A Second Act Of Recycle J-Lo Plots

Second Act Poster

 

Welcome to the abbreviated reviews of Robbie K reviews. Today we hit the latest romantic comedy to storm the sea of cinema for the holiday season.  In this world of increasing competition and unequal opportunity, is there a way for one to climb the ladder of success despite not taking the same choices others did?  That’s what this film’s motif is all about as I review the latest Rom com/Chick Flick entitled:

 

Director:

Peter Segal

Writers:

Justin ZackhamElaine Goldsmith-Thomas

Stars:

Jennifer LopezVanessa HudgensLeah Remini

 

 

LIKES:

 

  • Good Chemistry
  • Use of A Majority of the Characters
  • Fun Approach that isn’t mushy
  • Good Life Lessons
  • Jennifer Lopez’s style
  • Pace

 

Summary:  Second Act’s strengths lie in how well it uses its characters to tell the stories it wants to show.  Lopez and Hudgens are a fantastic duo, whose energy feeds well off of each other and provides the solid relationship the movie flourishes off of. As the other secondary and tertiary characters hover around the rivalry, it opens the gates past the typical rom com and instead makes it a very fun film where each character helps to bring the life lessons to bear, and mostly staying relevant to the story. Utilizing a quick pace and bypassing a majority of the stereotypical mushy themes and going for a stronger moral based theme that is a little closer in representing life, Second Act really brings that girls night out fun/date night film that will hopefully appeal to more fans.  In addition, Lopez still always has that stylish flare that makes her incredible, bring the poise and prowess despite the role she was directed to play.

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • Cannibalized plots of J-Lo Movies Past
  • Plot points rushed over or lacking build
  • Predictable
  • The Boyfriend semi-pointless
  • Forced Comedy at Times

 

Summary: Second Act may be fun and quick, but it’s originality is lacking which may take away from the audience.  Previous J-Lo films have been ripped apart put together in this mosaic of references that are decently intertwined.  As a result, many of the plots are only semi developed, a few trying to have built, but then revealed in a very calm demeanor.  Sure there is some emotional bond to it, but the rushed approach to  many of these predictable story lines denies the satisfying plot telling her previous movies had done super well on.  Perhaps the weakest of the stories for me was the boyfriend element, to which that particular cast member Milo Ventimiglia, has been promoting on the various talk shows, did little to advance the movie.  His integration into the film is very thin, offering little emotional turmoil, or any real character development, which was a missed shot. Finally, some of the comedic antics are beautifully executed, but for others it’s another example of jamming the stockings with as much comedy gimmicks as you can.  These moments did not do it as much for me or the audience, and could have been focused on developing the plot more.  Oh well cute jokes are the lifeblood of comedy these days.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Overall, the movie is exactly what the trailer promised, fun, simple minded comedy that is just a nice break from the big budget films that are super popular.  While certainly entertaining at times due to the great acting chemistry, character usage, and Jennifer Lopez’s style classing it up, the movie still fails to drop the same quality he earlier films did.  Too many unoriginal, predictable plots we’ve seen done better plague this film, and with the rushed storytelling, it felt this was a mini-series that could have been executed better in episodic telling of TV and Netflix specials. Still, definitely a good group night out or date movie, but best reserved in the comforts of your home. 

 

My scores are:

 

Comedy/Romance:  6.0-6.5

Movie Overall: 4.5-5.0

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Dog Days Go Byyyyyyyyy!

Dog Days Poster

 

Man’s best friend is always the subject of at least one movie of the year.  These films are often filled to the brim with emotion, many of which are capable of making you shed a tear (let’s not go down Marley & Me).  Yet despite the potential heart break, I and many others are hitting the theaters to scope out if the pooches got the power to entertain. Robbie K is back again and here to share his thoughts on the latest films in hopes of helping you with your viewing choices.   So, let’s get started, as I review:

 

Movie: Dog Days (2018)

Director:

Ken Marino

Writers:

Elissa Matsueda (screenplay by),  Erica Oyama (screenplay by)

Stars:

Nina Dobrev,  Vanessa Hudgens,  Finn Wolfhard

 

 

LIKES:

 

Cute/Adorable:  A movie about dogs often has the factor that melts our heart and Dog Days is no exception.  The numerous relationships between man and dog are incredibly sweet, a family atmosphere that will thoroughly make fans of many ages smile. You’ll get a wonderful sense of pet ownership as the tales interconnect, and plenty of furry faces to make your cheeks hurt from smiling.

 

Good Pace:  The movie trailer suggest a film that was going to drag in its ridiculous, multi-tale way.  Surprisingly, the movie achieves a presentation speed that will keep most people’s attention and get you out of there feeling like you haven’t lost 4 years of your life.  Again, it helps that the puppies are in a majority of the shots, but the brisk pace cuts out the drab and leaves more for fab.

 

All Characters Used: A star studded cast often suffers from skewed use of characters.  Happily, I can announce that Dog Days achieves the balance that many strive for, keeping both animal and human members integrated in a rather even time interval. Well done guys, well done.

 

Good Chemistry:  The relationship between pet and owner is sacred on many levels, and to capture that relationship in the acting is a challenge that is difficult to obtain.  Fortunately, our cast was up to the challenge, and managed to solidly execute the acting they wanted.  While not Oscar worth, the humans do a great job interacting with each other, bringing believable relationships to the silver screen.  Throwing the dogs in there, the magic only further explodes as the personalities of each group unfold, and begin reshaping into something grander as world’s collide.

 

Good Dialogue:  What can I say, I’m a sucker for a good script for the actor’s to bring to life.  Dog Days may not have the most memorable quotes, meme worthy t-shirt jargon, or even those scenes that will go down in history.  However, much of the dialogue feels like it was grounded in reality, with our character spouting words that feel like normal conversation. It fits well with the theme of the movie, brings a nice freshness into the Hollywood style, and further creates likeable characters that don’t feel as fake. Plus, the good themed morals and heartfelt lessons are not diluted by a grandiose speech.

 

The Dogs:  Of course, this is my favorite aspect, the four-legged wonders are the heart and soul of the movie.  The animal cast hold the personality of most of the shots, come trained with some impressive moods and discipline, and manage to say so much, but yet make little noise.  It’s all of these qualities mixed with those energetic faces that really secures your interest in the film and doesn’t let go until the very end.  Whoever directed the cinematography to fully utilize them, gets an A+ in my book for maximizing the full effect of the crew.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Predictable:  A movie like this is going to rely on the straight and narrow so that they can secure a wide age group.  The movie drops so many clues messily, you can surely be prepared for what is to come and see it coming a mile away.  I had hoped to be wrong for multiple reasons, but only one clue managed to lead me astray, the rest painted arrow signs to the story.  Perhaps it is to get you prepped for the deeper moments, but a little more surprise would have been nice.

 

Editing:  The movie is nearly 2 hours long, and while I love seeing cute puppies for so long, the tale didn’t need to be that long.  We had at least 20 minutes that could have been directed to different areas, or just cutting it out altogether.  A minor dislike indeed, but still, utilize your editing crew a little better.

 

Silly moments:  The realism is fine, and some of the laughs are cute gimmicks, there are times where the realism is shattered for ridiculous gimmicks.  It’s a little something for everyone, but at least one sequence in particular was a little overdone.  In addition, some of the running jokes should have stopped sooner rather than later. Still, these moments will crack people up, and get those squeals of delight from the younger crowd.

 

The Stories:  While they achieved the goal of integration, and managed to sew in some inspirational, emotional moments, the story of this film did suffer from what felt incomplete.  Oh, sure they had a nice wrapped up ending, but like many of the cross-tale films, so much sustenance is left out.  Some tales more than others, Dog Days multiple subplots feel like they are bare boned short stories that managed to get tied in hastily.  Cute as they can be, I like a little more depth to the tales, and perhaps decreasing the number of stories was the way to go.

 

 

The VERDICT:

            Overall Dog Days turned out better than I anticipated. It’s a good family movie, where dogs rule and the people don’t do bad too.  This cute, cuddly, moral infused project is really good for a variety of age groups, and will probably pull at the heartstrings as most dogs do.  Given all the fun though, there are some editing and story development areas that still require tweaking primarily to help mature the story into a major hit, and perhaps drop some of the predictability. While I did enjoy the theater presentation, I don’t feel this movie was needed to be seen in the big screen, but if looking for a good family film, check this out, because it was supported by MoviePass.

 

My scores:

 

Comedy/Drama:  7.0

Movie Overall:  5.5