Safe House: Too much flash, not enough substance

Safe HouseIt’s been a while since I’ve seen Ryan Reynolds or Denzel Washington in anything worth watching, but the two stars are still a good reason to check out a movie.

The basic premise of the Safe House sees Matt Weston (Reynolds), an inexperienced CIA agent who’s the solitary staffer in a South African safe house, get the most hands on experience of his career. Soon after the famous rogue CIA agent, Tobin Frost (Washington) is brought in for questioning, the house is attacked, eventually causing Weston to flee with Frost – and so begins the non-stop shaky camera car chasing, gun shooting and CIA conspiracy-ing adventure.

There isn’t much else to this movie other than the aforementioned action, and it barely slows down enough to let you get to know the characters very well. I liked the idea of the “trust no one” aspect of the movie, but I feel it was a shadow of what it could have been. Washington shows the same kind of intensity that he brought to his role in Training Day with Ethan Hawke and Reynolds is believable as the under-used agent who’s somewhat gullible, but I thought they under used the talent in favour of loud noises. There were glimmers of Washington getting into Reynolds’ head, but that was mostly at the beginning and after a while it trailed off.

If you’re looking for an action movie with a lot of car chases and loud gun shooting then this is the film for you. If you’re looking for a solid script that lets the actors shine, then you might want to pass this one over. I give Safe House a 2.5/5.

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.

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