Ben Stiller Weekend – Dodgeball (2004)

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Writer: Rawson Marshall Thurber (Screenplay)

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Christine Taylor, Ben Stiller, Rip Torn, Justin Long, Stephen Root, Joel David Moore, Alan Tudyk, Gary Cole

 

Plot: A group of misfits enter a Las Vegas dodgeball tournament in order to save their cherished local gym from the onslaught of a corporate health fitness chain.


Tagline – Grab Life by the Balls 

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best Sports Comedies

 

Story: Dodgeball starts as we meet the two gym owners, White Goodman (Stiller) who is obsessed with perfection with bodies only accepting beautiful model like members, on the other side of the street we have Peter La Fleur (Vaughn) owner of Average’s Joe a gym that is open to all, with the regulars and staff including Justin (Long), Gordon (Root), Owen (Moore), Dwight (Williams) and Steve the Pirate (Tudyk).

When Average Joe’s is facing a financial crisis with lawyer Kate Veatch (Taylor) preparing to close them in 30 days with White Goodman wanting to buy it and demolish it. The only plan is to train and enter a dodgeball competition where the prize is the money they require, only problem is, White has made his own team of super-athletes to stop Average Joe’s winning.  

 

Thoughts on Dodgeball

 

Characters – Peter La Fleur is a gym owner, he is laidback and willing to let anybody join at their own pace, this mentality has left him facing financial crisis and he reluctantly accepts entering a dodgeball tournament, he can bring the team together as he gives the whole team hope. White Goodman is the owner of Globo Gym he only accepts beautiful people in his gym even offering cosmetic surgery for his members. He is completely over the top believing he is God’s gift to women with his success coming from his family’s money, he will do anything to eliminate Average Joe’s. Kate Veatch is the lawyer that is assigned to study the finances of Average Joe’s, she becomes the love interest for both men even though she has no interest in White, she joins the team to help eliminate Globo Gym. Patches O’Houlihan is the dodgeball expert, he trains the Average Joe’s to help become competitive in the competition. The rest of the cast include the Average Joe’s members Justin, Gordon, Owen, Dwight and Steve the Pirate that each have their own stories behind their characters to help motivate them to compete.

PerformancesVince Vaughn is one of those actors whose comedy can go either way, it is a laidback style which work perfectly for his character here, because he brings us a real person compared to Ben Stiller. Stiller on the other hand nails his completely over the top character that you are meant to be laughing at with everything he does and says. Christine Taylor is good in her role which like the rest of the cast shine, we get a mix of different comedies from the supporting cast which blend together to show the different styles of real life people.

StoryThe story here follows to rival gyms going to compete for a dodgeball tournament to help keep the little gym with no money a chance to stay afloat before the global franchise closes them down. The story does botte down to a simple underdog story which is fine we can all enjoy a story about an underdog, we do get moments in the film from the Average Joe’s characters that help them learn to become more than they are which is the whole point of a gym, to improve yourself in your own way and everything Globo Gym shouldn’t be. If you want a simple fun sports comedy to watch, this is going to be the one for you without a question.

ComedyThe comedy in this film comes from many different levels, we get moments of slapstick with the dodgeball scenes, we get over the top characters in White Goodman and his team and finally each member of Joe’s team has their own quirky to make them funny.

SettingsThe look at the different gyms helps the settings because it shows how people can be intimidated by certain gyms over others, when we head to Vegas for the tournament the competition feels are authentic as you would imagine.


Scene of the Movie –
Most of the dodgeball scenes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Lance Armstrong scene is awkward now.

Final ThoughtsFor a sports comedy this has laughs, heart and quality performances from the whole cast, this is one that will stick with you for years to come and I hope to see everyone else enjoy it.

 

Overall: Sports comedy done to near perfection.

Rating

 

 

Skyscraper (2018)

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Writer: Rawson Marshall Thurber (Screenplay)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Pablo Schreiber, Noah Taylor, Kevin Rankin, McKenna Roberts, Byron Mann, Tzi Ma, Chin Han

 

Plot: FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and U.S. war veteran Will Sawyer now assesses security for skyscrapers. On assignment in Hong Kong he finds the tallest, safest building in the world suddenly ablaze, and he’s been framed for it. A wanted man on the run, Will must find those responsible, clear his name and somehow rescue his family who are trapped inside the building…above the fire line.


Tagline – The sky is the limit

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Spectacularly Entertaining

 

Story: Skyscraper starts as we learn how Will Sawyer (Johnson) first met his wife Sarah (Campbell) in an FBI Hostage Rescue Team mission gone wrong, which left him without a leg, 10-years later he works in security, figuring out and assessing building for potential hazards. His latest job is his big break, on the biggest building in the world ‘The Pearl’ built by architect Zhao Long Ji (Han).

When everything looks like it is about to pass the tests, Kores Botha (Moller) finds a flaw in the system, setting the building on fire in an attempt to get Zhao, the problem is Will’s family is in the building and will stop at nothing to save his family.

 

Thoughts on Skyscraper

 

Characters – Will Sawyer is a former FBI Hostage Rescue team leader, wounded in action, turned to security, he has a small business which will giving him the recommendation to work on the biggest building in the world. the now family man nervous at the thought of this opportunity must prove how safe this building is. He does, but when criminals have other thoughts, he must return to his rescue ways to save his family from the situation. THIS IS NOT A JOHN MCCLANE MARK II, his only goal is to save his family, not to stop the criminals. Sarah is Will’s wife, one of the surgeons that helped save his life, she does what she can to keep the children safe, remaining calm and showing herself a hand at self-defence. Zhao Long Ji is the architect who has designed this brilliant world changing building, he has everything down to make it look stunning, operate smoothly and help the world by creating jobs and running eco-friendly, he is the target of the criminals who want something he has. Kores Botha is the leader of the attack, he has been an old nemesis of Zhao through construction, this is a slightly more generic villain, but his cold-hearted delivery is just as striking as you need him to be. We do get a host of side characters including, the two kids, they are good for the film, the cops on the outside trying to put the pieces together, other members of the criminal gang with Xia being the standout of them and the old friend which got him the job.

PerformancesDwayne Johnson is an actor you all know I will watch everything he does, the genre he shines best in, is action, in this film he gives one of his best action performances to date, he gives his character the feeling he might no succeed even though he looks like he could knock you out with one punch. Neve Campbell is good in the support role showing its about time we saw her back on the bring screen, Roland Moller as the villain is very strong too because we do get moments when you are scared of what he will do. The rest of the cast are good throughout even if we would have liked to have seen more.

StoryThe story is a perfect playlist of how to keep action simple without needing to make anything complicated. One giant building, one fire in said building, one stranded family, one group of criminals and the reluctant hero going against the odds to try and save his family. Those are the core elements of the story and as I said, we don’t need more, this is simple enough to give us everything we wanted. We could look at the minor negative in the story and that would be the amount of characters we do meet outside of the building situation, while I know it is part of the bigger picture, they don’t have the same intensity as the building moments. The biggest weirdly enjoyable part of the story was watching how the crowd just stood around watching on the big screen cheer, gasping like the audience watching.

Action The action set pieces in the film are brilliant, breath taking and truly edge of your seat, seeing Dwayne Johnson pull this off and make you feel like something could go wrong is what it is all about, praise must be giving to a fight sequence too, where Will must fight on one leg.

SettingsThe setting of being in the Pearl was fantastic, we know the escape is next to impossible and watching how this unfolds is edge of your seat, when we step away however it does lose the levels of anticipation we would have liked.

Special EffectsThe building being on fire look amazing, well realistically I don’t actually want to see buildings on fire, but other elements of the special effects go towards making Will’s leg injury seem like the norm for Johnson.


Scene of the Movie –
The crane.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Two big lines from the trailer are not in the movie, they both felt important for the situations we were in.

Final ThoughtsThis isn’t just a Die Hard modernised, this is a stand alone action thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat and show you all that Dwayne Johnson is the king of the action genre at the moment.

 

Overall: Must watch action thrill ride.

Rating

 

 

Central Intelligence (2016)

centralDirector: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Writer: Rawson Marshall Thurber, Ike Barinholtz, David Stassen (Screenplay)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Amy Ryan, Danielle Nicolet, Jason Bateman, Aaron Paul, Ryan Hansen

 

Plot: After he reconnects with an awkward pal from high school through Facebook, a mild-mannered accountant is lured into the world of international espionage.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hilarious Comedy

 

Story: Central intelligence starts as we Bob Stone an overweight school student getting embarrassed on front of the whole school while Calvin Joyner is getting all the praise and is the only one who sticks up for him. Move forward 20 years later and Calvin (Hart) works in a dead end job instead of the success he was meant to be.

When Bob (Johnson) makes contact with Calvin he turns up a changed man built like Hercules and after a night out he learns that he is in the CIA. When Agent Harris (Ryan) turns up claim Bob is a dangerous and a threat to the government. Calvin finds himself having to work with Bob to clear Bob’s name however resistant Calvin is.

Central Intelligence is a buddy comedy that gives us a new comedy powerhouse couple with Johnson and Hart. We get what is a simple crime story where the agent brings in someone from outside to solve the case does bring in the comedy throughout without having to make the crime story way to series. The story does get balanced though where we don’t get too many pointless jokes taking away from the action in the story. overall the story flows nicely and can’t help but say how enjoyable it all was.

 

Actor Review

 

Dwayne Johnson: Bob Stone is a former bullied high school student who has changed his life to become a CIA agent that reaches out to Calvin to help him on his latest case. Bob is skilled combat expert but also eccentric in all of his action. Dwayne nails this comedy perfectly and works with Kevin to a new level of comedy.

Kevin Hart: Calvin Joyner was voted most likely be a success in high school but now he works as an accountant but when Bob turns up in his life the excitement returns to his life once again. Calvin also has to balance his 20-year marriage with this secret mission. Kevin is great in this role showing brilliant chemistry with Dwayne.

Amy Ryan: Agent Pamela Harris is tracking down Bob and wants to use Calvin as the bait but as we continue the story we lean towards it either being her or Bob as the actual Black Badger. Amy is good in this role that lets the leads steal all of the spotlight.

Danielle Nicolet: Maggie is the wife of Calvin and the two are high school sweethearts who is trying to keep the marriage feeling fresh before they start they own family. Danielle is good in this supporting role.

Support Cast: Central Intelligence has a good supporting cast that all help with the comedy going on through the film.

Director Review: Rawson Marshall ThurberRawson gives us one of the comedies of the year where we see a new comedy force born in Johnson and Hart.

 

Action: Central Intelligence has great comedy action throughout even though most is just generic for the style of film.

Comedy: Central Intelligence has brilliant comedy between the two leads who nail nearly every single joke through the film.

Crime: Central Intelligence has a crime story that is going on in the background which help direct all the comedy and action going on.

Chemistry: Central Intelligence has brilliant chemistry between Hart and Johnson throughout.

Settings: Central Intelligence puts our characters into the locations to create the trouble they find themselves in which can be used for the comedy involved.

Suggestion: Central Intelligence is one for all the comedy fans to go and watch this year. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Johnson and Hart brilliant chemistry.

Worst Part: You know where the story is going.

Action Scene Of The Film: Office space.

Funniest Scene: Doctor time.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel:

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $50 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

Tagline: Saving the world takes a little Hart and a big Johnson

Trivia: When Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson’s characters first meet, Kevin Hart makes a reference to Dwayne looking like Hercules, Dwayne Johnson played Hercules in the film “Hercules” in 2014.

 

Overall: One of the best buddy comedy movies this year and one of the best in recent years.

Ratingcard

 

 

We’re The Millers (2013)

logoDirector: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Writer: Bob Fisher, Steve Faber, Sean Anders, John Morris (Screenplay) Bob Fisher, Steve Faber (Story)

Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts, Will Poulter, Ed Helms, Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn, Molly C. Quinn

 

Plot: After being robbed of a week’s take, small-time pot dealer David is forced by his boss to go to Mexico to pick up a load of marijuana. In order to improve his odds of making it past the border, David asks the broke stripper Rose and two local teenagers to join him and pretend they’re on a family holiday.

 family

Verdict: Odd Team Road Trip

 

Story: When it comes to drug based films I am usually very sceptical because I am not a fan of drug use, this only plays on the idea of transporting it which works to the films laughs. We have an over the top drug lord who puts his own man at risk for his own personal gain. We have four very different people on the road trip, who each have their own problems and as the journey goes on they all become closer by letting people into their lonely lives. When things go wrong with the drug collection the make shift family find out they have stolen from a Mexican drug lord. In the end we get a wacky road trip comedy that has plenty of laughs. (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Jennifer Aniston: Rose a broke stripper who agrees to go along with the road trip for her fee of $30,000 which will help keep her apartment along with giving her a chance to escape the stripper world. Along the road trip we do learn more about her and personal problems, her talents come in helpful on the trip. Good performance from Jennifer who gets a little bit raunchier than her previous rom com roles. (8/10)

 jenny

Jason Sudeikis: David a small time drug dealer who gets robbed trying to do the right thing. His boss isn’t impressed and sends him to Mexico to collect the next shipment of drugs, leading him to the wacky idea of hiring a fake family to join his trip across the border. Good performance from Jason, but he does have some awkwardly unfunny moments. (7/10)

david

Emma Roberts: Casey a teenage runaway who lives on the streets but gets talked into coming on the trip for a grand, but it is clear to see why she agrees after finding out her own family didn’t care about her leading her to run away. Good performance from Emma showing good comic timing. (7/10)

 emma

Will Poulter: Kenny the geeky teenager who lives in the same building as David, who due to being alone goes on the trip for free and along with this he gets a loved feeling and learns from the other people on the trip. Good performance from Will who goes through the most and gets plenty of laughs. (8/10)

 will

Ed Helms: Brad the drug lord who forces David to go on the road trip while sitting back and changing his rules whenever he feels like it. Good supporting performance making fun at most other drug lord characters. (7/10)

 lord

Director Review: Rawson Marshall Thurber – Good direction to create a solid road trip comedy. (8/10)

 

Comedy: Solid comedy with some good laughs that keep the film flowing well. (8/10)

Settings: The road trip idea means the setting keeps changing but each one is good for the situation they find themselves in. (8/10)

Suggestion: This is one for all the comedy fans out there, it will appeal to them all but if you’re not a comedy fan you may not enjoy. (Comedy Watch)

 

Best Part: The awkward moments a family would never do together.

Worst Part: Cheesy end.

Funniest Scene: The spider bite.

Believability: Things like this could have happened but I don’t know about the peril side of the story. (4/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: There is a plan for one

Post Credits Scene: Blooper reel during the start of credits.

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $270 Million

Budget: $37 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

Tagline: If anyone asks.

 

Overall: Solid Comedy

Rating 80