jason sudeikis

[Mega Movie Review] Catching Up on 2017

13886469_1267046413328617_7042198926381498825_nBusy time of year folks, so apologies to anyone who actually looks forward to my latest reviews. I didn’t want everything I’ve seen to fall by the wayside, so here are some brief thoughts on everything I’ve seen so far in 2017 but haven’t had time to sit down and put full write ups on. Sit back relax and “enjoy” some candid hot takes on these 2017 releases!

Kong: Skull Island – Come for the star studded cast then shove them aside for the awesome creature fights. Kong is visually impressive, but it lacks humanity in a pretty comical way. The characters very much feel like empty shells taking us from one place to another to be bait for the eventual breathtaking spectacle of the Kong fights. In spite of the lack of characters to hang your hat on this was still a pretty tremendous and crowd pleasing theater experience. Rating: B+

Gifted – Sort of let this one get lost in the shuffle. This is a very understated film. There was almost no marketing push and it just sort of appeared in theaters with little to no fanfare. If its still out there though, get out and see it. I could have used a little more closure for some of the relationships and perhaps a little more emotion out of Chris Evans’ character, but this has been the most affective dramas so far this year that also happens to have a pretty delightful sense of humor. Rating: A- (more…)


Movie Review: The Campaign (2012)


Two of the most recognized comedic actors working right now might seem like a dream come true for fans of each- but what about for people that have grown cold to their shtick? I rarely ever enjoy Will Ferrell and when I do it’s usually in small doses where as I’ve enjoyed most of what Zach Galifianakis has done even though most of his characters fail to differentiate much from role to role. Having the two of them in one movie seem like a potential volatile mix if you are on the fence and yet even with my doubts I had a feeling it could at least be good for a chuckle or two. To my surprise THE CAMPAIGN is not just a throwaway summer comedy and instead is often an uproarious R rated political comedy that embraces its absurdity and repetition, often to a fault.

Will Ferrell plays the very definition of a dirty bad boy politician, Cam Brady, who constantly says inappropriate things either behind closed doors or on a religious family’s answering machine and has an annoying familiar trope of a wife that only stays latched to his wagon as long as he’s successful then bails at any sign of trouble (the exact same thing befalls his character in TALLADEGA NIGHTS). Galifianakis once again plays an ambiguously gay screw up, Marty Huggins, with unflinching optimism (same type of character as in DUE DATE), but this time he’s also actually a devoted family man as well. Huggins is chosen by two sneering big money executives played by John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd to oppose Brady as Congressman so that they can then convince Huggins to approve a deal they have made to bring cheap Chinese labor into the country to quadruple profits of their company by cutting down dramatically on shipping and any number of other clichéd bad guy scheming. Huggins and Brady for the most part are unaware of the behind the scenes dealing as they focus on making each other’s lives as miserable as possible with a series of increasingly despicable pranks and bodily harm. Its dirty politics at its funniest and at its most stripped down basics.

Right off the bat the most refreshing thing about THE CAMPAIGN that I initially took out was how great it was that the trailers were vastly different from the final product. So many times I find myself being incredibly let down by comedies that show all the funniest parts in the trailer which then end up consequently being less funny on screen now that you’ve already seen it- unless taking the entire scene into context actually adds to the comedy. Here though not only are some of these scenes from the trailer funnier, they are also completely different from what you see in the trailer- that is to say that the actual lines of dialogue and jokes are different takes that end up being dirtier and funnier than they were in the trailer and certain items used are traded out for something entirely different (I’m referring to a scene in the trailer where Huggins shoots Brady in the leg with a crossbow). It made the film a little less predictable at least when it came to the gags that the two leads inflict upon each other- the overall events of the plot and the ending are all pretty cut and dry, which if not for the nasty back and forth between Ferrell and Galifianakis plus a select few of the supporting actors, this would have been much more of a just standard affair comedy if not a mediocre one.

I really like Ferrell in this movie, more so than Galifianakis which is completely flip flopped from how I went into the film. Ferrell tends to get on my nerves at times, but I like him best when he is at his most vulgar and this is about as vulgar as I’ve ever seen him which cracked me up almost every time his mouth opens. Galifianakis plays his role as he’s become accustomed to by just being mostly aloof and saying odd things here and there, while selling most of his comedy with his awkward body language and facial expressions. One supporting character that stole every scene he was in was Dylan McDermott as Huggins campaign manager Tim Wattley (which kept sending me into Seinfeld flashbacks every time they said his name)- as goofy as Ferrell and Galifianakis are McDermott adds that hilarious grimacing mean guy that you can’t help but smile as soon as he makes his entrance on screen and says something crazy or just stares angrily at the screen in the background while something somewhat heartfelt might be happening in the foreground. Aykroyd and Lithgow are pretty generic bad guy stereotypes that could have been played by almost anyone as is Jason Sudeikis as Brady’s campaign manager, although he does get in a few good lines here and there.

I do think the film has a pretty great cast in spite of the fact some have very little to do to add much to the comedy. There’s a great deal of mean spirited jokes that don’t quite fit with some of the over-the-top goofs on display- I mean how serious can you take a film where someone brutally punches a baby and later show the baby with a massive black eye. There are plenty of ridiculously fun jokes and sequences here that are laugh out loud funny that are hinted at in the trailer and handful that came as a surprise. The problems I had with some of the jokes is that there are at three if not more that get repeated several times throughout- there’s Brady punching something adorable that happens more than once, news montages that follow something horrible a candidate did and the fact that Ferrell’s character just can’t stand pugs. The first time each of these things happen is very funny, the second is chuckle worthy but for some when we get into the third time the repetition seems much more transparent as time filler and that the filmmakers ran out of ideas.

Still, even with an excess of repetition and rehashed character types THE CAMPAIGN is a hysterical political satire. The comedy does at times lean a little too much on the shock of excessively vulgar language to hammer home its laughs, but more often than not the set ups lend favorably to the excessive amount of expletives. THE CAMPAIGN marches out a hefty amount of familiar faces that at times I found distracting and given how weak some the characters are even left me feeling somewhat underwhelmed and disappointed at how great it really could have been. In end though, it may not be the be all end all of perfectly structured comedies of 2012, but it’s still a hell of a good time.

Rating: B

Movie Review: A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (2011)


It may just be me, but it appears that Jason Sudeikis is only being cast as characters that in some way shape or form have one clearly defined obsession- sex. Or maybe it’s just all filmmakers are unsubtly trying to point our gender’s habit of focusing or constantly thinking about the subject in some way shape or form. Either way Sudeikis has found himself cast more often than not as the character who is making sexually explicit jokes, innuendoes and seeking out deviant behavior as in GOING THE DISTANCE, HORRIBLE BOSSES AND HALL PASS. In A GOOD OLD FASHIONED ORGY he once again portrays that same type of character but with a very solid supporting cast which he has a lot of chemistry with it works a little better than it probably should this time around.

Sudeikis stars as Eric, just one of several friends whose group throws crazy Themed parties around the holiday at Eric’s dad’s vacation home. When Eric’s dad decides to sell the house Eric and his best friend McCrudden (Tyler Labine) come up with a theme that will undoubtedly be the perfect way to send off the years of crazy parties- an orgy. Eric pitches the idea to his friends- selling it as an intimate send off with their close group of friends only and not everyone is as thrilled about it as they are. After a while the theme is accepted by each of them and they spend time preparing everything they need for the party which they will throw on Labor Day weekend. Each of them have jitters before the party takes place as they struggle with the idea of introducing sex within their tight knit group of friends and the possible consequences it can carry.

The cast of A GOOD OLD FASHIONED ORGY is the strongest thing working in the film’s favor. Each person has a distinct and different personality and it adds to the interesting interactions between them especially when the big moment approaches. The biggest winner in the movie for me is Tyler Labine, who I easily recognized from his great turn in TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL but some might recognize from small parts in movies like ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO and more recently RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES- Labine also had a role in the TV series Reaper. Labine is probably the funniest character in the movie- often playing the bumbling sidekick of Sudeikis’ character and the butt of many jokes within the group. His character is the cliché loudmouth of the group often saying and doing things to be obnoxious or to rally everyone up and when he’s drunk he does all the cliché actions like streaking and skinny dipping. If not for Labine I’m not sure the film would have been as funny as it is and he does the character so well that it is much more endearing than annoying.

Characters aside, most of the other aspects in regards to the budding romance between Sudeikis and Leslie Bibb’s character and other side plots are mostly glanced over. There are character plot points for each which are often hinted at for a moment and then pushed aside just as quickly that they never have a chance to be established enough to care about that much. Other characters like the group’s married friends Will Forte and Lucy Punch are nothing more than comedic caricature’s that overreact and overact at select points in the film- the funniest being Forte’s expletive filled reaction right before he gets married to hearing the group will be throwing an orgy and weren’t going to invite him and his wife.

When I wasn’t laughing out loud at Labine’s antics I was usually only chuckling lightly at others contributions but when cast is bantering amongst each other the dynamic may not always result in uproarious laughter but is always interesting to watch. There are several scenes that result in some pretty satisfying comedy including Sudeikis and Labine doing research at an underground sex club and the finale where the group actually has to confront awkward feelings that surface at the worst of moments.

A GOOD OLD FASHIONED ORGY is a film that is half must watch raunchy comedy and half passable quirky romantic comedy. There are moments of laugh out loud lines and actions which are provided mostly by Tyler Labine or awkward situations the characters are put in. Separately only some of the characters have any interesting arcs, but scenes where all the cast is together are much more interesting and fun to watch. Overall, A GOOD OLD FASHIONED ORGY is an impulse rental that you might keep a few days passed its due date then buy down the road at a discounted price. It’s a film just funny enough to own, but there’s no real hurry to do so.

Movie Review: Horrible Bosses (2011)

If there is anything I could not be more sympathetic with, it’s having a horrible boss. I’ve had a few myself and I’ve sat and contemplated things I’d love to say to them that might be less polite than normal, but never how I would murder them. So while my thoughts don’t navigate to extreme crime, I think it’s pretty great fodder for comedy and HORRIBLE BOSSES executes it with side splitting precision. It’s not just the star studded cast, or over the top evil depicted from the bosses, it’s also the chemistry of the three disgruntled employees and their stupidity that had me in stitches until the final frame.

Meet Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day) and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis); they all have one problem in common, they have evil bosses. Nick’s boss, Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey), is a slave driving psycho that’s paranoid about his wife cheating on him so he makes Nick’s life a living hell. Dale’s boss, Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston), sexually harasses Dale on a regular basis and threatening his relationship with his fiancé. Kurt’s boss, Bobby Pellitt (Colin Farrell), just inherited his father’s business but being a cokehead he’s only interested in draining every ounce of profit from it and he hates Kurt. The trio decides their lives will only get better if their bosses were to disappear so they come up with a plan to murder each other’s boss in order to eliminate connection to the victim as well as motive. Even with the wisdom of Dean ‘MF’ Jones (Jaime Foxx) the group finds that killing their bosses is much more complicated than they anticipated.

If HORRIBLE BOSSES made me realize anything it’s that I am game for any movie that teams Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis together as a comedic duo. Jason Bateman is the perfect mixture of calm in the chaos of those two’s personalities to really make this cast one of the tops of the year. Charlie Day’s performance is calm at times and then completely crazy as things progress. Sudeikis plays a character that’s a mixture of his characters from GOING THE DISTANCE and HALL PASS and Bateman is snarky, calm and just as hilarious as the rest. Put all three together and the chemistry is frenetic but melds incredibly well together. Of the bosses, Spacey gets the most to do, then Aniston and Farrell gets the back hand. Spacey plays a jerk very well and when he progresses to crazy it gets pretty comical. Aniston and Farrell are in the background for quite a bit but they both have some very funny bits.

What makes HORRIBLE BOSSES work as a completely hilarious comedy is that even though some characters are evil and malicious and the others are aspiring murderers, everything is presented in over-the-top cartoonish ways. If the tone was more realistic I highly doubt this would anywhere near as laugh out loud funny; it would probably be more of a dark comedy if that’s the direction they took. It still has a feeling of dark comedy, but all of the characters are exaggerated to extreme lengths. The other key point is that even though the darker elements get a caricature work over they give Bateman, Day and Sudeikis’ characters realistic motives and establishing scenes where they realize the absurdity in talking about murdering your boss. It’s when they move passed hypothetical conversation and into practice that the over-the-top comedy kicks in.

As for the actual jokes and gags, most of the movie I found hysterical. There are dips in the action where the jokes don’t quite hit, but more often than not I was laughing in some fashion or another. One of the less subtle laughs for me is during a stakeout of Spacey’s house and Charlie Day is belting out The Ting Tings’ hit “That’s Not My Name” in the car while dancing and rocking the back of the car chair back and forth and playing Angry Birds. Bateman’s laughs come from his stone calm in the midst of Day and Sudeikis hitting each other and moments when most people would be blabbering incoherently. Sudeikis is the horny one of the bunch and a lot of his jokes come from his sexual conquests and jokes as well as his cultural/racial ignorance.

There are moments and jokes that seem out of place in a movie I found consistently funny all the way through. Some things are way over the top, but nothing that took me completely out of the film. HORRIBLE BOSSES embraces the outlandishness of its plot just like another hit comedy, THE HANGOVER, but has much less of the moments that made that film and its sequel slow down to a dull hush.

If you’re on the fence about seeing HORRIBLE BOSSES let me be the one that gives the gentle shove towards getting out and seeing it. An all star cast including a hilarious bit from Jaime Foxx, a plot that gets right to the point and a constant barrage of hilarious jokes and gags makes HORRIBLE BOSSES an exceptional R rated comedy. There are low points that are few and far between and the mixture of dark and outrageous humor might be a little much for some and may not push the envelope enough for others. One thing is certain, if you want a crazy comedy in the same vein as THE HANGOVER but hated the sequel, then HORRIBLE BOSSES should easily do the trick.

Movie Review: Hall Pass (2011)

Dick jokes, check. Boob jokes, check. Immature sexual humor, check. Embarrassing pick up lines, check. A huge lumbering black penis that lingers a little too close to your face, check. No, this isn’t a normal night of a sorority girl at a wild frat party, its business as usual for the Farrelly brothers. When the film is over and the Farrelly’s names show up on screen it’s not a huge surprise even if you didn’t know they directed the film because the style of comedy is very similar to their previous comedies like ME MYSELF & IRENE and THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY. However, HALL PASS has one secret weapon that those films didn’t have, Jason Sudeikis. Sudeikis easily makes this film funnier than it had any right to be, largely due to the way he delivers his lines and facial expressions. HALL PASS is about as mature as a horny junior high kid snickering at the word penis in his sex education class, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t get a lot of great laughs out of it.

Maggie (Jenna Fischer) and Rick (Owen Wilson) are a typical married couple with three kids. Maggie has become very concerned about Rick’s obsession with sex and his non subtle ways of checking out other women in front of her. She’s presented with an idea that if you give your significant other the freedom to pursue his urges he will get it out of his system and realize how happy he is with his wife, thus strengthening the relationship. Rick and his buddy Fred (Jason Sudeikis) are both given a week free from their marriage while their wives are out of town, free to get into tons of wild and hilarious shenanigans.

The biggest draw to HALL PASS is Jason Sudeikis, plain and simple. Aside from all the sight gags and over the top physical comedy, Sudeikis just has some great comedic chops. I honestly believe that he can turn even the worst script into something we can all get a big laugh at. Owen Wilson on the other hand, with the goofy hair style and fashion sense looks old, tired and boring. Wilson is given a few funny lines here and there, otherwise I found him painfully unfunny throughout the film. Christina Applegate and Jenna Fischer also have a few moments to shine but are far from being the focus of the comedy. I will say though, that if full frontal male nudity shown on screen for uncomfortable amounts of time makes you uncomfortable and will make or break your enjoyment I strongly suggest passing on this one. No spoiler alert though since the scene in no way propels the story forward, but if that spoils the movie for you, please accept my deepest apologies.

There are really other aspects of the film you can get into an in depth discussion over. There is definitely a reliance on sight gags to illicit laughs throughout the film, I don’t want to spoil too many of them cause not knowing they are coming is what will make them funny. HALL PASS is another one of those comedies that has no intention of changing your life in any profound way, but it has a level of sincerity and heart, in a passing glance kind of way.

HALL PASS is the perfect movie to watch in a crowded theater with a bunch of people looking to have a good time. It’s full of off the wall comedy, tasteless sex jokes, gross sight gags and drunken hijinx which always add up to a fun night for an audience that knows that’s what they want. It’s a film about middle age couples stuck in a rut, which might even find an audience that can relate to similar marital troubles, but HALL PASS looks at these issues from a very skewed and unrealistic point of view.

My biggest complaint that I just can’t get around is Owen Wilson. As I mentioned before he has a couple of good lines, but overall he’s just very stiff and boring. In WEDDING CRASHERS he was funny and energetic but his performance here, even for raunchy R rated comedy standards is uninspired. Anyone else could have been cast in this role and it would have been much more fun. I can’t say enough good things about Sudeikis though; he’s very close to being one of my favorite comedic actors working today. He pulls off a great mix of charm and junior high immaturity and his involvement is worth the price of admission.

Overall, HALL PASS scoots by on the sex deprived shoulders of Jason Sudeikis and the signature Farrelly brothers’ over the top comedy. There is a faint glimpse of heart behind the insanity, but it’s buried by layers upon layers of expelled bodily fluids, penis shots, boobs, infidelity, psycho DJ’s, drug laced brownies and massage parlor happy endings. If you like the Farrelly brothers then in all likelihood you’ll love HALL PASS, and if they accomplish one thing from this, it’s that ‘fake chow’ will be used pretty liberally among male friends for years to come.


Movie Review: Going The Distance (2010)

Judging a book by its cover isn’t just a phrase, it’s a practice; the same goes for judging a film by its trailer. Nearly everything about GOING THE DISTANCE screamed crappy rom com, the trailer, the poster, the premise and even the leads. So the two main truths I realized after the film are: maybe I don’t hate Justin Long and that Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day should be cast as everyone’s two best friends in every movie from here on out.

Garrett (Justin Long) meets Erin (Drew Barrymore) the same night his girlfriend at the time dumped him. Erin is a newspaper intern only in New York for a brief time before she heads back to Stanford to finish her degree. Garrett works for a record label scouting new talent. The two hit it off and when it comes time for Erin to head back to California the two agree to try and make their relationship work despite the distance. The space starts to take its toll as they both struggle to find permanent jobs in the other’s respective city but still remain determined to try and make the relationship survive.

The biggest revolution throughout the movie was that I sat through almost an hour and forty-five minutes of Justin Long and Drew Barrymore and didn’t get the urge to either fall asleep or hit my head against the wall to induce a coma. That might sound a little harsh, but the combination of Long and Barrymore have starred in several movies that I just didn’t like, and nearly ruin movies I do like that they are in. There are moments that I felt I was getting tired of them and just wanted more scenes of Garrett’s two best friends Box (Jason Sudeikis) and Dan (Charlie Day). Christina Applegate and Jim Gaffigan also give the film a lot of its big laughs so they can’t be left out either.

What separates this from all the other sappy unfunny romantic comedies is the abundance of f-bombs and raunchy sex jokes/situations. GOING THE DISTANCE is kind of like the slutty younger sister to other prudish rom coms. The film doesn’t come to an end without its flaws, mainly in its pacing as it heads towards the finish line and an ending that embodies nearly everything that’s wrong with bad romantic comedies.

GOING THE DISTANCE is a date movie that guys can enjoy without hiding their face in shame. It has plenty of raunchy humor to go around but at times comes dangerously close to imploding on itself and sabotaging all the good it had worked towards. The cast is funny and charming and the chemistry between the leads is believable as is the presentation of the long distance relationship. So if the significant other approaches you with this for your next date night have no fear, there are plenty of guilt free laughs to be had.