Save your time and avoid 30 Minutes or Less

30 Minutes or Less

You’d think these three starring in a movie made by the same folks who brought us Zombieland would mean you’re getting a funny movie, right? Wrong.

30 Minutes or Less stars Jesse Eisenberg as Nick, a pizza delivery guy with little to no ambitions in life. Parallel to his story, Danny McBride and Nick Swardson‘s characters (Dwayne and Travis) who have to pay off a hit man to kill Dwayne’s father – this is where Nick comes into play. Dwayne and Travis lure Nick to a car impound lot and get eventually strap him with a bomb vest. Nick, with the reluctant help of Aziz Ansari‘s character, Chet, has to rob a bank and get Dwayne and Travis the money or else he’d be blown up.

There’s a lot I could complain about but I’ll just stick to the actors who, to me, mailed it in. McBride, while normally funny and sometimes hilarious, relies way too much on very base humor and to be honest the jokes get borderline if not overtly racist at times. His best friend, played by Swardson was probably the highlight of the movie, but only due to lack of options. Eisenberg’s stock had been rising with me with Zombieland and The Social Network, but it plummets back to Earth with his non-emotional dialogue and seeming lack of effort. Finally, Ansari, who I normally find really funny at times, was flat and there was no way I could see him and Eisenberg as friends in real life.

Like I said in the title, save yourself the time and avoid 30 Minutes or Less. I give it a 1/5.

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The Change-Up: A cross between vulgar comedy and Disney movie

The Change-Up

Think of this movie as Freaky Friday meets a Judd Apatow movie.

Of course The Change-Up was produced by Universal, not Disney, and directed by Dave Dobkin, not Apatow (however his wife Leslie Mann was in it). It isn’t hard to draw the comparison because there’s the classic two people wishing they had the other one’s life, when something weird happens right after. The next morning, low and behold, their bodies have been swapped!

Where this is different from your typical Disney-esque movie is the humor. It’s not the most vulgar of comedies by any stretch, but there are some gross parts (one on a movie set, in particular) that I don’t want to give away, but you’ll know when you see them.

Ryan Reynolds, as Mitch, channels his inner Van Wilder (pot, sex, lewd humor) which he does so well, and Jason Bateman, as Dave, is the typical straight man that he does so well (lawyer, husband, father to twins). Both actors show off their versatility by flipping roles – we’ve seen Ryan Reynolds act serious before, but Jason Bateman acting like like a douche bag pot-head? That was something funny to watch.

I also have to give it to Olivia Wilde and Leslie Mann for their supporting roles. Wilde’s acting wasn’t mind-blowing but it was good – she was clearly there for the eye candy, which I’m okay with. Mann is essentially the same in each movie, but whatever it is she does, she can keep it up, because she always makes me laugh.

Overall I wouldn’t put this one on the level of Horrible Bosses, Bridesmaids or even Hangover 2, but it was definitely a fun and funny movie to watch. If Harry Potter isn’t ruling the box office by August 5 when this one opens, I think it should do pretty well. I give The Change-Up a 3/5.

The Hangover part II: wash, rinse and repeat

The Hangover part IIBear with me here: Take a night out, four guys, drugs, lose one of those guys in a blackout, wake up in a daze, find an animal, retrace your steps, pick up another person (young or old), have some antics, reach breaking point, find said lost person, have a happy wedding, oh, and throw Mike Tyson in somewhere, for good measure. That, my friends, is the recipe for a successful, funny movie and the creators of The Hangover knew it, so they did it again.

I’ve heard quite a few people balking at the unoriginality of the sequel, but The Hangover part II isn’t out to win any awards; it’s out to make people laugh. With this one I was willing to put the storyline in the back seat and enjoy the chemistry of Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms and Bradley Cooper as they pieced their night together to find Stu’s (Helms) future brother-in-law, Teddy whom they of course lost on a crazy night out that saw them wake up in a slum hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.

Putting the pieces of their blacked out night is what makes these movies fun. Finding out how Stu got his tattoo and what he wound up doing at a strip club only adds to the character depth! Alan’s bonding with the drug mule monkey is quite endearing and you end up feeling for the two in the end. So you see, the movie is much more than a carbon copy; it builds on the bond that “The Wolfpack” have built. Okay all that was stretching it, but reliving the night before is what made the movie hilarious.

The one point I’ll concede to those making the unoriginal comments is that because I basically knew what was coming around the corner storyline-wise, I wasn’t as caught off guard or shocked. For that reason alone this one wasn’t as good as the first, and I have to give The Hangover part II a 4.5/5.

Bridesmaids: A painfully funny movie

Bridesmaids

Kristen Wiig shines in her first starring movie role in Bridesmaids, which was produced by Judd Apatow, directed by Paul Feig and co-written by Wiig as well. While it may come across as such, this movie is definitely not a “chick flick” as many seem to think it is; the producer should be a big hint of what kind of comedy this is.

In her role as Annie, Wiig shows she can hold the starring role in a movie and while I don’t want to see her leave Saturday Night Live, I hope this is the beginning of a string of great comedies by this SNL veteran. Set in Milwaukee and Chicago, Annie isn’t the most successful person in life, and after her friend Lillian, played by former SNL’er Maya Rudolph, asks her to be her Maid of Honor, everything starts going down the toilet – hilariously, of course.

I like the premise because it appeals to both audiences. Forgive the stereotypes, but many women will connect with the characters and storyline, and both men and women can enjoy the raunchy, gross humor; even the love story is one that grows with one comedic event after another.

If anyone takes the limelight from Wiig, it’s Mike & Molly’s Melissa McCarthy who plays Megan, the sister of the husband-to-be. If I’m allowed to draw comparisons, she’s the Zach Galifianakis of the group everything that woman did and said made me and the theatre burst out laughing – I was literally in pain a couple of times.

My only real criticism is that I would have liked to see bigger roles for Ellie Kemper (The Office) and Wendi McLendon-Covey, because the scenes they were in were funny, but for the most part the characters and actors went wasted.

It’s easy to call this movie the female version of The Hangover, as there are a few similarities and the release date is clearly meant to compete with it. I thought the same going in, but other than the cast of characters I wasn’t getting that Hangover vibe at all; this one stood on it’s own. I give Bridesmaids a 5/5 and the best comedy I’ve seen since, well, The Hangover.

Bonus: After exiting the movie, I was handed a free Cineplex movie pass for checking-in on Foursquare and tweeting that I was seeing the movie. I thought that was a great job of tying-in real customer interaction with social media by Cineplex, though I have to admit, I was a bit scared that I did something wrong when the guy called my name out.

Your Highness: A fun movie but not memorable

Your Highness movieWritten by, and starring Danny McBride, Your Highness is a medieval comedy that, despite receiving many negative reviews, delivered a lot of laughs and added a twist to the average stoner comedy we’ve come to see over the past few years.

First off, it really wasn’t as much of a stoner movie as say, Pineapple Express (also directed by David Gordon Green), but it had just as much action, if not more. Along with McBride as Thadeous, the movie also featured James Franco as Fabious and Natalie Portman as Isabel who were on a quest to save Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) who was captured by the evil Lezar (Justin Theroux). Like Pineapple Express, while the weed/sex jokes were expected, the action scenes like horse chases, cage fights with monsters/witches gave it some added value and entertainment.

Entering the movie I knew I wouldn’t be getting an award winning performance so I left my brain at the door and I found I enjoyed it a lot. If you’re looking to get value for your buck I wouldn’t recommend seeing it in theatres but it’s worth a rental in the future. On entertainment value I give “Your Highness” a 3/5.

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