Posts Tagged ‘Lucy Punch’

COTTAGE COUNTRY: 3 STARS “bridges the gap between the gore and the gags.”

Cottage-Country632 “Cottage Country” is a twist on your usual cottage in the woods movie. Typically in films like “Sleepaway Camp” or “The Hills Have Eyes,” groups of feral teens weekend at a remote cabin, only to find their mortality at the bottom at of a bottle of Jägermeister.

“Cottage Country” is different, at least for the first twenty minutes or so. There are no teens in sight. Instead we’re introduced to Todd (Tyler Labine) and Cammie (Malin Akerman), a tightly wound thritysomething couple on their way to his family’s cottage for a much needed week away.

The yuppie duo has big plans for the next seven days, including a well-thought-out proposal on a romantic island in the lake.

The first clue that isn’t a romantic comedy or a study in proper yuppie lust is Cammie’s prophetic line, “I have a feeling this is going to be our best trip to the cottage ever!”

Instead it’s the beginning of a nightmare trip that turns violent when Todd’s free spirited brother Salinger (Dan Petronijevic) and his morbid girlfriend Masha (Lucy Punch) show up unannounced.

You’ll have to buy a ticket to get the rest of the plot. I won’t spoil any of the surprises contained within beyond saying this turns from country idyll to a study in yuppie rage and duplicity. Prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure future happiness Todd and Cammie reveal their true colours—his lack of a backbone and her obsessive compulsion on following plans to the letter, no matter what the outcome.

Good performances from “Tucker and Dale vs Evil’s” Tyler Labine, “Watchman’s” Malin Akerman and Benjamin Ayres as an unusually observant party guest, help sell the movie’s transition from yuppie rom com to horror show. It’s a slow burn that bridges the gap between the gore (and gory ideas) and the gags.


Bad-Teacher-2011-bad-teacher-23846153-1800-1027In the new Cameron Diaz movie, “Bad Teacher,” she plays – you guessed it – a bad teacher! More concerned with hooking up with a wealthy co-worker (played by her real life ex Justin Timberlake) than with her students, she doesn’t make much of an effort to actually educate until she learns there’s a cash bonus for the teacher with the highest classroom grade average.

Diaz will never be the funny, fresh face she was in “There’s Something About Mary” and “The Mask,” and in “Bad Teacher” that’s a good thing. The very slight patina of age and experience in her manner adds some extra desperation to Elizabeth, who is pretty on the outside but ugly underneath.

It’s a daring character to build a comedy around, and luckily, as good as Diaz is, she is leading a well cast ensemble. English actress Lucy Punch (last seen over here in the Woody Allen film You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger) brings some off kilter energy to Amy, a tightly wound teacher uses cute sayings,–like “I have weapons of math destruction.”—to teach her class. Also strong are “The Office’s” Phyllis Smith, Justin Timberlake, who performs the year’s most uncomfortable sex scene, and Thomas Lennon, but the movie’s heart and soul belong to Jason Segal who brings a easy humor and a great deal of charm to the role of gym teacher Russell. His warmth is a nice, and needed counterbalance to Diaz’s caustic gold digger.

The supporting cast don’t exactly rescue this movie–it doesn’t need rescuing–but without them “Bad Teacher” wouldn’t be nearly as much fun. “Bridesmaids” is still the funniest movie of the summer, but it is heartening to see another female lead comedy score so well.