Category: Movie Reviews

Movie Review – Looper

Plot: In the year 2072, time travel has been invented, but it soon becomes outlawed.  The Mob uses it illegally to transport people back 30 years, where specialized assassins called ‘Loopers’ make the clean kill.  When Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a very successful Looper, has to kill his future self (Bruce Willis) and fails, it puts both Joes in great danger.

Whether it’s Star Wars, the Terminator, or Inception, sci-fi is the one genre that when done right, creates an instant classic.  Looper has now joined those ranks.  Especially when you can make time travel work, that’s a bonus.  But just like with the films I mentioned before, it’s not the bad ass sci-fi action that makes these movies legendary – it’s the story and character development.  Looper delivers this in spades.  I care about Joe not because he’s good with a gun (which he is), but I’m emotionally invested in him due to a great character arc.

The first act gives us a simple run of the mill cool movie.  The acting is great all around, especially Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is starting to become one of my favorite working actors.  This guy is a total drugged out douchebag, yet I still found him charismatic, and was more than happy to go with this guy as the protagonist.  Jeff Daniels was also a treat as Joe’s mob boss employer Abe.  He’s that quiet calm scary mob boss who wants to be your best friend.  Daniels plays it very friendly, but gives you just enough of that ‘evil twinge’ to know that this is a guy you don’t want to fuck with.  One of my biggest criticisms is that I wish there was more of him.  It’s a stylish first act where the rules and exposition are efficiently explained.  But it’s not until Bruce Willis comes into the picture as future Joe where the movie takes a drastic turn and becomes something much more.

The big turning point of the movie is where these guys finally hash it out at a simple diner.  It’s a phenomenally written scene, both tense and exhausting.  As the two start talking about time travel, and what future Joe coming back could potentially mean, you can see the pain and headache Willis gets when talking about it, so much so that he doesn’t want to get into the perils of time travel.  Willis plays this so well, I even got a headache myself watching it.  Levitt is also fantastic in this scene, as this is the moment that really draws a line in the sand of what these guys both want.  And without giving too much away, what’s so fascinating to me is that you’ll end up siding with one of the Joes at the end of this scene, but as the film plays out, these guys almost have reverse character arcs, and watching this take place is both heartwarming and repulsive at the same time.  But I’m not going to dare say anything else.

The two Joes aren’t the only strong characters though.  Towards the middle of the film, a child named Cid is introduced, and let’s just say he plays a critical part in the movie.  He’s played by Pierce Gagnon, and it’s an intense performance.  Gagnon is awesome, albeit a little over the top at times, but I think he’s supposed to be.

The other two characters of note are Kid Blue (Noah Segan) and Sara (Emily Blunt).  Kid Blue is basically the comic relief.  He’s a mafia screw up, and while he is legitimately funny and well played by Segan, his character got a little too much play towards the end.  The movie made it seem like he was bigger then what was portrayed at the beginning.  Blunt is solid as Sara, the female lead of the film.  And while I enjoyed Blunt’s character, present day Joe spends a lot of time with her in the middle of the film, and this is where the movie sort of drags.  There’s some well written dialogue, but it’s fairly slow, and a little yawn inducing mid-way through the second act.

But as much as the second act drags, the third act more than makes up for it.  The last 10-15 minutes especially are absolutely pulse pounding.  This is where it’s okay to use the cliché ‘I was on the edge of my seat.’  I have to give credit to writer/director Rian Johnson (Brick, the Brother’s Bloom), because his script was brilliant all the way through, and the end was a perfect resolution.

It’s hard to talk about this film without spoiling it.  Looper has everything that makes movies great: story, character development, acting, tension, and last but not least, great direction.  Rian Johnson is someone who will absolutely move up the lists of today’s great directors.  Especially when you’re dealing with sci-fi, the potential for screwing up is pretty damn high.  But everything in Looper is explained very well, and with very little exposition, whereas something like Green Lantern is nothing but exposition, exposition, exposition, exposition, ‘we don’t trust the audience to figure it out,’ and did I mention more exposition?  The only scene that was sort of confusing was an alternate version of one of the bigger moments of the film, but I won’t say anything more.  Other than time travel, they also use another overdone sci-fi trope, but they use it so well, I didn’t mind, even if it did seem a little shoe-horned in.  Bottom-line: This movie kicks ass, and easily one of the best films of the year.

Rating: 9 out of 10 (OMG)    

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Movie Review – The Muppets

Plot: When the old Muppet theater is scheduled to be torn down so a rich oil tycoon (Chris Cooper) can dig for oil, the Muppets get back together.  With the help of their new friends, Gary (Jason Segal) and his brother Walter (Peter Linz, voice), the Muppets put on one last show to save their theater.

There is no doubt this is the best Muppet movie since The Muppets Take Manhattan way back in 1984…but it could have been better.  Don’t get me wrong: I had a blast with this film.  Every time the Muppets are on screen, they are at the top of their game.  Every Muppet related gag hits those Muppet high notes.  What hinders this from being great though are the non-Muppet moments.  It’s not that these moments are bad, but I found myself asking, ‘Why am I settling for this?  Just go back to the Muppets!’

Jason Segal plays Gary, an upbeat teacher who lives in the small town known as…Smalltown.  He’s got a girlfriend named Mary (Amy Adams), and a brother Walter, who is actually a puppet, and you guessed it, a huge fan of the Muppets.  Here’s the problem.  These guys dominate the first 15-20 minutes of the film, including a huge musical number.  And like I said, it’s not that these scenes are bad, but they are mediocre.  I don’t understand why they are getting extended screen time for a film called the Muppets.  I really don’t care about Gary and Walter, I’m sorry.  What really irked me though is once the actual Muppets show up, these characters are still on screen for a fair amount of time.  That’s really ridiculous.  Once the Muppets arrive, it’s really time to let them take over the film, yet we are still peppered with Gary and Mary centric musical numbers.  I want the Muppets!

Now like I said, every thing involving the Muppets is damn good.  My favorite part of the film is just gathering up all the Muppets, and seeing what they’ve been up to.  Fozzie’s (Eric Jacobson, voice) nightclub act is brilliant, Gonzo’s (Dave Goelz, voice) plumbing business is hilarious, and Animal (Eric Jacobson, voice)…well, I’m not going to spoil what Animal’s been up to, but it’s really funny.  And it’s not just the main Muppets who have their time in the spotlight.  Muppets like Statler (Steve Whitmire, voice) & Waldorf (Dave Goelz, voice), Beaker (Steve Whitmire, voice), Roowlf (Matt Vogel, voice), they all have awesome moments.  And as much as I’m complaining about the non-Muppet characters having too many scenes, I don’t feel like any Muppet got short changed.  Gonzo is really only in two scenes, but they are fantastic scenes.  Even with limited screen time, every Muppet leaves their mark, and I really appreciated that.

Even with all the Muppets though, this film was a bit cheapened by too many celebrity cameos.  To the film’s credit, I like a lot of the cameos such as Jack Black, Rashida Jones, Zack Galifianakis, and Neil Patrick Harris, who only has one line, but it’s probably the best thing he could have said.  But there are so many useless cameos just for the sake of having cameos.  Whoopi Goldberg, Selena Gomez, John Krasinski, and James Carville…really?!  James Carville?!  He’s just there answering a telephone!  Is that necessary!  Even Donald Glover from Community, who I really like as an actor, randomly comes in, and there’s just no point to it.  Stuff like that really annoyed me.  It’s just so self-indulgent.

One of the human actors who I did really like though was Chris Cooper as the evil oil tycoon.  Cooper was perfect, and this wasn’t just some random cameo, he actually played a key character, so that was fine.

At the end of the day, this is a Muppet movie, and it hit me pretty hard.  I just wish a lot of the celebrity cameos and hoopla were trimmed down so I could spend more quiet moments with just the Muppets.  If you’re a fan of the Muppets, you will really like this movie.  If you aren’t, I still think you’ll find some enjoyment, and maybe that’s why a lot of these non-Muppet people are even in the film in the first place.  What really pissed me off though is when Kermit (Steve Whitmire, voice) has this amazing speech at the end, but it’s completely undermined by a plot point they throw in during the credits!  That’s such bull shit!  You can’t just throw in a major resolution during the credits!!  Unbelievable!!

Rating: 7.5 out of 10 (Very Good) 

Movie Review – Warrior

Plot: Two brothers who haven’t spoken in years enter an intense Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) tournament called ‘Sparta.’  One is a physics teacher (Joel Edgerton) who hasn’t fought professionally in years.  The other is a former marine (Tom Hardy) who is trained by his recovering alcoholic father (Nick Nolte) whom both brothers still hold a grudge with.

In many ways, Warrior is your typical cliché sports movie, but the emotions and conflicts in this film are so intense, it transcends the generic sports story.  Yes, it has the underdog story.  Yes, it has the ‘he’s going up against an insurmountable opponent’ plot line, but it’s not about that.  It’s about these two brothers, and how shattered their relationship is between themselves, but more importantly, with their father played brilliantly by Nick Nolte.

The acting is off the charts.  Nick Nolte plays Paddy Conlon, a recovering alcoholic who’s been sober for almost 1,000 days.  He wants nothing more then to be close with his sons again, but both hate him beyond belief for his past actions.  Yes, it’s a storyline we’ve seen a hundred times, but there are some truly heartbreaking moments Nolte delivers.  One scene that really got to me is when Paddy visits the elder son Brendan, and Brendan doesn’t even let him come in the house to see his two granddaughters.  The end of this scene is soul crushing, and Nolte nails it.  But his best scene, and what I believe is an Oscar moment, takes place in an Atlantic City hotel room after his younger son Tommy was particularly vicious towards him a few moments earlier.  I’m telling you, this scene really knocks you on your ass.  It’s Christian Bale the Fighter level acting.

As good as Nolte was though, the two leads (Joel Edgeton and Tom Hardy) are right there with him.  Edgerton’s performance makes it real easy to root for him.  He’s the guy you really follow in this movie, and I can’t imagine anyone else playing this role.  They also give his character the best secondary relationships.  The bond between him and his wife (Jennifer Morrison) is effective, as well as the banter and friendship between Brendan and his manager (Frank Grillo).

But the man who steals the show is Tom Hardy.  The character he plays is like an angry Rocky Balboa.  He dresses like Rocky, approaches fights similar to Rocky, but he’s certainly not going to tell a joke like Rocky.  He is a bitter, bitter human being, and Hardy’s performance is fascinating.  It’s in the fighting scenes though where he really shines: Hardy is ferocious.   I was already excited for his Bane performance in the Dark Knight Rises next summer, but now I’m foaming at the mouth. 

The director for this is Gavin O’Connor, who also did Miracle.  He should just direct every sports movie.  He builds up the tension so well.  The two brothers don’t even have a scene together until much later in the film, and you are on pins and needles waiting for that moment.  When they finally meet up at night on the beach, he withholds their first dialogue exchange just a little bit longer as they slowly walk towards each other.  They probably could have used one more scene together though, which would have made the ending even that much stronger.  And yea, I’m not spoiling anything here because it’s in the trailers, but they eventually fight in this tournament.  And what’s so interesting is that not only is the fight intense, but they battle their issues with each other within the fight, and it’s really brilliant with how they do it.  They also build up these little mini conflicts between some of the other fighters which are also effective. 

The directing isn’t perfect though.  I hated the panel style editing during the training montage.  Didn’t we learn our lesson from this with Ang Lee’s Hulk?  There’s also too many comedic moments in some of the more serious scenes.  There’s this whole section devoted to Brendan’s school, and how the Principal (Kevin Dunn) is a closet MAA fan.  He’s watching Brendan fight at home, and they do all these annoying cut backs to him cheering.  It’s just too much.  The movie is also paced way too slow.  For the most part, it’s beneficial to the film, but it doesn’t need to be this long.

But I can completely forgive the director for these mistakes with how great everything else is.  Coming from someone who’s not a fan of MMA at all, I thought the fights scenes were filmed exceptionally well.

But trust me: you don’t have to be an MMA fan to appreciate this movie.  Like I said, it’s not about that.  It’s about these three characters, and exploring how broken their relationships are, and the horrors of their past, especially with what you learn about Hardy’s character.  This film is an emotional roller coaster, especially at the end…maybe even a little too over the top.  This is easily one of the best movies of the year.  The music is great.  The performances are great.  The directing is great.  It’s great.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10 (Really Great)

Movie Review – Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Plot: While trying to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, Will Rodman (James Franco) falls into possession of a baby chimpanzee whose mother was given Will’s experimental drug, making the ape smarter.  Her genetics were passed onto the baby named ‘Caesar,’ an exceptionally intelligent ape who will later liberate other Apes in this prequel to the original Planet of the Apes.

I was really reluctant towards this movie because Tim Burton’s 2001 remake scared me away from this franchise, even though it has nothing to do with this current version.  But I should have known better.  Look what happened eight years after 1997’s Batman & Robin…we get Batman Begins.  And just like with that franchise, the Apes have risen once again (pardon the pun).  But what shocked me about this film is how character driven it was.  The trailer is very misleading.  You think it’s going to be nothing more than apes ripping apart the city, along with every human in their path.  That’s not at all what happens.

The acting is stellar all around.  I’m not the biggest James Franco fan, and thought his performance in 127 Hours was a tad overrated.  But this is probably the best thing he’s ever done.  I’ve never been emotionally invested in any of his characters, but you really care about him in this movie.  Even in a movie called Rise of the Planet of the Apes, one of its most engaging stories was a simple one: A man trying to cure his father of Alzheimer’s.  And that relationship fires on all cylinders.  John Lithgow does a great job as Will’s father, and he and Franco play off each other very well.

But let’s stop kidding ourselves.  We all know what the soul of this movie is, and that’s Andy Serkis’ amazing performance as Caesar.  Of course we all know Serkis as the man who played Gollum in Lord of the Rings.  Yea, it’s CG, but the film simply doesn’t work without Serkis acting the part before the special effects are rendered.  Caesar was always riveting on screen, and he’s practically in the entire film.  There are hundreds of little moments I could talk about, but I’ll have to narrow it down to a few.

Probably my favorite scene in the entire movie is Caesar’s first interaction with other apes.  They all just stare at him as this infinitely smarter creature enters a world he’s never known, and it’s terrifying.  That’s when the character really hits you.  Caesar has been raised by humans, but ultimately can’t live among them.  But he also struggles to live with his own kind.  That’s some powerful stuff.

Another moment I loved is when the caretaker’s (Brian Cox) nasty son (Tom Felton) brings a few friends to the ape cages, and one of the drunken douchebags mocks Caesar.  The stare down Caesar gives this kid was extraordinary.  Not only was it a fantastic special effect, but it illustrated a key character trait.  Now that’s how you do great special effects!  And without spoiling it, there’s a certain something you are waiting for Caesar to do the whole movie, and when that happens, it’s pretty incredible. 

What I also loved is how the film makes you feel not only for Caesar, but a couple of the other apes who don’t even get a tenth of the screen time he does.  It’s really towards the end where that comes into play.  And that’s what I mean by this movie being more of a character driven piece rather than sci-fi spectacle.

But don’t worry…you’ll get your action quota.  There’s a truly spectacular battle on theGolden GateBridgethat really knocks you on your ass.  And the apes don’t attack like you think they would.  It’s more refined and disciplined than what you might expect.  The director Rupert Wyatt is pretty much a new comer here, only having done smaller projects, but he knocks this out of the park.

Now the film isn’t perfect.  The pacing is way too slow.  This is just one of the unfortunate drawbacks to being a prequel to a well established franchise.  The trailer also gives away too much information.  We know where it’s going, and at times I was just like, ‘alright, get on with it already.’

Another criticism I have to give it is that it does come off as kind of silly at times.  There are a few moments where I’m staring at all these apes running around and sliding off of buildings and can’t help but snicker.  But really, those moments are barely there.  It’s executed very seriously 99.9% of the time.

While the last few minutes are a bit rushed, leaving the ending a tad unsatisfying, this is a great movie, and definitely the biggest surprise of the summer.  It’s the perfect blending of character development and special effects.  I cared about the humans.  I cared about the apes.  I was invested all the way through.

Rating: 8 out of 10 (Great)      

Movie Review – Cowboys & Aliens

Plot: Set in the Old West, an advanced alien race attacks a small town and kidnaps some of the locals.  A small group heads out to track down the aliens where their only hope of stopping them is an outlaw (Daniel Craig) with no memory, and a powerful weapon attached to his wrist that he may have gotten from the aliens themselves.

What happens when you take a run of the mill cliché western and combine it with a run of the mill cliché alien invasion movie?  You get a run of the mill cliché action movie.  For a film called Cowboys & Aliens, this is an excruciating yawn fest.  There is no pop to this movie.  Everyone looks half asleep, especially our protagonist, Jake Lonergan, played by Daniel Craig.

I get Craig has really intense eyes and looks really cool, but that’s all he does.  He just looks intense throughout the whole movie.  There’s nothing interesting about this character except for the mystery surrounding him because he lost his memory.  And even that gets tiresome and embarrassingly predictable.  And in every scene, director Jon Favreau has to remind us, ‘hey, this guys a bad ass.’  He always has to punch someone, or take out a group of guys.  But there’s nothing clever or interesting about it.  Its stuff we’ve seen a hundred times, done way better.  And the character barely talks.  Craig flashes his big eyes, and we are just supposed to go, ‘Oh man, Daniel Craig.  What a bad ass.’  Honestly, this movie could have been significantly better if another actor played the role, like a Leonardo DiCaprio or Jeremy Renner.  I put a lot of the blame on this movie to Craig.  There was just nothing there.

As far as the other performances are concerned, Harrison Ford is on auto-pilot as the grisly old war hero Woodrow Dolarhyde.  There’s one scene where he’s talking to this kid (Noah Ringer) whose grandfather was taken by the aliens.  It’s this emotional story about his dad, but I barely remember it because Ford put no effort into this speech whatsoever.  And that’s generally the trend with this film.  It’s just going through the motions.  Now as the film went on, Ford got more into it, and I started to like and sympathize with his character.  And there’s even decent character development between him and Lonergan, but by that point, the movie had lost me.

Two performances I did like though were Sam Rockwell and Paul Dano.  Rockwell is good in everything.  And he always elevates the material.  I found myself rooting for his character the most as a guy that always backs down from a fight, but you like him so much, you desperately want to see him become a man by the end.  Dano has a small part as Dolarhyde’s privileged and jackass son Percy.  While all the other characters are droning typical western stereotypes, Dano brought a lot of life and levity to the film that desperately needed more of it.  I also liked Olivia Wilde, but they make it so obvious from the first second you meet her that there’s going to be a huge plot twist with her character.  And when you find out what it is, we could have saved ourselves a lot of time and energy if she just came out and said what her deal was.

And that’s really where the problem comes in.  The pacing is just awful.  Slow is not the right word.  We need a whole new word slower than slow to describe this.  They have to force and shoehorn in so many conflicts that have nothing to do with the main story to draw this out.  There’s a useless scene and run in with Indians, and even a more pointless stand off with Lonergan’s old gang that I could care less about.  This movie really could have been 80 minutes long.  The fact that it goes on for almost two hours is just really unnecessary. 

It makes me appreciate a movie like Independence Day that much more.  I’m not going to sit here and say Independence Day is the Godfather, but that movie is nearly 2 and a half hours long, yet I was never bored.  Why did I not get bored?  It had a lot of charismatic and funny characters with groundbreaking action we had never seen before.  It was a lot of fun.  This is anything but.  They go way too serious with it, and I’m sorry, but the movie is called Cowboys & Aliens…come on! 

And speaking of the action: its okay.  It’s just average action.  They try and give you jump moments, but I never once jumped.  The action is directed fine, but its nothing special.  What I didn’t like was how the Jake Lonergan flashbacks and alien POV shots were filmed.  They looked really silly and kind of shaky cam Blair Witch Project-esque, but just green.  Those did not work for me at all.

Watching this movie makes me think of other sub-par blockbusters this summer like Pirates of the Caribbean: on Stranger Tides and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.  While Cowboys & Aliens never gets to the low points of those films, it’s ultimately a worse movie.  Why is that?  As much as I don’t like Pirates and Transformers, I can at least point out memorable ‘holy crap’ moments like the mermaid scene and the building coming down in Chicago, but I can’t think of one ‘that was awesome’ moment from Cowboys & Aliens.  There isn’t one interesting or cool thing I can recommend about this movie.  There’s some decent acting, but I was bored out of my mind.  Bottom-line: When you keep checking your phone every ten minutes to see when the movie is going to end, I think that means it’s a bad movie.

Rating: 4.5 out of 10 (Bad) 

Movie Review – Super 8

Plot: Set in 1979, a group of kids witness a horrific train accident while trying to film a movie.  The military arrives to cover up what was inside the train as bizarre events start occurring all over town because of it.  The Deputy (Kyle Chandler) tries to figure out what’s going on while his son Joe (Joel Courtney) and his friends were the ones who witnessed the crash but can’t discuss it.

The marketing campaign for Super 8 is far more interesting than the movie itself.  This isn’t a bad movie.  It’s okay.  I really don’t want the pretentious and mysterious trailers to affect my review, but I can’t help but think director J.J. Abrams and producer Steven Spielberg pulled a carnival con-job on all of us with this thing.  And I barely had expectations for this movie, but still left disappointed.

The first 20 minutes are great.  We get a nice introduction to all these kids with a wide range of personalities.  It’s funny, it’s entertaining, and all the kid actors do a bang up job, especially the main guy Joe, played by Joel Courtney.  He carries the movie at a very young age.  He and Elle Fanning have good chemistry together, and that is easily the biggest relationship in the film.  I like that I can appreciate the characters rather than the gimmick that comes into the movie later on.

The train crash is also an incredible sequence.  It’s just complete chaos and looks really thrilling on screen.  It’s a perfectly directed scene by Abrams.  The mystery element begins to come into play after the crash, and that’s where the movie starts to plummet faster than an ACME anvil.

I respect Abrams for trying to keep most of the film a secret.  In a world where movies get 5 trailers and 25 clips before they are even released, it’s refreshing to not predict the entire film a month before it opens.  It’s what I appreciated about Inception.  But here’s the problem.  Once I’m actually in the movie theater watching the movie, can you please start to tell me what it’s about?  Anything at all?  Abrams literally keeps everything a mystery until the last 10 to 15 minutes, and by that point, I just didn’t care anymore.  The movie trots along for over 90 minutes, and I was losing interest by the second.  Nothing happens but random attacks with random clues that tell you nothing.  Why do I care!  Now at least there’s good characters to keep me interested, but it’s not enough.  It all wears thin.  You have to give the audience some kind of cohesive hint of what this all means.  You can’t meander for over 90 minutes!

What really pisses me off is that some of the clues have no relation to what happens at the end.  Nothing!  What the hell?  It’s just random bull shit.  And let me just get this out of the way.  The big mystery of what this all is sucks.  It’s horrendous.  If I had to describe it in one word, it would be ‘yawn.’  It’s not that I’m pissed about the end result.  It’s that, combined with how everything was presented and put together.  It’s so average and run of the mill, but the director desperately wants you to believe it’s important. 

And the action later on is no where near as interesting as the train crash at the beginning.  There’s a point towards the end where the kids are running through a warzone and it just looks silly.  Not only that, but the movie was a lot funnier in the first half, whereas later it becomes a bunch of lame pot jokes.

The kid actors did a good job, but the adults brought nothing to the table.  I was really disappointed with Kyle Chandler’s performance as the Deputy.  One of the big sub-plots revolves around the death of Joe’s mom, and how he and his dad have never been close, but are now forced too.  The story was effective for the most part, but Chandler gives a pretty average performance.

I’m curious to see how audiences will respond to this.  When I saw it, I felt an aura of disappointment as everyone walked out with a nonchalant attitude and not really saying anything.  If you’re the type of person who’s coming into this thinking the Holy Grail or Chewbacca on steroids is inside that train, in other words, you’re there strictly for the mystery, I would stay away.  You will be extremely disappointed.  I just came into this like any other movie.  I would have had the same reaction even if there weren’t all these annoying commercials of ‘Ooooooooooo, what is this all about?  You better come see it to find out!’  The characters are okay, but they can’t sustain the entire film.  The plot is a total joke and refuses to tell you anything mildly interesting or important until the last ten minutes, but by then, I couldn’t care less.

Rating: 5.5 out of 10 (Passable Entertainment)

Movie Review – Bridesmaids

Plot: When her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) gets engaged, Annie (Kristin Wiig) is chosen as maid of honor.  But when Lillian’s wealthy friend Helen (Rose Byrne) tries to become her new best friend and take control of the wedding, Annie’s life begins to spiral out of control.

Bridesmaids is okay.  There’s a good movie looming in here somewhere, but it’s plagued with so many little problems that it ultimately becomes an uneven mess.  While the first half offers you plenty of gross out dialogue and shock humor, the second half delves into drama.  While it doesn’t become a full on dramedy, the dramatic elements slowly start to outweigh the comedy, and on top of all that, it’s the worst kind of drama: boring and predictable.

The second half really goes through the motions as Annie’s life spirals out of control.  The movie is basically showing us a check-list of things that have to be ruined in order for her to finally get her shit together.  Annie is a bitter person.  Now this would normally be a problem as I don’t like to root for the sour protagonist, but Kristin Wiig gives such a good performance that I couldn’t help but have some affection for the character.  It’s not that I wasn’t rooting for her, but the drama is played out so predictably and generic, that it’s just like, ‘Yea, we know what’s going to happen at the end.  Just get on with it.’  There’s a scene where a teenage girl walks into the jewelry shop where Annie works, and before any dialogue is spoken, I knew exactly how the scene was going to play out.   It’s so run of the mill, and the jokes just aren’t nearly as strong as they were in the first half to keep it fresh.  Not only is the film lazy in how it wraps up the story, but the biggest problem is that it’s just way way way way way way way way way way way too long. 

Did I mention this movie is long?  Oh holy Moses, this needed to be edited down.  The movie’s predictability and cookie-cutter wrap up is made even worse by the fact that it’s soooooooo drawn out.  But it’s not just the story that feels endless.  The jokes go on much longer than necessary.

The prime example of this is when Annie and Helen are having dueling toasts at Lillian’s engagement party.  Both want to get in the last word.  It goes on FOREVER.  It just won’t end.  And it’s not that funny.  It’s mildly amusing at first, but it soon becomes awkward and unbearable.  There are countless scenes just like this.  Now this would be a much bigger issue if Kristin Wiig wasn’t so talented.  She’s able to make most of these overplayed jokes at the very least tolerable.  But the comedy would have been a lot more effective if it was edited down.

Kristin Wiig does really shine in this movie.  There’s a scene on an airplane where she’s especially hysterical.  Most of the acting is actually pretty damn good.  The only performance I didn’t like was Jon Hamm as Annie’s nothing but sex asshole friend Ted.  I get that he’s supposed to be a jerk, but it was a little much. 

The script is mediocre to bad, but the actresses elevate the material significantly.  All of the bridesmaids do the best they can with the jokes. 

Most of the jokes just don’t hit.  It’s the type of humor I hate in the majority of guy comedies: Unfunny sex puns, weird gross out dialogue, and shock humor.  For example, the obese character Megan (Melissa McCarthy) is there just to be weird.  Her jokes don’t even make sense most of the time.  Why the hell does she take nine dogs from the bridal shower party?  Huh?  Why is this funny?  It’s just weird to be weird. 

But my biggest complaint is that the producers are trying to trick you.  Bridesmaids is nothing more than a mediocre guy comedy, but because it’s with women, we are supposed to think it’s clever and original.  Oh hey, we have a run of the mill shit scene…but this time it’s with women.  Ohhhhhhhh, we are so clever.  That’s bull shit.  I know women want a great female comedy, but don’t settle for Bridesmaids.  You can do better.

All in all, I did get some solid chuckles and good performances.  I just wish the director (Paul Feig) put a little more effort into this.  It’s an excruciating run-time and a lot of cheap laughs.  Bridesmaids is okay, but there’s a better comedy lurking in this mess of a script.

Rating: 6 out of 10 (‘meh’)