Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Yes, Jonah Hill is an excellent funnyman, but, in the past, his excellence has been brought out by the actors that surrounded him. I certainly haven't seen all of Channing Tatum's work, but I just couldn't see how he was going to bring out the best in Jonah Hill. The previews did have hilarious moments. However, if you haven't realized it by now, most comedic trailers tend to be funny, regardless of how funny the actual film is. I really thought that 21 Jump Street was going to be one of those comedies that had nothing going for it, beyond the funny moments in the trailer. I mean, come on!, it's not even an original idea! But I had to go check it out...
I'm going to be honest with you... I have never watched the old 21 Jump Street. All I actually know about it is that Johnny Depp was one of the main characters, but isn't that all that anyone knows about it? Regardless, I just want you to know that this review in no way critiques how well the original story was retold. So, as an original story (not idea), 21 Jump Street was absolutely fantastic. There wasn't any great genius moment of story-telling, but I can only remember one time where I thought "I haven't laughed in the last minute." As far as being funny goes, it's been a while since I have seen a comedy that made me laugh this much. Considering I watch like a bazillion comedies each year, that's a bold statement.
Best Scene: My favorite moments in 21 Jump Street were the random one-liners that just never ceased.
I'm going to go against my expectations here and say that Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum were the perfect pair for this movie. I thought Jonah Hill was going to lose his funny with his weight, but he is still fat enough where they can joke about it, so fret not! Hill's character (Schmidt) was a former high school loser, who was given a second chance to become popular. Tatum's character (Jenko) was a former popular kid, who was stuck with the nerds during his second time around. While the emotional, awkward relationship moments were there between the two friends, it wasn't as awkward or emotional as the usual unfolding comedic friendship. The only negative that I found was a casting issue. While there were few really bad characters, I did feel like a few of the actors chosen were not right for their role (cough cough... Ellie Kemper and Dave Franco).
Best Character: Because this is best "character," I'm going to give the best character honor to Ice Cube's Captain Dickson. However, this is yet another role that I feel was poorly cast. I would have rather seen Samuel L. Jackson in the role. Obviously, I can't get everything that I want, but I should!
Worst Character: This one was not even difficult. While I absolutely love him on New Girl, Jake M. Johnson was awful as Principal Dadier. It was just an awkward role.
While it is only March, I think 21 Jump Street has certainly grabbed itself a nice hold on being the best comedy of 2012. I certainly hope that a ton of other comedies come along that just blow me away as much as this film did, but I just don't see that happening. With this film, Jonah Hill has established himself as one of the leading comedic actors in Hollywood, but don't forget that he can do serious as well (Moneyball). There is no doubt that this is the most surprisingly good film of 2012, thus far, and, with the money it's made, I can't wait for them to announce a sequel. As I said, the one-liners stole the show. I would quote every single one of them for you, but the language would be a tad too offensive. If you want to laugh hard at some hilarious, dirty, offensive jokes, go watch 21 Jump Street! It will please you in ways that The Lorax and The Hunger Games just can't. I give 21 Jump Street 3.82 out of 5 stars...
Thursday, March 15, 2012
While I didn't think that the trailer for The Lorax was particularly funny, I usually enjoy a good animated film, as long as it has some depth to it; and nobody does depth like Dr. Seuss. Plus, it made $70 million in its first weekend, so I figured it had to be pretty good. To be honest, I don't remember reading the Lorax as a child, so I was a bit confused when I saw the preview. I didn't know that there was a Dr. Seuss book that I was not familiar with. Because of my lack of familiarity, I really didn't have a clue what to expect story-wise as I went to the theater. It really made the story more interesting, since I didn't know what to expect. But did it make it interesting enough???...
I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of the story. Certainly Dr. Seuss has some of the deepest lines of all time, but his books are short and can be diluted if stretched out over too long of a movie. While there were a few moments that I felt were boring, overall The Lorax had a nice balance of story-telling, comedy, and lesson-teaching. The story was great because the bazillions of little kids in the theater were very much so focused on the film. The comedy was good because the bazillions of kids laughed a lot, and I also laughed a lot. The lesson-teaching was good because we are dealing with Dr. Seuss, who gives Jesus' parables a run for their money. Because I haven't read the book, I don't know how much they were poking at the environmental aspects of the story, but, if you are one of those environmentalist freaks, this is the movie for you (and your children).
Best Scene: Any scene with the randomly quacking duck
As I have said before, this category is tough to talk about when you are dealing with animation. I did find it odd that the Lorax (voiced by Danny DeVito) was the title character. He was far from the biggest scene-stealer. That title would go to either the Once-ler (voiced by Ed Helms) or Ted (voiced by Zac Efron). The Lorax was important in the lesson-teaching but not so much in the comedy or the story-telling. At times, I felt like there was too much going on character-wise, in particular with the two "bad guys." It was tough to figure out who to hate the most between the Once-ler and Mr. O'Hare (voiced by Rob Riggle), but we eventually figure it out.
Best Character: The randomly quacking duck!
Worst Character: I believe I have to go with Mr. O'Hare for the worst character. Usually, I don't mind bad guys, but he just got on my nerves. And he was funny looking.
I really liked The Lorax, and I really liked that the kids liked it. One little girl even clapped and screamed, "Yay!", as the credits began to role. The lesson was fantastic, and we need more people to challenge our kids to do something great with their lives. I suggest The Lorax for absolutely anybody of any age. It deserves to make $70 million dollars in one weekend. Dr. Seuss told stories unlike anybody else, and I can't wait to share his work with my future children. And The Lorax will certainly be one that I include. But first, I need to read it! I give The Lorax 3.21 out of 5 stars and encourage you to add to its massive, money-making total...
Friday, March 9, 2012
Let's just get down to it....... My expectations for Project X were simple....... Best comedy of 2012! You might ask, "Why, Tanner?" Well, let me tell you why. It's as simple as looking at the picture right above this post. There is hardly anything funnier than people who wander around and do foolish and morally unacceptable acts. Am I right, or am I right? The trailer was hilarious and, with Todd Phillips producing, I got really really excited about Project X. So, as is with all movies I look forward to this much, it was obvious that I was either going to be extremely disappointed (see Green Lantern) or extremely pleased (see Super 8). Let's see what the results were...
Well, there was this big party........... AND that was about it. The main character, Thomas (played by Thomas Mann), was sort of caught up in a plan to have himself a huge 17th birthday party. Thomas's biggest problem was the fact that the party was actually the masterful work of his friend Costa, played by Oliver Cooper. The party commenced, as did the foolish and morally unacceptable acts. As you might expect, there were many dirty jokes and many naked girls. The problem was that the dirty jokes were not THAT funny, and the party itself (as shown by the naked girls) was extremely extreme. The truth is that none of this could ever happen at a high school party. What made The Hangover funny was the fact that these real people were in these real, hilarious circumstances. With Project X, the lack of reality greatly took away from the film's potential, which upset me.
Best Scene: When everything starts catching on fire!
While the plot wasn't very good, the characters were fantastic. Thomas was sort of shy and unpopular, which made the extreme party even more unrealistic. JB, played by Jonathan Daniel Brown, was a hilarious addition, as this super-awkward chubby kid, who was even worse off than Thomas. Costa was this rebellious, rough kid who, for some odd reason, hung out with these other two losers. The three friends (Thomas, Costa, and JB) were all great in their own way. The problem was that there was no true connection as to why they were together, which made the plot even more unrealistic. They had so much potential, but they just never fully got to that point where you said, "WOW! They're funny!".
Best Character: Everett and Tyler, played by Brady Hender and Nick Nervies, were the easy choices for best character(s). They were the security team for the huge party. However, they were like 7th graders, and they took their job so seriously. They were absolutely hilarious!
Worst Character: Kirby, played by Kirby Bliss Blanton, was the easy choice for worst character. She was the awkward love interest of Thomas, and her presence just sort of disgusted me. I couldn't take their relationship-thing seriously.
Unfortunately, Project X finds itself on the disappointing side of the spectrum. I will say, however, that it is nowhere close to as bad as Green Lantern! It really isn't that bad at all, if you are looking for an absolutely random, dirty comedy, which I'm sure many of you are. I just think it could have been so much more, and, as I have said before, I hate when a great idea is not executed properly (see Bad Teacher). Maybe I just built the movie up too much heading in, but who knows. I certainly wouldn't discourage you from watching, but don't expect to be blown away. I give Project X 2.79 out of 5 stars...