Masterminds Review

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Written by Nelson Cumming

I am not a dead-inside film critic when I say Masterminds is unfunny and forgettable. I was watching Masterminds with around thirty people who were trying very hard to have a good time and find the movie funny. For the first thirty minutes, there were half-hearted chuckles and then there was complete silence. It’s an eerie, sad experience when it happens to comedies.

The whole story revolves around David (Zack Galifianakis) who works driving armored trucks filled with money. David has fallen in love with a new co-worker (Kristin Wiig) and she has friends (including Owen Wilson) who want to rob millions of dollars and she manipulates David to do be a part of the robbery. They soon double cross David once the robbery is done. David has to avoid a hit man (Jason Sudeikis) and law enforcement to get his revenge.

You can tell the scriptwriting is so bad that stars like Zack Galifianakis, Kristin Wiig, Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis and Kate McKinnon cannot make the material funny. Sudeikis and McKinnon get it the worst. I felt sad for them on what they had to do.

McKinnon plays a stereotypically dumb redneck blonde who is David’s fiancee and she deliberately made her facial expressions look mechanically fake. It was just looked so weird. What’s even worse is Sudeikis, who plays a hit man sent to kill David, Galifianakis’ character. All he added was a layer of comedic awkwardness on material that just failed to land.

What is also not believable is the storytelling. To advance the story you have to believe the main characters are impossibly dumb. There is also a massive eye rolling moment when you realize that the assassin sent to kill Galifianakis stops his plan when he realized that Galifianakis is his brother. It’s almost akin to Batman vs. Superman when Batman stops fighting Superman when Superman says his mother’s name.

Masterminds is the comedic film where nothing works. The overuse of slapstick doesn’t work, the dialogue doesn’t work nor do the characters have the chemistry to make what little they had funny. Although the characters and their motives are entirely believable in the movie’s internal logic, very little laughs materialized from the audience. At least Masterminds was not boring.

When I left Masterminds I left with the most positive bad reaction. I just said “Well that sucked” in a care-free way. It’s not boring, nor is it hateful. It’s kinda messy but coherent enough to not make me lose complete faith. Most importantly, it’s just not that funny *1/2

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David Brent: Life on the Road

Genre: Comedy
Year: 2016
Rating: MA
Runtime: 96 minutes
Main Cast: Ricky Gervais
Ben Bailey Smith
Production companies: Entertainment One
BBC Films
Written and directed by Ricky Gervais

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Written by Nelson Cumming

David Brent: Life on the Road left me at a loss for words by the time it ended and not in a great way. I was left utterly befuddled by the entire movie and it’s strategic direction in both the story and the comedy. This movie has a tone that is deliberately unsound (pun intended) and the story lags on before it does a full 180 and changes direction by the end. I laughed at some of the gags, but I felt bad for laughing at them. David Brent was a mess but not an unpleasing convoluted mess.

At least the story is simple. It’s about David Brent (Ricky Gervais), a man who works in sales but leaves to reform his old band called ‘Forgone Conclusion” (You can see where he ends up here) but the members are the siblings of the original lineup. He pays everyone handsomely, which is the only reason anyone puts up with him. The problem Brent has is his performances and his lyricism: they both suck. Badly.

This entire premise is done in a mockumentary fashion that will remind you of “This is Spinal Tap” mixed with “The Office”. I am not joking. Brent’s band members are half his age and have completely different interests. Brent also has these songs that are very racist and bigoted out of ignorance but not hatred (which makes this movie at least watchable) and he paints himself as the social outcast whenever he interacts with someone.

Ricky Gervais is good… too good.

What I have just described is Rickey Gervais wet dream. He wrote, starred and directed this movie and it shows. From “The Invention of Lying” Gervais has shown that the social discomfort zone is his comfort zone. He loves it to bits. I, however, am not so sure. Gervais is great at what he has to do. He gets everyone feeling awkward about his comedy and leaves us an air of discomfort, but in this movie, he goes so extreme that it was unbearable to watch.

He has songs about African Americans being victims of colonialism (in great detail because he wants to be “factually accurate”) jokes about the disabled (including people “who eat out of a straw”) and just about any other minority you can think of. It was hit-and-miss. But when he dies on stage I cringe and when he dies on stage again I cringe harder. When I laughed, I felt bad for laughing and when he wasn’t funny I was cowering into my notebook in shame.

To sum that up, Ricky needs to fine tune his comedy. Not in the timing, dialogue or the acting but in moderation, not exaggeration. The movie is awkward so many times in this movie that I felt really uncomfortable as I was leaving.

Character Development: There is none

After the first five minutes, I liked the David Bennet character, after about fifteen, I wanted him to change because he gets annoying. That is because I thought he was naively innocent, then I realized he is just stupid and not funny. Gervais himself said in an interview that his character forms his band as a vanity project. His characters mantra is to throw money at things to solve his problems. It doesn’t look great on the screen.

So I expected “Hey at least he will hit rock bottom and he will become aware of his problems and learn from his mistakes” Nope. That does not happen. Instead, as I will explain later, his bandmates suddenly feel sorry for him and try to cheer him up. Throughout this whole film, you realize he learns nothing after screwing himself over. The execution of that was also done poorly due to…

The Pacing: So, So Bad

The movie’s pacing is terrible, to say the least. Takes a while to get going (about 20 minutes) and when it reaches a point, it stays there for 60 minutes before the story suddenly flips in the last 15 minutes. This is the basic structure that I dislike in comedies. It happened in Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and Zoolander 2. It’s a structure that’s predictable, and uneven.

David Brent: Life on the Road is a movie where everyone hates him but then people love him instantly with no reason as to the change in attitude. The only reason this happens is to try and get audience members to leave happy whereas when you spot it, it feels so flippantly placed

Overall I will admit, there are laughs in this movie, but the cost of uneven pacing and cringeworthy, awkward moments exceeded the enjoyment. Ultimately I would have to say I didn’t like it but the gags do achieve the desired audience reaction, it’s just not the reaction I desired *3/4.

Bad Moms Review

Genre: Comedy
Year: 2016
Rating: MA
Runtime: 100 minutes
Main Cast: Mila Kunis
Kristen Bell
Kathryn Hahn
Christina Applegate
Main Production Company: Huayi Brothers Pictures
Written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore

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Written by Nelson Cumming

When I saw the poster I prayed. Prayed that it would be smart, prayed that it wouldn’t be vile like Dirty Grandpa, prayed there would be a valid reason for the extreme amounts of hedonism that was about to occur and finally, and most importantly, I prayed that it would be funny. Thank God it was. Bad Moms is slow to get going but after the convenience store scene, I was laughing like an idiot the rest of the way.

Any Mitchell (Milia Kunis) plays an overworked mother who has a lazy husband and two children. After a protest from PTA leader Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate), she liberates herself from her overworking, stressful personality and aims to succeed her as head of the PTA and mother Kiki (Kristen Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn) want to help her do it. Gwendolyn doesn’t sit there and take it as she throws many spanners in the works.

What I like about Bad Moms and most comedies is that everyone is not only fair game but gets a chance to shine. Even the minor characters such a marriage counselor, who only gets one scene, gets a great line. I can’t repeat it as it spoils a plot point but Wanda Sykes did a great delivery as does everyone else.

If there is one actress I have to praise, it is Kathryn Hahn. She commits to her role 100%. She mostly knows when to push it and when to back off. She does some physical comedy where I would think there’s a stuntwoman involved. At one point she gets faceplanted. If she did that herself, that would be admirable. She even gives a monologue that is motivating and inspiring that surprised me. It shows she has variety and a thorough knowledge of how her role in comedy works. She is up there with Kate McKinnon.

The most important thing that this movie does right is that it gives a reason what being a “Bad Mom” is ok. Bad Moms finds the line of mild recklessness and never crosses the line of negligence and horror. They party because they are tired of their high societal expectations and their constant fear of not being a good mother if they don’t take care of everyone else’s responsibilities and problems. This was critical for me because I would not have bought most of the gags if they didn’t portray that. Too many R-rated comedies take the easy way out by giving us the rhyme without the reason. This doesn’t.

Overall Bad Moms is a funny movie. They hit their gags most of the time and it achieves what it wants. It is not a groundbreaking comedy, but it’s a good R-rated comedy that mums might enjoy (just don’t take the kids) which is pretty rare. Also, watch the end credits. The end credits were unique and interesting. ***1/2

Love and Friendship Review

Year: 2016
Rating: PG
Runtime: 92 Minutes
Main Cast: Kate Beckinsale
Xavier Samuel
Emma Greenwell
Morfydd Clark
Tom Bennett
Stephen Fry
Main production companies: Blinder Films
Chic Films
Based on: Lady Susan by Jane Austen
Written and directed by Will Stillman

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Written by Nelson Cumming

Love and Friendship is one of the movies that likes to take narrative and character concepts and turns it on its head. Love and Friendship is a movie based on a novella by Jane Austin and is as beautifully made as if it were Austin’s vision. It pays homage to her work and parodies her time. It isn’t as good as I thought (99% on Rotten Tomatoes) but it is a beautiful and well-made film nonetheless.

If there were a personified parody of 19th-century society, it would be Lady Susan Bernard played by Kate Beckinsale. She plays a widow whose husband recently passed away. Her aim is to continue to live a comfortable life with her daughter. She wants to do this my manipulating wealthy royals and marrying her daughter Frederica (Morfydd Clark) and herself off to them. As with any manipulation tactic, the web gets messy and the plot thickens, making it harder for Lady Susan to get what she wants.

The other great thing about Love and Friendship is the way the movie is executed. It finds the right balance between making a comedic period piece that makes fun of societal values of the 19th century without mocking it. This delicate balance made the movie funny, interesting and engaging without feeling forced at all. Everything about this movie feels it has a place and a purpose.

The acting from everyone is great and what is even better is each one of them is completely different. Beckinsale has the timing to perfection and her posture, facial expressions and the way she moves around the room went a long way with her performance. Tom Bennett is playing St. James, one of the wealthy men who nails playing the simple man. When you think he isn’t any more awkward in conversations, he finds a way to top it. It’s funny instead of grating because he does it with eloquent enthusiasm.

The other thing that is good is the dialogue (mostly) as it has a load of flair and wit. The scenes that are funny come from lots of quips and one-liners from Beckinsale as she manipulates and exploits things in her favor (“As there’s a friendship involved, I do believe that paying wages is offensive to us both”) and other funny scenes come from the other main characters come either from their timing or how they establish themselves in a scene.

The problem about the dialogue for me is it wore me down. I slowly became inundated by the onslaught of 19th-century dialogue. It weighed me down and I was getting bored. Thankfully, I wasn’t in a bored stupor as the movie is short for a period piece as it’s only 92 minutes long and the comedic elements were fun for brief periods of time. That kept me going. The language was something I understood but needed a break from, which is not what you get in this movie as it’s dialogue driven.

Overall Love and Friendship is a movie that successfully caters to the audience well-educated, female, literary enthusiasts while trying to break new ground with other groups of people. Either way, Love and Friendship is a unique movie that is a standout for the genre that it’s in. ***3/4

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Genre: Comedy
Rating: PG
Runtime: 116 minutes
Main Cast: Melissa McCarthy
Kristen Wiig
Kate McKinnon
Leslie Jones
Main Production Company: LStar Capital
Written By: Katie Dippold
Paul Feig
Directed by: Paul Feig

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Written by Nelson Cumming

I first saw the trailer when a Facebook friend of mine sent a link to me. I wondered why this trailer got over 900,000 dislikes. I found out at the thirty-second mark why. I thought the trailer wasn’t funny not 900,000 dislikes unfunny. I said to him that I am hopeful because the Feig-McCarthy combination has built a solid history and I fell in love with them ever since Spy came out last year. I wonder how the 900,000 would react if I said that this Ghostbusters movie does not live up to the 1984 version. It would be even more interesting how the 900,000 would react if I said I loved the movie and thought it was funny and entertaining throughout.

The plot involves Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) finding out the existence of ghosts. They get help from Jilian (Kate McKinnion) and Patty (Leslie Jones) to help clear the ghosts in Times Square.

I thought the trailer didn’t do this movie justice by a long shot. All the moments in the trailer that I thought weren’t funny ended up being funny in the movie. I believe that was the case as the gags are only funny once you know the characters and the context of the situation. When Leslie jones slaps the hell out of Melissa McCarthy, I thought it was forced and tacky in the trailer. When watching that scene in the movie, it was awesome. I laughed and I wasn’t the only one or two or ten or fifty. The scene that leads up to the gag made it worth it. The trailer showed the punchline without the proper setup.

Kate McKinnon deserves a Goldern Globe nomination for best actress in a musical or comedy. There I said it. There is never a dull moment with her, she is always on the ball. She has the look, the body posture, the attitude, the facial expressions, the costumes and the way she incorporates all of that leads to a stylistic manifestation that I have never quite seen before. My eyes were always fixated on her even when McKinnon is firmly in the background. She just nails her role as a supporting actress that stands out.

The other surprise is Chris Hemsworth. He is actually a funny guy. He doesn’t need to take his shirt off to sustain audience interest. His characters constant ineptitude is funny, charming, or both. He plays the Ghostbusters receptionist that is always three steps behind everyone. He was charming enough to make it work.

The only thing I was worried about was surprisingly the same thing I was worried about with Sasha Baron Cohen in Alice. That being the movie was PG and I was worried McCarthy and Wiig wouldn’t be able to be funny using clean material. I was wrong about that as well. Both are entertaining and work off each other really well. The was one really cheesy moment at the movie climax but that was the only thing that was really bad.

The only minor issue was that the story wasn’t tightly constructed as Spy. It felt like some of the scenes were improvised which was the same critique I mentioned in The Boss. It’s not as bad as The Boss but the loose comedic flow was noticeable in some scenes. Even though those moments were still good, it would have been great if they put the extra effort into editing. Tight editing makes a movie breezy. So far the most tightly constructed movies I have seen are The Big Short and Captain America: Civil War. I like it if there were more movies as slick as them.

Nevertheless, I cannot hate this movie. It was funny and entertaining throughout. While this wasn’t as good as Feig’s Bridesmaids and Spy it was still a great movie to watch. I wonder if the diehards will like the callbacks to the past, especially to the fate of one of the callbacks in particular. ****

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Review

Genre: Raunch Comedy, Screwball Comedy
Year: 2016
Runtime: 98 minutes
Starring: Zac Efron
Anna Kendrick
Adam DeVine
Aubrey Plaza
Production Company: Chernin Entertainment
TSG Entertainment
Written by: Andrew J. Cohen
Brendan O’Brien
Directed By: Jake Szymanski

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Written By Nelson Cumming

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is Zack Efron’s third raunch comedy this year and it has what anyone is hoping for with a Zac Efron raunch comedy. Personally, I think Zac Efron has a hit and miss record with these comedies and this one was sort of in the middle. I think that this is very much an in the mold raunch comedy movie that 15-25-year-olds would enjoy seeing on a Friday or Saturday night but it does not encourage any other person to give it a try.

I believe that with raunch comedies if you go all in it will either be filled with hernia-inducing hilarity or cringe-inducing garbage that gives you post traumatic stress. Based on my history with the genre, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates does not go all in which is to its benefit. I either got moderate laughs that were slightly harder than a chuckle or I wasn’t laughing for only short periods of time. It was not a cringe-inducing as Dirty Grandpa, nor is it as funny as Bad Neighbours but somewhere in the middle.

Half the premise is explained in the movie title, the other half is “Tatiana and Alice want a crazy care-free vacation”

I have to admit I laughed enough to not think that this movie was a waste of time. Every actor has a line or two that was funny. There were scenes in the first third that were college humor fun without being gross. There is one scene where Plaza and DiVine are whispering in each other’s ear that was a highlight. Plaza has the best lines in the movie while Anna Kendrick gets the short end of the stick and was the least funny of the four main characters.

I praise Adam DeVine because he commits and just doesn’t stop. In this case, it’s a good thing because a lot of the times he was funny and wasn’t overly loud even when he has to shout. I hate it when comedic actors use swearing and the loudness of their voice as a crutch for their comedy but DeVine uses it as a tool effectively. He is also great in assisting Efron with his reactionary acting and when he has to be the butt of his jokes. He helped make Efron look good on the screen.

The things I liked about the movie was the originality of the story and the set design. During the first twenty minutes, I thought “This movie is not achingly funny but it is entertaining and it has something going for it” that is until the last act. That is until the final third when the movie either goes completely out of control with its gags or when it tries to go sentimental.

The problem with the story occurs when they go for sentimentally that clearly doesn’t work. This is because the movie establishes for 60 minutes that the four main characters are tools. They may be funny tools, but they are tools nonetheless. The story tries to execute a Judd Apatow-like coming of age raunch comedy that fails because the character development feels forced and not progressive, the writing is not smart and nor does the script really hint that there is a third dimension with the Mike and Dave characters until it’s too late. This added up to me rolling my eyes when the story tried to take a sentimental turn.

I can’t say I liked this movie as a whole, but there were enough funny moments where I cannot say it wasn’t funny. The things that are against this movie is final acts and the constant movie and contemporary references. It’s not destined for immortality **1/2

Central Intelligence Review

Genre: Action comedy
Year: 2016
Runtime: 114 minutes
Rating: M
Main Cast: Dwayne Johnson
Kevin Hart
Main Production Company: New Line Cinema
Written By: Ike Barinholtz
David Stassen
Rawson Marshall Thurber
Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber

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When I hear the phrase action comedy, I think of overused cliches and boring action sequences. Central Intelligence is great with their characters, the actors, the comedy, and the chemistry but is bad with their storytelling, plot development, and action sequences. How is that for a mixed bag of nuts?

The story revolves around a reunion between CIA Agent Bob Stone (Dwayne Johnson) and accountant Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) when Stone needs Joyner’s number crunching skills to locate a compromised US satellite system and must fight off their enemies with gunfights and action.

Central Intelligence is also the rare movie where Kevin James has to play the straight man in a comedy. You can tell though that he is so used to being the lead because he his trying his best to show restraint when needed, but you can tell he is struggling to keep dormant his style of wacky comedy. It’s just a funny observation from me, but that didn’t hurt the movie at all.

Despite a lot of Central Intelligence’s shortcomings, the movie is saved by Dwayne Johnson’s performance. If you smelt what he was cooking then you’re a liar. Johnson plays a jacked man who has insecurities with his morbid obesity and his bullying from high school. His favorite movie is not “The Expendables” but “Sixteen Candles”. There are moments in the movie where his vulnerability shows. Johnson makes it work. Also, all the scenes that are hilarious works mainly because of him. Hart helps with the humor and develops chemistry with Johnson but Dwayne Johnson steals the show.

I also thought it was cool that throughout the movie, you wonder if Dwayne Johnson’s character is a good guy. It makes you pay attention to the story as the twists were simple and believable. I wasn’t scratching my head in confusion nor was I was “this is crap”. Even though it was not an action or comedic aspect to the story, it added to the movie. There is also great supporting cast to the movie, specifically Jason Bateman.

As I have said, this movie has some problems, mainly the predictability of the story and the cliched action sequences that don’t really add much to the story. There was one major cliche I am going to reveal here so SPOILER ALERT. Johnson’s character tells Hart that his former partner (Aaron Paul) was killed in action. The cliche is that the partner (Paul) is not dead and he turns out to be the villain in the climax. I predicted that from the second Aaron Paul’s character was introduced and then I wrote the F-word in big capital letters on my notebook when it happened. END OF SPOILERS. There were several cliches in this movie but that cliche was the worst offender.

Overall, this movie gets a positive review from me because despite all of the faults Central Intelligence has Dwayne Johnson and the cast hit the bottom line: To make me laugh. When the movie gives them time for the characters to speak and give them time to be comedic, it works. If the action was consistently cool or funny that this movie would be great. Still, Central Intelligence has about a 3:1 hit-to-miss ratio with their spoken gags. A majority of comedies find it hard to just break even. Kudos to The Rock for his comedic performance and variety. ***1/4

Bad Neighbours 2 Review

Genre: Comedy

Year: 2016

Rating: MA

Runtime: 92 Minutes

Main Cast: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Chole Grace Moretz

Production Company: Point Grey Pictures

Written By: Seth Rogen, Andrew J. Cohen, Bredon O’Brien, Nicholas Stoller, Evan Goldberg

Directed By: Nicholas Stoller

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Written By Nelson Cumming

“Bad Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” is a retread of the first movie with a similar premise and similar gags. My overall conclusion was that the movie is not as good or funny as the original. That being said, “Bad Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” had me laughing a little throughout but there was nothing that stood out as comedy gold. At least the gross-out gags in this raunch comedy didn’t linger on, the performances were decent and the story had direction. Despite the movie having direction “Bad Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising”is a hit and miss comedy with a lot of missed at the beginning and a lot of hits towards the end.

 

Think “Bad Neighbors” when it comes to the premise but it is a soroity instead of a fraternity, so the raunch comedy comes from women rather than men. Seth Rogan and Rose Byrne play parents who have bought a new home and are trying to sell their old home which is in escrow meaning the new homeowners are willing to buy their house if for 30 days the homeowners are satisfied with the living situation. Since the members of the Kappa Kappa Nu sorority club are partygoers, they refuse to quiet down for the new neighbors. This leads to an ongoing turf war that ensues just like the original movie.

 

This movie goes for a gross-out gag from the beginning that is similar to the gross-out gag from “Grown Ups 2” in terms of bodily fluids landing on the face, or in the case of “Bad Neighbors 2” half fluids and half solids. Rose Byrne vomits on the face of Roger as they are having sex (She was on top) to which she says “Honey, I think I’m pregnant” Rogan responds, with his face covered in vomit, “I think I just came” The image of vomit on Rogan’s bushy face was not ascetically pleasing, to say the least. It brought me out of the movie for quite a while.

 

Despite the exchange of bodily fluids, there were funny moments, but they were followed up by gags that didn’t work. Two memorable scenes include a gag with an airbag (similar to the original) and one that involved the soroity girls selling weed to pay the rent. Both were stupid in their hilarity and they made me laugh, but then there would be a scene where things just didn’t work, either because it didn’t make any sense or they were pushing the envelope too far. It was inconsistent on the level of hilarity, but at least it was funny and had its moments.

 

The best I can compare “Bad Neighbors 2” with iGrimsbysey” but it is not as over-the-top but it was not a mean-spirited or as uneven as “The Boss” There really hasn’t been a film I have reviewed where I was really struggling to write about it because my final thoughts were messy at best. But here is how I would sum it up: This film has a good plot direction, yet at the same time it was inconsistent in its humor, but the humor was good it was great. The actors were good at their roles but they were never fully fleshed out to the point were I cared as much as I’d like to. I liked the whole story but at the same time I hated it. I really don’t know how to adequately express these thoughts. I was miffed, but I didn’t mind seeing it at the same time. I am leaving on a weird note **3/4

Mothers Day Review

Genre: Romantic Comedy
Year: 2016
Rating: PG
Length: 118 Minutes
Main Cast: Jennifer Aniston
Kate Hudson
Julia Roberts
Jason Sudeikis
Main Production Company: Capacity Pictures
Directed By: Garry Marshall

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Written By Nelson Cumming
“Mothers Day” is one of the rare movies where just describing what I had seen is enough to make you cringe. Not a single thing was funny. Not only that but there was some racism in it which was made worse by the stupid stereotypes that were portrayed that try to justify the racism. “Mothers Day” also tries to force you to gain sympathy through overdone sad generic character stories about abandonment issues and the grieving process of a mother’s death. None of this heavy themes work because they are so forced and flippant about it that I rolled my eyes whenever those stories were mentioned. Coupled with ridiculous levels of product placement, cheesy predictable “coming together” moments and jokes that are so dumb and unfunny is what makes “Mothers Day” so terrible to watch.

The “story” like other movies with large casts involves separate little stories that overarch into one main story. It is basically about how people are sad about upcoming mothers day for various reasons and how they solve all their problems by finally meeting in a hospital. Yes, a hospital, perfect for “Mothers Day”. I could go into the specific stories but I am not going to bother because it will take too long and the filmmakers did not care about what they made. If the movie does not care about its audience why should I?

One of the problems with lots of stories is the movie feels fragmented all the time. Director Gary Marshall is not Paul Thomas Anderson. Anderson got 6 or 7 seven little stories and interweaved them seamlessly in a very powerful 180-minute drama called “Magnolia” that dealt not only with the consequences of immoral actions but how those that were hurt took their final moral justice. Marshall made a two-hour romantic comedy and trivialized the subject matter of motherhood in a story so fragmented you’d forget what some of the stories are if you were not reminded of them. Yet there are some stories in “Mother’s Day” that you’d remember for all the wrong reasons.

“Mothers Day” has the annoying tendency to try and attain audience sympathy through cheap cliche tactics that soap operas like to use. An example includes how one of the families can’t get through the grieving process of their mother who died in a war which is conveyed by little girls crying on the mother’s tombstone and the husband lying on the couch nostalgically looking at a pre-recoded tape of his wife on the TV screen. It does not work because she is never really seen in the whole movie. If I can’t see or know the mother, how can I be attached to the mother in any way and how her loss hurts the family? I wrote in my notes “They really shove this mothers day theme down our throats with vapid bullshit sentimentality” That is a perfect summation of the movie.

If you are Indian I will guarantee you will be offended by this movie. There are racist remarks said by redneck racists and homophobes and you see and Indian drinking alcohol while showing the brand of alcohol in a terrible use of product placement. None of this was funny. As I mentioned before, you have to be smarter and smarter to be more and more tasteless. It can be done with great results, however, the worse the subject matter the harder they fall if not executed to comedic effect.

So I believe that “Mother’s Day” was a cynical attempt to appeal only to the lowest common denominator of middle-aged mothers that like sitting through unfunny sequences, racial stereotyping and dramatic soap-opera in one scattershot mess. I was the only man that was sane enough to leave the cinemas as the outtakes were going on before the lights went up. I just couldn’t stay through that. It is up to you whether or not you thought I was the only smart one or the only dumb one. -*

The Boss Review

Year: 2016
Rating: M
Genre: Comedy
Length: 99 Minutes
Main Cast: Melissa McCarthy
Kristen Bell
Peter Dinklage
Production Company: Gary Sanchez Productions
Written By: Ben Falcone
Melissa McCarthy
Steve Mallory
Directed By: Ben Falcone

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Written By Nelson Cumming

After seeing Melissa McCarthy in different roles and movies I have come to the conclusion that her talents are manifested through the careful direction Paul Feig instead of her husband Ben Falcone. Feig has directed McCarthy in “Bridesmaids”, “The Heat” and “Spy”. Falcone has directed McCarthy in “Tammy” and “The Boss”. I think if anyone had to do a ranking from best to worst based on the five titles alone I would be amazed if the latter two were anywhere higher than fourth and fifth.

“The Boss” is not a terrible film by any means. There are moments where I laughed, but the laughs were few and far between. The thing that was the most inconsistent was character and story progression. What hurt the movie the most was probably how hateful Melissa McCarthy’s character inherently was to Kristen Bell’s character who portrays a nice, vulnerable single mother. That detracted me from a lot of the comedy as a whole. Nonetheless, this movie was good overall but it skates on thin ice by the end.

“The Boss” revolves around a cut-throat entrepreneur Michelle Darnell (Melissa McCarthey) who was arrested and sent to jail for insider trading. When she is released, she lives with her secretary because she has nowhere else to stay. Her secretary is Clare Rowlins (Kristen Bell) who is a struggling single mum. Michelle finds a business opportunity in selling girl scout cookies. But longtime rival Renault (Peter Dinklage) holds a longtime grudge against her and plans to ruin the cookie business Michelle started.

Michelle Darnell’s character is narcissistic, self-centered, relentless and jaded. Those character qualities can be used to great effect (through my own observations) if :
A. The actor does it in short sharp bursts
B. The actor has great comedic timing
C. The actor knows when they need to stop
and finally and most importantly,
D. The character exhibits those qualities to other people who share similar qualities of overconfidence and wit. That way it feels more like a funny exchange with words instead of a bullying exercise against a nice character.

Out of all these four characteristics, only the second one was done well in “The Boss”. There were several scenes in “The Boss” where it was one joke too much (not to be mistaken for one joke not too far). In one scene where Darnell is given fashion advice for Clare on her first date and there is a gag involving her bra that was great (Kristan Bell’s reaction is priceless) but then both girls, Melissa McCarthy especially, was coming up with 7 more jokes, each being less funnier than the last. It was clear that a lot of the scenes were improvised, which is ok when it works, but the editor could easily cut out some of the one-liners and made a tighter movie.

Another problem I have mentioned is when the narcissistic character spouts manipulative rants to inherently nice characters like Clare the single mum. It just felt mean. There is one thing that McCarthey’s character does that drives the two apart and when she pleaded for forgiveness it felt to me that the emotional payoff wasn’t earned. This was because she was a shrew up until that point. Showing of machismo mostly works when both characters are self-confident show-offs or when both characters are at least thick skinned. From the top of my head, great examples are Robert Downey Jr. and Ben Stiller in “Tropic Thunder” and Melissa McCarthy with Jason Statham and Rose Byrne in “Spy”. They are funny because they are witty and mean but most importantly their characters can dish it as well as take it. It just doesn’t work in my opinion if you do it to a character that we come to know is vulnerable and mildly insecure like Clare’s character is.

“The Boss” is actually funny here and there but there are good stretches where it feels mean and there are wild inconsistencies that manifest in the movie climax. I thought Peter Dinklage was good, despite the fact his character is a joke. It could have been improved significantly but that is what you get. “The Boss” narrowly escapes the bad movie zone with the skin of its teeth, but barely **1/4