Posts tagged Paul Rudd
This is 40
“This is 40,” is so depressing and irredeemably unfunny that I couldn’t even finish it, and I almost NEVER turn off movies. For a comedy, there are few laughs to be found, aside from some scant one-liners from Paul Rudd. If this is actually what 40 looks like, I’d like a gun and a single bullet to end it all. That way I could avoid experiencing the sad, miserable life that Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) have in this film. At least I wouldn’t have to suffer the same embarrassingly moronic spats or have a marriage suffocate from having spoiled children like theirs.
HOWEVER, I’m not going to bother with the gun because I don’t think this is what turning 40 would really be like. Not only are Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann’s characters way more immature than the average person, but their upper-middle class financial problems are idiotic and self-inflicted. You don’t need an iEverything or a $30,000 neon sign in your office. You also shouldn’t be giving your father $80,000 to finance his ill-conceived second family. After a certain point I just didn’t care enough to see how the movie ended since all of these people suck so damn much.
My Grade: F (Because I had to turn it off)
This kid who can see dead people is way cooler than the one in that M. Night Shyamalan movie. His gift is amusing without being scary, but it does cause him to be stereotypically misunderstood. His family doesn’t get him and neither do the kids at school so the poor guy gets picked on a lot. You better believe everyone will count on him though when a horde of zombies and spirits takes over their sleepy town.
As I watched “ParaNoman” I could tell the filmmakers just had a really good time making this silly film. There are great nods to low-budget horror movies and amusing jokes about zombies, witches, and ghosts littered throughout. The claymation style animation is crazy impressive given the tremendous detail poured into the characters and their tiny props. It’s well-blended with CG to produce an immersive adventure. Another strong point to the film is its tremendous voice work by talented actors with colorful personalities like Anna Kendrick, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, John Goodman, and Casey Affleck. If I have one complaint it’s that the story and dialogue are too heavy-handed with their messages about accepting others. I’m all for tolerance in real life and I think it’s a great message to teach kids who will see the movie, it just doesn’t need to be so spelled out.
My Grade: B
Even as a Wes Anderson fan, I had a difficult time getting emotionally invested in “Moonrise Kingdom.” Anderson magnificently crafts the fictional New England island community where this tale takes place and painstakingly recreates the mood the 1960s. His aesthetic is unrivaled and his camerawork is superb. He uses smooth sweeping motions and takes his camera to unusual, yet entertaining places inside houses and on the roofs of cars.
Anderson’s breathtaking art direction and cinematography, are wasted however on a mediocre story and bad acting. This tale about two oddball kids who are star-crossed lovers failed to hook me. Neither the characters nor the conflict have enough substance. Plus, you know something is wrong when the finest performance comes from an action star like Bruce Willis and not from Bill Murray or Frances McDormand. Edward Norton isn’t turning in his finest work, though at least he’s amusing. “Moonrise Kingdom” kept me at a frustrating distance like a beautiful diorama that I could look at, but wasn’t allowed to touch.
My Grade: C
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” landed in my top 10 films for 2012 immediately after I watched it because it’s a well-made, uplifting story. For a movie about old people it moves unexpectedly fast in the beginning, and continues to remain well-paced throughout. There’s sharp dialogue, heartfelt performances, and poignant statements about the challenges and opportunities of old age.
I dug the music and the editing quite a bit, however my favorite part about this flick was the amazing ensemble cast of British actors. Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, and Judi Dench all act their hearts out, giving nuanced performances in this picture. The only thing that comes off a bit forced is the nontraditional Indian romance between the hotel’s young owner (Dev Patel) and his girlfriend who works in a call center. His mother tries to meddle in his affairs and as you might suspect he needs the team of older, wiser British folks to come to his rescue.
As Patel’s character says though,”Everything will be all right in the end, and if it’s not all right, it’s not the end.”
My Grade: A
Hello I Must Be Going
Initially I was very fond of the sentiment for “Hello I Must Be Going.” I liked the premise of Amy (Melanie Lynskey), a middle-aged woman whose life is in disarray, meeting a younger person who gets her to come out of her shell. The theme of a young lover teaching an older woman things about herself and helping her get everything back on track was appealing because usually it would be the other way around. Once I started watching the film I realized that the plot is pretty meandering and has other elements to it that distract from that main idea.
All of the terrible nagging and passive aggressive behavior from Amy’s status obsessed mother (Blythe Danner), and arrogant judgement by her brother just made me realize how much status-obsessed family members suck. Their mean behavior really started to wear on me as did the incredibly stilted dialogue spoken by all of the characters. Lynskey anchors the movie, with a heartbreaking performance that perfectly embodies the crushing despair of a divorcee with nothing left. However I found myself frustrated at the end by her inability to fully learn from her mistakes and to move forward with her life in a more positive manner.
My Grade: C
Roach perfected the art of uncomfortable situations directing the Ben Stiller movies “Meet the Parents” and “Meet the Fockers,” which had parts that were so painful, you found yourself laughing at the protagonist’s comic misunderstandings with his future in-laws. It is this same suffering that Roach effortlessly recreates for Paul Rudd’s character Tim in “Dinner for Schmucks.”
Tim is a mid level employee at an investment management firm looking for his chance to join the executive team. He seizes the opportunity to impress his boss Lance Fender (Bruce Greenwood) by pitching a potential partnership with a wealthy foreign businessman. Fender is impressed by Tim’s initiative so he hints at a big promotion, but in addition to being able to close the important deal, Tim must pass another test: he must bring a special guest to Lance’s home for a monthly dinner.
This dinner as Lance calls it, is a “dinner for idiots” where each executive brings a guest with bizarre abilities, so that they can mock how strange these people are. All of this is done under the guise of celebrating the people there as inspirational. For the executives, the most unusual and hilarious the company is what scores the biggest brownie points with Fender.
Despite the protests of his girlfriend Julie (Stephanie Szostak) that this dinner is ethically wrong, Tim decides to chase the promotion anyway. With his new job he will be able to afford his fancy car and huge apartment. By securing these assets, Tim believes Julie will see him as an appropriate caretaker and that she will accept his offer of marriage. He flounders on the final decision to attend the festivities though until he bumps quite literally into Barry (Steve Carell).
This loner who stuffs dead mice and creates elaborate dioramas for them is shoe-in for the “dinner for idiots.” Barry is an eccentric personality with the sense of wonder of a child and the same naivety. As a character it is astounding how mentally immature he is while still being a functioning adult. Even though Barry usually has the best of intentions at heart, his impulsive decision-making and his complete misinterpretation of the relationships around him raise hell for his friends.
By inviting Barry to this dinner, Tim has no idea the monster that he has created. Immediately Barry sticks to Tim like glue, effortlessly causing train wrecks wherever he turns. Barry manages alienate all of those around Tim, including his girlfriend Julie and his potential business partner by offering his “help.” The challenge for Tim becomes figuring out how to deal with the mess that Barry has created, and trying to maintain his patience with his new friend.
Even though this comedy uses uncomfortable situations and misunderstandings to create humor it sticks to remarkably safe territory. Tim is never very mean or rude to Barry, and the dinner itself only mildly shows the cruelty of its hosts. Aside from the film’s middling stance on the ethics of the dinner, Tim’s motivation for using Barry is not well fleshed out. Tim lusts after money, however his girlfriend outwardly indicates it is not of importance. This seems like a weak motivation for him to seek the promotion, since it should be the driving force of his actions throughout the film. The most disappointing aspect of the movie though, is that there are no lessons or consequences for the actions of the men who hold the dinner. No one seems to be imparted with a greater sense of humility after the events that unfold.
In comparison to Paul Rudd and Steve Carell’s work in films like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Anchorman,” this film is nowhere near the same caliber. Although the awkward scenes in “Dinner for Schmucks” can be funny, none of them use Carell or Rudd’s great improvisational abilities to the fullest potential. The lack of good impromptu banter, the weak pre-existing dialogue and underdeveloped plot lines produce a merely average comedy. An honorable mention in this film though is Jermaine Clement who is great as Julie’s client Kieran, a self-involved artist that dabbles in painting which is bizarrely sexual. Clement’s presence in several scenes provide for a great deal of humor in his interactions with Carell and Rudd.
My Grade: C+