Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Adult's Only 60 Second Film Reviews #2

Quick movie reviews, without the waffle. 60 Second Film Reviews is a regular feature where I compile together brief reviews of recent films I've watched at home or at the movies - and generally couldn't be arsed didn't find time to write a proper review for.

This month, we have a special 'adults only' edition, including reviews for Fifty Shades of Grey, The Wedding Ringer and The Change-Up.

Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)

Based on the diabolically-written and inexplicably popular novel by E.L James, Fifty Shades of Grey stars Dakota Johnson and Jaime Dornan. Although I'm sure you don't need me to go through a synopsis for this film, such was its inescapable nature this February, I'll be brief just in case you somehow (luckily) missed it.

Fifty Shades of Grey sees Johnson play Anastasia Steele, a naive college student who forms a dominant/submissive sexual relationship with mysterious billionaire, Christian Grey (Dornan). It explores taboos such as control, sexual boundaries and attraction - or at least, it hopes to explore these. In truth, it struggles to achieve any of this owing to its wooden script and stilted dialogue - I know, these criticisms aren't anything you haven't heard before, but it really is pathetic.

But seriously, the dialogue and 'chemistry' (or lack thereof) in this film is woeful. For example, when Ana is quizzing Christian about his, ahem, tastes, he replies with, "This is the only sort of relationship I have - it's the way I am". Oooh, how complex and scintillating. Please, tell me more.

Dornan brings as much life to the role as a week-old corpse, all stiff and cold rather than enigmatic and compelling. On the other hand, Johnson, bless her little heart, does her best to resuscitate her costar by actually bringing some degree of depth to her character. Credit where credit is due, she doesn't leave much to the imagination and really puts herself out there.

Enough about that though - what about the stuff we all came for? Well, there's actually very little here to get you hot under the collar. Not only does it comprise a small fraction of the two hour runtime, but we're left sitting through dull setup for a good 40 minutes. The direction is okay, in the same way a music video fades and cuts to make something 'sexy'.

At the end of the day, Fifty Shades of Grey squirms to a limp, flaccid end that leaves you feeling wholly unsatisfied. I feel truly sorry for both Dakota Johnson (who deserves better) and whomever sat through this ugly and stale abomination and thought, "y'know, that actually wasn't too bad!"

I give Fifty Shades of Grey: 2.5/10

The Wedding Ringer (2015)

The Wedding Ringer is an R-rated comedy starring Kevin Hart, Josh Gad and Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting. It sees Gad play Doug, a loner who is marrying Gretchen (Cuoco-Sweeting), a girl who is miles out his league. Doug is really struggling to find a best man for the big day, so he hires the services of Jimmy, a professional best man for hire to fill the void. What follows is a week of awkward family encounters where Doug and Jimmy struggle to convince Gretchen and her family that their friendship is genuine whilst discovering the 'true meaning of friendship' along the way.

The Wedding Ringer is a lot like Meet the Parents, but for bromances rather than romances. A lot of the jokes revolve around Hart staring at Gad, rolling his eyes and exclaiming "fuckin' white people!". That, and gay rape jokes. Oh, and there's a scene where a bachelor party culminates in a scenario involving peanut butter, handcuffs and a very hungry dog. Yeah, that's where the humour is at here. That being said, the final line of dialogue from Hugo Reyes Jorge Garcia? Brilliant.

For the most part, The Wedding Ringer just spins its wheels - there are whole sequences that literally add nothing to the plot - a game of football between Doug's groomsman and his father-in-law's friends serves no purpose other than to see a dozen men yell, shout and get muddy. Just when the story is getting sort of interesting, the film diverts to his distraction for a solid ten minutes for no reason whatsoever.

Hart is easily the best part of this film and his infectious blend of racial humour and silliness is enough to carry the film through the weaker areas. Gad (I can't get past his stupid Olaf voice) is fairly unremarkable in the lead whilst Cuoco-Sweeting essentially plays a bitchier, less endearing version of Penny from The Big Bang Theory.

Olivia Thirlby also appears as Gretchen's sister Alison. She's great, but there's a fatal problem with her character - she's just not in it enough. In fact, she'd have suited Cuoco's role much better than Cuoco did.

Look, I'm not going to recommend The Wedding Ringer, but I would say it's worth checking out if it's a rainy Sunday afternoon, you're hungover and feeling fairly lazy with the Netflix choices.

I give The Wedding Ringer: 5/10

The Change-Up (2011)

Another day, another utterly banal Jason Bateman comedy. I don't know why I keep putting myself through these...

Okay, so The Change-Up came out a few years back and is one of the those body-swap films that are somehow so popular they're their own subgenre now? Anyway, it's a premise that has been done to death (hell, even Community couldn't make it feel funny) and this film doesn't do anything to prove otherwise.

The story revolves around a family man (Bateman) and a playboy (Reynolds) each wishing they had the others life. One night, whilst peeing in a fountain (as you do), their wish is granted and they wake up the next day having swapped bodies. What ensues, you'd hope, is all manner of raucous antics and naughty escapades.

Err, not quite. Sure, The Change-Up does have some raunch behind it, as Reynolds' character likes to play it fast and loose with the ladies, but there really aren't enough genuine laughs to support it. I found that most of the jokes were that really generic flavour of crude bro-humour. Olivia Wilde drops by as Bateman's hot co-worker (you can see where this is going) as things get all sorts of complicated when the guys switch bodies and can't figure how to hit on her.

Anyway, there were a few noteworthy chuckles here and there but I'm not going to be thinking back on this one with fondness any time soon. It's even a stretch for die-hard fans of the duo.

I give The Change-Up: 3/10


  1. Ouch, these grades. lol I've only seen the Change Up out of these and I absolutely hated it. No desire to see the other two. Great write up!

    1. Yeah, not a lot of positives from any of these haha. Thanks for commenting Brittani :)

  2. "Fifty Shades of Grey squirms to a limp, flaccid end"

    Best description of the film I've read so far!

    1. Thanks Fisti! :) If you've seen it, you'll know what I mean ;)



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