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June 2, 2013 in Comedy | Permalink


July 17, 2012 in Comedy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Year of the Dog

Yearofthedog_2 Minimalist non-romantic comedy from debut writer/director Mike White (writer on "School of Rock") asserts that substituting the love of animals is equal to or even greater than spending time with people. Gloomy loser Peggy Snow (Molly Shannon), a corporate nine-to-fiver whose dog Pencil dies when she lets it out in the middle of the night and it eats snail poison in her neighbor's garage. Peggy's spirits are briefly lifted when she starts dating Newt (Peter Sarsgaard), a vegan ASPCA worker not interested in a sexual relationship due to his latent homosexuality. And so it goes that Peggy fulfills her own prophecies of failure after becoming vegan and forging her boss's signature on a check to an animal-friendly farm. Compelling secondary performances by Laura Dern, John C. Reilly and Josh Pais can't distract from Molly Shannon's distinctly repellant character. "Dog of the Year" might be a better title. Special features include English and Spanish subtitles, audio commentary with director Mike White and actress Molly Shannon, a Moviefone Unscripted episode with White and Shannon and four making-of featurettes, along with deleted scenes. Aspect ratio is 1.85:1 widescreen-enhanced for 16x9 televisions, with sound quality processed in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround. (Movie - One Star, DVD features - One Star) Rated PG-13, 97 mins. (Paramount)

September 27, 2007 in Comedy | Permalink

You, Me and Dupree

"You, Me and Dupree" is a situation comedy that subsists purely on vibe, namely Owen Wilson’s ever-boyish vibe of an innocence that has overstayed its welcome long into adulthood. As the title character Dupree, Wilson plays the loyal best friend to his newly married pal Carl (played with easy humility by Matt Dillon). Carl and his newlywed wife Molly (Kate Hudson) live under the shadow of her possessive father Mr. Thompson (Michael Douglas) who doubles as Carl’s real estate tycoon boss. However, it is Dupree that casts the longest shadow over the couple’s lives when they give him a place to stay for a ‘few days’ while he hunts for a job after losing his former employment for being absent while he played best man at the couple’s wedding in Maui. A hilarious dinner table scene with the four main characters spikes the movie into a stratosphere of humor beyond its otherwise predictable restraints. Special features include English, French or Spanish subtitles, a directors’ commentary track by Joe and Anthony Russo, a commentary track with screenwriter Michael LeSieur and producer Scott Stuber, deleted scenes, outtakes and an alternate ending. Aspect ratio is 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, with sound processed in Dolby Digital 5.1. (Movie – Two Stars, DVD features - One Star) Rated PG-13, 100 mins. (Universal)

December 14, 2006 in Comedy | Permalink

Clerks II

It’s been 12 years since Kevin Smith became one of the last upstart filmmakers to squeak through the door of the Tarantino era of "independent" cinema with his hugely overrated comedy "Clerks." Smith revisits his New Jersey mini-mart clerks Dante and Randal (Brian O’Halleron and Jeff Anderson) who return one morning to discover that their beloved Quick Stop has burned down. The geeky middle-aged best friends take jobs at a fast-food burger joint where their sexy manager Becky (Rosario Dawson) unintentionally tempts Dante away from his betrothed fiancée Emma (Jennifer Schwalbach Smith). Notably dubbed as the "gayest film ever" when it premiered at the 2006 Cannes film festival, "Clerks II" is nonetheless a slight improvement on Smith’s original film, even if it is chock full of not-so-subtle homo-erotic subtext. Special features include three commentary tracks. The first includes director Kevin Smith, producer Scott Mosier and director of photography David Klein). The second commentary comes from Mosier, Smith and actors Jeff Anderson, Trevor Fehrman, Jason Mewes, Brian O'Halloran and Jennifer Schwalbach; and a third podcast commentary with Anderson, Mosier and Smith. Bonus features also include a blooper reel, full-length documentary, video production diaries, and two making-of featurettes. Aspect ratio is 1.78:1 (enhanced for widescreen), with sound processed in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. (Movie – One Star, DVD features – Three Stars) Rated R, 97 mins. (Weinstein Company)

December 14, 2006 in Comedy | Permalink


Set in London, "Scoop" finds Scarlett Johansson as Sondra Pransky a nerdy and naive student journalist lured into the story of a lifetime if she can prove that son-of-privilege Peter Lyman (Hugh Jackman) is the Tarot Card serial killer that a voice from the dead (Ian McShane) tells her Lyman is. Woody Allen’s character Sid Waterman is an ex-pat seasoned magician living in London who teams up with Sondra pretending to be her goofy father in order to help her solve the case. "Scoop" may not rise to the narrative ingenuity of "Match Point" but it does capture Scarlett Johansson paraphrasing Woody Allen’s signature amusing rhythms in a lilting little comedy that makes England look like heaven on earth. No special features. English, French and Spanish subtitles. Aspect ratio is 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, with sound quality processed in Dolby Digital 2.0. (Movie – Two Stars, DVD features – Zero Stars). Rated PG-13, 96 mins. (Universal)

December 14, 2006 in Comedy | Permalink

Nanny McPhee

Emma Thompson ("Sense And Sensibility") plays a magic-working nanny in a script she wrote based loosely on Christianna Brand’s ‘60s era "Nurse Matilda" books. Under the clumsy direction of Kirk Jones ("Waking Ned Devine") Thompson’s witch of a nanny—she sports a single eyebrow, two hairy warts and one overly long front tooth—mysteriously arrives at the unkempt household of widowed funeral director Mr. Brown (Colin Firth). Mr. Brown’s seven devilish children take pride in the speed with which they have scared off 17 prospective nannies with such diabolical antics as pretending to eat their infant sibling. With calm aplomb Nanny McPhee instills in the disobedient children her five lessons for well mannered behavior while Mr. Brown searches for a wife within the one month timeframe that his late wife’s Aunt Adelaide (Angela Lansbury) has allowed him if she is to continue financing the oversized family. The movie is hampered by production designer Michael Howell’s garish neon color palate contrasted with clownish costumes by Nic Ede that drag the movie through a romper room of spilled nursery school paint. Special features include a commentary track with director Kirk Jones and numerous child actors, a second commentary track with Emma Thompson and co-producer Lindsay Doran, three making-of featurettes, seven deleted scenes with director’s commentary, and a brief gag reel. Aspect ratio is 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, with sound quality processed in Dolby Digital 5.1. surround sound.

(Movie – Two Stars, DVD features – Two Stars) Rated PG. 88 mins. (Universal)

August 10, 2006 in Children, Comedy | Permalink

Tristram Shandy: A Cock & Bull Story

Director Michael Winterbottom ("Nine Songs") plays it loose and sloppy with a deconstructionist cinematic treatment of Laurence Sterne’s epic navel-gazing 1759 novel. For as much as filmmakers and critics enjoy praying at the altar of all things "meta," this movie is like an hour-and-a-half yawn. The ever affable-if-cynical Steve Coogan is our post-post-modern master of ceremonies through a maze of tongue-in-cheek smarty-pants improvisations that occur in a movie about making a movie about the writing of a confused autobiography. The movie finally hits its much belated stride in its closing minute when Coogan and his sidekick Rob Brydon do dueling Al Pacino impersonations, but it’s much too little too late. Special features include a commentary track with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, an extended interview between Steve Coogan and Tony Wilson, deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes footage, a making-of featurette, and the theatrical trailer. Aspect ratio is 16:9 aspect ratio, with sound quality processed in Dolby Digital 5.1.

(Movie – One Star, DVD features – Two Stars) Rated R, 91 mins. (HBO)

August 7, 2006 in Comedy | Permalink

Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing & Charm School

Yet another ballroom dancing movie presents dance as a universal balm that heals life’s problems in this mildly inspired dramatic comedy. A lonely widowed Frank Keane (Robert Carlyle) witnesses a car wreck and takes instruction from accident victim Steve Mills (John Goodman) to meet the dying man’s childhood love at Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing and Charm School, 40 years after the date was made. Frank discovers more than he bargained for in the alien environment of ballroom dance where a young woman named Meredith (Marisa Tomei) possesses a romantic glow. Special features include a commentary track with by writer/director Randall Miller, co-writer/producer Jody Savin, and actor Eldon Henson, and the original short film upon which the movie was based. Aspect ratio is presented in choice of widescreen 2.40:1 anamorphic or a "pan-and-scan version," sound quality is processed in Dolby Digital 5.0.

(Movie – Two Stars, DVD features – One Star) Rated PG-13, 103 mins. (Sony Pictures)

August 5, 2006 in Comedy, Drama | Permalink


Formula rogue-undercover-cop genre trappings mix with repetitive comic punchlines in a lifeless effort from screenwriters David Wagner and David Goldberg ("The Girl Next Door"). Tre Stokes (Nick Cannon – "Drumline") is a fuzzy-chinned college-aged undercover LA cop who’s willing to chase escaping criminals by riding a child’s bicycle in hot pursuit. So it is that when a case involving murder at an elite private high school, Tre coaxes his way with police Captain Delgado (Cheech Marin) to go undercover at the prep school as an overzealous student with a ulterior motive of replacing his G.E.D. with a high school diploma. Even the chase scenes sag as debut director Marcos Siega disappoints audiences at every turn. Special features include commentary by director Marcos Siega and screenwriters Brent Goldberg and David T. Wagner, cast audition clips, a making-of featurette and 10 deleted scenes. Aspect ratio is 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, with sound quality delivered in Dolby Digital 5.1 or 2.0 Surround Sound. (Movie – One Star, DVD features – One Star) Rated PG-13, 95 mins. (Buena Vista Home Video)

February 1, 2006 in Comedy | Permalink