In just about every one of Kevin Hart's scenes in Ride Along, there's a joke that is just aching to find its way out of the diminutive, rascally comic actor. Hart is a small-scale physical comedian — of the same ilk as Jack Black — who puts nuclear-degree energy into his facial contortions, anatomical outbursts, and the delivery of every gag in general. If only he had material that was crafted with the same energy.
Unfortunately, nothing else about Ride Along seems at all "hard at work." Not the script, which pads a lifeless story with lazy comedy, and certainly not his screen partner Ice Cube, whose only stage direction seems to be "frown, and be taller than Kevin Hart." So lifeless is Ice Cube that even his machismo-obsessed straight man bit doesn't really work. Instead of the virile and intimidating "bad cop," he comes off as a disapproving middle aged dad without much to show for his own life.
But the script pairs the wily, overzealous high school security guard and video game junkie Ben (Hart) with no-nonsense lawman James (Ice Cube) on the titular ride along, with the scrappy cop-wannabe hoping to prove to the force veteran that he's good enough to marry the latter's younger sister. In earnest, he's not. Ben never puts any respectable effort into learning the tools of the trade, insisting on employing his amateur style and controlling the radio despite his proclamations that he wants, and deserves, James' trust. And James is no saint either — he's irresponsible on crime scenes, violent with perps, and disgruntled to the point of being unable to work with anybody else on the force. These are not good police officers... of course, you'll say, this is a comedy. But where are the laughs, then?
They're not absent entirely, you just have to look for them. In a movie so focused with big, broad humor, it's the smaller comedy that actually lands best. Hart's background mutterings and fumblings, his emoticon-laden texts to girlfriend Angela (Tika Sumpter, whose only stage direction seems to be "smile, and never wear a full outfit of clothing"), and a bizarre repetition of the word "weird" from supporting player John Leguizamo. All good for unexpected chuckles, while jokes like Hart facing off with a pre-teen or being blown backwards into a brick wall after firing a large gun are all lazy, familiar, and flat.
Structurally, the script is a mess. Ride Along spends far too much time on set up — we get it, Hart and his soon-to-be-brother-in-law Ice Cube don't get along — and far too much time on wrap-up — there's a gigantic, dramatic warehouse shootout that, in any other movie, would be the climax, but there's plenty more to go after that — without any cohesive middle to make the movie feel like... a movie.
The best player in the World for movie trailers, Hollywood interviews and movie clips.
Hart, who leaps at every comic opportunity like a kangaroo (wallaby would be more appropriate), is suited just right for a buddy cop comedy, but he needs something fresh with which to work — a real character, an interesting story, actually funny jokes. Even just one of these would be fine!
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com
When Hollywood.com sat down with the stars and creators of Workaholics about the show's newest batch of episodes, things got weird. It wasn't entirely unexpected, considering that's the unofficial motto of their Comedy Central sitcom about three slacker telemarketers.
There was a Daniel Day Lewis impression, a strange metaphor about sauce and noodles and nuggets, a cameo from Dog the Bounty Hunter, a shout out to Hot Lips from M*A*S*H — and that's just the stuff we cut out. But between all the weirdness, Adam DeVine, Blake Anderson, Anders Holm, and Kyle Newacheck had a lot of very thoughtful things to say about their hit comedy. Here's what you need to know about Workaholics season three, part two, premiering Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 10 p.m. on Comedy Central.
How weird will these episodes be?
Blake: The weirdest.
Adam: I'm done with weird. I'm saying strange.
Anders: Yeah, it's very strange. Home on the strange.
Blake: I haven't signed off on that yet, but I like it.
Kyle: We just started it but I'm on board.
Anders: I was done with weird anyways. I'm going with fantastic. 'Let's get fantastic! Let's get fantastic!'
Adam: It's my favorite season.
Blake: Weirdest season yet.
What are the jokes like?
Blake: They're fast and weird.
Anders: They're bottle rockets coming at you at lighting speed.
Adam: Strike that. Cannons. Canons are faster than rockets.
Will the episodes look different at all?
Adam: We're not changing much. If you like our show, you're going to continue to like our show. We're not trying to reinvent the wheel. Nobody's getting married, nobody's having kids.
Kyle: Nobody's got a girlfriend!
Adam: We still love how the show is. This is going to be 40 episodes — this next [batch of] 10 is going to make it 40 [total] — and that's not quite two seasons of a regular network show. We still feel like we have time to grow into those things and I'm sure we will down the line, but right now we're still having fun with these characters.
Blake: What's really weird, though, is if you didn't like the show and you start watching, you're going to really like it. If you already liked it, you're going to love it, but if you didn't like it, you're going to start liking it.
How is it more accessible?
Blake: We just got cuter.
Adam: What happened to me is I gained a little weight so I could be more accessible to people. They're not like 'Oh my god, he's like a male model comedian, yuck, ugh.' It's like 'Oh, he's a little squishy, He's like me. He's accessible.' And girls are like 'Look how cuddly he is, ' just want to cuddle up in his neck fat and go to sleep.'
Did you shoot these episodes at the same time as the first half of the season?
Adam: This year was pretty insane because we started Jan. 2, wrote 10, shot 10, took [time] off, wrote 10, shot 10, and then that was abut three weeks ago.
Kyle: And we do this for you guys. It isn't for us.
Blake: I would've liked to let my back heal.
Now that you have two more seasons, will you be taking more risks or making the story more serialized?
Adam: People don't want to have to know what happened the week before [in comedy]. With our show you just want to have 22 minutes that is fun and fast with a lot of jokes and laugh and a good story and that's it.
Have you considered giving them a different job?
Adam: Yeah, definitely. At the beginning we didn't know what we were going to do. Ders and I had done telemarketing before and thought that it was the worst dogs--t job you could have.
Anders: [I don't like] when shows get too involved in the job.
Adam: Yeah! You don't know what Murphy Brown did at the job.
Anders: She was a news anchor. It was all about the job. [Laughs]
Adam: [Laughs] Oh, I had no idea. I've actually never seen that show.
Anders: By the way, Candice Bergen can come on the show. She's still got it. She still looks great.
Who are your dream guest stars for seasons four and five?
Anders: Daniel Day Lewis. Jamie Foxx. Christoph Waltz. Leonardo DiCaprio. Paul Walker. Channing Tatum. And Tatum O'Neal.
Adam: We're trying to get anyone that hasn't done TV before. if you're a movie star and don't want to do TV or do comedy, we want you. Come on down. Just flop in the mud with us.
Workaholics airs Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. on Comedy Central.
Follow Jean on Twitter @hijean
[PHOTO CREDIT: Comedy Central]
'Workaholics' Seasons 4 and 5, 'Drunk History' Headed to Comedy Central
Comedy Central Roasts Roseanne Barr
Rebel Wilson and Adam DeVine Plan the Sexy Sequel to 'Pitch Perfect'
From Our Partners:
Craziest Celebrity Swimsuits (Celebuzz)
25 Risqué Miley Cyrus Stage Outfits (Celebuzz)
The magical R-rating is both a gift and a curse to Adam Sandler's signature brand of lowbrow humor. In That's My Boy the comedian returns to the dim-witted roots that made him a star in early outings like Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore (complete with high-pitched mushmouth accent) but with a ramped up "ew" factor. Unrestrained Sandler piles on as many expletives and gross-out scenarios as a two-hour movie can hold — and it works out quite well. With costar Samberg nailing the disgusted straight man role Sandler's penchant for acting like a fool is enhanced by the sick stylings of director Sean Anders (Sex Drive) and only occasionally teetering into truly offensive territory. Laughs aren't guaranteed but the movie provokes (which is a big step up from Jack and Jill).
Back in the '80s Donny had a secret relationship with his teacher Ms. McGarricle that resulted in a son Han Solo (he's a middle schooler what do you expect?). The torrid affair put McGarricle in jail Donny into celebrity tabloid spotlight and Han Solo in the hands of a tween father. Thirty years later everyone's screwed up: Donny (Adam Sandler) is a drunk on the brink of jail time for tax evasion McGarricle's still in jail and Han Solo (Andy Samberg) now "Todd " is a successful number-cruncher with severe social issues. On the weekend of Todd's wedding Donny reenters his life hoping to bring revive their relationship and reunite him with his mother — that is on camera so Donny can make $50 000 from a gossip TV show and stay out of the slammer. Posing as Todd's long-lost best friend Donny stirs up trouble becoming buddies with Todd's friends and family and acting like a imbecile.
The wedding setup is overdone but always prime for comedy: plenty for a numbskull to screw up logical progression (there's a wedding at the end!) and a bachelor party scene to squeeze in the most disgusting bits and have them make sense. That's My Boy makes the most of its conventions — including what we all know and expect from a Sandler comedy — by continually one-upping itself. After a night of heavy drinking at the local strip club/omelette bar that results in do-it-yourself ear piercing and robbing a convenience store with Vanilla Ice Todd returns home to expel the night's worth of drinking all over his fiancee's wedding dress. Then he makes love to the dress. Then his fiancee (Leighton Meester) wakes up to find the dress. Then it goes even further than one would care to imagine. Grossed out yet? Amazingly lower-than-low brow material is handled with clever timing and great delivery. It's just that the foundation is bodily fluids.
That's My Boy falters when it throws in gags that serve zero purpose to the story. Strange racist humor a mentally retarded bar patron played by Nick Swardson (a Sandler mainstay) random allusions to Todd Bridges' drug habits — barrel-scraping one-offs that have nothing to do with the movie. At two hours the movie needs slimming and the fat is apparent. Thankfully the main ensemble goes to great lengths to make the hard R comedy click with Sandler and Samberg playing well off each other (although Samberg doesn't have the making of a leading man after this movie) and SNL alums like Will Forte Rachel Dratch and Ana Gasteyer driving by to bring the funny. Even Vanilla Ice's extended cameo fits the anything-goes tone playing a version of himself that befriended Donny in his celebrity days. Now he works at an ice skating rink.
After a few lame ducks That's My Boy is a return to form for Sandler. It wavers in quality but it has energy and color. A cash-in this is not and for any Sandler fan with a stomach for hardcore bathroom humor it's a must-see.
The 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival is officially in full swing, with nearly everyone in Hollywood transported to the prestigious French fest for a week and a half of wheeling and dealing. Catch up on all the goings-on with Cannes Chatter.
The attendants of Cannes are set to get their very own screening of the recent James Bond/Skyfall trailer, with Bond Girl costar Berenice Marlohe on hand to unveil the teaser. Marlohe will present the new spot at the Cinema de la Plage outdoor screening of From Russia With Love, as part of the Cannes Classics programming honoring the 50th anniversary of the series. No word if shaken-but-not-stirred martinis will be poured out at the event. [MI6 News]
The biggest issue at this year's festival? The inclement weather. Rain and general disgustingness has been forcing screenings (like Gonzalo Tobal’s Villegas, which failed to play due to the Salle du Soixantième theater's leaky roof) and the general wheeling and dealing of the fest (“I just cancelled all of my meetings," a distributor told a Deadline reporter) to be put on hold. There's some luck: many of the big films, including Robert Pattinson's Cosmopolis, Kristen Stewart's On the Road and Brad Pitt's Killing Them Softly, won't play until later in the week, giving hungry filmgoers plenty of time to wait out the rain and catch great cinema. [Deadline]
The Weinstein Company, which continues to make headlines thanks to head honcho Harvey Weinstein's usual (and tactical) larger-than-life presence, paraded early looks at his 2012 releases for critics and media types. The presentation included the trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master (which we were blown away by earlier today), David O. Russell's The Silver Linings Playbook and the eagerly-anticipated Django Unchained from Quentin Tarantino. While none of the films were screening in full at the festival, Weinstein got the ball rolling on buzz for three sure-to-be-awards-contenders — and the calculated move worked like a charm. The footage wowed audiences, Django in particular. Tweeted reactions from to the slavery Western trailer ranged from "safe but solid" to "ridiculously fun" to Twitch's boiled down, "plenty of blood, plenty of laughs." When it comes to working the Cannes hype machine, Harvey is the true master. Did you hear about Sapphire, the next Artist? [Criticwire]
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
Tarantino's 'Django Unchained': First Poster — Inspired By Internet Artists?
Skyfall Trailer: What James Bond Learned from Harry Potter
Cannes Chatter: Kanye West to Debut 'Cruel' Short Film
[Photo Credit: Weinstein Company]
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
Carl Allen (Jim Carrey) is a drag -- a recent divorcee in a dead-end job who basically has one word for everything: “No!” Then one day he is dragged to one of those super positive self-help seminars that forces him to say “Yes” to everything or face dire consequences. Thing is it works. Need Viagra? Yes. Bungee jumping? Yes. A quick hummer by his over-sexed septuagenarian neighbor (Fionnula Flanagan)? Uh … yes? Carl’s newfound agreeable self gains him more than he ever imagined. He even finds the love of his life a kooky musician/amateur photographer named Allison (Zooey Deschanel). Of course all this goodwill does have its consequences and Carl learns some valuable lessons. Sound familiar? Hey if Liar Liar worked once why not go back to the comedy well? Jim Carrey is just his best when he’s in a comedy -- even quirky comedies such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. He is so at home in the shoes of this kind of loveable loser who gets to live life in broad strokes. He knows how to play for big laughs without going overboard. So from now on Jim just say NO to thrillers like The Number 23. In the top notch supporting cast Sasha Alexander is a deadpan standout as the Persian wife he orders online and veteran Terence Stamp is a hoot as the self-help guru who gets Carrey into his predicament in the first place. Also very amusing are his best buddies played by Bradley Cooper and a hilarious Danny Masterson. As his bonkers New Zealand-esque boss Flight of the Concord’s Rhys Darby is a riot as Carl's boss. Deschanel is kind of the “straight man” here but she’s handles it well if not memorably. Peyton Reed is a fairly reliable comedy director with mostly hits (Bring It On The Break-Up). He knows Yes Man exists as a vehicle for the Jim Carrey brand of comedy and lets Carrey hog the spotlight. The movie lives or dies on what Carrey can deliver and on that scale Yes Man is a hit. There are some bits that fall flat and might have been cut but for all its broad humor Reed manages to keep it grounded and in simple scenes between Carrey and Deschanel the movie even borders on sweet. In a season of dark drama on screen -- and off -- the antidote could well be this dumb but fun time killer. So is a little comic relief worth the $10 in the economic downturn? We say YES!