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“Horrible Bosses”
a review by Darby O’Gill

It’s finally here, hands down the best comedy of the summer! Horrible Bosses is this year’s The Hangover, which is good news, because this year’s The Hangover Part II was horrible! An all-star cast leads the way with a witty script that’s just plain fun! Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman) is the definition of a hard working employee that’s just days away from finally getting that big promotion. The only problem is his self-centered dick of a boss, Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey). Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis) is the son his boss never had… If only he didn’t actually have a son. And, when said son, Bobby Pellit (Colin Farrell) inherits the family business, Kurt quickly finds himself hating his once loved job. Dale Arbus (Charlie Day) is a dental assistant, whose boss, Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston) doesn’t quite get the concept of a sexual harassment free work environment. So, when these three friends finally get pushed to their absolute breaking point, the only logical conclusion is to kill their bosses, or at least hire someone that can get the job done. Enter “Motherfucker” Jones (Jamie Foxx), the trio’s new murder consultant.

Horrible Bosses is not going to change the world, but one thing is for sure, it will make you laugh from start to finish. From director Seth Gordon, the same man that brought us the brilliant documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, comes a new instant classic. I have a feeling this will go right up there with the likes of Office Space, and Swingers. I realize that’s a pretty tall order, but this is one of the few movies I got to see this year that I wanted to see again almost the second it was over. The chemistry amongst the cast is fantastic! They may not be reinventing the wheel, but they sure as hell are having a good time spinning it! Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) completely steals the show, but Jamie Foxx is a close second. The weakest performance might surprise you. I would have to say it’s Kevin Spacey. It’s not that he gives a bad performance, but it’s just that he’s played this character a thousand times before. The one that will instantly come to mind is his performance as Buddy Ackerman in Swimming with Sharks. As much as I enjoy Spacey’s work, I think this role is just a little too close to his stereo-typical type casting for him. Without a doubt the most unrecognizable actor in Horrible Bosses is Colin Farrell. To say it’s Colin Farrell as you’ve never seen him before, would be an under statement. The bottom line on this one is that you just have to see it!

Rating:

 

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“Paul”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Throughout the history of cinema we have always had our share of great comedic duo teams, Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy, Bud Abbott & Lou Costello, Burt Reynolds & Dom DeLuise, David Spade & Chris Farley, and now Simon Pegg & Nick Frost. Okay, that might be a little bit of a grand statement, but I’ve got to say it’s one that I’m proud to stand behind. From Spaced to Hot Fuzz, Pegg and Frost have more than earned their place on that list. In their newest team-up, they find themselves on the run from the men in black with a little help of the third kind.

In Paul, illustrator Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) and aspiring sci-fi writer Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) have ventured across the pond on holiday to attend the Holy Grail of all nerd events, the San Diego Comic-Con! However, the Comic-Con is just the beginning of the duo’s epic adventure. Having rented an RV, Graeme and Clive plan to visit all the UFO hot spots the American Southwest has to offer, from Area 51 to the infamous UFO crash site in Roswell, New Mexico. But, their plans quickly change when in the desert just outside Area 51, they stumble upon a real life alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen). Now on the run from government agents that want Paul back, the boys will do their best to help their new alien friend get home.

Paul might not be an instant classic, or even in line for an Oscar anytime soon, but it’s a fun ride just the same. I really had a good time watching this one, and can’t wait to see it again. It’s just fun to watch Pegg & Frost do their thing, even if it is without the help of good friend Edgar Wright. That’s not to say that Wright was completely left out of the making of Paul. There’s a nice little nod in one of the scenes, to the movie Edgar was filming at the time of Paul. In the comic book shop in Roswell, there is a rack full of Scott Pilgrim trades proudly on display. This movie is full of little gems like that. With so many science-fiction movies, comic book and pop culture references in it, Paul has definitely set a record. I would almost say there are too many, but somehow it works. I think having so many in the film, gives the movie a little bit of a leeway. Well, that and the fact that Graeme and Clive are a pair of hopeless nerds, who would most likely talk like that. The other thing that really helps you enjoy this movie is the character of Paul himself. Seth Rogen does such a great job of breathing life into this fully culturally integrated spaceman. I love that he is constantly pointing out the misconceptions of alien stereotypes, and has a true gift for stating the obvious. Did I mention that Paul is also the idea man (well, alien) behind some of our greatest science fiction? Well, he is! Paul is truly the ultimate fanboy road trip movie!

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“The Switch”
a review by Darby O’Gill

It might not be the most believable or plausible storyline of the year, but the new Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman movie The Switch just might surprise you. It’s a rom/com that deals with artificial insemination, and a situation that would definitely make Three’s Company proud. In The Switch, Wally (Bateman), a full blown hypochondriac and self saboteur, finds out that his best friend, Kassie (Aniston), wants to have a kid, but also doesn’t want to have to wait any longer for Mr. Right to come along. So, of course she decides to go the artificial insemination route, and her friend Debbie, played by Juliette Lewis, decides to throw her an insemination party where the actual insemination will take place. Who needs a hospital, right? Well, an inebriated Wally manages to lose Kassie’s “sample,” and he ends up replacing it with his own special blend unbeknownst to her. This is kind of where you need to suspend your disbelief a little bit, but the movie is so well written that it doesn’t even really seem to matter. The movie is based on the short story “The Baster” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jeffrey Eugenides, who also penned The Virgin Suicides. The other thing that really helps this movie is Jason Bateman’s performance. It’s not ground breaking by any means, but it is Bateman doing what he does best, and the chemistry between him and Aniston is fantastic! Not to mention the outstanding performance by young actor Thomas Robinson, who plays Kassie’s son Sebastian. At times you forget you’re watching a 6-year-old kid. I really enjoyed this one. I don’t think it’s a secret that I’m a big fan of good rom/coms, and I’ve got to tell you we’ve got some really good ones coming out before the end of this year, and The Switch is definitely one of them. Sure it’s predicable and a little unrealistic at times, but it’s got a nice heart to it and plenty of laughs. Jeff Goldblum also gives a great preference as Wally’s boss and good friend. I’m looking forward to seeing this one again, and if you get the chance to see it, I’m sure you’ll find that it’s well worth your movie watching time.

Rating:



“Up In the Air”
a review by Darby O’Gill

I think the best way to sum up my feelings about Up In the Air, is just that… up in the air. I know a lot of people are going over the moon for this film, but I’m not as in love with it. Don’t get me wrong, I think the movie is fantastic, but I just don’t think it’s as groundbreaking as people are making it out to be. The writing, directing, and performances in Up In the Air are all top notch. I just feel there have been other, all be it smaller, films that have handled the subject matter better. It’s not their fault they couldn’t land George Clooney to star, and the son of Ghostbusters to direct. Now, I’m not hating on Jason Reitman. In fact, I thought Juno was great! And, I think he’s proved himself to be an extremely talented director with this film, and I look forward to his next.

In Up In the Air, Ryan Bingham, played by George Clooney, is in the business of letting people go. Ryan travels from city to city and fires hundreds of people a day. What a wonderfully uplifting theme for a movie in these times when unemployment is at an all-time high. I guess the studio just really wanted to release a movie that people could relate to. As you would imagine, Ryan is quite the frequent flyer, and is very close to reaching his ultimate goal of ten million frequent flyer miles. But before he can, his company is about to do some budget cuts of their own. Why fly all over the country, when you can just iChat or Skype with the client from the home office? But before the changes can take effect, Ryan gets one last trip as he takes a young protégé, played by Anna Kendrick, on the road for some old school hands on training. At its heart, Up In the Air is about a man coming to terms with his life, and also the fact that we may not always end up with the life we planned for. It is a really well written script, which is equally matched by Jason Reitman’s amazing directing style.

George Clooney gives an outstanding performance, but its just Clooney being classic brilliant Clooney. You could easily intercut Ryan Bingham with Danny Ocean and not miss a beat. I’m not saying Clooney phoned it in. I’m just saying that this character is the same sort of soft spoken intelligent man that we come to expect to see Clooney play. Truth be told, I wouldn’t want anyone else to play a role like this, but I really can’t see this as the best performance of his career. Which brings me back to my first point, this movie is all over the award shows this year, and I just honestly don’t think it’s one of the best movies of the year. It might be in my top ten, but definitely not in my top five for this year. Up In the Air really reminds me of this great movie that came out back in 2000, called Diamond Men. I know, you’ve never heard of it. And, that is a crime. But, if you are one of the millions of people that loved Up In the Air, and think it disserves to win best picture, do yourself a favor and watch Diamond Men. You might also want to checkout one of my all time favorite movies, Spring Forward; which also has some of the same undertones as Up In the Air, and is quite a fantastic movie of it’s own. Look, Up In the Air is a great movie, and I will gladly add it to my DVD library. But, best movie of the year? Maybe not. Don’t get me wrong, I highly recommend seeing Up In the Air, it’s everything a movie should be, and you’ll be very glad that you saw it.

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“Couples Retreat”
a review by Darby O’Gill

When is a vacation not a vacation? Two words… couples counseling. When the very together Jason and Cynthia, played by Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell, feel their marriage may possibly be coming to an end, they decide to enlist in a very special couples program on a remote tropical island. The only problem, is they need to convince three other couples to join them in order to get the cheaper group rate. There’s the couple that seems to have it all together, Dave and Ronnie, played by Vince Vaughn and Malin Akerman, a nice happy family. Then there’s Joey and Lucy, played by Jon Favreau and Kristin Davis, who are counting down the days to their divorce, once there daughter heads off to college. Finally there’s Shane, played by Faizon Love, who is recently divorced and finds himself dating Trudy, played by Kali Hawk, a girl young enough to be his daughter. At Eden Resort West, the couples can find all sorts of activities, like couples skill building, open sea swimming with sharks, full contact yoga, and even a little “Guitar Hero.” Which brings us to Sctanley, played by the brilliant Peter Serafinowicz, who watches the couples like a hawk. He makes sure the couples don’t venture over to the resort on the other side of the island, Eden Resort East, which is a singles resort that promises all the fun that seems to be missing from their side of the island.
I know a lot of people are knocking Couples Retreat for not taking the story somewhere new, but I kind of like that this movie feels like an old school comedy. Sure you know where they’re taking it, but it’s funny, and fun to watch. Isn’t that the point of an entertaining movie? These days, it seems like movies have to be totally amazing, or so bad you want to leave the theater. Can’t we have an Uncle Buck these days? You know, a movie that isn’t the best, but makes you say, “That was fun!” I would like to think it’s that kind of movie Favreau and Vaughn had in mind when they wrote this. I also think director Peter Billingsley, did a great job of capturing that feeling visually. Speaking of the visuals, I think it’s safe to say that Bora Bora makes every shot look amazing! Why couldn’t I have been invited to that press junket!? A free trip to Bora Bora! No thanks, it’s nice and cool here in Los Angeles. Hey Jon, I’m available for the Iron Man 2 junket by the way. I also love the fact that the characters Jon Favreau is playing these days, has gone from the guy in the PG-13 movie everyone’s really hoping makes it happen, to the guy in the rated R movie that cheats on his wife; although Couples Retreat is rated PG-13. But you know what I mean. He’s played some really great assholes lately, and some of those movies were rated R. Look, the bottom line is, if you want to see something deep, go see A Serious Man. But, for a fun date movie that makes you laugh and feel good, Couples Retreat is a nice getaway.

Rating:
3.5 Little People


“The Invention of Lying”
a review by Darby O’Gill

What would you do if any lie you told was instantly taken as truth? In The Invention of Lying, Mark Bellison, played by Ricky Gervais, finds himself being the first person in a parallel reality that learns the art of lying. I think the trailers are a little misleading because they make it seem like everyone tells the truth. But, it’s more like they speak their mind no matter what, because they don’t know how to lie, and they simply just don’t know what else to say. Also, in this reality there is no fiction, and because of that the film industry only makes films about historic events. There also aren’t any actors in this world because acting like someone you’re not would be lying. So, how do they make the movies you ask? Why readers of course. That’s right, movies are just a person, in this case the brilliant Christopher Guest, sitting in a comfy chair reading a history book to the audience. If you think the movies would be bad, just take a minute to think about how great your dating life would be without lying. Would anyone honestly be dating? No pun intended.
When we first meet Mark Bellison, he’s loosing his job as the screenwriter of the Black Plague, and his blind date with Anna McDoogles, played by Jennifer Garner, is anything but smooth. But, when he asks a bank teller for more money than he has in his account, she chalks it up to a computer mistake, and gives him the amount he asked for. Voila, the world’s first lie! A lie can be a powerful thing when no one questions it, the world quickly becomes Mark’s oyster. However, Mark doesn’t realize just how powerful until he tells his dying mother something to comfort her. It’s overheard and repeated, and things quickly get just a little bit out of control.
I really enjoyed this movie, but sadly it might upset some. See, there is this religious undertone in this movie that could upset some Christians; but I honestly don’t think that was the intent of Ricky Gervais. I don’t think they’re saying that there is no God. In Christianity the word of God is told through parables in the Bible, which never would have been written in this world. As our friend Joe Rogan would point out, I’m pretty sure that no one thinks that Noah’s Ark is a 100% true story. Please don’t tell me you really believe a giant boat was built to carry two of every animal in the entire world, for forty days and forty nights! Look, those stories, much like The Invention of Lying, are told in hopes of making people want to be better to each other. You know… Peace on Earth, goodwill towards men… Ah, and women. Hey, I didn’t write it. Honestly, it doesn’t matter what religion you believe, whether it’s Christianity, Judaism, Islam, or hell even Scientology. At the core of it all, those religions are meant to do one thing… make people want to be a better person and hopefully make the world a better place. Funny, it’s the same thing that people kill each other over and start wars because of. The point is, Mark Bellison wanted people to be nicer to each other, and if telling a few lies would make the world a better place, maybe it’s not so bad. Now, I understand that religion is a touchy topic. And the last thing I want to do is upset any of you, but let’s just believe what makes us feel good, and not force those beliefs on other people. When did this turn into a rally? Go see The Invention of Lying, it’s honestly a good movie… No, really. Seriously, it’s really good. Would I lie to you?! Okay, I would. But, it really is worth seeing.

Rating:
4 Little People


“Extract”
a review by Darby O’Gill

The king of blue collar movies is back, and this time Mike Judge brings us the tale of Joel, played by Jason Bateman, whose life just seems to be going nowhere fast. Joel’s small extract company is doing very well, but his employees never quite seem to be satisfied. Their hours are too long, their pay is never enough, and when rumors of Joel selling the company hit the floor, what little moral they had left goes right out the window. As if that wasn’t enough trouble for poor Joel, his marriage and sex life seem to be nonexistent, and when there’s an accident on the factory floor that causes one of the workers to loose a testical, things go from bad to worse. The incident not only threatens the buyout, but also catches the eye of a local grifter, played by Mila Kunis. Add to all this, a pain in the ass neighbor, brilliantly played by David Koechner, and a best friend bartender, played by Ben Affleck, who gives a surprisingly funny performance. This only seems to add to Joel’s troubles, when he suggests that Joel hirer a ringer to test his wife’s fidelity, so he himself might feel better about his thoughts of having an affair. Take all that and mix in Mike Judge’s unmistakable brand of comedy, and you have a bonafide hit.

Nobody can play an everyman quite like Jason Bateman. His timing is always just dead on. I could watch him all day, and I think I have on a few Arrested Development marathons. The entire cast does a phenomenal job, and Mike Judge’s writing/directing takes an average story and makes it something extraordinary. Just like Office Space, you’ll be quoting this movie in no time. Just ask ingus or dingus.

It’s not a bad way to start the fall movie season. After this past summer, we desperately need some good solid movies in the fall, and not just Oscar good movies either. No, we need fun, entertaining, and most of all funny movies. You know like… Extract. I can’t think of a better way to spend your Labor Day, than watching a bunch of people hate their jobs. It might even be safe to say that, Extract is so funny, you’ll bust a nut.” Too corny? Just go see it.

Rating:

4.5 Little People