Tag Archives: r rated comedies

Bad Trip

Chris (Eric Andre) doesn’t have much going for him – no nice house, or good job, or even a car, but when his childhood crush walks through the door, he feels like the luckiest man in the world. Unfortunately, Maria (Michaela Conlin) is just passing through Florida – though she does suggest he look her up in Manhattan if he’s ever in town. It sounds like a polite kiss-off to me and you, but Chris is desperate to take her up on the offer, so he enlists best friend Bud (Lil Rel Howery) to hit the road with him.

Neither has a car, so they borrow Bud’s sister’s car. And by borrow I mean they take it without her knowledge or permission, which she would never give. But Trina’s in prison, so what can she do? Break out of prison, for one, and pursue them all the way to New York City for another. Trina (Tiffany Haddish) doesn’t take any shit from anyone. Anyway, this flimsy plot is really just the framework to allow Eric Andre to pull a series of pranks on unsuspecting rubes up and down the east coast.

Not as political as Borat nor as foolish as Jackass, Bad Trip is thankfully not mean-spirited, but it does get to some pretty outlandish heights (or lows, really), including but certainly not limited to gorilla sodomy and projectile vomiting. I’m not really into pranks but most of their victims weren’t just good sports but good people (discounting one while guy on a golf course), which is sort of heartening to see. And the trio are clearly having so much fun getting away with their tricks it’s kind of irresistible. With a few genuine laughs, this isn’t a terrible option if you don’t mind rude, juvenile (yet still R-rated) humour, but no one’s mistaking this for great. Maybe just a bit of harmless escapism to get you through another weekend in the Red Zone.

Bachelorette

You know when you’re on a deep dive into Netflix’s back catalogue and you come across a movie that’s packed full of A-listers that you’ve somehow never heard of before? There’s always a reason.

Bachelorette is a deeply offensive and rarely funny movie that probably meant to be Deep Impact to Bridesmaids’ Armageddon, but wasn’t. It stars Rebel Wilson as bride-to-be Becky and Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan, and Isla Fisher as her horrible best friends. This trio are quite cruel to Becky, to her face and behind her back. They discuss amongst themselves how impossible it is that their fat friend is the first to be married, and to a good catch at that – rich, handsome, and totally in love with her. They’re jealous, they’re mean, and they’re determined to fuck up her wedding.

On the eve of the wedding, Becky heads to bed while her “friends” get drunk and do coke and fail to find a single ounce of happiness for the bride. In a fit of particular cruelty, Regan (Dunst) and Katie (Fisher) decide to try on Becky’s dress, without permission, and at the same time. The dress does as most would do when taxed with two wearers: it rips down the middle. The rest of the evening is spent in a “hilarious” race to somehow fix the dress before the morning wedding. They’ll get more drunk and do more drugs, and cross paths with the bachelor party on more than one occasion. The dress will be dragged along the sidewalk, get tossed in the trash, and be besmirched by several bodily fluids. And through it all, none of these women ever feels bad or learns a lesson. They’re disgusting human beings but they never face a consequence and they never get called out. I’m half afraid the script doesn’t even realize that they’re pathetic, ugly people.

Bridesmaids was crude and edgy, serving up women behaving badly with style though not always class. It got away with it because underpinning the gross gags and lewd humour was an essential sweetness and an elemental bond that made its hot mess relatable, and grounded. This movie is anarchic but tonally confused, and its characters hideously irredeemable. Even ringing its theme for all it was worth, the film failed to squeeze out even a drop of entertainment. There’s a reason I’d never heard of this movie – I just wish that had stayed the case.

Guest House

Remember Pauly Shore? If you’d forgotten and I just reminded you, I’m sorry. If you’d forgotten and prefer to keep it that way, read no more.

Pauly’s back and he’s the exact same as ever, except worse because now he’s old and I’m not high.

Blake (Mike Castle) and Sarah (Aimee Teegarden) are a young couple who’ve just bought a new home with a beautiful backyard. There’s just the one problem: there’s someone in the guest house. And yes, it’s Pauly Shore. He’s calling himself Randy Cockfield in this movie but doing absolutely nothing to disguise himself. Pauly Shore never could act, except in the “acting like a demented ass with no filter and no taste” sense. Anyway, Randy is the tenant from hell, throwing obscene parties, damaging property, and violating boundaries like they don’t even exist in the first place.

Blake, apparently a reformed party boy (though Sarah’s dad, Billy Zane, still does not approve), vows to wage war against their squatter, but in truth he somehow gets sucked in. And then out. And then back in, and so on. Which is a problem because when Blake and Randy are buds, they party together, and things get so wildly out of control, Sarah winds up picking him up from the police station. And when Blake and Randy are enemies, their juvenile pranks get so wildly out of hand, Sarah winds up picking him up from the police station. In both scenarios, she’s threatening to leave.

But she doesn’t. Because Sarah’s pretty shitty too. Maybe not as shitty as Pauly Shore and her no good, Pauly Shore wannabe boyfriend, but since she’s agreeing to marry at least one of them on the very same day she was tearfully telling Billy Zane she just couldn’t do it anymore, she doesn’t get a pass. Plus, she has some pretty shitty friends. I mean, so does Blake. Definitely shitty. And so does Pauly. Ugh. So shitty. They have shitty friends because they’re awful people and they all deserve each other and there’s absolutely nobody in this movie to root for.

Guest House is an absolute mess of things that don’t make sense and things you wish you could unsee. I had no problem with Shore being alive when he wasn’t bothering me by making movies, but if he’s threatening to “revive” his “career,” I’m going to suggest we bury him Encino style, deep enough to make sure that if he’s ever unearthed, I’ll be dead and gone and he can’t hurt me anymore. His weasel persona had a 3 movie expiration date in the 90s and his resurrection is both unwanted and offensive – especially since he seems to be bringing Steve-o along with him? Double ugh. Go ahead and dig that hole big enough for two bodies and toss em both in. And while you’ve got the shovel out, go ahead and give my head a big ole whack – I know I can’t get these 84 minutes back but the least you could do is try to brain injury the memory away.

Palm Springs

Nyles (Andy Samberg) is in Palm Springs (I assume – the title might have you believe this is of even the slightest importance, but it’s really not, could be anywhere) for a wedding. His girlfriend is a bridesmaid and he’s her plus one, which doesn’t quite account for just how uninvested he is in the proceedings. Even if you’re not close to the couple, you generally want to be respectful of their big day. Nyles shows up in a bad Hawaiian shirt, pops beers all ceremony long, and then hijacks the maid of honour’s speech to the bride. You can’t quite pinpoint how or why Nyles seems just a little bit off, but he is, considerably, and yet when he directs his charm toward the bride’s sister and maid of honour, Sarah (Cristin Milioti), even she seems unable to resist, and she doesn’t appear to be having a great day herself.

What gives? Turns out, it’s one of those infinite time loop situations you might have heard about. You know, like Groundhog Day? And a dozen other copycats, none of worth mentioning? Yeah, like that. Nyles has been reliving the same day over and over for goodness knows how long (you know who does know? The screenwriter. Excellent source. His answer: about 40 years. Forty fucking years!). Anyway, after a particularly nice day spent with Sarah, she follows him into the time loop cave of doom despite him cautioning her not to. The rest isn’t so much history as an infinite present. Nyles has 40 years of this under his belt, so he’s given himself over completely to nihilism (hence the Hawaiian shirt), but Sarah is new enough to the game to be fed by her anger, resentment, and frustration. She wants out, and she’s so determined to solve or win the time loop, she’ll try anything, including but not limited to: exploding an innocent goat, getting hit by a truck, making the ultimate sacrifice, and learning quantum physics.

Time loop movies are a dime a dozen and I haven’t liked a single one since Bill Murray, but now, suddenly, there are two. Like Groundhog Day, Palm Springs is a rom-com of sorts, or perhaps an anti-rom-com – there is no worse romance killer, not even death, than too much time together. But one man’s existential crisis is another man’s pure entertainment. Samberg and Milioti not only have a viable chemistry, she brings a darkness that balances Samberg’s goofball energy perfectly so that, despite the extreme challenge to mental health in this film, we don’t fly off the deep end of either side of the continuum, but we do enjoy a sliding scale of extremes and a lot of laughs because of it. Writer Andy Siara keeps us intrigued with a script that is unpredictable and unexpected, but most of all coated in well-earned giggles that are executed perfectly by the cast, including JK Simmons as Roy, someone else caught in the infinite loop thanks to Nyles, and not super gracious about it either. Siara and director Max Barbakow work well together to subvert our expectations and challenge what we think we know about rom-coms.

Palm Springs was bought by Hulu at Sundance for a record-setting sum: 17.5 million dollars and 69 cents. The 69 cents set the record; Birth of a Nation held it before this, and that turned out to be a bit of a debacle, didn’t it? But Palm Springs was a great investment for Hulu, becoming the most-streamed in its first weekend Hulu had ever seen. Since Canada doesn’t have Hulu, it is now available to stream on Amazon Prime, and that’s a good thing, because Palm Springs is one of the brightest spots in an otherwise dull year.

Like A Boss

Mia (Tiffany Haddish) and Mel (Rose Byrne) are best friends since middle school. They started a beauty company together in a garage and grew it into a beautiful storefront location. Mia is the creative one, hands-on with customers and bursting with ideas, but there’s no structure to her process and it can’t be rushed or quantified. Mel takes care of the books and the logistics. She makes sure things run smoothly so that Mia can continue to create. But they’ve yet to recoup their costs from the storefront opening and they’re running quite a deficit. Mel doesn’t like to be the bearer of bad news and Mia doesn’t like to hear it, so Mel’s been carrying that burden alone and is relieved to hear that beauty giant Claire Luna is considering investing in their company. It sounds like the lifeline they’ll need to survive.

But while Mel is relieved and excited by the offer, Mia disdains it. They started their own company so they’d never have to work for anyone else again, and Claire Luna (Salma Hayek) has been pretty clear that her influx of cash comes with plenty of strings. In fact, when Mia and Mel reluctantly accept having not much of a choice, we the audience know something they don’t: Claire intends to sow discord among them to ultimately break them up so she’ll have controlling share. She’s pretty ruthless.

She’s also the only thing worth watching in this hot mess, although not necessarily in a good way. Hayek’s character is so baffling she’s hard to look away from, her complete lack of grounding or humanity make her unpredictable but also uninteresting. Which is still better than Haddish, who is too much, and Byrne, who is far, far too little. I have confirmed that this was in fact intended as a comedy, possibly because there is no genre for “just a group of people doing stuff of no particular value to no discernible effect.” There are better movies about business partners. There are better movies about friendship. Heck, there are better movies about eating something way too spicy.

Like A Boss cannot live up to its own title. It’s a bottom of the barrel comedy and director Miguel Arteta couldn’t find a joke if his mummy put it in a brown paper back with his name on it.

Observe and Report

When we were in Mexico I was reading a book about cyber warfare – not your typical beach read mind you but very informative and interesting (David Sanger’s The Perfect Weapon). Among many things it discussed the Sony hack. Basically, North Korea was very mad about a Seth Rogen movie called The Interview that involved the assassination of their leader. Apparently North Koreans can’t take a joke. I mean, lots of North Americans don’t find Seth Rogen particularly funny either, but most of them don’t commit cyber crime in retaliation. They released a whole bunch of very embarrassing emails for Sony but it actually had the opposite effect. Whereas the big whigs had been debating pulling the plug on The Interview, now they HAD to release it so that the terrorists didn’t win or some such American flag-waving sentiment. So they got a theatre and VOD release and a bunch of us watched it just to see what the fuss was all about.

I rewatched it out of curiosity but found that I’d already reviewed it on this site and I was shocked to find that we’ve been at this that long (it came out in 2014) but my opinion hasn’t wavered much. It is profoundly dumb and yet if you’re a fan of Rogen’s, you will find a chance or two to chuckle. But the movie really did benefit from North Korea’s interference, spurring a marketing campaign that money couldn’t buy and Hollywood couldn’t think up.

On a Seth Rogen kick, I gave Observe and Report a second chance as well. And the truth is, I found it even harder to laugh at this one. Rogen plays mall security guard Ronnie, hopelessly in love with makeup counter girl Brandi (Anna Faris) and even more hopelessly determined to be a real cop. When a flasher starts haunting the mall, Ronnie sees it as his opportunity to shine and does not take kindly to a real detective, the surly detective Harrison (Ray Liotta), stealing his thunder.

Possibly it’s hard to genuinely laugh at Ronnie because he’s dubbed bipolar and his single-minded delusions just come off as illness. Or possibly it’s because the film has a real mean streak. But probably it’s because the script is bad and director Jody Hill didn’t have the chops to wrangle his cast and crew. The film is simply too sloppy to guess whether Hill’s script is subversive or actually deeply racist and misogynistic. I can tell you that it feels like laughter borne in ignorance and I’m just not comfortable joining in. We deserve better, and frankly, so does Ronnie.

Benjamin

This intervention is classy as fuck. I mean, how often do you see hors d’oeuvres at these things?

Ed (Bob Saget) smelled crystal meth through his teenage son’s door and panicked. He has assembled what can only be described as a rag-tag game of misfits to confront his son and force him into rehab…IF he has a problem, which Ed is still loathe to admit. Aunt Clarice (Chery Oteri) and Uncle Mitch (Dave Foley) haven’t seen him since he was a baby. Ed’s BBF, a doctor also named Ed (Rob Corddry) will lead the way despite the fact that he’s an OB-GYN. Jeanette (Mary Lynn Rajskub) is running the whole thing, though she prefers to emphasize her girlfriend part of her credentials rather than assistant. Benjamin’s sister Amber brings a date, and a spare, and is mostly there to antagonize her father. It is unclear who put together the guest list, but the guest list was their first mistake. It was not their last.

Long story short: these people may be bigger fuckups than the kid they’re intervening, and without any moral superiority, it’s hard to sustain authority. Ya know?

Bob Saget is not a good enough actor to be allowed to direct himself (and yet here we are). I’m not saying he’s the worst part of this but…he is. He totally is. And there are a LOT of broken parts. Danny Tanner would have done a better job and – dare I say it – he would have been less corny. Saget might have one of the most recognizable faces on the shoddiest piece of work: total amateur hour. How was Full House his prime? How on earth do you go downhill from America’s Funniest Home Videos? Benjamin styles itself as a dark comedy but you know what’s problematic about that? I didn’t hear anyone laughing.

Good Boys

Eleven is such a precious age. You’re straddling the cusp of childhood and adolescence. You’re feeling big in your britches but the world’s still treating you like you’re a little kid.

I remember going to Denny’s once, and the waitress brought me one of those paper kid’s menu-placemat hybrids with 3 crayons so I could choose between the grilled cheese or the chicken nuggets. I was insulted. Beyond insulted. The kid’s menu was for 12 and under and I was 9. Nine! Practically a grown-ass woman, I thought. How dare she. I have never been back to a Denny’s. That’s a true story. I hold a grudge. The point being, those tween years are tough. They didn’t even call us tweens back when I was a tween. In fact, my little sister gave me a homemade card calling me a “teeny bopper” which makes it sound like I grew up in the 1950s – actually, that’s just a word she got from my grandfather, but it stuck. I didn’t care much for that either, but surprisingly, I still speak to both my sister and my grandfather, though I do sometimes still harbour dark doubts that they deserve it.

Max (Jacob Tremblay) is the undisputed leader of the bean bag boys, a trio including golden-voiced Thor (Brady Noon) and nervous nelly Lucas (Keith L. Williams). They have just unlocked the most coveted of achievements: they’ve secured an invitation to cool kid Soren’s (Izaac Wang) party, a kissing party with girls and everything. None of them know how to kiss, which is a problem, but not insurmountable. Between the 3 of them, they come up with quite a plan for learning how, but their brilliant plan falls apart when they lose Max’s dad’s work drone to a couple of teenage girls, then steal their drugs in retaliation, then spend the rest of the movie in an epic quest to make things right.

I loved the characters from the start. The script really captures the line they’re straddling between youth and adulthood. The kids are just beginning to think about sex but haven’t got a clue. They talk big and swear hard, but their innocence is always quite apparent. As a grown-up, you just want to clasp your hands to your heart and declare them precious, but doing so would probably have them die of embarrassment. Oh lord it’s hard to be eleven.

All 3 kids are well-cast and have a great rapport. You believe them as a unit, even as they’re starting to realize that they may not be destined to be best friends forever as previously believed. The script is a magnet for vulgarity, and perhaps embraces it a little too heartily, but for all its gross-out humour, it has a lot of heart. I especially love how much the kids have internalized the concept of consent. It gives me hope. Good Boys reminded me of my own awkward transitional years, but mostly it made me think of my oldest nephew, who will turn 8 in a couple of weeks. I cradled him in my arms the day he was born, he peed on me while I gave him a bath, he’s clung to my neck when he had a booboo. But every day he’s getting bigger, and thinking more for himself, and growing apart from the very adults that he used to want nothing more than to play with on the living room floor. It’s nearly impossible for me to stop seeing him as a little guy, but since I’ve known him, all he wants to do is grow. I remember when his biggest goal in life was to weigh 40 lbs so he could go from car seat to booster seat. And then he wanted to be just tall enough to ride the Vortex water slide at the Great Wolf Lodge. Now he wants to be old enough to watch End Game. Meanwhile, who among us doesn’t occasionally wish we could hit pause? Have him stay cute and cuddly forever, sweet smelling and polite?

Good Boys made me laugh, but more than that, it made me smile.

Long Shot

On my more cynical days, I sometimes feel the only reason we have cinema is so that unattractive men can kiss beautiful women who would otherwise be unattainable to them. No shade against Seth Rogen, but let’s face it: the man is a schlub. An endearing, lovable schlub, sure. But Rose Byrne? Michelle Williams? Elizabeth Banks? Let’s call it a stretch of the imagination, one that Hollywood asks us to take a little too often. In this particular movie, it’s Charlize Theron, while Seth’s character, in a ubiquitous teal windbreaker, is actually mistaken for a homeless man.

Charlotte Field (Theron) is not just a beautiful, out-of-his-league woman, she’s the goddamn Secretary of State. Fred Flarsky (Rogen) is not exactly a slouch: he’s a journalist MV5BZWVhODA5ZmItOWYwOC00OTU3LWJiNTEtODcwMDIyMTBjZWY3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTc5OTMwOTQ@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1291,1000_AL_who goes the extra mile to get a juicy story, BUT he just got fired. Well, okay, he quit on principle, but the net effect is, he’s unemployed. Which kinda works out perfectly because the Secretary of State is about to announce her run for President, and she just needs someone with a comedic touch to punch up her scripts a bit. Enter Fred, who in fact has crossed paths with her before. She was the babysitter he had prepubescent chub for, and maybe he’s been carrying just the tiniest lit torch ever since.

Anyway, Fred is the last man on earth Charlotte should be falling for just as she’s about bet her life on the polls. And yet, hormones. Theron and Rogen have some major oddball chemistry going. It turns out Theron can hold her own in pretty much any movie. But this one is more interested in pointing fingers at the ridiculousness of their pairing than exploring who either of them are as people, or explaining how exactly Fred is worthy of Charlotte (or indeed the other way around – their romance is largely inexplicable).

It works adequately as a superficial, no questions asked rom-com, and moderately better as a political comedy. There’s a familiar cynicism there, but it’s nowhere near as biting or incisive as Veep. Still, I laughed. And Sean snorted. That counts for something in an era where the comedy genre should probably be renamed “attempt at comedy.” It’s kind of a crap shoot, but Long Shot turns out to be a pretty good bet.

Nobody’s Fool

Danica (Tika Sumpter) has a great job, a gorgeous apartment, and a nice boyfriend named Charlie. Her perfect, pretty life is about to be disrupted when her sister Tanya (Tiffany Haddish) crashes with her post-prison. Tanya is impressed by Danica’s lifestyle but dismissive of the hard work it takes to achieve and maintain it. And she’s immediately suspicious of Charlie, a year-long relationship that’s taken place solely over the internet. She’s about to blow shit up.

Meanwhile, Danica innocently starts her days at her favourite coffee shop where owner Frank (Omari Hardwick) pines for her and plies her with free caffeine. Danica is faithful MV5BMTYxNTE2NjgzMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTU2NTM3NTM@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1499,1000_AL_to Charlie but Tanya sees potential, and enlists Danica’s friend and coworker Kalli (Amber Riley) to help shake things up. So now Danica has a tough choice to make: the perfect on paper Charlie who she’s never even met, or the rough around the edges Frank who is kind to her but doesn’t meet all her requirements.

Even as I’m writing this, I’m reminded again what a fine premise this is. It’s just too bad that Tiffany Haddish ruins things by being off-leash one too many times. The movie and its story get totally derailed by her constant mid-scene stand-up specials. We get it, Haddish: you’re funny. I don’t even disagree. But there’s a time and a place and director Tyler Perry is too cowed to tell her that. So off she goes, improvising her little heart out, destroying any momentum the film’s earned, and any interest the audience has. I was so put off by Tanya’s constant threats against her sister’s life that for me, the only real comedy came from Whoopi Goldberg, who plays their pothead mother.

Nobody’s Fool failed to win me over, and I refuse to be made a fool by it. There are good ingredients but Tyler Perry doesn’t quite mix it right, or in the right proportions, so the resulting cake is undercooked with uneven flavour.