Christmas Movies – Santa’s Little Helper (2015)

 Director: Gil Junger

Writer: James Robert Johnston, Bennett Yellin (Screenplay)

Starring: Mike Mizanin, AnnaLynne McCord, Saraya-Jade Bevis, Eric Keenleyside, Kathryn Kirkpatrick, Geoff Gustafson

 

Plot: After getting fired from his job, a slick, fast-talking businessman (The Miz) is thrown into an elf competition to become Santa¹s next second-in-command. Put through a series of rigorous training exercises to prepare for the contest, The Miz and another aspiring elf go head-to-head in the hopes of becoming Santa’s Little Helper.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Family Christmas Movie

 

Story: Santa’s Little Helper starts with fast talking businessman Dax (Mizanin) who will happily throw people out of their homes and work places around Christmas time who loses his job, he loses everything facing ruin. When Santa Claus (Keenleyside) visits him he comes up with a plan.

Santa needs to hirer a replacement for an important role for him, he sends his trusted assistant Billie (McCord) who does have dreams of the same role, to recruit Dax and show the value needed for the role, all while daughter of the retiring role Eleanor (Bevis) believes she is entitled to the role. Can Dax learn the valuable lessons before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Santa’s Little Helper

 

Characters – Dax is our version of Scourge in this film, he has been putting people out on the streets for years with his ruthless attitude towards people, he gets fired and loses everything, he must prove his value to Santa for a high-ranking role under him even if it means facing a moment from his past. Billie is one of Santa’s assistants, she is assigned to recruit the next person in Dax even though she wants to role herself. She doesn’t understand the pick but will follow his wishes. Eleanor believes the role is hers and doesn’t care for anyone taking the role she believes she was entitled to. Santa is who we know he is, he wants to guide Dax back on the right path after knowing just how special he was meant to be.

PerformancesMike Mizanin or The Miz for WWE fans has been going through the movies for WWE Studios, he is good in his roles and this is no different. AnnaLynne McCord is good in her role too needing to be excitable at times, Saraya-Jade Bevis is solid enough in her role, she does well when we see her, but her character isn’t involved enough. The rest of the film are good without needing to take many difficult moments away from The Miz.

StoryThe story takes a fresh spin on needing to get the Christmas spirit to help turn one person’s life around. We follow our main character Dax who isn’t a nice person that needs to learn the error of his way before his whole life falls apart, for a family film this is completely by the book for what you need things to do as in lessons to be learnt. The sub-plot about the job applying for is here and never feels like it is the most important part of the film.

FamilyThis movie keeps the jokes that can be enjoyed by the whole audience, we get moments the kids and parents will enjoy through the film.

SettingsThe film doesn’t really give us an iconic location as for city and when it comes to the competition it should have felt more North Pole based.


Scene of the Movie –
The final lesson.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The course.

Final ThoughtsThis is a by the book Christmas movie, it will keep the family happy without being the most memorable of all time.

 

Overall: Enjoyable Family film.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Dumb and Dumber To (2014)

Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Writer: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Sean Anders, John Morris, Bennett Yellin, Mike Cerrone (Screenplay)

Starring: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Rob Riggle, Laurie Holden, Rachel Melvin, Steve Tom, Don Lake

 

Plot: Twenty years since their first adventure, Lloyd and Harry go on a road trip to find Harry’s newly discovered daughter, who was given up for adoption.


Tagline – The average person uses 10% of their brain capacity. Imagine what he could do with 1%.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Embarrassing Sequel

 

Story: Dumb and Dumber To starts after the twenty years has passed, Lloyd (Carrey) has been playing a coma out for this time with Harry (Daniels) seeing him every week, when Lloyd ends the joke, we learn Harry needs a new kidney and discovers he has a long lost daughter, leading to the two going on another cross-country trip to locate her.

 

Thoughts on Dumb and Dumber To

 

Characters – Lloyd and Harry are both back, only twenty years older and still not on the intelligence level of the average person, strangely they do seem to be dumber than last time out. The mis-adventures continue for them and they cross the line in ways they never did before. We have the criminal characters who are not the most notorious of all them either.

PerformancesJim Carrey has gone off the radar now, he has lost his comic timing and this is showing how bad it has got, Jeff Daniels had built up a good reputation over the recent years, now he throws it out the window for this. The rest of the cast do the best they can with this terrible script.

StoryThis story follows similar paths to the previous film, the two must travel across the country to do deliver a package, we have a more serious idea behind the trip, but this gets swept under the rug as the forced terrible comedy tries to take over. This does try to keep the focus on the comedy duo which only drags everything down.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure side of the film is the glimpse of the highlight in the film as the comedy is the biggest miss in years.

SettingsThe settings are not important, we do get references to previous films which is fine, but otherwise nothing special.


Scene of the Movie –
End credits, because it is over.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The jokes are insulting this time around.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the worst movies I have seen in years, this forgets the heart of the first film and ends up being terrible experience.

 

Overall: Terrible is being nice.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Dumb and Dumber (1994)

Director: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly

Writer: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly, Bennett Yellin (Screenplay)

Starring: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Lauren Holly, Mike Star, Karen Duffy, Charles Rocket, Victoria Rowell

 

Plot: The cross-country adventures of two good-hearted but incredibly stupid friends.


Tagline –  If they each had half a brain, together they would still only have half a brain.

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Funny, Enjoyable Comedy

 

Story: Dumb and Dumber starts as we meet Lloyd (Carrey) and Harry (Daniels) two best friends that work in hopes of having their own pet shop, the two have a good heart, but they do lack certain levels of intelligence. When Lloyd witnesses his passenger Mary (Holly) leave a briefcase in the airport, the two find themselves needing to go cross-country to return it. The problem they face is that they find themselves being tracked by the criminals for who the briefcase was for.

 

Thoughts on Dumb and Dumber

 

Characters – Lloyd works as a limo driver, he witnesses his passenger leave a briefcase and rescues it, he isn’t the smartest guy, but will always try to do the right thing and trust people. Harry is the best friend of Lloyd’s he has a dog car and helps his best friend go across town to return the briefcase. The characters here work wonderfully together, it is the chemistry they have which makes the characters likable through the film. when we dive into the rest of the characters they do take a back seat to these two.

PerformancesJim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are the driving force of this movie, they must work well together to get the laughs required in this movie and they do this wonderfully. Once again though the supporting cast while good are easily replaceable.

StoryThe story follows two friends that must travel across the country to return a briefcase only to find themselves in the middle of a secret criminal situation. The story is easy to follow and doesn’t require twists, it does what comedy needs, it keeps everything simple and lets the leads do the comic material that needs to take centre stage.

ComedyCarrey and Daniels are the main reason why this movie works, because they handle all the comedy and while most hits we do have moments of poop humour which ruins the fun.

SettingsThe film takes our characters across country for Aspin to be the iconic location we end up getting too.


Scene of the Movie –
Day in Aspin.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Poop humour.

Final ThoughtsThis is an iconic comedy that hits for the most part, we have great leading performance from the two leads and this is one of the comedies that people can turn too.

 

Overall: Fun comedy for all to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Joyride 2 Dead Ahead (2008)

logoDirector: Louis Morneau

Writer: James Robert Johnston, Bennett Yellin (Screenplay) Clay Tarver, J.J. Abrams (Characters)

Starring: Nicki Aycox, Nick Zano, Laura Jordan, Kyle Schmid, Mark Gibbon

 

Plot: While driving to Las Vegas for the bachelor party of her sister Melissa and her fiancé Bobby, Kayla stops the car in the gas station to meet her date, Nik, a guy she met on the internet. Nik convinces her to take a secondary road under the protest of Bobby but the car breaks down. They find a house in the middle of nowhere and decide to take the car parked in the house’s garage to the next city, and return with a rented car to pay for the damages provoked by Nik; Melissa leaves her cell number. However, they discover that the owner of the place is the sadistic truck driver Rusty Nail and they have to pay a high price for what they did.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid DVD Sequel

 

Story: Joyride 2 starts with a female prostitute trying to get a lift of Rusty Nail (Gibbon) but she ends up getting more than she bargained for when Rusty Nail takes her for a ride. Now it is time for Kayla (Jordan) her sister Melissa (Aycox) and her fiancée Bobby (Zano) who are on a road trip to Las Vegas for joint parties. Kayla has arranged to meet one of her My Space friends Nik (Schmid), yes this film is using the idea of My Space still being popular.

Nik suggests a short cut on back roads and yes you guessed it the car breaks down, never seen this one before. They also have no signal, well that is a surprise too, now we have to have a walking montage where we get to see Bobby show off his body. The four come across an abandoned house and try looking for help and after a series of trying to make each other jump they find a car with a CB radio. The house just so happens to be owned by Rusty Nail who wants his car back and kidnaps Bobby and puts the remaining three through a series of tests.

Joyride 2 manages to follow on from what the original created for most of the film, we get the tension fuelled game of cat and mouse between the friends and the trucker, only this time we get disposable characters. That would be one of my negative thoughts on this film, did we need to see Rusty Nail actually go all the way and kill people? My answer is yes, I just feel that the kills were made of a way to get rid of the support characters rather than pull them together like the first one did. When it comes to sequels this is solid and can keep you attention from start to finish which isn’t always the way after such a long break between the films. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Nicki Aycox: Melissa young lady on the way to her joint bachelor party with her fiancée but her good nature gets her caught up in the middle of twisted trucker’s games. Nicki does a solid job in the lead role showing beauty with brains. (6/10)

 

Nick Zano: Bobby Singer is Melissa fiancée who ends up getting captured by the trucker and used by Rusty Nail to get the people to do what he wants. Nick spends too much of the film in a captured position to be given a good mark. (3/10)

 

Laura Jordan: Kayla is Melissa’s sister who is joining the party along with her My Space boyfriend, she is the much more independent of the two but her confidence will be her weakness. Laura does a solid job in the disposable supporting role. (5/10)

 

Kyle Schmid: Nik the My Space boyfriend of Kayla whose big mouth gets the guys into more trouble. Kyle does a solid job making you hate him as we see his character become weaker throughout the film. (5/10)

 

Mark Gibbon: Rusty Nail is the psychotic trucker who likes to put people through tests before he disposes of them. Mark makes an imposing presence on the screen even if you don’t actually ever see his face. (7/10)

 

Support Cast: Joyride 2 only has a support cast that turn up in the odd scene, no one else makes any impact on this film.

 

Director Review: Louis Morneau – Louis does a good job directing by not only staying true to the original but being brave enough to leave his own mark by the end. (7/10)

 

Horror: Joyride 2 does take us into a horror based setting with the added games being played by Rusty Nail. (7/10)

Thriller: Joyride 2 really does keep you interested from start to finish, which is a surprise with the time between the first and the sequel. (8/10)

Settings: Joyride 2 uses the traditional open road settings for the story to unfold in. (7/10)

Suggestion: Joyride 2 is definitely one to be trying especially if you enjoyed the first one. (Try it)

 

Best Part: Keeps the trucker scary.

Worst Part: Not the best acting.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel:  Has one more sequel.

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: The Hitcher

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

Tagline: His voice could be the last thing you heard

 

Overall: Joyride 2 is one of the best straight to DVD sequels I have seen, but don’t expect a masterpiece just a solid horror film.

Rating 60