Kyle (Liam Hemsworth) and Swin (Clark Duke, who also directs) are bottom-tier drug dealers who are glad to be promoted to wholesale distribution by their kingpin (a man they’ve never met). They are on their way to their first wholesale dropoff when they’re suddenly rerouted by Ranger Bright (John Malkovich) to his trailer park in Arkansas. Bright also works for the same kingpin, who apparently has reconsidered Kyle and Swin’s promotions. Kyle and Swin try to settle into the Arkansas chapter of this drug ring, but things soon go sideways when a rival lowlife follows them back to the trailer park after their first drop-off, and his robbery attempt leaves two people dead.
Vince Vaughn and Vivica A. Fox also make appearances in Arkansas as Kyle and Swin make enemies at every turn. The saddest part is that their attempts to lay low end up creating, then escalating, a conflict between them and Frog, who can’t figure out whether the two are trying to steal from him or whether they are completely inept. As with most things, the answer ends up being a bit of both.
For the most part, Arkansas is a character study, which is highly problematic when the lesser Hemsworth is your lead. Liam’s brother Chris clearly got all the family’s charisma, and Kyle’s only observable character trait is an unexplained limp. All in all, there’s really nothing coming from Hemsworth to keep the viewer interested. Swin is not worse but he’s hardly better, as he remains a complete mystery through to the end, leaving Hemsworth to carry most of the load.
Casting better lead actors may not have saved this one, because the film’s ending is a jumbled mess as all those left standing must fight for control of Frog’s drug ring. But with better leads, Arkansas would at least have been a more interesting journey. As it stands, Arkansas is a boring film with no real payoff. I would much rather have followed the supporting characters’ stories (especially Ranger Bright) than have to spend so much (or really, any) time with Kyle and Swin.
Natalie (Rebel Wilson) is no fan of the rom-com. She thinks romantic movies are not for her – perhaps love itself is not for her. She feels invisible most of the time. She’s timid at work. She doesn’t think that anything magical will ever touch her life.
And when she gets mugged on the way home from work one evening, it seems like an affirmation of all of the above – except when she wakes up, the bump on her head has her living in an alternate universe that resembles very closely the rom-coms that she so spurns. The rules and the irony are simple: she’s got to make someone fall in love with her to escape this fate, and suddenly the hunky billionaire who never noticed her before is all over her.
The movie rolls its eyes at all the usual romance cliches, but then indulges in them in a riot of colour and open-armed enthusiasm, as if mocking the tropes gives permission to be unabashedly embrace them. But whatever, it’s fun, or fun enough. Rebel Wilson makes it work just by virtue of her own irrepressible personality. Larger than life, she somehow sells both sides of Natalie’s persona, the wallflower and the cheeky peony she becomes. Reteamed with Adam Devine, her cocky love interest from Pitch Perfect, the two have an easy chemistry that’s fun to sing along with – and believe me, this movie has more sing-along opportunities than most. You’ve really got to be on board with the vibrant cheese in order to enjoy this movie. It pretends to be cynical but it’s really not. If your sense of Valentine’s is at all gothic or ironic, move on. Love is in the air, in a pretty conventional way. Isn’t It Romantic is a piece of fluff that will soon be forgotten in the rom-com canon, but it’s light and airy and a fairly entertaining 90 minutes. More or less.
Will Smith was right to avoid this one. Honestly, he must be embarrassed for his likeness to have made a brief appearance in this debacle. Jeff Goldblum should feel even worse for having taken the money to appear in this thing. Independence Day: Resurgence is every bit as terrible as you’ve heard. Now that it’s on Netflix, I felt I had to check it out to be sure. I am writing this solely to ensure you don’t make the same mistake.
Independence Day: Resurgence starts out terribly and does not improve one bit. If anything it gets dumber as it goes, by taking us to a moonbase, then having an alien ship that measures 3,000 miles across sneak past all Earth’s defences, and then creating a totally unnecessary back story for the aliens involving a different alien/robot/spaceship. Well, totally unnecessary except that it conveniently sets up a sequel! Do me a favour and stay off Kickstarter if you think a third Independence Day sounds like a good idea.
It’s just a mess. Like peeing your pants, which two of our heroes admit to doing after one of several mediocre action scenes. Billy Madison made peeing your pants cool, but Liam Hemsworth and Travis Tope prove here they cannot pull off the same thing. Not that I could pull it off either but at least I know enough not to try. Despite what my love of comic book movies may suggest, I’m not six years old.
If you are still on fence about this movie then I’ve failed, and in that case I have to wonder whether you were worth saving anyway. Independence Day: Resurgence gets a score of 3 soiled undies out of ten.