‘A Simple Favor’ is a lot of things, but I like it most because it’s cute. It’s visually stunning, the leading ladies are attractive, their outfits are characters by themselves, and the film leaves you with a nice warm feeling. Even as Emily and Stephanie (played deliciously by Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick) do bad things, the overall effect still feels like you are munching a macaroon, and maybe that is because of the French pop soundtrack. To call the film stylish would be an understatement – each frame feels like a pop art masterpiece.
The substance is more uneven. Based on Darcey Bell’s novel, the story plows through at a great pace, and some of the topsy-turvy twists and turns wheeze by before you can digest them, which made me feel like they were forced on me solely for gimmick. But it is saved by the dark humor here (disguised lightly) and by the flawless execution of the two actresses. Lively is great playing the wicked society girl with deadly panache, and Kendrick proves she is the MVP by giving menacing texture to her sweet and innocent mom vlogger. I vacillate between who is better. Right now as I write this I am leaning towards Kendrick, but I am sure after lunch it will be Lively. All in all, Paul Feig’s film is a treat, best consumed with a gi martini.
I wanted to see a movie that will take my mind off things, so I chose ‘Pitch perfect 3.’ I wanted something light, one that could probably make me laugh, and I know at the very least this film will have competent music. I have to confess I barely tolerated Part 2 of this, so you really have to think does Part 3 have any reason for existing.
As it turns out, ‘Pitch Perfect 3; is what it is – a last ditch chance on monetizing on something that has been already stretched to death. The hows and whys of this film surely does not even matter – it’s the whos that are most in lay here – most people who will see this already know The Bellas – and they nary care about plots or anything resembling a story at this point. I even think the song selections are so tires at this point, and is it just me or are there not as much in this installation. But whatever, I am not going to complain. I am just glad everyone will get their paychecks, and even though Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson seem half-asleep half the time, half of them still works.
‘Table 19’ is marketed as some kind of romantic comedy (look at the poster on the left) but it’s not. It’s a quarter f one, if that. What it is is a mess of a movie, and even though I love Anna Kendrick, she can’t save this sinking ship. Kendricks plays Eloise, who gets invited to a wedding and gets lumped into a table of people who are misfits – or as they explain it, people who they hoped would not come to the wedding. So yes, we are starting the movie off to a compassionate start. It does not go to a better place nether Eloise’s table mates not the other people int he wedding are people you would want to spend time with. About twenty minutes into the film, I wanted to run out screaming. June Squibb, Margo Martindale, and Lisa Kudrow are both great actors, but they are made to look foolish and worse, stupid, that I kind of felt sorry for them having to do this movie — surely they had better offers than to appear in this dreck? I am still lamenting the death of the great romantic comedy (I wouldn’t even put ‘La La Land in there) and I had some hope for this film, but alas, a huge disappointment.
I have always been a fan of Zac Efron, not because he is cute, and let’s face it, he is that, but I am also maybe one of the last few who still thinks he is a natural when it comes to acting. He used to alternate his commercial with some artistic choices, but lately we haven’t seen that, as he has forayed into a lot of frat-boy comedies. But we cannot deny he is the sweetest of guys. During the Olympics, we saw this when he surprised Shannon Biles, the breakthrough superstar of the games. She had confessed that she was an Efron superfan, so when he started winning those medals, the Today Show arranged for Efron to surprise her inio. It was the cutest thing.
Efron’s latest movie, ‘Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates’ is not nearly as cute – it’s one of those racy and raunchy comedies that make you squirm in your seats for laughing kind of comedy. He plays Dave, who with his brother Mike (Adam Devine) concocts a plan to get wedding dates for their sister’s wedding in Hawaii…and you know, hilarity ensues. This is normally not really my kind of movie. If not for Efron, i probably would have turned my nose up on this. But I do have to admit, I chuckled quite a few times while watching the film, even though I found a lot of the jokes offensive. But I give this film points for doing equal-opportunity offensiveness, so there’s that. And anything with Anna Kendrick can’t really be that bad. This film is good relaxing on a quiet night movie, and I doubt if anyone expected it to be anything otherwise.
I wasn’t in love with the first “Pitch Perfect,” but I know a lot of people were. Hence, a sequel. And i know it has been raking in money, so for better ot worse, I thought to myself I might as well see it. (There are also not that many choices out there, right now) I think it is interesting that this movie was directed by actress Elizabeth Banks, and I think giving the film a nice feminine touch would serve it well. (She does double duty as one of the commentators in the film) So the verdict? I don’t think it succeeds fully, but at the same time it’s pleasant, it’s entertaining enough, it didn’t annoy me so all in all not a total waste. So – meh. Let’s start with the good: Anna Kendrick can do no wrong, Brittany Snow is solid, and Rebel Wilson made me laugh a lot more times than I care to admit. I have seen that opening scene (where her character Fat Amy accidentally flashes the President) numerous times in the preview yet it still made me laugh. And her scene where she professes her love to Adam DaVine was genius, and has markings of musical comedy. (Can someone please give the two of them their own movie?) Still, the pacing is glacial, and more jokes fall flat than land.The addition of Hailee Steinfeld didn’t serve a purpose, and the film was overly long. I guess kids will have a lot of extra time this summer and they can do worse. So can you.