A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at the law and disorder comedy “Super Troopers 2,” the new Amy Schumer movie “I Feel Pretty,” the mother-and-son-and-a-trailer movie “Mobile Homes.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Merella Fernandez to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the cop comedy “Super Troopers 2,” the new Amy Schumer movie “I Feel Pretty,” the mother-and-son-and-a-trailer movie “Mobile Homes” and the drone romance “Eye on Juliet.”
From Fred Flintstone to Gilligan to Tarzan, many television and movie characters have had their personalities changed by a bonk to the head. It’s a comedy trope as old as time, resurrected for the new lumpy headed Amy Schumer film “I Feel Pretty.”
Schumer is Renee, a young woman consumed with feelings of insecurity. ”I’ve always wondered,” she says, “ what it would feel like to be undeniably pretty.” She works in IT for a cosmetics company far across town from their glamorous fifth Avenue headquarters, office to Renée’s idol, her boss Avery LeClaire (Michelle Williams). Stung by a salesperson’s coded suggestion that she is too large to be shopping in store—“You could probably find your size on line.”—she spins away the blues at a SoulCycle class. “No matter how often we hear, ‘It’s what’s on the inside that matters,’” she says, “women know that it is what’s on the outside the whole world judges.” While her spin instructor chants, “Change your mind, change your body,” Renee takes a tumble, smashing her head against a stationary bike and is transformed. “Oh my God! I look beautiful.” The bump on the head fills her with the kind of self-esteem she has been missing, setting her free to live the life she has always dreamed of. “I get it,” she says, “modelling is an option for me, but it is just not me.”
Change-your-life movies like “Big” work because there is not only transitional hocus pocus but heart and soul as well. “I Feel Pretty” has plenty of sentiment and tries like hell to wring a tear or two out of weary eyes in its uplifting finale but ultimately it’s a sitcom stretched to feature length. It’s a movie about a woman who briefly gets what she wants only to discover (THE MILDEST OF SPOILERS) she always had it.
Despite hot button messages about anti-bullying, body positivity and “What if we never lost our little girl confidence” sentiments, the film is one joke driven into the ground, topped by the inevitable platitude, “Renée, I’ve always seen you.” Despite the good intentions the movie’s central gag, that Renée can’t be happy with herself until she sees a thin version of herself staring back at her in the mirror, feels tone deaf. The movie touches on issues of body image and Renée does eventually come around to the idea that loving one’s self isn’t about how you look but the idea of a movie star, with all the frills of Western beauty standards, complaining about the way she looks is a tough premise to pull off.
“I Feel Pretty” may have worked better if it was funnier or if Renée didn’t have to suffer a head wound to feel good about herself or if post bonk Renée wasn’t completely clueless and oblivious. Schumer has made a name for herself essaying this kind of material in her stand-up but on stage her underlying self-confidence comes through as strength, not arrogance. In the film it comes off as crass.
On the upside Michele Williams, who almost never does comedy, shines as the kitten voiced CEO.
“I Feel Pretty” is well intentioned. The “embrace yourself” message is ultimately a good one. Too bad the film has such a strange way of expressing it.
A new(ish) feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at “Snatched” with Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn, “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”and the sniper flick “The Wall.”
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies, “Snatched” with Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn, “Bon Cop, Bad Cop 2” with Patrick Huard and Colm Feore, “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”and the sniper flick “The Wall.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, “Snatched” with Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn, “Bon Cop, Bad Cop 2” with Patrick Huard and Colm Feore, “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”and the sniper flick “The Wall.”
“Snatched” is a mother and daughter comedy. Sounds wholesome, right? Mom and daughter on holiday, but add in kidnapping, sex trafficking and manual tapeworm extraction and you have a raunchy comedy that plays like a cross between “Taken” and “Steel Magnolias.”
Amy Schumer is Emily Middleton, a sales clerk with no filter who over-shares with customers. On the eve of an Ecuadorian vacation her musician boyfriend (Randall Park) dumps her, leaving her with two plane tickets and a South American hotel with a king sized bed. Rather than cancel the trip Emily asks her divorced, retiree mother Linda (Goldie Hawn) to come along for the ride.
“Pack your bags,” Emily says, “we’re going to South America.”
“Everybody knows you need two years to plan a vacation,” says her cautious mom.
Linda is a worrywart, as uptight as Emily is free spirited. She’s the kind of person who triple locks her suburban doors and checks websites for nearby sex offenders.
To convince mom to come along for the ride Emily pulls the one card her mother can’t refuse. “The trip is non-refundable.”
In Ecuador Emily meets James (Tom Bateman), a handsome English man who sweeps her off her feet. On a day trip he convinces Emily and Linda to take the scenic route back to the hotel only to stand by as the women are abducted. Their captor is Morgado (Óscar Jaenada), a notorious gangster who holds them for $100,000 ransom. One daring escape later they are off on their own in the Columbian jungle, trying to make it to the American consulate in Bogotá. On their trip they are aided by Roger Simmons (Christopher Meloni), an explorer who seems to have just stepped out of a 1950 adventure film and two friends from the resort, Ruth (Wanda Sykes) and Barb (Joan Cusack).
Back home Jeffrey Middleton (Ike Barinholtz), Linda’s agoraphobic son convinces a reluctant State Department official (Bashir Salahuddin) to get involved.
At its dirty little heart “Snatched” is a movie about the importance of family, specifically the bond between mother and daughter but it’s not all sweetness and light. The film is inhabited by comic creations that are grounded enough to prevent the movie from careening into farce, but not so grounded that they can’t surprise us.
In her first movie role in fifteen years Hawn reminds us of what a gifted comedienne she is, spouting lines like, “I tell you when dad left I thought I’d never have sex again… and I was right,” with pitch perfect comic timing.
Schumer’s self-depreciating humour—“The sex traders want beautiful women. Your poufy faces will protect you.”—is relatable but it is her more subtle character work that really shines here. Little things, like the way she tries to take the perfect selfie, tell us everything we need to know about the self-indulgent Emily without a line of dialogue.
Sykes, Cusack, Barinholtz and Meloni all bring the funny in a series of off kilter cameos.
“Snatched” isn’t exactly a laugh-a-minute, it’s more a giggle followed by a laugh every few minutes but director Jonathan Levine (“Warm Bodies,” “The Night Before” and “50/50”) has a good grasp of the humour, action and mushy stuff, finding a pleasing balance between all three.
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies, “Get Out,” the most original horror film to come down the road in some time, the melodramatic romance “A United Kingdom,” the zombie flick “The Girl with All the Gifts,” and the documentaries “I Am Not Your Negro” and “Dying Laughing. They also do some Oscar predictions!
You may not actually die laughing from watching the new talking head documentary “Dying Laughing” but you will get a closer look into the psyche of the people who stand on stages to make us laugh.
The premise is simple. Directors Paul Toogood and Lloyd Stanton have assembled a who’s who of comedians—Chris Rock, Kevin Hart, Jerry Seinfeld, Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, Billy Connelly and Garry Shandling to name just a fraction of the faces represented here—to discuss what it is like to be a comic. One after the other, in front of a white screen, they tell the kind of stories about being on the road, about bombing and how to deal with hecklers that you imagine comics only share with one another in seedy hotel rooms and backstage at gigs.
Occasionally revealing—being a comedian is “too painful and difficult if it isn’t a calling,” says Shandling while Seinfeld clarifies that it isn’t audience approval he wants but audience sublimation—occasionally funny, it is more often than not occasionally repetitive. In story after story the details change—Connelly was once punched in the face in the middle of a set!—but the gist remains the same. “You’ve got to die to get good.” “The more pain you go through the better you’ll be.” Sometimes the language is quite colourful—“Bombing feels like being slapped by your dad at a BBQ.”—but it does go on longer than it should.
Judging by the off camera laughter during the interview segments this was a fun film to make. Too bad it isn’t quite as much fun to watch. A judicious editor, perhaps one a little less in love with the material probably could have cut this down to the bone, mining the interviews for new insight.