ABC Film Challenge – Crime – F – Fun with Dick and Jane (2005)

Director: Dean Parisot

Writer: Judd Apatow, Nicholas Stoller (Screenplay) Gerald Gaiser, Judd Apatow, Nicholas Stoller (Story)

Starring: Jim Carrey, Tea Leoni, Alec Baldwin, Richard Jenkins, Angie Harmon, John Michael Higgins

 

Plot: When an affluent couple lose all their money following a series of blunders, they turn to a life of crime to make ends meet.


Tagline – Giving Big Businesses a Run For Their Money!

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Comedy Lacking That Spark

 

Story: Fun with Dick and Jane starts as we meet Dick (Carrey) who is about to get a promotion to vice president of the company he has worked for, for year. The problem comes that this promotion is designed to put the blame on the company’s problems on him instead of the men who really are involved, Jack (Baldwin) and Frank (Jenkins).

Dick loses his job and his wife Jane (Leoni) has quit her job, the two struggle to find new jobs and before long they are facing being evicted, which turns them to a life of crime to save their home.

 

Thoughts on Fun with Dick and Jane

 

Characters – Dick has been working for a company for his whole working career, he has been waiting for a chance to get to the next step which he gets only to see himself become the fall guy, making him unemployable in the field. He can’t get a job anywhere and out of pure desperation he turns to a life a crime to support his family. Jane is the wife of Dick who quits her job with his new promotion and can’t get a new job, she believes in Dick and ends up teaming up with Dick to commit crime. Jack and Frank are the CEOs that have taken advantage of Dick to get away clean after their illegal trading.

PerformancesJim Carrey gets to play into the full energy comedy that he is known for here, this isn’t the best he has given, but his fans will enjoy what he does, Tea Leoni does struggle with comedy and it is clear to see because she just doesn’t work with Carrey’s comedy. Alec Baldwin and Richard Jenkins get to enjoy their roles in the film playing into what they could be for these real people.

StoryThe story follows a couple that are forced into a life of crime after losing everything when a business they are employed with gets closed down with the CEOs leaving the employees broke. This is a remake which has been bought into the modern era of greedy businessman who have taken advantage of their employees only to be left nothing. The story does seem to be going in fast forward with the crime montage flashing over what is happening. This does have a good outcome for everyone involved, but just doesn’t engage for the audience.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy in the film mostly revolves around Jim Carrey bringing in his routine which is enjoyed by people who are fans of his work, the crime side of the film shows just how CEOs can try and get away with things and how one couple looks to crime to survive.

SettingsThe film doesn’t give us any settings which feel overly iconic which the film could have had to make us become more invested in what is happening.


Scene of the Movie –
The first robbery.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Crime montage.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book crime comedy that skips over too much of the interesting material only to leave us feeling like we blinked and missed too much.

 

Overall: Basic crime comedy.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Crime – C – CHIPS (2017)

Director: Dax Shepard

Writer: Dax Shepard (Screenplay)

Starring: Dax Shepard, Michael Pena, Vincent D’Onofrio, Rosa Salazar, Jessica McNamee, Adam Brody, Isiah Whitlock Jr

 

Plot: A rookie officer is teamed with a hardened pro at the California Highway Patrol, though the newbie soon learns his partner is really an undercover Fed investigating a heist that may involve some crooked cops.


Tagline – Chip Happens

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Insulting Comedy

 

Story: CHIPS starts as an undercover FBI agent Ponch (Pena) must joining the California Highway Patrol undercover with rookie officers Jon (Shepard) being his partner as Ponch must discover who is the dirty cop in the unit.

As the two are clearly complete opposites and Jon is the only one in the department that Ponch could trust to uncover the truth about the string of robberies.

 

Thoughts on CHIPS

 

Characters – Ponch is the FBI agent that is known for getting the cases closed even if the methods go across the lines, his latest case is becoming part of CHIPS to uncover a string of robberies that is believed to involve the members in the force. Joon is the former stunt man that wants to fix his marriage by joining the CHIPS team, he has had multiply injuries and will do anything to try and keep the job proving his worth to the force. These two are both very different and must put aside their difference to solve the crime. Ray Kruz is the main villain running the operation from within the force. We get plenty of different officers or agents from different levels of the police system which shows us who we will be dealing with through the film.

PerformancesThis is hard because saying anything bad about Michael Pena is upsetting, here he doesn’t hit the comedy we know he can and as for Dax Shepard we must be blaming him more because he wrote, directed and starred in this insulting comedy, we know he is good when given the right material, here he only lets us down. The rest of the cast just don’t get any moments to shine.

StoryThe story here follows two unlikely cops that must work together to uncover who is behind a string of crimes from within the force. This is the simple part of the film, the problems start mounting up easily and quickly, first the humour is insulting for anything that happens as the characters are left doing sex, poop and more lazy sexist jokes. Considering this was a popular TV shows, I feel the creator must feel insulted with what we are given, this fails on capturing any of the Starsky and Hutch or 21 Jump Street humour we enjoyed and just becomes boring quickly, not adding any mystery to who is behind the crimes either.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action in this film is lazy even if it is the only highlight of the film with a couple of the chases being the most interesting part of the film. the comedy is an insult to comedy while the crime world shows us only police corruption.

SettingsThe film is set in LA, I think mostly to use the sewer system for the chases otherwise it could have been any city.


Scene of the Movie –
Bike chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The comedy.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the comedy movies you really should never be watching, it doesn’t get any laughs and just ends up being left feeling insulting.

 

Overall: This is why we don’t have comedy hits anymore.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – Z – Zombibi (Kill Zombie!) (2012)

Director: Martijn Smits, Erwin van den Eshof

Writer: Tijs van Marle (Screenplay)

Starring: Yahya Gaier, Mumoun Ouled Radi, Gigi Ravelli, Sergio Hasselbaink, Uriah Arnhem, Noel Deelen, Nadia Poeschmann

 

Plot: The bizarre story takes place in Amsterdam-West, where a virus turns people into bloodthirsty zombies. Although much blood is flowing and many limbs chopped off, there is a lot to laugh at in this bizarre horror comedy.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Horror Comedy

 

Story: Kill Zombie starts when hard working Aziz (Gaier) gets fired because of his brother’s Mo (Radi) party mentality, to make matters worse, they end up in jail after a party problem. That night something crash lands in Amsterdam, destroying parts of it and turning people into zombies.

Aziz is joined by his brother, police officer Kim (Ravelli), Nolan (Arnhem) and Jeffrey (Hasselbaink) as they look to rescue his love Tess from the building block where one of the strikes hit, can they make it through the zombies before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Kill Zombie!

 

Characters – Aziz is a man hat is happy enough to work in an office, hoping for one day the office crush will notice him. He gets fired because of his brother that has always gotten him in trouble. He now wants to do the right thing during the zombie outbreak to save the girl of his dreams, which means going against the fellow survivors. Mo is the brother of Aziz, who lets his mouth get him in and out of trouble, he keeps himself out of danger by usually thinking about himself over anybody else even his brother. Kim is the police officer that did arrest the group, she does join with them in an attempt to fight for survival, being the bad ass of the group. Jeffrey and Nolan are our comic relief, they come from the other side of the offence which finds them all in jail, they do get the funniest lines in the film.

PerformancesThe performances in the film know they are in a wacky comedy, Yahya Gaier in the leading role plays the more serious figure which give us a character the supporting stars to get the laughs from. Gigi Ravelli gets to bring us a strong female character to deal with, the rest of the cast get the laughs which is all we need them to do.

StoryThe story follows a group of unsuspecting residents of Amsterdam that awake to discover a zombie apocalypse has taken over the city, they must get to safety after saving ones fictional girlfriend from a crumbling building. This does follow all the traditional zombie outbreak storyline with everything going how we would imagine. The characters are being put through their own arcs to make sure they have an impact on the main story. This is a fun story to watch, it never takes things too seriously either.

Comedy/HorrorThe comedy in the film get to see how the supporting characters deal with the zombie fights, certain jokes do go on one line too long, but for the most part they hit home. The zombie outbreak is the horror side of the film.

SettingsThe film is set in Amsterdam which does make for a good setting because it is a location we haven’t normally seen a zombie outbreak in.

Special EffectsThe effects are low budget and this does work for the film because it gets to through blood and guts at the characters which only adds to the comedy in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Video game fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does follow too many generic mistakes the characters will make.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun zombie comedy, it gets the jokes right and will keep the audience laughing from the action of the supporting cast.

 

Overall: Pure fun in Amsterdam.

Rating

 

 

Don’t Think Twice (2016)

Director: Mike Birbiglia

Writer: Mike Birbiglia (Screenplay)

Starring: Gillian Jacobs, Mike Birbiglia, Kate Micucci, Tami Sagher, Keegan-Michael Key, Emily Skeggs, Chris Gethard

 

Plot: When a member of a popular New York City improv troupe gets a huge break, the rest of the group – all best friends – start to realize that not everyone is going to make it after all.


Tagline – The spotlight’s not for everyone.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Life Lesson 101

 

Story: Don’t Think Twice starts as we meet the Commune, an improv group with Samantha (Jacobs), Miles (Birbiglia), Allison (Micucci), Lindsay (Sagher), Jack (Key) and Bill (Gethard), the group have been working up the field while working daily jobs.

When part of the group gets an audition with Weekend Live, they can’t skip the chance and we get to see how the group adapts to the realities of life.

 

Thoughts on Don’t Think Twice

 

Characters – Samantha is one of the group, that gets the chance to audition for the Weekend Live show, we see how she isn’t the most confident about going to the next level even with her boyfriend being excited about this chance. Jack is the one that gets the big break, he has had a reputation of trying to become centre stage and even though he wants to support his friend, he can’t risk his new job for the writers. Miles has been training people in improv for years, Jack is one of his students, he hasn’t ever grown up where it seems like he is about to have a mid-life crisis. The remaining three just are going through their own issues in hopes of getting a break, while enjoying the comedy as a relief from life.

PerformancesWhen we look at the six cast members we see how they have great chemistry, we do get more scene time for certain stars because of the relationship side of the story. I don’t think anyone stands out more than anyone else which is the whole point of the group.

StoryThe story here follows an improv group that has great chemistry, but will need to focus on staying together when one of the group gets a chance at stardom. This shows how any close-knit group could be affected by change which will disrupt the reputation of the rest, while also showing how hard work for any comedy act the industry would can be, while trying to live normal lives where ends need to be met. This does have the moments that we like to see in film where we get to see how hard life can be when you hit 30 and haven’t made it following the dreams you wanted to see. Showing us the harsh reality of showbiz is important for anyone who wants to take that step in the industry. It is a shame we don’t get to see the life goals from a couple of the support characters.

ComedyThe comedy comes from the improv scenes, they easily get the best lines, the rest of the film does seem slightly too serious, though this does help the real-world problems.

SettingsThe film does have New York setting which gives us the glimpse at how hard the small-time comedies will be facing in the city.


Scene of the Movie –
The improv scenes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not learning enough about Lindsay, Allison or Bill.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable comedy showing how real-life can be difficult for any aspiring comedians.

 

Overall: Nice look at life.

Rating

 

For Love or Money (2019)

Director: Mark Murphy

Writer: Mark Murphy (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert Kazinsky, Samantha Barks, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Ed Speleers, Tony Way, Ivan Kaye, Anna Chancellor

 

Plot: A fairy tale romance takes an unexpected turn when Mark discovers his beautiful bride-to-be, Connie, has actually been plotting against him.


Tagline – There’s something Odd about Getting Even.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Laugh Out Loud Comedy

 

Story: For Love or Money starts when former bullied school kid Mark (Kazinsky) meets the former love of his life Connie (Barks) at her boyfriend’s funeral, when Connie and her business partner Johnny (Speleers) learn Mark might become mega rich, Connie gets involved in dating Mark hoping to get half his money once he gets it.

When Mark learns about Connie’s plan, he decides to go on his own mission to make her life a living hell until he can finally break her giving away her plan.

 

Thoughts on For Love or Money

 

Characters – Mark is the average joe, he has worked hard to get where he is, he doesn’t have much luck with the women though, he finds a way to be awkward around them, he thinks his life has turned around when he meets an old school friend, only to learn the truth about her intentions, forcing him to go out to get revenge with on her. Connie is the gold digger that is using Mark for a big payday, she is pretending to love Mark and even agrees to marry him, only she finds herself being put through the ringer, once he learns the truth. Kendra was once Connie’s best friend who was left embarrassed by Connie, she is willing to help with the revenge as she wants to be involved too, only she starts to question just how far they are going. Johnny is the business partner of Connie, he gives her the idea to use Mark for money, he is the kind of guy that you just look at and go, what an asshole, calling every single woman sugar tits. Tim is the best friend to Mark, that gets laughs of plenty through the film, along with his dog Ducky, he is dry to everything that happens in the film.

PerformancesRobert Kazinsky is great in the leading role, he gets to show comic timing and enjoyment for what his character puts Connie through, in a way where we support him. Samantha Barks is great in this role, she manages to give us a character that we hate, but also sympathise for. Rachel Hurd-Wood does get plenty of strong moments in the film, with her character getting the important moments in the film. Ed Speleers does seem to have a lot of fun with his role in the film where he gets to play a complete asshole, it could be argued the Tony Way is a scene stealer in this film nailing the comedy every time in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a man that starts dating his school crush, only to learn that she is only dating him to get to his money, where he decides to use this against her to get revenge. This story does put everything on the table early on which does give the story a nice spin on what we are used to seeing. It is nice to see a story where the victim gets to turn the tables, having fun knowing that the truth is only going to hurt them, seeing how far he can push things before breaking her. It would be fair the story doesn’t paint love in a very god way, though it does show how difficult it can be to move on with life when you believe somebody is perfect for you.

ComedyThe comedy in the film will give you plenty of laughs, Tim gets most of the laughs, while Johnny is the one you laugh at the most.

SettingsThe film gives us an everyday setting which shows how life can keep on going even if the big plan is going on in the background, no location is used for an iconic moment.


Scene of the Movie –
Camping.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The final moments.

Final ThoughtsThis is a funny romantic comedy that gets to show just how life can go in different directions, it turns a gold digger character on its head too.

 

Overall: Funny comedy that will leave you laughing most of the time.

Rating