Arrested Development: Season One (2003)


Say What You Will About America; Thirteen Bucks Still Gets You a Hell of a Lot of Mice.

I don’t often get requests to review TV shows, which I generally regard as a blessing, since a review of a TV show can take quite some time and I’ve never found myself particularly good at it.  But, when today’s TV show was requested, I was actually quite happy about it.  Not happy about getting to write a review of it, as I’m not nearly as practiced at it as I am with movies and even video games.  What I was happy about was getting to watch the TV show.  I’d never seen a single episode of this show as I tend to not keep up with television that much, so much so that I actually cancelled my cable service because I could do without the greater majority of them.  But I’d heard so much about how awesome this TV show was I was happy to have a reason to watch it.  So happy, apparently, that I actually bombed through all 22 episodes of the first season in one day.  Let’s see if it can live up to the hype as I review the first season of Arrested Development, created by Mitchell Hurwitz, and starring Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, Tony Hale, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, David Cross, Henry Winkler, Judy Greer, Liza Minnelli, Patricia Velásquez, Carl Weathers, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jay Johnston, Jerry Minor, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, Justin Lee, Jane Lynch, James Lipton, and John Michael Higgins.

George Bluth Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor) retires as the founder and CEO of the Bluth Company and is promptly arrested for spending the company’s money on personal expenses.  Bluth’s wife, Lucille (Jessica Walter) takes over as CEO, naming her extremely sheltered youngest son, Buster (Tony Hale), the president.  The middle son – and the only son actually equipped to run a business – Michael (Jason Bateman) leaves the company as a result, but comes back when they all realize they need him, and because his own son, George Michael (Michael Cera) wants to stay with the family.  Mainly because he’s developed a crush on his cousin, Maeby (Alia Shawkat), daughter of Michael’s sister Lindsay (Portia de Rossi) and her husband Tobias (David Cross).  The majority of the family lives in one of the Bluth model homes, with the rest of them, including the oldest brother Gob (Will Arnett) the aspiring magician, visiting frequently to try to borrow money from Michael as he tries to save the company while not even knowing what his father got into.

I don’t know if I’d say that this show has lived up to the hype so far, but it’s certainly not the fault of the show.  From what I had heard, I half expected to be laughing non-stop while watching.  That wasn’t what happened, but I found the show to be extremely well written, very funny, and even funny enough to get me to laugh out loud on more than one occasion.  The first episode was a little disappointing, but it seemed to mainly be all of the setup to get all of the backstory out of the way, but they pick up their speed pretty quickly after that.  The jokes mainly come from how ridiculous the family are, and are often shown in quick cutaways, almost like a live action Family Guy.  And, more often than not, my favorite part of the episode was actually the very end, where they show scenes from the next episode that may or may not actually happen, but they work very well as rapid fire jokes.  And a lot of the jokes were pretty smart too.  I liked when Gob got literally stabbed in the back as Michael was figuratively stabbing him in the back.  I was also a fan of the part where a guy said to Michael, “If you care about your brother, you’ll get in the car,” and Michael said, “Which brother?” and then, when the guy answered, “Gob,” he kept riding away.  Later, when George Michael was trying to find out if he was actually related to Maeby and he asked Gob if Lindsay was ever pregnant, Gob answers, “Oh yeah, dozens of times.”  I also like the part where George Bluth was talking about his twin brother and says, “You should’ve seen his face,” but then remembers that they’re twins and shows him what the face looked like.  A lot of the jokes seemed extra smart and well thought out as so many of them come together in the final episode, though this could’ve been done without planning to do it before hand.  I also liked a lot of the jokes that went on in the background, like when Gob was complaining about his girlfriend the Mexican soap opera star and saying that he’d kill someone if he ever had to smell some Mexican dish again, and the maid in the background closes her Tupperware that she was eating out of.  The story was never super important to the quality of the show, but there were a couple of reveals that were pretty obvious.  The whole part about “there always being money in the banana stand” could be seen coming from miles away, as well as the part about the blind lawyer being the Bluth’s opposing prosecutor in the trial.  Hell, they even outright spoil one themselves in the scenes from the next episode by saying that the lawyer isn’t really blind, but they say so many things in those next episode sequences that I didn’t know if it was true or a joke.  If it sounds like I’m just listing some of my favorite jokes from the show … well, I am.  But the show is well-written and funny, so you should watch it.

I liked all the performances in the show as well.  The greater majority of them are people that I liked going in, so it’s not really a surprise to me.  Jason Bateman plays a fantastic straight man, though he’s not above getting a little wacky himself.  It’s not too necessary in this show as his family does the bulk of the goofiness.  I was torn on the rest of the family for a while since most of them seemed like such unlikeable people I didn’t know why I’d want to spend time with them.  But you warm up to them fairly quickly.  I warmed up to Portia de Rossi because she was hot, especially when she was being sprayed by water and dancing in a cage in one of the later episodes.  I warmed up to Will Arnett because I’ve always liked him, and because he was one of the characters that started a lot of the funniness.  He also had his real life wife Amy Poehler in a few episodes as the wife he eloped with, and I’m always happy to see her as well.  I didn’t know Tony Hale before this show, but he gets a lot of funniness out of his Buster character.  I liked that he was able to get laughs from things as simple as standing silently in the background of scenes.  David Cross did a great deal of the comedy as well, as his character seemed totally gay and totally eccentric.  I liked the little physical things he did, like when he rolled up on the stage at the school play, or when he licked the end of his pencil and then kept licking it like he liked the taste.  He also got to work with Bob Odenkirk again in one episode, and those guys are genius together.  Michael Cera was an odd one for me.  Not because his performance in this show was not dissimilar from many of his other characters, but because of his relationship with his cousin Alia Shawkat.  Even though his crush on his cousin is pretty inappropriate, I found myself kind of wishing they would end up together.  I also liked Judy Greer in her few appearances as the assistant to George Bluth.  She’s a pretty attractive lady and I thought it was pretty funny when Gob would have her take off her glasses and her eyes would go cross-eyed, and she’d let down her hair and it’d go all crazy, and later she got a boob job and her nipples seemed to be pointing in odd directions.  Another big thing about the show is all of the guest appearances.  Liza Minnelli was in a few episodes, and was pretty damned funny as well.  Henry Winkler was usually funny as the inept lawyer, and he even busted the Fonze move in one episode.  Jane Lynch, Heather Graham, Carl Weathers, and a bunch of other random guest appearances were also great.

I’m sure a crappy show could not have kept me interested enough to actually get through 22 episodes of the first season in one day, but that was thankfully not the case with Arrested Development.  It was extremely well-written, very funny, and with fantastic performances to back it all up.  I don’t want to do it too soon and have the next review follow too quickly, but I can’t wait to get into the second season.  And, since you can stream the whole thing on Netflix, I don’t know why you’re not doing it right now.  Turns out my Friendboss Josh isn’t so much of an asshole after all.  Arrested Development Season One gets “That was a good investment” out of “It was shoplifting and I’m white.  I think I’m going to be okay.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Juno (2007)


Pregnancy Can Often Lead to an Infant

I did my best to keep at arm’s length from this movie for no reason other than it seemed artsy and pretentious.  As we know from my review of Rushmore, I don’t like those movies.  The movie getting talked about so much did nothing to make me want to see it before I was reviewing movies, but now that I am it seems like it’s not the wisest stance to not want to see movies because they’re popular.  That being the case, I finally allowed today’s movie to reach the top of my Netflix queue.  This movie stars a lot of people that I’m fond of, but was written by someone I’ve no interest in, so let’s see how it worked out.  Juno was written by – and it pains me to type this – Diablo Cody, directed by Jason Reitman, and starring Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, J.K. Simmons, Allison Janney, Olivia Thirlby, Rainn Wilson, Valerie Tian, Kaaren de Zilva, and Sierra Pitkin.

Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) is a 16-year-old high school student in Minnesota with a bit of a problem on her hands … or, more accurately, in her womb: she’s preggers.  Having decided on a whim to have sex with her friend Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera) has left her eating for one more person than she’s used to.  Her original idea is to get an abortion, but she changes her mind once she finds out that her baby has fingernails and the receptionist’s boyfriend’s dick smells like pie.  She joins her friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby) in searching through the Pennysaver to find someone to give the baby to.  She finds Mark and Vanessa Loring (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner), and decides they are the perfect couple to give her baby to.  We’ll see how well that works out.  As far as I’ve heard, underage teenage pregnancies tend to work out pretty well.

I’m beginning to wonder about my mood recently, because it seems like it’s been a while since I last watched a movie that I found funny.  The last one was probably Cliffhanger.  Either way, I can’t say that I found this movie that funny, but it did play quirky very well.  The story of the movie was pretty good, but did not have any surprises that I could see.  You know that Juno isn’t going to go for the abortion because that would mean the movie would be pretty well over in the first 15 minutes.  You can easily assume a happy ending to most of these kinds of movie, and you get it here.  It works out mostly like I thought it would.  They throw a couple of speed bumps down along the way for Juno, but nothing too serious until the very end, and even that doesn’t really change the course of the movie.  I did wonder how the adoption thing would turn out, though.  When we first met Mark and Vanessa, it made it a little harder to predict the ending of the movie.  The most obvious happy ending would be that Juno would decide to keep the baby, Bleek would marry her, and then happily ever after … but not for Mark and Vanessa.  That’s not the way they went, but they did tie it up to be a pretty happy ending for everyone.  I had problems with the dialogue, though.  It really got on my nerves in parts.  Maybe Diablo Cody and her friends would confront a 16 year old pregnant girl with a phrase like “That’s one doodle that can’t be undid, home skillet”, but most people would think it in poor taste and worse vernacular.  I certainly wouldn’t spend any time around someone that would say that.  I like Ned Flanders too, but I don’t talk like him.  They said more of these stupid little sayings in the beginning, but it was greatly toned down by the end, to the movie’s benefit.  The look of the movie was also interesting, usually being pretty colorful and with tons of little knick-knacks around the sets for the audience to look at.  I particularly liked the opening credit scene that seemed mostly hand drawn.  It was a nice look, but it made me think that whoever was responsible desperately wants to be Wes Anderson, and I don’t use that as a compliment.  I would generally think something along the lines of “take your shitty, pretentious bullshit elsewhere and make a movie”, but it was toned down to a level that wouldn’t annoy me for this movie, and I appreciated that.

The cast was all fantastic, but the characters were sometimes written in a way that made them tedious.  But you can’t really blame that on the actors.  I always like Ellen Page.  She usually gives very real performances, and this movie also shows that she can pull some funny along with the tears I’ve seen her pull before.  I did find Juno herself a little irritating at times.  I understand that she was playing a 16-year-old, but she seemed really stupid at times.  Her first conversation with Mark and Vanessa particularly, where she took “How far along” to mean “In school” and not in the pregnancy that was causing them all to meet, was cute.  I was also particularly annoyed with her misinterpretation of Greek and Roman mythology, but I blame this mainly on a certain stripper-turned-writer.  Juno claimed that her name was not from the city in Alaska, but from the Greek god that was married to Zeus.  WRONG!  Juno is the ROMAN name for the goddess Hera.  Hera was married to Zeus, but if you’re talking about the Roman versions of the gods, Juno was married to Jupiter.  I didn’t research that shit, so if you did to name your character, you should be embarrassed.  It also never made sense to me that Juno had such a hard time understanding what “sexually active” meant.  It means you are active sexually.  Not much more needed than that.  Michael Cera was a pretty small part of the movie, and he didn’t really do a lot of work in the parts he was in.  The character he plays (and seemingly the character that Michael Cera actually is) is not a very emotional person, so it’s understandable that he never had any really big freak out moments.  At the end, I did find out that Cera has a really bad singing voice.  Ellen’s was fine.  Jason Bateman was a good character in the movie, but I didn’t really appreciate the hints of his attraction to 16-year-old Juno.  If you’re going down that path, do it and get some story out of it.  But if you’re only going to hint at it and have them dance and get awkward, don’t even bother.  I’m not usually a Jennifer Garner fan (because I’ve seen Daredevil and Elektra) but I liked her in this movie.  She was mostly fairly cold and distant, but she has a couple of really good emotional scenes and seemed very real in them.  J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney were also very good as Juno’s parents, and I especially liked Allison Janney when she laid down a real classy verbal beatdown on the ultrasound technician.  I felt like they missed a good joke opportunity with Simmons, though.  Early on, he claims that he’ll punch Bleek in the dick if he sees him.  By the end, when he does see him again, he just walks on by.  That would have been a fantastic addition.

The charm of this movie elevates it higher than the somewhat predictable story and some of the poor dialogue would normally have made it.  Some of the charm comes from the writing, but I feel like the greater majority of it is from the fantastic cast.  In the end, I found myself to be much more fond of this movie than I had expected I would be going in (especially going in having already seen Jennifer’s Body), but I can’t say that I ever found it “funny”.  Then again, I may be comedically broken.  I haven’t a clue where I left my sense of humor, but I’ll get back to you.  Either way, Juno is at least worth a rental, if not a full purchase.  Juno gets “I’m already pregnant, so what other kind of shenanigans could I get into?” out of “Honest to blog?”

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Couples Retreat (2009)


You Definitely Don’t Pull a Hypothetical Gun on Your Therapist

I’ve had today’s movie sitting on my desk for a little while now, ever since it arrived from Netflix.  When it came out in theaters, I knew that I liked all the people that were in the movie, but found that I never had any interest in watching it.  The thing that probably drew me in finally was the fact that there were a lot of really good looking women in bikinis throughout this movie, and also a pretty solid potential for comedy.  This movie is Couples Retreat, written by Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn, and Dana Fox, directed by Peter Billingsley, and starring Vince Vaughn, Malin Akerman, Jason Bateman, Kristen Bell, Jon Favreau, Kristin Davis, Faizon Love, Kali Hawk, Tasha Smith, Jean Reno, Peter Serafinowicz, Carlos Ponce, Temuera Morrison, John Michael Higgins, Ken Jeong, Amy Hill, and Karen Shenaz David.  I had no idea that a person from both Scorpion King 2 and Scorpion King 3 were in this movie when I started watching it.  That’s just happy coincidence.

Jason (Jason Bateman) and his wife Cynthia (Kristen Bell) are having marriage troubles, so they decide that they should go to a resort to work on them.  But they’re also having financial troubles, so they need their friends to go with them in order to get a package discount.  Dave (Vince Vaughn) and Ronnie (Malin Akerman), Joey (Jon Favreau) and Lucy (Kristin Davis), and Shane (Faizon Love) and Trudy (Kali Hawk) all begrudgingly agree to accompany them.  Dave and Ronnie have a stable marriage with kids, so they don’t believe they need a couples retreat.  Joey and Lucy’s relationship is on the rocks, but they prefer to just cheat on each other a lot instead of working it out.  Shane and Trudy have only just started dating.  But they all go anyways, thinking that Jason and Cynthia will go through the counseling while they can just enjoy their vacation.  When they arrive at Eden, the resort host Sctanley (Peter Serafinowicz) informs them that they must all go through the counseling or they must all leave the resort.  The group must now endure the resort owner, Marcel (Jean Reno), and his unorthodox methods, the amorous Yoga instructor Salvador (Carlos Ponce), and the temptations of the sister island, Eden East, and their wild singles parties.  But they’ll probably all end up better in the end.

Some of the expectations that I had going into this movie were let down.  I knew there would be good looking ladies in bikinis, and the movie delivers on that exquisitely.  There is scarcely a woman in this movie that is not ridiculously good looking and usually wearing a bikini.  The other expectation I had of the movie (given the cast) was that it would be really funny.  It wasn’t.  It had it’s moments, to be sure, but I wanted a lot more laughter than I got.  The introduction to Salvador is a super awkward and sometimes funny scene, as almost every Yoga pose he teaches involves laying on a member of the cast in a sexual manner, whether it’s the girls or the boys.  But there were a couple of funny moments.  The rest of the time it was roughly what you come to expect of a Vince Vaughn movie.  It just seems like the writers just put down a rough outline of what was going to happen and just went to those locations and talked nonstop until they felt they had enough comedy to fill a movie.  A lot of the cast inspires confidence that this will be a good philosophy, but the random things they were saying only got smirks out of me, with the occasional funny one.  This movie also does something that too many comedies feel like they have to do: try to have a meaning.  Obviously it’s all about couples retreats and stuff like that, but don’t lay this message on us about marriage.  It gets a little too heavy handed and sappy for my taste.  This movie had potential to be a good, ridiculous comedy.  I understand that the status quo is to have a little bit of a message behind the movie, but if you lay it on too thick it just bogs down the funniness.  They also seem to have reached a point at the end of the movie where they furiously try to tie up all the loose ends of the movie about 5 minutes before it ends, all within a 10 minute span.  The relationship problems were mostly just hinted at up until that point, then they all instantly reach a boiling point, but then fix it almost immediately.  Another sign that the story of the movie was only vaguely touched upon.  And what was with all the Guitar Hero talk in this movie?  I like Guitar Hero just fine, and I also understand the purpose of SOME product placement in a movie, but they talk about this thing all the time.  Vaughn’s job is to sell the game and, coincidentally, it becomes a strange and unnecessary plot point near the end of the movie.  The thing that the movie does fantastically is the look.  And not just the smoking hot women in bikinis … and I’m sure there are men that ladies would like to look at.  I mean the settings.  It’s probably pretty easy to make a beautiful looking movie in a tropical island setting, but every bit of this movie is colorful and vibrant once they reach the island.  So, if nothing else, you’ll enjoy looking at it.  A great movie on mute, perhaps.

I perhaps went into this movie expecting too much, but it was mainly based on the cast.  I like Vince Vaughn in a lot of his movies, but he does tend to play the same exact character in almost all of them.  Sometimes they work, and sometimes they’re just annoying.  In this movie, I had no problems with him, but he never really did anything funny either.  Just a couple of sparse moments.  The same thing could be said for Jason Bateman too.  He usually plays a completely different kind of character from Vaughn, but it’s usually a pretty neurotic guy.  He’s that here too.  And also has a few moments that were funny.  The biggest problem I had with these couples was with Jon Favreau and Kristin Davis.  I don’t know if I missed some explanation in the beginning of this movie, but I never had any idea how these two were still a couple.  They seemed to mainly just resent and avoid each other, and both of them just kept trying to fuck anybody but their spouse.  Then, at the very end of the movie, they fall in love with each other again because he invites her to Applebees.  …Alright.  I guess that’s a thing.  The only thing I can really say about Kristen Bell, Malin Akerman, Kristin Davis, and Kali Hawk was that they are gorgeous.  Kristen Bell has a decent bit of acting around the end of the movie.  It took me a little bit to figure out where I knew Peter Serafinowicz from, but when I realized he was in Shaun of the Dead, I got really excited.  His character, Sctanley, probably had the largest amount of funny moments, but he wasn’t around enough to fix the movie.  I also felt like John Michael Higgins and Ken Jeong – two more people I generally expect a great deal of funny from – were greatly underused.  And remember when I reviewed all the Scorpion King movies?  Karen Shenaz David (from Scorpion King 2) and Temuera Morrison (from Scorpion King 3) were in this one too.  What a strange coincidence.  But they also had very minor parts here, so there’s nothing more to say.

I think it is probably a dangerous thing to throw a large amount of big names into a mediocre comedy.  We’ll just go in expecting too much.  This movie has it’s charms, but it should have been much funnier with the cast that it includes.  I wouldn’t think anyone would actually hate this movie, though.  The movie is a gorgeous thing to behold because of it’s tropical setting, vibrant colors, and – last but not least – gorgeous ladies in bikinis.  You just won’t laugh that much.  Couples Retreat gets “You got a pose called Yoga guy gets his ass kicked?” out of “Holy shit!  It’s like a screensaver!”

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The Change-Up (2011)


Can’t Believe You Would Come at Me Guns Hot

Number two in my three part rom-com RedBox spree is a movie I expected to be pretty terrible when I saw it in the kiosk, so that of course made me say “I’m gonna watch that shit.”  I thought I would hate the movie even though it seemed to be a more broad comedy (which I generally enjoy) and sports a cast almost entirely comprised of people I like.  But it’s an overdone premise and seemed more juvenile in it’s comedic choices than I would enjoy.  But who knows, maybe I’ll be surprised.  Let’s find out.  The movie is The Change-Up, written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, directed by David Dobkin, and starring Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman, Leslie Mann, Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin, Gregory Itzin, Mircea Monroe, and Craig Bierko.

Mitch Planko (Ryan Reynolds) and Dave Lockwood (Jason Bateman) are long time best friends that have gone in completely different paths in life, but still remain friends.  Dave is a successful lawyer, husband to Jamie (Leslie Mann), and father of three children.  Mitch is sort of an actor, but mostly just a poon-hound.  They go out drinking one night and decide it’s a good idea to relieve themselves into a fountain in a park, simultaneously confessing (to varying degrees of honesty) that they envy the other for their way of life.  All the lights in town go out for a moment and go back on.  The two men think it’s suspicious, but conclude their day and return to their respective homes.  When they wake up, they have switched places.  Dave does not have a very packed schedule in the body of Mitch, but Mitch has to take Dave’s place in  a very important meeting that he does not do well in.  He also finds out that Dave’s life is on the rocks in his marriage.  Dave as Mitch gets something put onto his plate when Mitch as Dave realizes that Dave has a thing for Dave’s legal associate, Sabrina McArdle (Olivia Wilde), and sets Dave as Mitch up on a date with her.  Their adventures in the body of the other make Mitch grow up and take responsibilities, but also make Dave appreciate his family more.

I was surprised to say that, when I left this movie, I was actually a little fond of it.  The story is WAY played out and makes you instantly remember a Lindsay Lohan movie, which I generally regard as a pretty big negative, but it has a good, albeit expected, ending that left me satisfied.  There’s a good amount of funny in the movie, but it does start on a very bad foot for me.  Poop and fart humor can be funny if done well, but I don’t think it’s well done when Jason Bateman’s baby rockets shit onto his face, and then directly into his mouth.  It’s more disgusting than anything.  I laughed, but more out of disgust than amusement, and almost instantly felt embarrassed that I had laughed.  And then it made me get a vasectomy.  That one joke killed any future Robert babies.  But, by the end of the movie, I had mostly forgotten this one speed bump and left remembering the actual funny parts.  As I said, the story premise is completely played out, but they did break from some of the traditions.  I was thankful that they didn’t go for the obvious part when Mitch as Dave was in the big, important meeting.  They could have done the cliche part about him accidentally saying something that everyone else misunderstands and takes as a brilliant idea that works out well.  Instead, he fucks everything up and has to work his ass off for the first time in his life to fix it by the end of the movie.  It’s a much better message to say you should work for your wins and not stumble into them like an idiot.  They did have the pretty cliche part where Mitch as Dave does not know how to handle Dave’s two babies, but it was executed well for the most part.  He leaves them on the counter in the kitchen as Dave as Mitch tries to talk him through what he needs to do, and the kids start getting into trouble.  One tries to put his hand in the blender and licks a light socket, and the other is smacking a meat cleaver on the cutting board in front of her, but it goes too ridiculous when that baby tosses the cleaver at her father and it sticks in the cabinet next to him.  There were also some good emotional parts of the movie, mostly around how much Dave works and neglects his wife, and they fit into the movie pretty well, without killing the comedy mood too much.

The performances could be a little hit and miss in this movie.  I love Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman and I think they both deliver their own fair share of the funny in the movie, but they do next to nothing to imitate the other person when they jump into their body.  That’s one of the main parts of a movie like this: you have to try to take on a lot of the the character of the guy inside your body.  I don’t imagine that doing such a thing is easy, but I’m not the actor here.  Leslie Mann does great in this movie.  I wouldn’t say it’s her funniest role (I give that to “Fuckin’ French Toast!”), but she adds a lot of comedy, mostly in parts that seem improvised.  She also does the bulk of the emotional performances in the movie, since Bateman doesn’t realize that she’s kind of unhappy until way late in the movie, but she shows signs of it throughout.  Olivia Wilde is hot.  So hot is she that I actually wrote that in my notes while watching the movie twice.  She also has the beginnings of a sex scene with Ryan Reynolds near the end of the movie.  You catch a little side-boob, and my goodness does she have a nice ass, but it does not ruin it by showing her naked.  It does show Leslie Mann naked a couple of times, and she also has a very nice ass, but I’m pretty sure that it was either body doubled or CG to complete her nudity.  I’m fine with that, though.  I find Mann very attractive, but I like her more as a very funny MILF and think my enjoyment might wane if she got naked.  Also, the male baby kept bashing his head against the crib.  I’m pretty sure it was CG, but I’m positive it was funny.

There are a couple missteps in this movie, but I left pretty happy with the experience.  The story is way played out, and they went with some of the cliches that go along with the premise, but managed to make it their own and break from other cliches.  I like everyone in the main cast, but Reynolds and Bateman could have done better at imitating the other when the time was right.  Not a movie I feel I need to own, but a movie I’m comfortable with having RedBoxed.  And so The Change-Up gets “Life doesn’t always turn out exactly how you plan it” out of “I need to cool it on the Thai food”.

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Paul (2011)


It should come as no surprise to the people that know me that I listen to a lot of podcasts. Two of said podcasts I regularly listen to lead me to the movie I’m about to review. Those podcasts are Doug Benson’s ‘Doug Loves Movies’ and Chris Hardwick’s ‘The Nerdist’. In both of these podcasts, they had on one of my favorite comedic actors to discuss this movie. That actor? Simon Pegg. That movie? Paul, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (You SHOULD know them from Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz), with the voice of Seth Rogen (How could you NOT know him) as the voice of Paul.

This movie follows Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as two nerds and aspiring writers who go to ComicCon and then go on a road trip through the most popular alien sighting locations of America. After leaving ComicCon (which you should know happens most famously in San Diego), their next stop is perhaps the largest alien hot spot, Area 51. Shortly after leaving the Black Mailbox (look it up), they are followed by a black car that then spins out of control and crashes. They go to investigate to find that the driver of the car was a small alien who introduces himself as Paul. Shortly after, they stop at a RV park for the night and end up kidnapping super-religious Kristen Wiig. They fix her of her uber-religiousness and she becomes hilarious. They are also chased by 3 law enforcement types (or as they would best be described, Men in Black) played by Jason Bateman, Bill Hader, and Joe Lo Truglio.

The plot of the movie, I’ll say it, is a little haphazard. I didn’t even really know that they were driving Paul to be picked up by his people until like 3 quarters in to the movie. The positive thing I could say about that is I didn’t give a shit. There were many laugh out loud parts to this movie (and, as I’ve said, I don’t laugh out loud to many movies), most of which belonged to Kristen Wiig. Can I tangent here for a bit? I fucking love Kristen Wiig. I would make such a baby for her right now, whether she wanted me to or not. Probably good that I don’t come in proximity to her, I suppose. I would hate to have to get all rapey. Anyway, Kristen Wiig is by far the funniest part of any movie she’s in, the only exception in this case is that everyone else holds their own to a good degree. And there are SO many hilarious people in this movie. I’ve already mentioned Pegg, Frost, Rogen, Bateman, Hader, and Lo Truglio, but there are also small bit parts where Bobby Lee, Jeffrey Tambor, Jane Lynch, and David Koechner did some good. The only problem I found with the casting is that Bateman, as Agent Zoil, was not only a straight man (that he’s usually so good at), but a badass, which I didn’t know he could do. The problem with that is that I felt his comedic talents were kind of wasted. I guess he could kind of take it easy with the rest of the cast being what they were. It’s not like he was playing opposite Jennifer Aniston and a cup of semen.

Another lovely part of this movie is all the nerd service they did, especially the ones that were so sneaky. And for any non-nerds that are watching this movie, here they are for you to look out for and not have to miss out on because you were too busy dating people to know. 1) When Pegg, Frost and Wiig enter a bar, the band is playing a rendition of the famous music from the bar in Star Wars: A New Hope. 2) At the very end, when some old lady knocks out Sigorney Weaver (Oh yeah, she’s here too. And not to go off topic too much, but regardless of age, I’d give it to Sigorney Weaver and/or Carrie Fischer if given the chance). But when the old woman knocks out Sigorney Weavery, she says “Get away from her, you bitch!” which is a line from the movie where Sigorney got to be a badass, Aliens. I think it was Aliens, not Alien. …ummmmmm…. yeah, it sounds right. 3) A smaller one, but the name of the firework they signal Paul’s people with is the 5 tones, and they play the famous 5 tones, made famous by Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I’m only vaguely positive that’s the movie it’s from, but if I’m wrong, I’m sorry I haven’t seen it. And if I’m right, my nerdiness runs so deep, I know a lot about movies I haven’t even seen!

I only bought this movie on a whim, having not seen it in theaters, because if I bought the Big Lebowski on Blu-Ray with either Paul or Your Highness, I got a t-shirt. And I don’t trust Your Highness enough to buy it on a whim. I’ll totally watch it, but I don’t expect much. I didn’t expect that much out of Paul, but Pegg and Frost didn’t let me down. This is by far the worst of the 3 films I know they’ve worked on, but when you’re the worst amongst Shaun of the Dead (arguably my favorite zombie movie ever) and Hot Fuzz (almost INarguably my favorite cop action movie), you shouldn’t feel too bad about being behind a bit.

I won’t promise you’ll all like it, but if you tell me you don’t laugh, I’ll think there’s something wrong with your brain. …out of 5…