Will Ferrell

Film Review: Zoolander 2

by Gordon Elgart on February 12, 2016

Yet another piece of evidence that comedy sequels don’t work.

Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson tell it like it is in Zoolander 2.

Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson telling it like it is in Zoolander 2.

Zoolander 2 (also seen in some advertising as 2oolander or Zoolander No. 2) starts with an exciting chase scene. Some mysterious figures on motorcycles are chasing a man in a hooded sweatshirt. They catch up to him in an alleyway, and riddle him with bullets. As he takes bullet after bullet in a shot that continues for 10-15 seconds, the audience goes from laughter to applause. Why? Because it’s Justin Bieber. That’s the comedic currency of this entire movie: celebrity cameos as punch lines.

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Film Review: Daddy’s Home

by Carrie Kahn on December 25, 2015

You won’t want to go home to this Daddy

Brad (Will Ferrell, left) tries to find common ground with Dusty (Mark Wahlberg, r.), his wife’s ex-husband and the father of Brad’s step-children.

Back in 2010, Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg starred in a middling buddy cop movie called The Other Guys, which at least had the benefit of being directed by Adam McKay, who directed Ferrell in the well-received Anchorman movies, and is currently garnering deserved praise for the very smart and very funny The Big Short. McKay’s early, relatively innocuous effort pairing Ferrell and Wahlberg, however, looks like the Hamlet of movie comedies compared to the newest film featuring the duo, a lazy, paint-by-numbers, dispiriting picture called Daddy’s Home.

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A variety show on acid: Imperfect but fun documentary considers Saturday Night Live

The official movie poster for Bao Nguyen’s new documentary.

In 1975, a new variety show premiered on NBC that was unlike anything that had come before it; it was, according to Laraine Newman, one of the show’s original cast members, a cross between 60 Minutes and Monty Python. Despite its ups and downs, after 40 years on the air, Saturday Night Live (or SNL, as it’s more commonly known in the pop culture lexicon), shows no sign of slowing down, and continues to both reflect and influence American culture. Director Bao Nguyen’s new film, Live from New York!, which takes its title from the show’s opening introduction, explores the history and impact of the storied comedy program in a documentary that is both highly entertaining and slightly frustrating.

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Everything about this movie is awesome.

Cast of colorful characters, assemble!

Cast of colorful characters, assemble!

When I first learned of a LEGO movie, I was cautiously optimistic.  I was raised on LEGO.  I still vividly remember setting up Robin Hood-esque forest fortresses, flag-covered castles, and farming villages (yes, the medieval times was my go-to theme).  The instructions that came with each box provided the groundwork for my imagination to later run wild.  The idea of a LEGO feature film confused me, since I couldn’t conceive of a plot worthy of the great expanse of LEGO wonder.  But then I saw the trailer, and it seemed to click.  In a brilliant maneuver, LEGO and the filmmakers have included it all – legos from across “universes” and time periods – into a charming underdog story with a genuinely heartfelt message.  The Lego Movie succeeds in its perfect execution of jam-packed jokes, self-referential humor, pop culture teases, talented voice acting, frenetic action that borders on being chaotic, and jaw-dropping animation.  So yeah, it succeeds all over the place.

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Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in The Internship

Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in The Internship

(NOTE:  I worked at Google for a number of years.  Let us just say that I may be slightly biased…but I can also shed some light on accuracies and inaccuracies depicted in The Internship about life at Google.)

In a performance review, The Internship would meet expectations.  It is a silly film with a few laugh-out-loud moments and many more moments that miss the mark.  We have seen this story before —  a group of underdogs learn to work together and discover real value in themselves that helps them fight against the odds.  It crosses every stereotype and dots every cliché.  The Internship borrows elements from fish out of water stories, bromance plots, and sappy inspirational tales.  Such a concoction of non-surprises fit into a one-note joke of a movie would be forgivable if it were actually hilarious.  Unfortunately, it is not.  However, if you are a fan of Vince Vaughn’s motor mouth, you will have a good time.  If you work in the tech industry, you will find the film highly amusing.  But most importantly, if you don’t expect much, you will be decently rewarded.

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Will Ferrell in EVERYTHING MUST GO

starring: Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Laura Dern, Michael Peña, Stephen Root, Glenn Howerton, Christopher Jordan Wallace

written by: Dan Rush (screenplay), Raymond Carver (short story)

directed by: Dan Rush

MPAA: Rated R for language and some sexual content.

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