional spectrum I didn’t quite expect from the gigantic tower of a man. Kate McKinnon in all her glory, is the comedic punch to the film with a very energetic delivery that gets toned down a few times to roll her character back in serious mode.  Of course the other supporting voices lend their roles well with Anthony Anderson, Peyton Manning, Gina Rodriguez, and Gabriel Iglesias all contributing to the fun at hand in their own special way, and yes fluffy was my favorite. And as an added bonus, most of the characters have decent screen time, meaning you don’t get shortsighted like many films do.


The Fun:  This movie is exactly what the advertisements promise, a fun, simplistic adventure that brings a lot of enjoyment to the screen.  Ferdinand’s antics are simply cute, like a big puppy trapped in a big body that is awkward and klutzy. What starts as simplistic slapstick though soon evolves, recruiting some rather witty jokes, a poke at some cinema references, and a dance off that will be legendary on YouTube for some time.  All these little gestures combine to maximize the laughs, and while much of this is geared towards kids, there are some jokes that adults will appreciate.


The emotions:  While this movie is certainly more on the humorous side, it’s also got a great delivery to tug at the heart strings.  Ferdinand’s moral code is inspiring, his perspective of love, loyalty, friendship, and courage fantastically told in the camera work and cinematic score.  I didn’t tear up, but the things the digital bull did carved a smile on my face for a majority of the movie.  It’s nice to see such balance in the film.




A little too simplistic:  One thing that is difficult to compete with Disney is their unique worlds and ideas they build.  Ferdinand, despite being fun, is not that unique of an environment compared to the magic of Walt and is lacking that creative spark that has become famous in modern animation.  In addition, the movie doesn’t have the most complicated twists to the mix, which works for the younger audience, but could have added a little more pep to the step.


McKinnon’s jokes:  While McKinnon is a fantastic voice actor and infuses energy into the mix, there are times where she goes a little too far in her joking.  The writer’s capitalized on her SNL talents, but sadly they went a little too far.  Kate’s character Lupe is very sporadic, extremely silly, and at times very irritating.  Imagine a drunk toddler with an ADD twist, and you’ll get a good idea of what her character is like, including regurgitation and memory lapse for the whole family.  Yes, there are those golden moments where it works, but for me, well Lupe’s over trying was a downfall for me in the long run.  Thank goodness for those grounding moments, because without them… well I wouldn’t have been pulling for them.


More hedgehogs:  Final small dislike, wanted more hedgehog power to bring up the magic.  They were my favorite characters of the bunch, and I would have liked to see them shine a little more.




            Ferdinand is fun, wholesome, family entertainment that will leave you with a warm feeling in your heart and a smile on your face.  With great animation and voice work to guide the way, this movie will be a fantastic trip for you and the whole family. Despite the fun to be had though, it still needs some tweaking in a few areas to really bring out the masterpiece.  In comparison to a Disney film, it has a lot of work to catch up on, but most families should not mind with the fun adventure to be had.  Worth a trip to the theater?  Yeah, I can say it would be, especially for a nice holiday church outing. 


My scores:


Animation/Adventure/Comedy:  8.0

Movie Overall  6.5-7.0

King Me…Again



“Manners, Maketh, Man!” Such an elegant phrase that got millions all fired up years ago in preparation for the spy action flick of the season.  Kingsman was a smashing success back in the day for me, and when I saw a sequel coming, I may have squealed in glee a tiny bit.  Yet, I feared that a sequel could smudge the adventure I enjoyed so much, especially with the expanded cast.  So tonight, I put on my suit (or t-shirt) and hit the theater to scope out the next mission.  Was the mission a success?  Read on to find out friends.




Funny:  Remember that edgy humor the first Kingsman had?  Well the magic continues my friends, as Kingsman2 is certainly Golden in much of its comedic bite.  It starts like always with the banter between agents, well-timed and well-delivered by our cast to maximize the punch at hand. Then comes the reactions of our agents as their thrown ridiculous curve balls, or baseballs at points, meant to hinder their way.  Yet the cameo by a certain celebrity might have been a major source of gut busting guffaws.  I won’t reveal who it is (I leave that to the Internet), but get ready to laugh so hard you might cry with his “rock n roll’ themed lines.


Emotional:  Surprisingly, Kingsman 2 may be more heart wrenching than the first movie.  Eggsy’s next stage of life has more than enough sad moments that will slow the adrenaline ride down, like those stubborn speedbumps in a parking lot, or a Game of Thrones episode.  Character development is certainly stronger than ever in this movie, pushing our lead protagonist to levels we never really thought he would have to face.   All these challenges keep you invested in Eggsy, Merlin, and others for the second round, making for a more immersive experience.


Fast PacedKingsman 2 may run for 2.5 hours, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it at all to me.  With all the laughs, emotional investment, and action, you’ll experience a time warp to the end of the film.  I certainly did not feel bored in this movie at all, and was quite pleased by the entertainment it brought.  To have that pace and the decent balance brought with it, is not something you see in most films.


Action:  Of course my favorite aspect has to be the action packed into the film on many levels.  Kingsman 2 keeps up the high energy infused sequences that are about guns, melee, gadgets, and over the top stunts.  Eggsy and the gang bring their skills back in high definition, special effects crazy goodness, with a fantastic play list to further amp things up.  This dynamic was maintained through most of the movie, keeping things interesting with new gadgets to tear baddies a new one with.  Despite a few missed moments, the action is certainly the selling point of this movie, especially with its integration into the plot and the pertinence to the mission.  Throw in stable camera work and editing, and you just maximize the excitement of this film.




Ridiculousness:  Don’t get me wrong, the absurdity of this film is one of those charming qualities that got me into the movie.  However, in this sequel, that level sometimes went a little too far outside reality to take away from the atmosphere they were creating.  If the stunts aren’t too farfetched for you, then the invulnerability, or medical technology feats will have you rolling their eyes as they reach preposterous proportions.  It fits in the comedic spoof theme, but feels out of place at times and took a little away from the suspense.  This is only a small dislike. 


Viscous nature:  I like a good action movie, and darkness can certainly open the gates to maximize the violence we love to see our actors perform.  They unfortunately overstep their boundaries at times, crossing into the darker world I like to avoid if possible. Some rather gruesome deaths and blood bashings are the first scratches that chinked my armor.  While a few are obviously computer generated, the special effects craft some rather scarring images that won’t leave my memory anytime soonEven worse though, is the cruelty to animals in this film.  You know I hate unnecessary hurting of our furrier friends, but Kingsman was not hesitant to go the distance of getting emotional responses by this means.  Not cool for me, but if you lack that empathy, you’ll shrug it off like the agent’s credo.


Wasted Characters:  Kingsman has a lot of great actors, with much of our cast reprising their roles in style and to great heights.  Even newcomers like Julianne Moore as an eccentric villain, or Halle Berry as a tech geek, get applause from me.  Hollywood though fails to live up to utilizing all their characters to the same degree…again.  Agents who survived the wraith of the last film are reduced to the background with little remorse, making small contributions at the best.  New agent wise… don’t count on eye candy Channing Tatum to do much better, resorting to one action scene, and more modeling in an Abercrombie and Fitch manner.  Why he doesn’t get a serious chance?  I can’t answer, but I was disappointed with his involvement in the film.




            Overall, I was very pleased with this sequel and enjoyed the thrill of returning to the frontlines of the spy war.  A compelling story with much emotion, amidst comedy and high speed action are the selling points to this film.  Yet, the ridiculousness of the stunts, amidst the brutal kills shots and wasted characters takes away from the movie.  Still, it’s worth a trip to the theater and I encourage you to hit the theaters to experience the stunts in full glory and enjoy another fun action adventure. 


My scores are:


Action/Adventure/Comedy:  8.5

Movie Overall:  7.5

Fun, Friendly, and Family Make It Feel Like Home

Home again


Not in the mood for scares this weekend?  No problem, Hollywood has got you non-horror movie goers covered with another romantic comedy.  This weekend, the legendary Reese Witherspoon stars in another Hallie Meyers-Shyer work, in hopes of tickling your romantic fantasy on a less risqué scale. Robbie K back again with another movie review on Home Again.  Will this film be another mundane addition to her lineup, or do we perhaps have something special with this flick?  Let’s get started to answer that question, shall we?




Charming/Cute:  Like her works in the past, Meyers-Shyer has done a fantastic job building an adorable world/situation for our characters to play in.  No major tension, violence, or heart-stopping shock moments, exist in this movie.  Instead it is just a simple tale that will pull at your heartstrings while portraying those romantic morals many wish to see.  Such a positive atmosphere certainly offsets the horror atmosphere of the other movie most likely to be in your theater.


FunWith that positive atmosphere comes a fun movie, filled with small sequences that are wholesome, innocent, and surprisingly entertaining.  Like a Hallmark Movie on steroids, Home Again takes on plenty of life lessons that are tested against the modern society trends today.  Loyalty, romance, job work, responsibility, and child rearing are just some of the things you’ll get in this movie.  And while tasteful, and certainly predictable, the journey to addressing the obstructions in our character’s life brings about some simplistic laughs, a plethora of smiles, and a few tears for whose hearts are warmed by Meyer-Shyer’s writing.


Acting:  Despite what some say, I found the acting okay and well-fitting given the environment of the movie.  Witherspoon herself felt very natural in the role of a single mom looking to find herself again.  She brought great energy to the film, all while keeping herself grounded amidst the chaos of all the relationships.  The kids were an adorable addition, each playing their parts well to offset the romantic drama loaded into this film.  I particular liked the older daughter story and how it integrated a different side of the guys to help solve a different problem.  Speaking of the guys all three “eligible” bachelors were decent in playing their assigned roles, from younger brother bringing peace, to the stud that caught Reese’s eyes.  Of all them, Jon Rudnitsky was my favorite and the most dynamic of the characters being integrated into the film.  A nice blend of comedy and drama, Jon’s character kept the characters well integrated into the mix.


The short run time:  A predictable tale like this can get old, fast.  Fortunately, they had the foresight to cut this movie to the shorter end, telling the tale in enough details to get the job done.  A plus on my side, though many may feel robbed of a full story they pine for given her past films.




Rushed elements: Despite the short time being a nice gift, Home Again’s brisk pace leaves some key development scrounging for a rebound.  So much potential to really give more layers to the movie, and perhaps get a few engaging story lines out of the mix would have been the better route. Especially when it came to the challenges at hand.


No major obstacle:  Home Again felt like a movie with little struggle, few challenges, and in all honesty a lackluster tale all in all.  It played a little too close to home and left me just milling about as the problems seemed to iron themselves away. With all the complicated relationships crammed into this tale, one would expect a little more resistance from the awkward shuffling this cast played.  Even most Hallmark movies push back more than this film did before they get to that mushy-gushy ending that millions fall in love with.  Perhaps a larger challenge might have made for more engaging characters and a feeling of accomplishment.


Characters:  Sure they are charming, cute, admirable, and responsible in many ways, but I have to face the facts… the characters are rather one dimensional.  The actors did well with what they were given, but much of the movie’s puppets were a bit boring to me. Much of my fellow audience members like their physical appearances the most, but this reviewer had difficulties attaching to them because of their stunted growth.  Even Reese’s character seemed a bit dull, caught in a whirlwind of indecision before suddenly flipping sides.  Even worse, the characters (like the plot) were predictable, further dulling the film’s entertainment value.


Little Candice Bergen:  When you sell Murphy Brown in the trailers, I hope to get more of the spunky actress.  Not the case, as Bergen is reduced to a few nugget lines of dialog that is lost in the “romantic” tide.  Had she been integrated into the movie, I have no doubt the characters could have grown stronger with her pushing Reese’s character to better herself.




While certainly cute, Home Again was a bit too simplistic for my tastes, missing the potential to be one of the better romantic comedies.  A rushed story with limited character growth, no real obstacles to keep you engaged, and some missed comedic elements doesn’t bode well for this predictable tale.  However, it is still a fun, feel good movie that will do its job of entertaining target audiences with eye candy, simplistic laughs, and an overall warm your cardiac pump moment that will make you feel good at the end of the day.  Not a bad feeling, but not worth the inflated movie ticket price. 


My scores:


Comedy/Drama/Romance:  7.0

Movie Overall: 5.5