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.
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.
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.
‘Saltburn’ Review | Barry Keoghan Excels In Emerald Fennell’s Sickly Satisfying Film
There have been a lot of extreme reactions to Emerald Fennell’s ‘Saltburn’ and I was getting really anxious about watching the film. When I finally got a chance to see it, I realized why people were so divided about this weird film. There is no doubt that this is an audacious film, but let’s not get carried away by saying that we haven’t seen anything like this before. We have, but none of those movies were accessible like this one.
The movie follows Oliver, a new student at Oxford University, and shows how he deals with being around wealthy people while he’s still learning the ropes of college life. No one notices him, except a really creepy student who looks a bit like Jeffrey Dahmer (Sorry!). Even though no one wants to talk to him, Oliver has already set his eyes on Felix (Jacob Elordi) and wants to his friend. One day, he finds an opportunity and helps Felix by giving his own bicycle so that he can reach his destination on time. Since that day, Oliver and Felix became best friends. As the year ended, Felix asked Oliver to come stay with him at his huge family home, Saltburn, during the summer. Without any doubt, Oliver’s stay at Saltburn is filled with sex, partying and some really weird situations.
But if you feel that’s what the movie is about, then you are wrong. Amid all the happening moments, Oliver shows his true nature. This film truly excels when Fennell digs deeper and explores Oliver’s relationship with Felix’s family. The conversations between them are disturbing and he makes his way into Felix’s family by earning their trust.
‘Saltburn’ is an incredibly beautiful movie visually, especially in certain scenes that show the luxurious life of the rich people. But at the same time, these scenes also give off a slightly creepy or unsettling vibe. Fennell uses color and camera placement to perfection, allowing viewers to know Oliver’s place among the super-rich and his own creepy personality. However, ‘Saltburn’ doesn’t offer anything different than what we have seen in previous eat-the-rich movies. But, of course, what Fennell does so well is that it encourages the audiences to laugh at the so-called affluent community. There are lots of funny moments in the movie, thanks to the filmmaker’s clever writing and the extraordinary actors bringing those moments to life. Even though the writing material is sharp, it isn’t as thought-provoking as audiences would have wanted it to be.
When it comes to acting, Barry Keoghan is simply stunning. This is undoubtedly the creepiest character he has played over the years and still made viewers root for him. It is one of those performances that cements his place in the list of elite actors that could alone be responsible for a film’s success. Truly, a mind-blowing acting performance. Meanwhile, Jacob Elordi is brilliant as Felix and embodies the character of a posh boy with precision. Elordi shows off his incredible charm and charisma, proving once again that he’s a really talented and charismatic actor.
Meanwhile, Rosamund Pike and Richard Grant are splendid as Elsbeth and James. They are the definition of how rich actually behave and romanticize the idea of poverty while sitting in their mansion. On the other hand, Alison Oliver takes everyone by storm with her acting. Even though she has little screen time, but whenever she is given a chance to convey something, she does that with her impeccable acting skills.
There’s no doubt that Saltburn offers a captivating and enjoyable mystery, but it doesn’t offer anything new to audiences. Undoubtedly, the good things outshine the little average ones and the finished product is satisfying. Fennell has dared to tell a story that others might not even touch and add her own touch to it. ‘Saltburn’ is a bizarre cinematic experience that goes way too far with its multi-layered storytelling. Emerald Fennell lures us into a world filled with lies and lust while talking about class issues.
Disney’s Latest Star “Wish”
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Wish” is an all-new musical-comedy welcoming audiences to the magical kingdom of Rosas, where Asha, a sharp-witted idealist, makes a wish so powerful that it is answered by a cosmic force—a little ball of boundless energy called Star. Together, Asha and Star confront a most formidable foe—the ruler of Rosas, King Magnifico—to save her community and prove that when the will of one courageous human connects with the magic of the stars, wondrous things can happen.
Movie Review (no spoilers)
The film is inspired by Disney’s centennial, which ties together a central theme across most of the Disney-related stories — of wishes and dreams coming true. One can view it as the origin story for the wishing star, albeit a funny star. Disney delivers a feel good story filled with humor and the occasional teases and links to other Disney-related works. Ariana DeBose braces the big screen as the hero, Asha who discovers a sinister secret about King Magnifico and his use of the wishes.
Ariana’s performance performance is amazing and I enjoyed listening to the songs she performed. I foresee “This Wish” topping the charts at Spotify soon.
Chris Pine plays the part of King Magnifico and delivers a good performance as the villain. We hear him sing a song alongside Ariana, At All Costs.
The story delivers the usual fun characters that Disney brings along in all stories, amazing graphics of a magical world, and an amazing song library for everyone to listen to. This movie is excellent for young and old, delivering a feel-good movie for all. Wish is yet another treasure in the world of Disney.
I’m really excited for the next 100 years of Disney magic. The movie Wish has the potential to become a sequel, or even provide potential spin-offs exploring the wishes and dreams of others in the magical Disney Universe.
My wish is for more many more years of movie magic from Disney. What is yours?
My rating is a 4 out of 5 for Disney’s Wish. Watch at a cinema near you and join in the Disney centennial celebrations!
‘The Holdovers’ Review | Paul Giamatti, Alexander Payne Reunite For This Year’s Most Beautiful and Poignant Comedy
“They don’t make them like that anymore” is one sentence that we hear a lot when it comes to cinematic brilliance. Most of the times, it is used for titles that might be considered a classic. Sadly, this sentence is being used too often these days and even for those projects, that might not even qualify. However, Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers is undoubtedly one of the movies that deserves to be called an instant classic and I can wholeheartedly say: “They don’t make them like that anymore.”
The holiday season has arrived and audiences want to see movies that makes them feel that holiday spirit. Although it is very rare to see both these qualities in the movies these days, ‘The Holdovers’ has quietly gained popularity among cinephiles this holiday season, emerging as one of the year’s best films among audiences.
The movie is set in a boy’s boarding school in New England in 1970. Paul Hunham is a stern yet brilliant professor who refuses to give passing grades to rich students just because their parents are some of the school’s biggest donors. He is firm and doesn’t let these brats take advantage of him. On the other hand, we have Angus Tully, who is the son of wealthy parents attending the school who tends to ready the students for top universities. It’s Christmas time and everyone is going home, but things take a wild turn for Hunham when he is forced to babysit for children whose parents are unable to let them return home for the holidays. Eventually, Tully ends up being the only child in Hunham’s supervision. As the two begin to spend time with each other, they slowly begin to know much more about each other and understand why they are how they are.
There is no doubt that Paul Giamatti’s role as Paul Hunham is one of his most compelling roles. Make no mistake, Giamatti has given several amazing performances, but Hunham turns out to be a role that makes audiences realise how truly amazing he is as an actor. The way he insults people in this movie is hilariously brilliant. It seems Giamatti had a lot of fun while shooting this film and went down the memory lane to prepare for the role. Giamatti is just breath-taking in this role. On the other hand, Dominic Sessa is truly a revelation here and delivers a performance that touches everyone’s heart. In the beginning, you might not like his character but as the story moves forward, you understand why he is like this and Sessa completely nails it.
Da’Vine Joy Randolph delivers a deeply heartbreaking performance as a grieving mother in the film. Randolph gives a detailed performance showing both deep sadness and moments of happiness. It’s a portrayal of grief that feels very genuine and touching.
Even though there are moments that makes the film touching, ‘The Holdovers’ is hardly a serious drama. It’s a very welcoming holiday movie that doesn’t shy away from being funny and absurd. These characters have faced sadness, loss, and pain. However, the movie bravely allows us to laugh alongside them, as their humorous shortcomings transform a typical holiday stay at home into unexpected hospital visits and adventurous trips spanning multiple cities. For many people, it will be nostalgic to see this old-school sweet holiday movie that they must have seen in their youth and takes them to a time where people cared about feelings.
All in all, THE HOLDOVERS is a moving, bittersweet comedy drama that instantly becomes a Holiday classic. A story where you’d think how emotions don’t change even though life has.
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