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28th
AUG

Anchorman

Posted by Player under Comedy

AnchormanWhen I sat down and watched Anchorman, I thought for sure I’d see something totally hilarious and a film I could watch over and over again. But so far I’m a bit confused with this movie. Sure the gags and lines were very funny in certain scenes and sure Will Ferrell as a 1970’s anchorman was dead on hilarious, but the film as a whole just did not click for me.

Imagine the 1970’s when the only people on the News team were men and they were as manly as Tom Seleck’s Magnum PI. That is pretty much the setting for the story. Ron Burgundy is this macho but sensitive anchor who everyone loves and his fellow news guy made up of a ladies man roving reporter, a texas sports guy, and a mentally disabled weatherman are his gang. But this all changes when the network wants diversity and hires a woman to help out with the news. At first Ron is totally attracted to Veronica Corningstone (Christinia Applegate), but then he finds himself at odds with her when she does not live up to his stereotypical woman/wife. Somehow the fighting leads to a cruel prank by Corningstone that ends up getting Burgundy fired and his life falls apart without his job. Along the way there are appearances from Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, Jack Black, and others in some very hilarious stereotype gags.

Perhaps my favorite is when the roving reporter introduces himself and says he has named his penis The Octogon and when Burgundy refers to his arms as his Guns.

Critically, I think the idea was to show men in their peak of masculinity and to show exactly how this excess macho state of manhood was in fact feminine: like when the men all kid about porking Veronica Corningstone one day, but then when Burgundy announces he actually has done it, instead of asking for details of the sex, they inquire about what true love feels like.

However some gags just seem so out of place in today’s PC world, like Burgundy telling Corningstone that he is going to smack her and stuff, which makes you think, yeah that is suppose to be funny, but it really isn’t.

The film reminded me of Jack Black’s movie in which he falls in love with an obese women played by Gwenyth Paltrow. In that film, the premise was good, but somehow the director and writer did not pull it off, and ended up with a film that seems less funny and mostly cruel. In Anchorman, we get the idea and the jokes are funnier, but they quite did not pull it off either, so Anchorman remains a movie of stitched together sexist jokes that are plain hilarious but which end up overtaking the story and characters themselves.

I will give it to them, because the whole thing of the Burgundy’s dog barking and him understanding him was hilarious, because he keeps telling the dog at certain times, that he can’t understand Spanish. The idea of a bilingual barking dog is just plain genius.

3 out 5 stars

25th
AUG

Tropic Thunder

Posted by Player under Comedy

Tropic ThunderThe war movie is as classic as the war novel, but just because something is classic, does not mean we can’t make fun of it. I suppose Ben Stiller had that in mind when he put together this satire of a movie about making a movie of a war movie. Together with Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Nic Nolte, and even Tom Cruise, Stiller tells the hardship of Hollywood actors trying to survive the physical dangers of acting and the emotional heartbreaks of not being able to cry on camera or have a real friend.

Stiller plays the action star whose acting abilities are in doubt and whose time in the spotlight is quickly fading, while Downey Jr. plays the talented actor who has no real friends in real life. Everything goes astray, once their director places them in harm’s way, in order to save the film from being a catastrophe. Too bad the drug dealers do not play along and end up capturing Stiller and holding him ransom. What ensues is a series of great explosions, out of Rambo II and Platoon, and eventually Jack Black in his underwear, screaming “My Ass!!!”.

Overall, Tropic Thunder is not the greatest movie ever made, but if you ever saw a war action movie in the last two decades, you’ll laugh at the satire that shows up in this movie.

3 out 5 stars

25th

Shallow Hal

Posted by Player under Comedy

Shallow HalFrom the same people who brought you Kingpin and Something About Mary, comes Shallow Hal, a film about a young man trying to be successful in both love and work.

The Ferrely Brothers, like to make movies that make fun of everyone and on some perverse level, their comedy does seem to work for some people, but let me warn you that Shallow Hall goes above and beyond their usual jokes and touches on what is probably the single most important factor in our lives: our looks and what other people think of them. It is a touchy subject and one which the Ferrely Brothers stomp all over. Even Fox, the studio who produced the film, attaches a warning label to the beginning of the film.

Jack Black plays Hal, an unsuccessful ladies man who was emotionally damaged by seeing his father on his death bead. It is from his father’s last words that he inherits his shallowness and winds up being an adult who fancies more a woman’s body than her mind. That is until one day, when he is stuck in an elevator with a motivational speaker who hypnotizes him to “only see people’s inner beauty”. At this point, Hal meets the most unattractive women and finds them incredibly alluring and beautiful. The point being is that he is himself and that truly is what women are attracted to in the end. Hal of course does not realize any of this and when he meets an incredibly thin woman (played by Gwenyth Paltrow), his honesty gets him not only a girl, but a relationship. This does not sit well, with Hall’s friend, played by Jason Alexander, who has his own insecurities.

In between there are a lot of fat jokes and what many will find sick humor, from chairs breaking every time Paltrow sits down, to even making fun of handicapped individuals. The Ferrely Brothers do not hold back anything and many will wonder if this is really necessary, just for some jokes that end up not working many times.

By the time the film is almost over, the one thing that stood out for me was the scene where Hal visits a hospital ward for children and sees a little girl as she really is physically. It shows pretty much what the Ferrely Brothers wanted to say about vanity; somehow this message gets lost for most of the film.

Shallow Hal really tries to deliver on the jokes, but I think the subject matter was too much to overcome and the movie ends up being half a cruel joke instead. As far as Ferrely Brothers films go, this one did not succeed on all levels, like Kingpin, Something About Mary, or Dumb & Dumber which are their most successful works to this day.

3 out 5 stars

25th

Along Came Polly

Posted by Player under Comedy

Along Came PollyI guess by now I’m a sucker for Ben Stiller movies, so I took a chance on Along Came Polly, and although the film had its moments, it was not the romantic comedy that I expected from the likes of Stiller.

The film starts out with Stiller as Reuben Feffer, who is a risk assessment manager for an insurance firm. He’s getting married to his realtor who he met only 6 months ago. They go off on their honeymoon where they run into nude Claude, a french scuba instructer, played by Hank Azaria, who is by the way hilarious in this film. Reuben avoids risk like the plague so he goes back to the hotel while his new wife played by Debra Messing joins Claude for a scuba lesson. When Reuben comes back to the boat, he finds both of them having sex, and ends up leaving the island, while his new wife explores her new love.

This of course makes Reuben a joke, not that he was not one already. All this time his best friend, also another walking joke, Sandy who is a failed child actor, tries to cheer him up. Although Sandy’s best line is the Shart, it’s when you fart and a little shit comes out, so it’s a shart. I love that. The two go to a party in which Reuben runs into a flighty Polly Prince (Jennifer Anniston) who he knew in grade school. The two find themselves strangely attracted to one another and eventually make for some comedic scenes, until Reuben’s wife returns and sets the stage for the Third Act in the romantic comedy.

What is disappointing in the film is not really the acting but the flat characters. We know who Reuben is, we know his parents, we know everyone and there simply are no surprises, no real quirks that make characters seem more like real people instead of just roles in a script. The comedy and jokes in general seemed to happen right on queue and Anniston’s Polly Prince (who has a great pornstar name), just never seems to be anything more than another version of Friend’s Rachel Greene. I’m not sure if Anniston can actually deliver a character who is not Rachel, cause in this film, that is all I see. And it makes me yearn even more for Cameron Diaz and her Mary in Something About Mary.

I guess since I already gave away everything, there really is no reason to watch this film anymore. Sorry!

2 out 5 stars