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Me Time Review | Kevin Hart-Mark Wahlberg Comedy Is Not Worth Your Free Time

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Years ago, The King of Queens aired an episode titled “Raygin’ Bulls” with Ray Ramano guest-starring as his character from Everybody Loves Raymond and was paired with Doug Heffernan (Kevin James) as the two middle-aged guys go out for one wild night. This is a plot that the 30-minute sitcom episode shares with the feature-length film, Me Time, yet the former does it so much better than the latter. And hey, this is coming from someone who loves the lead actors of the film. Generally speaking, I love myself some Mark Wahlberg and Kevin Hart. I’ll watch a Father Stu just as eagerly as I’d watch another Daddy’s Home, so long it meant Wahlberg was returning and I’m a big fan of Kevin Hart’s standup work; even if it can become slightly redundant. So how can a Netflix comedy starring the duo possibly go wrong and do a basic story worse than a sitcom episode? Me Time brings new meaning to “if there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Me Time peaks (literally and figuratively) relatively early as it begins 15 years prior to what can only be assumed to be the present day. We see Huck (Wahlberg) and Sonny (Hart) go parasailing for the former’s 29th birthday (or the big “two-nine,” as Huck would say). This is where we gain a good idea of the two types of archetypes we have: Huck is the spontaneous go-getter that’s willing to do anything and everything for a good time; why he pronounces his letters for his birthdays (e.g. “the big four-four”) is beyond me, but he seems like a good guy. Sonny is a stay-at-home dad who’s doing his best with his growing kids and a work-consumed wife.

ME TIME. (L-R) Mark Wahlberg as Huck, Tahj Mowry as Kabir and friends in Me Time. Cr. Saeed Adyani/Netflix © 2022.

In present day, Sonny’s wife, Maya (Regina Hall), decides to take their children on vacation on her own to give Sonny some much-needed “me time.” At this point, it has been a few years since Huck and Sonny have hung out. Despite being friends for a number of years, mother nature took its course and the two drifted apart as they went in separate directions in life. But Huck needs his best friend to come to his “big four-four” blowout and after realizing just how lame his life is, Sonny gives in and decides to go on what turns out to be a very wild ride.

Wouldn’t you know, those “I’m my own boss”-kind of guys are never as successful as they seem. Huck owes a loanshark (Jimmy O. Yang) $47,000; resulting in the loanshark crashing the party and literally “burning up the (dance) floor.” Meanwhile, there seems to be trouble in paradise as Sonny grows concerned about a game of mental chess (just a pissing contest) with a co-worker of Maya’s that seems a little closer than just a friend.

On the surface, much of how Me Time plays out is something you’ve seen before. The conflict is telegraphed and you’ll guess how the resolution plays out. That said, it’s okay for a film to be formulaic under the right circumstances. That could be brilliant writing or perhaps amazing cast chemistry. Me Time has neither of those. Penned by John Hamburg, whose work ranges from the 2017 Kevin Hart-led film, Night School to Meet the Parents (and the first sequel), Me Time never finds a rhythm with its script. It’s not that there’s never a funny moment to chuckle at, but most of the laughs come when the comedy is appealing to the lowest common denominator. We’re talking the lowest of low-hanging fruit. And again, under the right circumstances, this type of comedy can work or at least be offset by something else.

I mean, the film’s best bits come when two characters break into someone’s house and wreck it without being too heinous. This includes wiping the DVR’s memory, dumping all of the condiments in the toilet and such. It’s not clever by any means, but it’s the only point in the film that I actually laughed. And you know it’s bad when you have to resort to some type of poop humor; it’s like a little kid begging for your attention and approval.

(L-R) Regina Hall as Maya and Amentii Sledge as Ava in Me Time. Cr. Saeed Adyani/Netflix © 2022.

And the chemistry of the cast, or lack thereof, is not enough to offset a script exempt from any clever laughs. It still blows my mind that Me Time couldn’t find a way to make Mark Wahlberg and Kevin Hart work well. I could’ve sworn they’ve done a film in the past — I’ll let someone else correct me — but the two just lack any sort of energy that makes you believe that they’re friends. Furthermore, their individual performances are just undercooked. Perhaps Sonny being constantly put down by every surrounding character would make for a compelling arc if that wasn’t already Hart’s entire schtick. Self-deprecating humor is his bread and butter, so simply making fun of Sonny for being a stay-at-home dad while the other dads “work” or calling him a “chihuahua” after he howls and calls himself the “big dog” is simply bone-dry. Huck, on the other hand, is Wahlberg phoning it in at his best. This performance from Wahlberg feels even less like himself than Johnno Wilson’s impressions (which are spot-on). And if you want to see a Regina Hall performance, just watch Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul. The lone standout is Ilia Isorelys Paulino, who plays Thelma, the boys’ Uber driver-turned-accomplice.

While Me Time is a comedy and should be given some grace for that reason alone, there are plot inconsistencies that are just annoying. For example, when the party bus reaches its destination, Sonny soon realizes he doesn’t have phone reception meaning he can’t call his kids. The film shows you his phone screen which displays: “No Service,” implying that this is a big deal and crucial to the plot. Not five minutes later, Sonny is seen walking about 50 feet from the rest of the crew and suddenly has phone reception. Now, he does later tell Huck that he was searching for a phone signal, but it really only took a dozen steps to find an area where you could get HD FaceTime calls?

I truly am sad to report that Me Time was a giant waste of time. The 90s porn that Sonny attempts to watch within the first five minutes of him being alone probably features more plot than this film. It’s unfunny and lacking in any sort of emotional stakes or resonance that would invest me. I can’t believe that despite the fact that Mark Wahlberg and Kevin Hart are in the film, it’s a misfire. Your face may sport a wide grin when you first see the lead actors on your screen, but all that does up must come down (like the parasailers) and boy does Me Time take a sharp decline.

Me Time will be available to stream on Netflix on August 26.

FILM RATING

Andrew is an entertainment journalist and film "critic" who has written for the likes of Above the Line, Below the Line, Collider, Film Focus Online, /Film and The Hollywood Handle among others. Leader of the Kaitlyn Dever Fanclub.

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Review | The Final Serve: ‘Federer: Twelve Final Days’ Offers an Intimate Look at a Tennis Great’s Goodbye

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Federer_Roger
Roger Federer in a still from 'FEDERER: TWELVE FINAL DAYS' (Prime Video)

We have seen a lot of legendary players in the game of Tennis, but only a few have ever matched the charisma of Roger Federer. Apart from winning Grand Slam tournaments, he went on to win people’s hearts every time he stepped inside the court for a game. However, when the Swiss Tennis great announced that he would be taking retirement from the sport, everyone felt it and knew that one of the greatest Tennis players of all time was bidding farewell to the game that he loved so much. So, in the final 12 days of Federer being a Tennis star, directors Asis Kapadia and Joe Sabia followed the sporting icon and witnessed how Federer prepared himself for his last set of matches. Now, the moments captured by the duo have been turned into a documentary called ‘FEDERER: TWELVE FINAL DAYS’ in which fans get to see how the legend said goodbye to the game of Tennis.

(Photo Credit: Prime Video)

From the very beginning, you get to know that you are going to see something special. One of the documentary’s greatest strengths is its unprecedented access to Roger Federer during the pivotal moment in his life. The filmmakers follow him closely and offer viewers an insider’s perspective on his thoughts and feelings as he prepares to bid adieu to something that has defined his life for over two decades. Meanwhile, the candid interviews with Federer reveal an honest man, and at times, vulnerable. His love for the game, his insights into his career, and his contemplation of what comes next are both enlightening and deeply moving.

However, some of the most fascinating things take place in the documentary when viewers get to see Federer’s wife Mirka talking about him and his love for the sport. She is poignant and offers a glimpse into the personal sacrifices and shared experiences that have marked their journey together. On the other hand, the interviews of his chief rivals – Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray – add depth and richness to the story, providing a multifaceted view of Federer’s impact on the game and the people who watch him play. Their stories tell you how much they respect each other and the camaraderie they share while being fierce competitors. Kapadia and Sabia, known for their masterful storytelling and ability to delve deep into their subjects’ psyches, have crafted a documentary that transcends the boundaries of a typical sports film. They capture not just the athlete, but the man behind the icon, providing a holistic view of Federer as he navigates the emotional terrain of retirement.  Visually, ‘FEDERER: TWELVE FINAL DAYS’ is stunning. The use of archival footage, and blending it seamlessly with new material to create a compelling story. The scenes, especially, from the Laver Cup are really powerful and beautifully capture the intensity of Federer’s final games.

But not everything about this film is celebratory. Certain moments would make you cry because there is a sense of melancholy as Federer tries to grapple with the fact that he indeed is stepping away from the game that gave him so much. Even with so many positive things, some moments do feel like melodramatic. There are moments when the pacing slows, and the narrative feels somewhat repetitive. Nevertheless, these are minor speedbumps in what is otherwise a beautifully crafted documentary.

Overall, ‘FEDERER: TWELVE FINAL DAYS’ is a captivating documentary that chronicles the journey of one of the greatest athletes of all time. Even if you are not a fan of Roger Federer, you should see this documentary to feel why he was and will always be a LEGEND.

‘Federer: Twelve Final Days’ premiered on Tribeca and will stream exclusively on Prime Video on June 20.

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‘Tell That to the Winter Sea’ Review | A Heartfelt Exploration of Love and Friendship with Outstanding Performances by Greta Bellamacina and Amber Anderson

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Tell That to the Winter Sea
Greta Bellamacina and Amber Anderson in a still from 'Tell That to the Winter Sea' (Kaleidoscope)

It takes time to understand that life is all about learning, growing, and changing. It’s about heartbreaks and dealing with them. Every stage brings new challenges and makes you think if you’ll ever reach your desired destination. In Jaclyn Bethany’s reminiscent drama, Tell That to the Winter Sea, this sentiment is distinctly captured through the touching journey of two characters, Jo (Greta Bellamacina) and Scarlet (Amber Anderson), who find themselves grappling with unresolved pasts.

There have been several movies around female friendships or relationships, but only a few have captured their essence, and Tell That to the Winter Sea is among them. The profoundly moving film starts with bride-to-be Jo (Bellamacina) reading a book while waiting for her school-time friend and first love, Scarlet (Anderson), on a girls’ trip to a country manor. Soon, we get to know that this trip is meant to celebrate Jo’s upcoming marriage. However, as soon as they meet, this trip becomes a moving journey of emotional discovery and unresolved feelings. Even with the festive atmosphere created by the rest of the group, Jo and Scarlet can’t help but deal with the lingering feelings from their shared past.

Tell That to the Winter Sea

Greta Bellamacina as Jo in a still from ‘Tell That to the Winter Sea’ (Kaleidoscope)

Directed by Jaclyn Bethany, the movie does a magnificent job of navigating the delicate terrain of past and present emotions through the eyes of its central characters. One of the primary reasons why this movie feels so personal is because of how authentic it looks. In many ways, we have endured heartbreak in love. Sometimes, we move on, but other times, we keep looking for answers by revisiting those moments. In Tell That to the Winter Sea, both central characters try to show that they have moved on, but in reality, it’s just the opposite and Bethany shows that with utter precision. Meanwhile, the script is a delicate blend of heartfelt dialogue and introspective moments. It’s fair to say that the script is the soul of this powerful drama. The writing shines in its ability to convey the unspoken and unresolved feelings between Jo and Scarlet. Their interactions are loaded with a glaring sense of nostalgia and unspoken yearning, capturing the beautiful essence of what it means to reconnect with your first love after years apart.

Another stunning aspect of the movie is its mesmerizing cinematography. The beautiful frames wonderfully complement the emotional landscape of the story, making the viewers feel like they are a part of the characters’ journey.

Acting-wise, both the film’s central characters are extraordinary in their respective roles. Greta Bellamacina as Jo is breathtaking as she brings a deep emotional resonance to her character and magnificently captures the complexities of love, friendship, and personal growth. One of the most striking things about her performance is how she makes viewers feel about her internal conflicts and struggles. It feels so real, raw, and authentic. She is truly one of the finest actors we have in the industry now. Meanwhile, Amber Anderson shows a wide emotional range and effectively portrays the complexities of her character’s feelings and experiences. Her performance feels deeply connected to her character’s past and present, making the audience empathize with her journey. The chemistry between both stars is mesmerizing, making their shared moments both powerful and poignant.

Tell That to the Winter Sea

Amber Anderson as Scarlet in a still from ‘Tell That to the Winter Sea’ (Kaleidoscope)

The supporting cast – Josette Simon, Jessica Plummer, Tamsin Egerton, and Bebe Cave – is equally compelling and adds depth to the story.

Overall, Tell That to the Winter Sea is a beautifully crafted film that offers a heartwarming and introspective look at love, feelings, and friendship. The film explores themes of the passage of time, and the bittersweet nature of moving forward is handled with a sensitive approach. It is a deeply affecting and memorable cinematic experience. For those who appreciate a thoughtful and emotionally resonant film, Tell That To The Winter Sea is an immersive watch.

Tell That to the Winter Sea will be released in UK theatres on May 31.

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X-Men ’97 Review | Nostalgic, Epic & Marvelous!

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X-Men '97 (Disney)

Get ready for action-packed adventure, many surprise cameos and a storyline that takes

Plot

A band of mutants use their uncanny gifts to protect a world that hates and fears them; they’re challenged like never before, forced to face a dangerous and unexpected new future.

X-Men ’97 (Disney)

Review

X-Men ’97 is a revival of the classic 1990s animated television series. The storyline picks up directly after the events of the original series, maintaining continuity and preserving the beloved elements that made the original a hit show back in the day. Many of the original voice cast members have returned, including Cal Dodd as Wolverine, Lenore Zann as Rogue, George Buza as Beast, Alison Sealy-Smith as Storm and Adrian Hough as Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler, which adds a layer of originality and contributes to the overall nostalgia of the television show​. Here I’m feeling like a little kid again, watching the show on a Saturday morning. I was 7 years old when it was on television in the early mornings, and it still brings back fond memories.

There were a number of new stars who joined the show such as Ray Chase who replaced Norm Spencer as Cyclops, Jennifer Hale who replaced Catherine Disher as Jean Grey, Holly Chou who replaced Alyson Court as Jubilee, A.J. LoCascio as Gambit, Matthew Waterson as Magneto, J.P. Karliak as Morph, Isaac Robinson-Smith as Bishop, Ross Marquand as Professor Charles Xavier and Gui Agustini as Roberto da Costa/Sunspot.

X-Men ’97 (Disney)

The series starts off in a world where the X-Men grapple with the loss of Professor Charles Xavier. Amidst all the chaos and uncertainty, Magneto rises to the occasion and becomes the new leader of the X-Men. This provides additional drama and the team dynamics is frequently tested with the new leadership. While dealing with the new leadership dynamics the X-Men finds themselves still dealing with people who would stop at nothing to end all mutants. The storyline doesn’t hold back on the action sequences and themes such as grief, loss and acceptance are touched on throughout the series.

The trailer of the show doesn’t spoil anything for the viewer, and I highly encourage you to watch every intro and try to spot any new changes. The show provides many cameos and easter eggs, keeping my hopes alive of a potential crossover.

The story ends with a twist, leaving you hungry for the next season, and as any Marvel movie or television show would have it, a mid-credits scene to whet your appetite for what’s to come. If you are new to X-Men you can still jump in and watch the television series, but I highly recommend watching the original series to get you up to date with most of the lore and history of the X-Men.

X-Men ’97 keeps the legacy of our favorite mutants alive with a well-written story that is filled with emotion, surprises and promises of more adventures.

Thank you Beau DeMayo for an eXcellent story! I rate this show a 5 out of 5!

Will we skip the intro song? No! I don’t think we will. Make sure to catch the show on Disney Plus!

https://youtu.be/mp1Pax-QHlA?si=-fFlVYBRIPnLQyVO
X-Men ’97 Final Trailer (Marvel Entertainment)

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