Tag Archive: Comedy


Review: Glee

TV-PG. Fox. Season 1, 22 episodes. Season 2 release date: September 21 2010.

Created by and written by Ryan Murphey. Cast: Dianna Agron, Chris Colfer, Jessalyn Gilsig, Jane Lynch, Jamya Mays, Kevin Mchale, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Matthew Morrison, Amber Riley, Mark Salling, Jenna Ushkowitz.

Glee is a musical comedy-drama that focuses on a high school show choir , (a modern day glee club) called “New Directions”, at the fictional Mckinley High School in Lima, Ohio.  The show just completed it’s first season, with season 2 starting off again on September 21st 2010.

Now this is one of those shows that honestly I would never have had much interest in watching. I like music, but a bunch of guys singing and prancing about is not necessarily how I entertain myself. That said, I kept reading rave reviews about this show and then saw it piling up on award nominations and finally going on to win the Golden Globe for Best New Television Series.

So this got me really curious, but I still held out. In the meantime, Glee’s popularity continued to escalate with its ratings  and viewership almost doubling.

Finally, I just had to see what all the hype was and honestly I am glad I did. I will not say that this show is the greatest thing on TV by any stretch of the imagination, but what I will say is it is pure feel good entertainment.

The story centers around Will Shuester (Matthew Morrison), a spanish teacher who takes over as the glee club coach with hopes to restore it back to it’s former glory. There are 12 main characters in the show, all of which have their own story lines. The stand outs are Rachel Berry (Lea Michele),  the snooty but talented star of the glee club, Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith), the star quarterback who risks alienation from his school mates to join the glee club and Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer), who plays a gay male soprano with flare.  All the other characters do a fine job, but these are the ones who I felt the most invested in and who really got underneath their characters skin.

And then of course there is Sue Sylvester, (played by the hilarious Jane Lynch), who won a well deserved Golden Globe for her supporting role as the coach of the “Cheerio’s” cheerleading squad and arch-nemesis to the glee club. She plays her role with so much relish, it’s just fun to watch.

While the show has it’s comical moments, I will admit that this is a truly heart warming show, where you find yourself really rooting for the underdogs to succeed. The show is also good at surprising you; one moment there is a corny and predictable scene and you think you know where it is heading, but then it goes a completely different direction.

The other thing that makes this show a real hit is of course its musical numbers. It is no surprise that the creators spent months of research looking for the best performers at broadway to cast this show.  There is some incredible talent from all involved but again the stand outs for me were Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele.

So many covers are done such as Rolling Stones “You Can’t Always Get What you Want”, Queens “Bohemian Rhapsody”, Van Halens “Jump” and even a whole episode dedicated to Madonna and Lady Gaga. The numbers are performed with flare and are very entertaining to watch.

Yes sometimes the acting is cheesy, but there are times when it is also very good and even intense. Besides, the show succeeds in the best way possible: it warms your heart and makes you want to sing and dance. Anyone who has a problem with that, is just a party pooper. 4/5 stars.

Movie Review: The Switch

PG-13, Mirimax Films, 101 Minutes.

Directed by Josh Gordon, Will Speck. Cast: Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Jeff Goldblum, Juliette Lewis, Patrick Wilson.

The Switch is not what it seems. The trailer makes it look like another romantic comedy. But truthfully this film is not that funny at all.  It’s more of an adult dramedy and overall is slow and has several plot faults. That said, there is still something here that makes it watchable.

The premise is a simple one: Wally (Jason Bateman) and Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) are platonic best friends. Worried about her age she announces that she is going to have a baby through a sperm donor. Wally objects as he has always secretly been in love with her, but he doesn’t have the courage to say it.  Patrick Wilson plays the sperm donor, who is a married man at the time of the donation.  At a party celebrating this occasion, Wally gets hammered and in a drunken haze, he switches his own sperm with the original. Kassie then gets a job out of state and moves away and neither of them really stay in touch much.

Cue 7 years later. Kassie moves back to New York with her 6 year old son Sebastian (played by the adorable Thomas Robinson) in tow, who just so happens to exhibit the same mannerisms as Wallie, because he is in fact his son. The sperm donor comes back into Kassie’s life too, who happens to no longer be married.

What happens next is quite predictable, but even so I found myself willing to continue watching and was even pleasantly moved by a few scenes.

This is ultimately Jason Bateman’s film, who offers a subtle and touching performance. The moments where he bonds with his son and how he handles his own insecurities are very real and something you can actually relate to. I have nothing against Jennifer Anistion (who I loved in Friends) , its just she keeps being typecast  in the same role, and i’ve grown tired of it.

The film is given an extra boost by supporting roles from Jeff Goldblum and Juliette Lewis (both brilliant and underrated actors in my opinion), as Wally’s and Kassie’s respective best friends, who have some of the films best lines.

If you want laughs then I don’t recommend The Switch, but if you DO want to see Jason Bateman in top form and watch a sweet and touching movie made for adults, then this is worth the trip to the cinema. 2/5 stars.

PG-13, Columbia Pictures, 107 Minutes.

Directed by Adam Mckay, Narrated by Ice T, Cast: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Samuel L Jackson, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan.

The Other Guys is a ridiculous and over the top buddy-cop crime comedy that succeeds for that very reason. I won’t say it is particularly memorable, but it is definitely an entertaining night out at the movies.

The film starts off with Detective Danson (Dwayne Johnson) and Detective Highsmith (Samuel L Jackson) who are two hero cops that are highly respected and admired by all. In the opening sequence they are chasing a drug cartel and manage to leave a path of destruction behind them, before the criminals are caught.  They do things “their way”, but they get the job done.

Then there are the other guys. Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell) is a forensics accountant who prefers to stay behind his desk instead of getting any action on the street. His reluctant partner is Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg), a detective who has been stuck with a desk job ever since he accidentally shot Derek Jeter during the 2003 World Series. Hoitz also has a tendency to shout out “i’m a peacock, you’ve got to let me fly” every now and then.

Gamble and Hoitz start to investigate a shady businessman by the name of Dave Ershon (Steve Coogan) and the deeper they get into the case,  the more they find themselves being kidnapped and shot at.

Gamble is married to his beautiful wife Sheila (Eva Mendes) who he only considers to be “plain” to the amazement of his partner. Mark Wahlberg overplays his character too much to the point where I got bored of it. I don’t find him that funny as a comic actor, but when he finally gets some action in this film is when he seems the most formidable as an actor.

Will Ferrell however, is definitely at his comedic best in this movie. Most of the films biggest laughs involve him. There is a good cop-bad cop scenario which is completely over the top but hysterical.  A backstory about his pimping days in college is also hilarious.  There is also random dialogue between Gamble and Hoitz throughout the film, most of which is completely non-sequiter which makes it even more comical.

Michael Keaton is also a lot of fun, playing their Captain Gene Mauch, who also has another job as the store manager at Bed Bath and Beyond. There’s a running joke with their Captain throughout the movie that involves the music group TLC, which I thought was very funny.

The Other Guys isn’t a movie that warrants repeat viewing, but it’s definitely a movie that will grab some laughs and is worth the watch. It’s also Will Ferrell back in shape at his comedic best.  2 /5 stars

Movie Review: Despicable Me

G. Universal Studios, 95 minutes.

Director: Pierre Coffin, Cast: Steve Carrell, Jason Segal, Russel Brand, Julie Andrews, Will Arnett, Kristin Wig.

Despicable Me is a highly enjoyable computer animated 3-D comedy that not only provides plenty of laughs but also tugs at your emotions in a way that pleasantly surprised me.

Steve Carrell plays Gru, a man who has proudly held the title of being the worlds #1 Super villian. He is a grouchy and nasty fellow who lives in a big  black house with an underground domain where he keeps all his stolen artifacts and is assisted by an old Scientist called Dr Nefario and his adorable yellow pill shaped minions.

The film opens with a sequence showing that the Pyramids have been stolen and replaced by fake inflatable ones. Gru’s mother (Julie Andrews) calls him to congratulate him for stealing the Pyramids but it turns out that he did not do it. The culprit is in fact Vector, (Jason Segal) a young and upcoming criminal who is attempting to take over the spot of worlds #1 Super Villian.

In retaliation, Gru devises the biggest heist in the world: to steal the Moon. In order to carry this out Gru needs a lot of money so he goes to the bank of Villians to get a loan. There he speaks to the Manager Mr Perkins (Will Arnett) who won’t give him the loan until he acquires the Shrink Ray that he needs in order to accomplish the feat.  Gru then sets off with his minions to get the Shrink Ray but it is stolen from him by Vector in the attempt.

In comes Edith, Agnes and Mongo, three orphan girls who go door to door selling cookies. Gru plans to adopt the girls and use them as pawns for his grand scheme to get the Shrink Ray back and then steal the moon. However, Gru soon finds that their innocent love for him and great desire to have a parent has a profound effect on him.  The movie really does a terrific job of showing the bond that grows between Gru and the three girls and I am not embarrassed at all to say that I found it very touching.

The movie is just flat out fun for the whole family.  It has great voice over performances from all concerned and is also supported by a wicked original music soundtrack. Look out for “Despicable Me 2” which should be hitting theaters in the next year or two.  4/5 stars.

MY TOP ROMANTIC FILMS

Yeah i know, i’m a dude. So what? Maybe i’m missing a bunch of mushy “chick flicks” that I never saw but there are still plenty of romantic movies out there that had real depth and heart to them. I aint ashamed in the slightest to say that I thoroughly enjoyed them.  Here are the ones that made my top list:

1. Jerry Maguire (1996)

2. The Graduate (1967)

3. Romeo + Juliet (1996)

4. Grease (1978)

5. Love Actually (2003)

6. Pretty Women (1990)

7. The Princess Bride (1987)

8. The Wedding Singer (1998)

9. Four Weddings & a Funeral (1994)

10. Ghost (1990)

11. Dirty Dancing (1987)

12. Say Anything (1988)

13. Crocodile Dundee (1986)

14. As Good as it Gets (1997)

15. My Best Friends Wedding (1997)

16. The Notebook (2006)

1. Monty Python and the Holy Grail. (1975)

2. Tropic Thunder (2008)

3. Anchorman: the Legend of Ron Burgendy (2004)

4. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)

5. Austin Powers: International man of mystery (1997)

6. Shrek/Shrek 2 (2001, 2004)

7. There’s Something About Mary (1998)

8. Observe & Report (2009)

9. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

10. Spaceballs (1987)

11.  Superbad (2007)

12. Wedding Crashers (2005)

13. A fish called Wanda (1988)

14. The Jerk (1979)

15. Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)

16. The Hangover (2009)

17. Waynes World (1992)

18. Bill & Ted’s excellent adventure (1989)

19. Jay & Silent Bob Strikes Back  (2001)

20. Southpark: the movie (1999)

21. Zoolander (2001)

22. The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)

23. Walk Hard (2007)

24. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

25. Ferris Bueller’s Day off (1986)

26. This is Spinal Tap (1984)

27. Borat (2006)

28. Dumb & Dumber (1994)

29. American Pie (1999)

30. Office Space (1999)

Review: Community

TV-PG. NBC. Season 1, 25 Episodes. Created by Dan Harmon. Cast: Chevy Chase, Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, Donald Glover, Ken Jeong.

Now, I had heard there was a new show on TV called “Community” but honestly the only thing that sparked any interest at first was that Chevy Chase was in it,  (the rest of the cast are mostly new-comers). When I finally got round to watching it, I was completely hooked by the first episode. Yes, Chevy Chase is great in it, but I have found this show to be one of the smartest and funniest comedies on television that I have ever seen. And it’s just gotten started.

Community is centered around the lives of 7 students who attend Greendale Community College in Colorado. The main character is Jeff Winger (a dry and witty Joel McHale) who is a suspended lawyer forced back into school after his college degree is deemed invalid by the State Bar.

The show focuses on his experiences at the College and the people that he meets there. Jeff has an obvious crush on Britta Perry (the lovely Gillian Jacobs) a female student trying to get her life back on track and in an attempt to impress her he forms a Spanish Study group. His plan backfires and a number of other oddball characters end up joining the Group in addition to Britta and he becomes their reluctant leader.

Other members of the study group are: Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase) an aged moist-towel tycoon who is constantly trying to give Jeff perplexing life lessons, Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi who is a comic revelation), a pop culture junkie who is attending college to study film, Shirley Bennet (Yvette Nicole Brown), a recently divorced mother who is attending college for the 1st time, Troy Barnes (Donald Glover), a former high school quarterback and Annie Edison (an adorable Alison Brie) a straight-laced nerd.

Other recurring characters in the show are Senor Ben Chang (a hilarious Ken Jeong), who plays their Spanish Teacher,  Psychology Professor Ian Duncan (John Oliver), who is an old friend of Jeff’s and Dean Pelton (Jim Rash), the oddball and bi-curious Dean of the College.

what makes this show such a winner is the richness of the characters and the sheer brilliance of its comedy. This is not slapstick humor. Religious and political topics are brought up throughout the show. The comedy is very real, but that just makes it even more funny. In fact, the creator Dan Harmon wrote the script based on his own experiences in Community college, involving a girl he liked and the group of misfits he was in a study group with. The reality is what really does shine through in the show.

There are continuous parodies on pop culture classics throughout the show, which would make a fanatic like me swoon. An entire episode themed off the gangster movie “Good Fellas”, which even uses the same music score! Breakfast Club, Batman, good cop/bad cop films and Good Will Hunting are all parodied to hilarious results.

Danny Pudi is the stand out actor here and his character is by the far the most original. He plays Abed with such wry humor and wit, it truly is pure comic genius. The out-takes that Abed and Troy do together at the end of each episode of the show is another highlight.

There is one entire episode that parodies Modern Warfare with a paint ball game that goes horribly wrong. I have watched this single episode 5 times over and it is an instant classic.

The sexual tension between Jeff and Britta does get a little redundant throughout the show, but you care enough about the characters that you still want to know if they will end up together.

Community is a show that DOES take itself seriously; but does it with such panache that you cannot but love it.  I would recommend to anyone who has not seen it yet, to catch up on Season 1 right now before Season 2 begins. 5/5 stars.

Review: Grown-Ups

PG-13. 102 minutes.

Columbia Pictures. Director: Dennis Dugan. Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, David Spade, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, Steve Buscemi, Mario Bello, Salma Hayek.

Grown Ups is a mindless comedy that still manages to score, due to the sheer star power of its cast.

The plot is a simple one: 5 friends from middle school have a reunion 30 years later when their old basketball coach dies. They meet together at a lake house resort where they had won the last game they played with their coach.  Adam Sandler is the successful guy from Hollywood and his wife is a fashion designer played by Salma Hayek (who still looks incredible). Kevin James is the all over family man with a wife (Mario Bello) who still breast feeds their 4 year old son. Rob Schneider is a cultish massage therapist married to a MUCH older women. Surprisingly there are some laughs with this relationship but it steers away from vulgarity and even progresses into a real and meaningful relationship between them. Schneider also has 3 daughters from previous marriages, 2 of which are knock out models and provide eye candy and some amusing moments in the film. Chris Rock is the stay at home dad and David Spade is the single man who still likes playing the field with the ladies.

Our heroes are everyday men in their mid 40s, who are still just kids at heart. The movie is very laid back and shows our friends bonding again after such a long time apart and having a good time with their families. They play a number of pranks like swinging across a river with a rope (resulting in a big ouch for Kevin James), shooting an arrow into the air and then trying to dodge it, (painful results again for Rob Scheinder) and all out fun at a water park with the kids, (wherein Steve Buscemi ends up in a body cast).

Rob Scheinder has the funniest moments involving his 73 year old wife and 2 hot model daughters. I personally think Scheinder is an underrated comic actor — everything I have seen him in has made me laugh my ass off. I would love to see him score a hit of his own and become a leading man one of these days.

The other characters just plod along and do their jobs well to produce an overall heartwarming and funny comedy.  This is not a film that warrants repeat viewings, but its a good night out at the movies and fun for the whole family for sure. 2/5 stars

G. Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Michael Keaton, Joan Cusack.

Disney and Pixar have a winning formula on animated films which all started with Toy Story. Since then, they have released Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Wall-E and UP all of which were huge hits with adult and younger audiences alike.

Toy Story 3 is no exception. Many critics have hailed this film as even better than the original and I think I agree.

Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen) have outgrown the boy who cherished them as his favorite toys as a child. He is now grown up and heading off to college. While clearing out his belongings from his room, the toys are accidentally thrown out to the garbage.

Adventure ensues and the toys all end up at a day care center where they meet a pink teddy bear and a group of other toys. The toys realize that the boy has no use for them anymore and see a new life at the day care center with the children there. Woody refuses to leave his owner and heads back home but the rest of the toys (including Buzz) stay at the care center.

However, soon the toys at the day care center realize they are just being used by the pink teddy bear as punching bags for the much younger kids at the day care to play with, so the teddy bear and his group of toys will be left alone.

Woody returns to rescue Buzz and the rest of the gang and get them back to their owner before he leaves to College.

The film is full of spectacular action sequences.  A scene stealer is Ken (of Ken and Barbie fame) who is voiced by Michael Keaton and played with cocky charm. A cat walk number that he does to impress Barbie, is of particular delight.

Towards the end, the film turns into a much more darker tone that I can imagine much younger children would find quite scary.  There is a scene that does a riveting job of touching on the “humanity” of Woody, Buzz and the other toys, even though they are in fact not human.  The film ends with a soaring finale that is an emotional punch to the chest and leaves you feeling wholly satisfied.

I don’t know if they will do a Toy Story 4, but if they don’t then they could not have had a more fitting finale to one of the best animated film franchises ever produced.  5/5 stars.

PG-13  Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Paul Dano,  Peter Sarsgaard.

First of all, I have to say that I have been a huge fan of Tom Cruise since his first performance in TAPS. Yes, he has done some great action films (notably the Mission: Impossible franchise) but for me, where he really shines is when he takes on a more meatier role. Magnolia, Rain Man and Jerry Maguire are films where he just got to act his pants off and I think we need to see more of that again.

So with that said, there is nothing wrong with Knight and Day, but in my opinion it is also nothing that we have not seen before.

Tom Cruise plays a special agent who has gone rogue and who may also have a few screws loose. He “accidentally” bumps into Cameron Diaz at the airport, who plays a ditzy hot blonde on the way to her sisters wedding.

While on the plane they both engage in flirtatious banter and then before you know it Cruise is shooting up everyone on board while Diaz is fixing herself up in the bathroom. From here the movie pretty much continues a fast pace with Cruise and Diaz on the run from agents and arms dealers who are trying to get ahold of a nuclear device that Cruise has in safe keeping.

Paul Dano has a small supporting role which he does well as the young scientist (who developed the nuclear device) being protected by Cruise. Peter Sarsgaard plays a secret agent that used to be Cruise’s partner and is now trying to bring him in.

The film has a number of spectacular action sequences, the highlight being a motorcycle chase through the streets of Spain also involving a herd of Bulls. The film is also nicely shot with interesting camera angles from James Mangold (who directed Walk The Line) that caught my attention.

The chemistry between Cruise and Diaz is a winning factor and there is plenty of amusing dialogue between them.

As I said, the film is entertaining enough and a nice date movie. But I doubt it will stay with you for long.  I personally am longing for the film where Tom Cruise will finally win the Oscar that he has deserved for a long time.  2 /5 stars