Tag Archives: Ryan Hansen

Fantasy Island

I take it that Fantasy Island was a show once upon a time, but I couldn’t tell you a single thing about it. I can tell you a little more about the movie, available to rent on VOD.

2020’s Fantasy Island is luxurious and exclusive. Guests arrive on a private plane and the enigmatic Mr. Roarke (Michael Pena) is there to greet them. Mr. Roarke is there to facilitate fantasies, but it’s the island that fulfills them. For Gwen (Maggie Q), a second chance at happiness; for brothers Brax (Jimmy O. Yang) and J. D. (Ryan Hansen), it’s a pool full of models; for Patrick (Austin Stowell), a chance to play live-action Call of Duty; and for Melanie (Lucy Hale), some good old fashioned revenge.

But the island isn’t just some tropical paradise, it’s the physical embodiment of ‘be careful what you wish for.’ Fantasies quickly turn into nightmares, and before long, the guests will either have to figure out the island’s sinister motives or pay with their lives.

It has been well-documented on this site that I am a chicken. I don’t usually elect to watch horror movies, but then again, I don’t usually elect to stay confined to my home for 9 weeks either. This pandemic has been an unprecedented time and I have been more willing to seek thrills outside my normal parameters. But if you’re an actual fan of horror movies, the truth is, you’re going to find this extremely mild. Even I wasn’t afraid!

I mean sure, people are being chased, tortured, gunned down, electrocuted. Bad guys bleed black, suffer eyeball bursts, and re-animate at inconvenient times.

But scary? Not exactly. The island is the bad guy. It’s evil, but not exactly subtle. Fire will try to burn you. Water will try to drown you. Men will drag you out from your hiding place, kicking and screaming. Everything bad that can happen will happen and so there’s no suspense or thrill.

Worst of all, no one opts for crazy sex stuff. Really? REALLY??? I wouldn’t mourn the lack of crazy sex stuff if anything else was entertaining me. As it is, Fantasy Island is just a so-so way to pass the time, and it’s best to temper your expectations.

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.

CHIPS

CHIPS is an exercise in tempered expectations. One title card should be all the tempering you need: ‘written and directed by Dax Shepard.’ Dax Shepard isn’t exactly a visionary film maker. At best, he’s taking home a Participation ribbon from the He’s Trying His Best Awards. But why would you expect more from a guy who got his start on the prank show Punk’d? His whole career has been one big blinking caution sign: Hey guys, PLEASE don’t take me seriously, because I sure as hell don’t.

That said, CHIPS wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting – but then again, maybe that’s because I was expecting hot, runny garbage and what I got was a neat and tidy compost bin. You may hope for “HAHAHAHAHA!”, but count yourself lucky to get a few “hehs”.

Chips-The-Movie-15I am much, MUCH too young (and beautiful, but that’s besides the point) to have grown up watching CHIPS so the movie didn’t do a damn thing to disillusion my childhood or anything near as serious. It’s a dumb movie written by a guy with a pretty juvenile sense of humour. What you see is what you get.

Shepard plays Jon Baker, a slob, a deadbeat, and a broken shell of an ex-motor cross rider, and he’s also the lowest-scoring guy to ever be pity-hired by California Highway Patrol. Baker’s about to be┬ápartnered with his polar opposite, the suave, well-groomed, cocky undercover agent Ponch (Michael Pena) who’s investigating the CHP for crooked cops. Somehow they have to overcome the deficiencies of their partnership (and the script) to take down some very bad dudes.

The movie has its moments: good moments, and hella-bad moments. I did enjoy seeing paparazzi get plowed, Adam Brody get shot multiple times, and Vincent D’Onofrio be described as a man who “never sent a mother’s day card” and maybe also “eats koala bears.”

There’s no mistaking this for a good movie but if you’re in the right kind of mood (read: loosey-goosey), it just might do. And the fact that the cast is rounded out by tonnes of people who have either worked with Shepard or his lovely wife Kristen Bell before to me speaks volumes: he must be a good dude with the comedy stylings of a brazen 12 year old at his first sleepover. Friends in the cast include Ryan Hansen (from Veronica Mars), Josh Duhamel (When In Rome), Maya Rudolph (Idiocracy), Jessica McNamee (Sirens), and Mae Whitman and Rosa Salazar, both from Parenthood. I’m not saying it makes for a good movie, because it doesn’t. But it must mean something, right? In this case, it means a 100-minute celebration of the brainless low-brow.