Just Go With It: Sandler and Aniston Co-Star in Shallow, Derivative Sitcom (Film Review)

Just Go With It

“The Big Lie” is a shopworn formula which has been recycled by countless television sitcoms since serving as the premise for almost every episode of I Love Lucy. The age-old theme typically revolves around a morally-compromised protagonist who ends up ensnared in an ever-expanding web of deception after telling a little fib at a moment of weakness.

For the initial fraud is invariably compounded by additional lies needed to prevent the truth from coming out. Unanticipated complications ensue and the tension builds to a crescendo while the guilt-ridden prevaricator agonizes over his predicament until finally deciding to clear his conscience by ‘fessing up. You don’t see “The Big Lie” employed often as a theme in movies simply because it generally proves to be too preposterous a cinematic device to hold an audience’s interest for the duration of a full-length feature.

However, just such a scheme provides the fulcrum for Just Go With It, a romantic comedy starring Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston and last year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover girl, Brooklyn Decker. The picture was directed by longtime Sandler collaborator Dennis Dugan, the brains behind such asinine offerings as Grown-Ups, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, Happy Gilmore and Big Daddy.

This tale unfolds in Beverly Hills where celebrated, plastic surgeon, Dr. Daniel Maccabee (Sandler), is quite intent on remaining single. And to make sure none of his relationships ever gets serious, the confirmed bachelor falsely informs every woman he dates that he’s married once he’s slept with and is finished with her.

That exploitative tactic serves its purpose until the day he falls head-over-heels for Palmer (Decker), a curvaceous, 23 year-old blonde he picks up at a pool party. She spots his wedding ring after they make love, but instead of continuing the canard as usual, Danny says he’s in the midst of a divorce.Continue Reading …

Hall Pass: Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis Co-Star in Raunchy Buddy Comedy (Film Review)

Hall Pass

Peter and Bobby Farrelly are famous for cranking out crude teensploitation flicks like Dumb & Dumber (1994), There’s Something About Mary (1998), Me, Myself & Irene (2000), Shallow Hal (2001) and Stuck on You (2003). Owen Wilson, on the other hand, is a relatively-cerebral thespian known for his droll sense of humor. He’s also an Oscar-nominated scriptwriter (for The Royal Tenenbaums) with such sophisticated offerings on his resume’ as Rushmore (1998), The Life Aquatic with Steve Sissou (2004) and The Darjeeling Limited (2007).

Therefore, when you hear that the Farrelly Brothers wrote and directed Hall Pass, you figure something had to give. And if you’re wondering whether Owen’s subtle, tongue-in-cheek demeanor was compatible with their preference for boorish behavior, it wasn’t, and depravity did prevail in this vulgar contribution to the gross-out genre.

Still, I suppose faithful Farrelly fans won’t be disappointed by this bawdy, shock comedy laced with coarse dialogue, full-frontal nudity, sophomoric slapstick and bodily-function fare. Its highlights (or lowlights, depending on your point-of-view) range from a golfer defecating in a sand trap to a black man with gargantuan genitalia going public with his privates. The plot is essentially a series of excuses to celebrate such scatology and debauchery.

Hall Pass unfolds in the Farrellys’ home state of Rhode Island where we find best friends Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis) constantly commiserating about their stale sex lives. Soon enough, their wives, Maggie (Jenna Fischer) and Grace (Christina Applegate), become so fed up with watching their hubbies salivating over other women that they decide to give them each a “hall pass,” meaning a week of freedom to cheat with no questions asked.Continue Reading …

LADYBRILLE Holiday Film Preview- ‘Tis the Season of Oscar Hopefuls’

Burlesque

Right around the same time that visions of Santa and sugarplums start dancing around in children’s heads, matinee idols begin dreaming of winning an Academy Award. That’s because the studios wait until the Holiday Season to release their best films in theaters, given how Academy voters tend to forget pictures and performances from earlier in the year.

2010 is no different, as we have a crowded field of late-arriving offerings being rushed into theaters to make what’s referred to in the industry as an Oscar-qualifying run. And among the cast and crew members generating buzz this go-round are not only plenty of the usual suspects, such as previous nominees like Natalie Portman and Jake Gyllenhaal but also a number of talented, relative newcomers like Kate Bosworth and Anthony Mackie.

Burlesque (Thanksgiving) Musical drama about an aspiring singer from the Midwest (Christina Aguilera) who moves to L.A. where she’s given a big break to perform on stage by the stripper-turned-owner (Cher) of a failing burlesque theater. With Kristen Bell, Stanley Tucci and Alan Cumming.

The King’s Speech (Thanksgiving) Costume drama, set in the Twenties, recounting the rise to power of shy and retiring King George VI (Colin Firth) with the help of a therapist (Geoffrey Rush) who helped his majesty to suppress his stutter. With Claire Bloom as Queen Mary, Michael Gambon as King George V and Oscar-nominee Helena Bonham Carter as Queen Elizabeth.

Love and Other Drugs (Thanksgiving) Academy award-winner Edward Zwick directs a couple of Oscar-nominees (Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal) in this romantic comedy based on Jamie Reidy’s mermoir “Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman” about a free spirit who meets her match in a charming ladies man. Support cast includes Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria and recently-deceased Jill Clayburgh, a two-time Oscar-nominee.Continue Reading …

Film Review: Tyler Perry’s ‘For Colored Girls’ With Whoopi Goldberg, Janet Jackson, Thandie Newton, Kimberly Elise

Kimberly Elise - For Colored Girls

Black Feminist Classic Refreshed Courtesy of Tyler Perry

Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf made a big splash when it debuted on Broadway back in the Seventies. The emotionally-draining “choreopoem” was essentially a series of soul-baring monologues plumbing the depths of the African-American female psyche on sensitive subjects ranging from sexuality to spirituality. Performed by a nameless cast of seven troubled women, this hybrid of drama and poetry met with critical acclaim, although it particularly resonated with sisters.

Ms. Shange subsequently wrote the screenplay for a made-for-TV version of her opus which aired on PBS’ American Playhouse in 1982. And she also appeared in the movie version opposite Alfre Woodard, Sophie Okenedo and Lynn Whitfield.Continue Reading …