While recent animated blockbusters have aimed to viewers of all ages starting with fantastical concepts and breathtaking visuals but tackling complex emotional issues along the way Ice Age: Continental Drift is crafted especially for the wee ones — and it works. Venturing back to prehistoric times once again the fourth Ice Age film paints broad strokes on the theme of familial relationships throwing in plenty of physical comedy along the way. The movie isn't that far off from one of the many Land Before Time direct-to-video sequels: not particularly innovative or necessary but harmless thrilling fun for anyone with a sense of humor. Unless they have a particular distaste for wooly mammoths the kids will love it.
Ice Age: Continental Drift continues to snowball its cartoon roster bringing back the original film's trio (Ray Romano as Manny the Mammoth Denis Leary as Diego the Sabertooth Tiger and John Leguizamo as Sid the Sloth) new faces acquired over the course of the franchise (Queen Latifah as Manny's wife Ellie) and a handful of new characters to spice things up everyone from Nicki Minaj as Manny's daughter Steffie to Wanda Sykes as Sid's wily grandma. The whole gang is living a pleasant existence as a herd with Manny's biggest problem being playing overbearing dad to the rebellious daughter. Teen mammoths they always want to go out and play by the waterfall! Whippersnappers.
The main thrust of the film comes when Scratch the Rat (whose silent comedy routines in the vein of Tex Avery/WB cartoons continue to be the series highlight) accidentally cracks the singular continent Pangea into the world we know today. Manny Diego and Sid find themselves stranded on an iceberg once again forced on a road trip journey of survival. The rest of the herd embarks to meet them giving Steffie time to realize the true meaning of friendship with help from her mole pal Louis (Josh Gad).
The ham-handed lessons may drag for those who've passed Kindergarten but Ice Age: Continental Drift is a lot of fun when the main gang crosses paths with a group of villainous pirates. (Back then monkeys rabbits and seals were hitting the high seas together pillaging via boat-shaped icebergs. Obviously.) Quickly Ice Age becomes an old school pirate adventure complete with maritime navigation buried treasure and sword fights. Gut (Peter Dinklage) an evil ape with a deadly... fingernail leads the evil-doers who pose an entertaining threat for the familiar bunch. Jennifer Lopez pops by as Gut's second-in-command Shira the White Tiger and the film's two cats have a chase scene that should rouse even the most apathetic adults. Hearing Dinklage (of Game of Thrones fame) belt out a pirate shanty may be worth the price of admission alone.
With solid action (that doesn't need the 3D addition) cartoony animation and gags out the wazoo Ice Age: Continental Drift is entertainment to enjoy with the whole family. Revelatory? Not quite. Until we get a feature length silent film of Scratch's acorn pursuit we may never see a "classic" Ice Age film but Continental Drift keeps it together long enough to tell a simple story with delightful flare that should hold attention spans of any length. Massive amounts of sugar not even required.
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox]
Rob Schneider has small roles in most of his buddy Adam Sandler’s movies that inexplicably, and invariably, become blockbusters. Said movies are pretty much uniformly terrible (not including Punch Drunk Love and Funny People, which are entirely cut from a different cloth), crass, crude, easy, broad, occasionally vaguely racist, etc. Here’s where I’m going with this: Schneider’s new sitcom, ¡Rob!, makes any of those movies – even Jack and Jill – look like [insert your pick for the best movie of all time]. It is indeed SO lowbrow, SO altogether God-awful, it’s as though the Adam Sandler Movie Goons (aka the team of geniuses, including the Sand Man himself, responsible for conceiving and writing his “comedies”) farted out – or at least fart-noised out – the ¡Rob! idea and deemed it not worthy of exploring … and CBS came in and said, “We’ll give it a shot. Nobody seems to mind the borderline racism on 2 Broke Girls!”
In reality, the concept is Schneider’s, “loosely based on his whirlwind romance and marriage to Patricia Azarcoya Arce, a TV producer from Mexico," according to CBS. Schneider plays a "landscape architect" named, oddly enough, Rob, who in the first few minutes of the show has just married his ridiculously out-of-his-league girlfriend, Maggie (Claudia Bassols). What should be newlywed bliss turns into anxiety when Maggie says she wants to go tell her parents of the nuptials, in person. And there’s an even bigger problem: Maggie’s parents (Cheech Marin and Diana Maria Riva), and the rest of her family, are Mexican! Dun-dun-dun (or womp-womp-womp, as it were). Naturally, things don’t go well when Rob and Maggie meet the parents. It’s stuff we all go through, though: perpetuating broad racial stereotypes, winding up in a sexual position with a grandmother (Lupe Ontiveros). That’s right! True to Adam Sandlerian form, it doesn’t take long for the incredible hijinks to lead to Rob finding his way to “Abuelita’s” room, losing his pants, quasi-groping her from behind and getting caught by almost everyone. Comedy! The pilot episode is the equivalent of that gag, repeated between commercial breaks, punctuated by an attempt at tenderness to close the show. Which fails, but needless to say, is the best moment. Comic relief in the truest sense.
¡Rob! is a bad show on two levels: The writing is horrendous, and it is genuinely mildly offensive and racist. We’re not prudes – culture clash is great fodder for awkward, subtle humor; see Modern Family, for one – but there’s a right way to churn laughs out of this subject and a wrong way. Smarter comedians (Louis C.K. comes to mind) might reference specific examples of something funny that happened to them; ¡Rob! and its star/creator, on the other hand, are very content to rely on and resort to caricatures of the people at whom they’re trying to poke "good-natured" fun. I mean, the mere mention of the word “guacamole” sets off the howling laugh track – as do lines like “It feels like I’m at a Julio Iglesias concert” (on a side note, it’s amazing to think how much doesn't make it past the standards people, but that one? No problem.) and “These people – they’re all Mexican?”
Schneider, too, has less than zero appeal as a protagonist – which isn’t to say he’s deplorable, but there’s absolutely nothing compelling, as has always been the case. If forced at gunpoint to find a bright spot, Cheech Marin (oh, poor Cheech) would be it almost by default. It’s sad to see him playing such a character on such a show, but at least he seems to be giving it his all, elevating the worst lines imaginable to … something barely above that. There’s genuinely so very much sad about this show. It’s bad; really bad. Maybe even too bad to become CBS’ next hit sitcom.
The first batch of footage for the upcoming CBS sitcom Rob is here in the form of a featurette, which also includes interviews with the series' star/co-writer/resident Happy Madison feature fixture Rob Schneider, director Jamie Widdoes, and several of the cast members. The series plays on the traditional theme of clashing families, in the vein of Everybody Loves Raymond, Dharma and Greg, and many others.
Schneider plays the titular Rob, who impulsively marries Maggie (Claudia Bassols), a young, attractive Mexican-American woman with a colossal extensive family, none of whom care too much for Rob upon meeting him. Her parents (Cheech Marin and Diana Maria Riva) are especially displeased with him, which is only augmented after a "bad timing" interraction between Rob and Maggie's grandmother (Lupe Ontivero). Then there's Uncle Hector (Euginio Derbez), who is scheming to earn a permanent place in Maggie's parents' American home.
Rob premieres Thursday, Jan. 12 on CBS.
Source: AV Club
If there's anything that I never thought I'd see, it's Rob Schneider in a family comedy on CBS. Shouldn't he be off pretending to be a gigolo or some other squirrelly character? Or maybe even that token weirdo in every Adam Sandler movie? Schneider's great, but a family sitcom guy he is not. So, imagine my surprise when the news hit that CBS ordered 8 episodes of Scheider's multi-camera sitcom about a bachelor's transition to living with his new wife's tight-knit family for midseason.
The series, based on events in Schneider's own life, follows his character as he learns to adapt to his the traditions and togetherness of his new wife's Mexican-American family. The pilot was optioned for Fall, but failed to gain traction, so with a few casting changes -- including adding Cheech Marin as his father-in-law -- the show is back on the road. Its 8-episode pick up is a bit of a tentative order, but with good reason. The series could surprise us, or it could go the route of George Lopez's old sitcom and play off of broad Mexican-American stereotypes instead of just delving into our set of main characters' actual personalities. Hopefully, Schneider's got something a little different up his sleeves.
The untitled comedy joins the crime drama 2-2 in the midseason boat.