New from the desk of The Movie Snob.
Brad’s Status (B-). Hm, Ben Stiller plays a guy facing a midlife crisis. Didn’t he just do this a few years ago in While We’re Young? Well, he’s at it again in this new dramedy, with fair to middling results. Here it’s not just middle age that’s getting to Brad Sloan (Stiller), but also Facebook. Brad, you see, has a perfectly decent middle-class life in Sacramento with a cute, loving wife (Jenna Fischer, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story) and a musically talented teenage son (Austin Abrams, Paper Towns). But his best friends from college (played by guys like Luke Wilson, The Skeleton Twins, and Michael Sheen, Passengers) are all (according to Facebook) wildly successful in various ways, and some 25 years after college they’re starting to leave Brad out of their get-togethers. This eats away at Brad something fierce, and we hear his neurotic thoughts in frequent voiceovers. And his unhappy thoughts provoke some awkward and embarrassing behavior when he and his son go tour some colleges in the northeast. I didn’t think it was bad, and I particularly enjoyed a scene in which a perceptive Harvard student calls Brad out on his very First World problems. Worth a look if Blade Runner 2049 is sold out.
Movie review from The Movie Snob
Solitary Man (B-). Michael Douglas stars as Ben Kalmen, a 60-year-old New Yorker who’s part Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas in Wall Street) and part Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past). You see, Kalmen was once a hugely successful owner of car dealerships and had a lovely family, but he threw the business away through crooked business dealings, and he busted up his family by deciding to chase every woman who crossed his path. When this movie catches up with Kalmen, he is desperately chasing one last shot to get back into the world of business, and he is still chasing every woman who crosses his path. Douglas is perfect for the role, and there are nice supporting turns by the likes of Susan Sarandon (Dead Man Walking), Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland), Danny DeVito (Other People’s Money), and Jenna Fischer (TV’s The Office). But even though Douglas convincingly portrays Kalmen in all his bleak soullessness, something about the movie just didn’t quite ring true to me. The movie gave me the impression that Kalmen was a stand-up guy not all that long ago, and I didn’t buy the ostensible reason he changed from New York’s “honest car dealer” into a fraud and a lecher. But on the whole it was still a decent movie, albeit about a pathetic guy.
New review from The Movie Snob
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (B+). John C. Reilly (Chicago) stars in this spoof of the rock-star biopic — Walk the Line is its primary target, with a couple of little jabs at Ray thrown in for good measure. Plot synopsis is pointless; what matters is whether you enjoy movies like Talladega Nights, Airplane!, and This Is Spinal Tap. If you like comedy that is keenly observant but also involves a lot of aggressive stupidity, you will probably like this movie. Or if you’re a big Jenna Fischer (Blades of Glory) fan, like I am; she co-stars in the Reese Witherspoon role. I should also warn you that this movie includes some of the most gratuitous nudity imaginable. But what do you expect from a film co-written by Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin)?
From Nick at Nite
Blades of Glory. Funny, but not brilliant. When you combine the intentionally funny, Will Ferrell, with something that is unintentionally funny, male figure skating, hilarity is sure to ensue. It is a fine formula that has worked well in the past. Will Ferrell + News Anchor = Ron Burgundy. Will Ferrell + College = Old School. Will Ferrell + Funerals/Weddings = Wedding Crashers. Will Ferrell + Soccer = Kicking and Screaming. Will Ferrell + Christmas = Elf. All, funny and proof that if a formula is successful it should not be changed. This film is no exception. Will Ferrell, Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite), Will Arnett (TV’s Arrested Development), and Amy Poehler (Sisters) are all over the top as figure skaters in search of gold medals. They play prima donnas and self-important like they might be prima donnas and self-important in real life. I give it a “B+.” Check it out.
A second opinion from The Movie Snob.
Blades of Glory (B). Who says The Movie Snob doesn’t do mainstream? Without vouching for the entirety of Will Ferrell’s oeuvre, I concur in the judgment and opinion of my esteemed colleague. The humor is pretty lowbrow, but I still laughed a lot. I have to give a special mention to Jenna Fischer (Pam on TV’s The Office), who has a small but important role and is as cute as a button, in my humble opinion. Worth matinee price.