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I Love Movies, But I Hate Yours: Horrible Bosses

“Horrible Bosses” caters to the morbid fantasies of abused employees: the thought that your employer can simply disappear with the pulling of a trigger or the slicing and dicing of a kitchen knife. Bosses can make your life a living Hell, and one can easily dream of a life in which your boss ceases to exist; I’m sure many have often fantasized about “offing” their all-ruling superiors of the workplace, much as the main characters attempt in Seth Gordon’s new movie.

There are three different bosses we meet in this very fine black comedy. All three of them, as the title suggests, are rather horrible individuals, and one would certainly not wish to be under the employment of any of these three insidious employers as the film’s protagonists unfortunately are; one can also imagine taking the decisions these characters bravely (or stupidly) take, given the notably vile actions of their despicable bosses. (Read More)

Eight Outta Ten

Watson

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I Love Movies, but I Hate Yours: The Switch

I mentioned in my review of the dismal Catherine Zeta-Jones feature The Rebound that honorable romantic comedies have been few and far between in recent times. With repetitious romance and corny comedy, they desperately need a bit of an, ermm, switch, shall we say? And while rom-com The Switch contains more drama than you’d think (false advertising), it nevertheless has the opportunity to alter this genre’s current predicament. Sadly, it doesn’t look like it’s going to.

Based on the short story “Baster” by Jeffrey Eugenides, it stars Arrested Development‘s Jason Bateman and FriendsJennifer Aniston. One’s a quirky, indie, cult god, while the other is more of a Hollywood tabloid babe. I’ll let you decide which is which.

Bateman is Wally Mars, a character best described as the neurotic type. His BFF (without benefits) is 40-something Kassie Larson, a singleton who wants to have a baby. “I am in the market for some semen,” she tells Wally. “And I need you to help me find some.” In between his legs, missy. She opts for artificial insemination and after some hunting around, she chooses the handsome Roland (Patrick Wilson) to be the donor.

During the “pregnancy party” where Roland does the naughty deed, a heavily intoxicated Wally accidentally spills Roland’s, ahem, load and so decides to sneakily fill the little pot with his own semen, forgetting this event the next morning. He’s essentially a clumsy, drunken genetic rapist of sorts. Inevitably, Kassie soon becomes pregnant, with both her and clueless Wally unaware that he is the biological father.

Cut to seven years later and Kassie returns to NY to reunite with Wally, bringing her six-year old son, brainy but bullied Sebastian (Thomas Robinson), with her, who’s as equally neurotic as his father. Wally begins to remember the events of that fateful night and wants to be with Kassie and Sebastian, but things quickly get complicated as Roland is now involved in their lives.

The thing about The Switch is that although it has been marketed as a romantic comedy, the dramatic elements seem far more present than they should be for this genre. There are many serious scenes, some entirely without any jokes or gags, which may sound like it’s trying to be a tad more adult/respectable, but it still pulled the film down for me.

Personally, I would have preferred the comedy aspect to have been enhanced and polished, as I found myself barely laughing for the whole 96 minute length, which is surprising, what with directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck having helmed the hilarious Blades of Glory in 2007. Aside from a couple of rare amusing gags, The Switch simply is not funny enough to even be classed as a comedy drama, leaving much to be desired.

Our two well-known leads are appealing enough, despite their significant lack of on-screen sexual chemistry. Jennifer Aniston does a terrific job in portraying Jennifer Aniston, as does Jason Bateman in playing Jason Bateman. I really would have loved for Bateman’s performance to have been a robotic one, as I could have written a gut-busting Wall-E pun in reference to his character’s name, but alas, he was pretty darn good.

Aniston has never really escaped the personality of the beloved Rachel from Friends, playing practically the same character in most of her subsequent film roles. Saying that, I bloody love the girl-next-door Miss Green, so I can’t let that discredit Aniston’s likable performance.

Wilson plays the snobby “other guy,” Wally’s recently divorced rival in style, while Robinson gives a remarkable feature film debut as Wally’s hypochondriac son. I see a bright future for the young lad. There’s also the awesomely awesome scene-stealer Jeff Goldblum as Wally’s work colleague, Leonard. He vigorously dominates each brief scene he’s in, even though his character is one big cliché. I adore the guy.

The only genuine character chemistry the film has is between Wally and Sebastian, with the former slowly noticing familiar traits carried on to his son. The two bond over the course of the movie, and it is quite sweet how the stubborn Sebastian soon relates to his oddball father, with their blood relationship unbeknownst to him.

The script, conceived by Allan Loeb, accommodates some inspired dialogue, brimming with satisfactory one-liners throughout. However, towards the end, it subjects itself to silly clichés – such as the use of pathetic fallacy – and predictability, annoyingly dumping itself into a typical, somewhat lazy Hollywood finale.

I didn’t find myself engaged in the story for the first 20 minutes of The Switch, it felt as if I was just watching characters do things I didn’t care about. The film regrettably never achieves a comforting level of captivity, nor does it deliver with the laughs. The performances are near top-notch and the writing is fairly decent, but I still very much wanted more. Then again, there’s a scene where Jeff Goldblum plays the piano and sings Happy Birthday, which in itself almost redeems the film. He’s so awesome.

Five outta ten

Watson

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Three Movies You Just Might Have to See

alexbw1. The Informant!

Remember Matt Damon? That guy from the Borne movies whose latest opus was a song about fucking Sarah Silverman? Yeah! That one! He’s back, and he’s got a funny moustache now. In this comedy, Matt Damon plays a clueless corporate employee who is wrangled by the FBI to go undercover and reap information about his superiors’ illegal activity. I love seeing handsome serious actors play absent-minded social retards in movies.

You wouldn’t think it would be believable, but…there ya go!

2. Couples Retreat

Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn play so well together you almost forget you’re watching a movie.  MADE didn’t have the same soul that Swingers did, but they were both so charming that I can’t take one without the other. This isn’t another Jon Favreau movie, and certainly doesn’t feel like one, but the cast makes you value Favreau for everything that he is.

The trailer allows you to take a step back, take in the relationship comedy, bright exotic colors, and learn to love what is essentially a Will Ferrell movie that he was passed up for because they didn’t want it to blow.

3. Daybreakers

I guess I can appreciate that the Vampire genre is starting to be taken a little more seriously. If I were a huge Vampire fan, I’d likely be ecstatic that I can rent Twilight when I want to be a little pussy, and I can watch True Blood On Demand when I need to rub one out to fast-motion sadistic pornography.

I’m not being facetious; I really never gave a shit about Vampires in Television, Film, or Literature. To me, the draw of the Vampire story represents the subconscious need for a cheesy, dime store Romance novel  combined with the excitement of watching a woman bleed to death.

So, I recognize the need to romanticize the undead. You can’t exactly do that with a Zombie…or a Werewolf, really…but Twilight: New Moon is taking a stab at beastiality.

Daybreakers is set in a world where almost everyone is a Vampire, and the few humans left must either fight or survival or be harvested for blood. It’s pretty high concept, but it looks pretty fucking cool.

Essentially, a similar story to True Blood without the epic nerd boner you get from seeing Rogue’s funbags.

Alex G

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