Sunday, July 17, 2011


“HORRIBLE BOSSES” (Jason Bateman, Kevin Spacey, Jason Sudeikis, Colin Farrell, Charlie Day & Jennifer Aniston)

I listed the actors in pairs of employee/boss employee/boss employee/ boss. Nick (Bateman) works for David Harker (Spacey) in an office where Harker dangles a vice presidential position in Nick’s face to force him to kowtow to Harker’s constant harassment.
Nick shows up for work two minutes late & Harker tells him he’s going to fire the security guard forcing Nick to confess that he wasn’t one minute late, but two.
Kurt (Sudeikis) works for kindly Donald Sutherland, who promptly dies, leaving his cocaine addicted son, Bobby (Farrell) in charge of the company. Bobby has always resented Kurt‘s relationship with his father and goes out of his way to make Kurt’s work life a living hell. These two indeed have horrible bosses and the thought that they would consider hiring a hit man to rub them out to make their lives less stressful isn’t beyond the realms of reality. However... the third coupling; short, scruffy looking, squeaky-voiced Dale (Day) works as the dental assistant to D.D.S. Julia (Aniston)
HIS complaint is that his boss sexually harasses him. I don’t care if Dale just got engaged – I don’t care if Dale has scruples – I don’t care if Dale has erectile dysfunction; If someone that looks like Jennifer Aniston wants to have sex with you – it is not harassment, it’s the greatest (bleep)ing job in the whole (bleep)ing world!
Unlike ‘Bad Teacher’, ‘Horrible Bosses’ delivers as an extremely amusing dark comedy. Hearing Jennifer say very raunchy R-Rated lines was a hoot in itself. She steps away from her ‘cutie pie’ roles of the past and the fact that she’s talking filthy makes this her most impressive acting performance to date.
Kevin Spacey also makes a comeback of sorts (The promise he showed in ‘Men Who Stare At Goats’ comes to fruition here) Harker is an unbelievable a-hole, but Spacey plays him with such delight that he’s just fun to watch.
In fact, everyone gels in this film, except Day. I became annoyed with his voice very early on & when he started shunning his gorgeous boss’s advances, I found him to be annoying and unbelievably stupid. What would have worked is if they made him gay.
But he’s engaged to a woman. A rather plain looking mousy woman - and he’s appalled by the fact that Jennifer Aniston wants to have sex with him?
As you can tell, that’s the one faucet of ‘Horrible Bosses’ that keeps it from being perfect, but it is a pretty leaky faucet.
Jamie Foxx enters the picture as the hit man the three men think they’re hiring to rub out their deplorable bosses. Since this is a PG-13 rated blog, I can only refer to Foxx’s character as ‘M-F’ Jones.
Then there’s a cameo by Bob Newhart that works like a charm as well.
It’s a dark concept, but that doesn’t stop it from being silly as well. It mixes the two perfectly – When they discover Harker is allergic to peanuts they devise a plan to empty a jar of peanuts into his bottle of shampoo. Like no one will suspect foul play when the detectives discover a bath tub full of Planter’s peanuts.
Or when Nick flees the scene of a mishap they didn’t expect and gets caught speeding, Nick tells the officer he was drag racing. Incredulously the cop asks, “In a Prius?” Nick replies, “I never win.”
I just wish someone would have stepped forward with the voice of reason and said, “Dale HAS to be gay!” The scene were Julia calls Dale into her office and she’s wearing nothing but her unbuttoned white lab coat and a pair of panties and Dale doesn’t jump on her right then & there is just too unimaginable for words. “Paul” was more believable and that movie was about an alien from outer space with a raunchy sense of humor!
& the reason I bring “Paul” up is because I’m debating which movie was funnier; “Horrible Bosses” or “Paul”. They’re both top notched comedies that cracked me up.



This film is too adorable to make fun of. It’s a flat out kiddie flick, there isn’t a hint of adult content, but if you like penguins - real, computerized or animated - you’ll enjoy watching Mr. Popper turn from ‘Penguin Scrooge’ into penguin lover.
Jim Carrey plays the title character and fortunately doesn’t resort to his earlier outlandish characterizations (I was afraid he’d revive Ace Ventura and was relieved when he did not)
As a boy, Tom Popper’s father was always away on adventure trips – the boy mainly knew his father thru late night conversations on a ham radio.
As an adult, Tom becomes a shrewd businessman whose specialty is getting people to sell property they don’t really want to part with. The owners of the corporation he works for keep dangling a partnership in front of him, saying, “We’ll put your name on the building when you land the _____ account.”
In this case, it’s a quaint little restaurant/Inn that his company needs to tear down & replace with a profitable venture.
When word comes that Popper’s father has died in Antarctica, it only causes him a brief moment of remorse before he has to get back to work.
A crate arrives from his late father, a seemingly stuffed penguin. When the frozen bird thaws out, he comes to life. It’s a kid’s movie, remember?
A phone call to the Russian accented gentleman that sent the crate results in 5 more penguins showing up in Mr. Popper’s high rise New York apartment and silly penguin antics ensue.
When his ex-wife Amanda (Carla Gugino) drops off their 2 kids for his weekend visit, the kids immediately fall in love with the 6 flightless birds and Popper is forced to give the penguins names. The first one he received is dubbed Captain, then the one who bites is Bitey, the one who squawks is Loudy, the one that nuzzles his leg is Lovey, the one who farts is Stinky and the one that falls over is Nimrod. Popper keeps the birds simply because his children now enjoy spending time with him and along the way Popper’s penguins become his ‘other’ children.
Even the bad guy doesn’t appear to be bad; a zookeeper that wants ‘what is best for the penguins’ and that is to be in a proper environment – his zoo.
Mr. Popper’s penguins isn’t a classic, but it has all the elements of a great film, it is amusing, heartwarming and touching, with a neat ending that, if you’re a sap, will leave a lump in your throat. And yes, I’m a sap for penguin movies and this is one kid’s film that I will recommend to everyone.

While I'm on the subject of enjoyably sweet films, I just watched a Rob Reiner movie called "Flipped"; a coming of age story involving a boy & a girl that grow up living across the street from one another. Each sequence is shown first from the boy's point of view and then from the girl's. It's just the story of two kid's who 'flip' as they grow up - In the beginning she's infatuated with him; then, as her interest in him wanes, he starts to have feelings toward her. The differences in their two families and a sycamore tree make "Flipped" a very special 'little' film.


“SOMETHING BORROWED” (Ginnifer Goodwin & Kate Hudson)

Normally I agree to see the occasional chick flick with my wife because I know I’ll have fun ripping it to pieces with a scathing review. The rule I have is that it has to have an attractive actress in it for me to ogle. The two leads here are not unattractive by any means, but not the kind of females that I have a tendency to drool over; and Kate’s road record over the years seems to keep setting lower and lower standards.
“Something Borrowed”, however, is an anomaly – it’s a chick flick without the normal chick flickisms. It had a believable premise; Rachel & Darcy grow up together and remain best friends into adulthood. When Rachel meets Dex (Colin Egglesfield) in college, she thinks he’s out of her league and so settles on just being his study buddy. She introduces him to her extroverted best friend Darcy and the sparks fly.
When they become engaged Rachel is devastated; how can she be the maid of honor for the woman that is marrying the man that she’s adored since the moment they met?
Her platonic friend Ethan (John Krasinski) loses her trust when he spills the beans about her feelings and an affair with Dex causes further complications. Now she has the dilemma of – do I steal Darcy’s future husband & lose her? – Or break it off with the man of her dreams so that no one gets hurt, except her?
It doesn’t stoop to the usual chick flick antics or delve into implausible plot lines. It’s almost real. I say that because I’ve been in similar circumstances; having an affair sidetracked by ‘bad timing’ or feeling that the other person would never be interested in someone like me.
I didn’t like the ending; as I told my wife, “A chick flick with an unhappy ending, what will they think of next?” Of course, she didn’t find the ending to be ‘unhappy’ and didn’t agree with my assessment. And by not liking the ending, that makes it a rarity as well, it didn't go the way I thought it would & I have a tendency to admire films that do that.
So here I am - hater of chick flicks - saying I kinda sorta really liked ‘Something Borrowed’ because it didn’t seem like a chick flick to me at all. It had substance and the acting was above average. Why, it was like a regular movie that just happened to feature two chicks in the leading roles involved in a complicated romantic situation. Why can’t they all be as intelligent as this one?