Posts Tagged ‘Mean Girls’

THINK LIKE A MAN TOO: 3 STARS. “more Hart than actual heart”

1393878315000-XXX-THINK-LIKE-MAN-TOO-MOV-jy-1077The idea of turning self-help books into movies isn’t new. Fifty years ago Helen Gurley Brown’s guidebook “Sex and the Single Girl,” which featured advice on “How to be Sexy,” among other useful tips, was made into a film starring Natalie Wood and “Mean Girls” was an adaptation of the high school survival manual “Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughters Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence.”

So the idea of the 2012 farce “Think Like a Man” based on Steve Harvey’s best-selling book, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man,” wasn’t a stretch.

But now a sequel? The question is: How do you conjure a second story out of a book with no plot? Set it in Vegas and let Kevin Hart do all the heavy lifting.

The idea of Harvey’s tome is to give women an inside look into the workings of the male psyche and take control of their relationships. It’s typical battle of the sexes stuff and on film they play it for laughs.

The four couples from the original movie— Maya and Zeke (Meagan Good and Romany Malco), Dominic and Lauren (Michael Ealy and Taraji P. Henson), Jeremy and Kristen (Jerry Ferrara and Gabrielle Union) and Tish and Bennett (Wendi McLendon-Covey and Gary Owen)—plus the almost single Cedric (Kevin Hart) reunite in Las Vegas—“The number one destination in the world for people who do the craziest thing… get married.”—for “Think Like A Man Too.”

They’ve gathered for the wedding of Candace (Regina Hall) and Michael (Terrence Jenkins) but you know as soon as someone says, “I’m going to give you the perfect wedding… nothing is going to go wrong,” that, of course, everything is going to go wrong. The romantic getaway is jeopardized when the bachelorette and bachelor parties spin out of control.

“Think Like a Man Too” plays like a tamer version of “The Hangover.” There’s even a cameo from a world champion boxer but “TLAMT” doesn’t have the cynical edge of the Bradley Cooper movie. Instead, it plays it safe, making Sin City look like a wild but not terribly dangerous place to get married. All the usual Vegas clichés are well represented, from the gambling montage to the glaring neon lights to flaming cocktails to skimpy bikini-clad women to male strippers. What happens in Vegas also happens in the movies… quite often. The only thing missing is an Elvis impersonator or two.

Director Tim Story moves the story—what there is of it—along faster than a spinning roulette wheel. Montages and music video interludes keep the pace up, disguising the fact that there isn’t much going on. The story is thin, despite the multiple storylines crisscrossing throughout.

Kevin Hart seems to be trying to singlehandedly make up for a dearth of story by pulling out all the stops. No pratfall or face pull is beyond him. He even recreates Tom Cruise’s “Risky Business” underwear dance. His hyperactive performance stands in stark contrast to the more laid back work from his co-stars, but it does add a splash of life to every scene he’s in. Only his enthusiastic reading of a line like, “I’m sick of this non-tourage,” could pull laughs from some of this material.

“Think Like a Man Too” is a thin story bolstered by a few laughs (courtesy of Hart) and good-looking people navigating the choppy waters of modern romance. The advice contained within has more Hart than actual heart and is unlikely to provide much self-help, but has the same kind of bland appeal as its predecessor.

Rachel McAdams’ strange history with time travel movies. Metro October 30, 2013

abouttime_2661819bWhen British author H.G. Wells created the term “time machine” way back in 1895, he could never have imagined the lasting impact his ideas of fourth dimension travel would have on the career of Rachel McAdams.

His book, The Time Machine, has been filmed twice for the big screen, but the ideas of shifting ripples of time have also inspired three very different movies starring the London, Ont., born actress.

This weekend she co-stars with Domhnall Gleeson and Bill Nighy in About Time as the present day girlfriend of a 21-year-old who uses his ability to switch time zones to learn information to woo her.

“I know I have a little bit of time travel in my past but this is different,” McAdams says. “The element of time travel thrown in was unique and quirky and dealt with lightly.”

Previously the Mean Girls star appeared as Clare Abshire in The Time Traveler’s Wife, starring opposite Eric Bana playing a Chicago librarian with a genetic disorder known as Chrono-Displacement that causes him to involuntarily travel through time.

From the outset their relationship is a strange one. When they first meet she has known him since she was six years old, but because his syndrome flips him to random times in his life on an ever shifting timeline he is always meeting her for the first time. Confused? Not as confused as Clare, who tries to build a life with Henry even though his ailment keeps them apart.

Based on a best-selling novel, it’s a three-hankie story about love with no boundaries and how romance can transcend everything, even death.

In Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris it’s Owen Wilson who jumps through time — finding himself transported back to 1920s Paris and hanging with F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston and Alison Pill), seeing Cole Porter sing at a party, drinking with Hemmingway — while McAdams stays put, bringing him back to reality, as his irritating present-day fiancée Inez.

But what about actual time travel? When she was asked by AOL if there was anything she would go back in time and change in real life, McAdams said, “I was a figure skater, so I would take back a lot of fashion choices on the ice. A lot of sequins. I would pull back on the sequins a little bit and maybe less blue eye shadow.”

RACHEL McADAMS, “dawdler and a daydreamer” By Richard Crouse

state-of-play-rachel-mcadamsOn-screen and off Rachel McAdams defies categorization. A bundle of contradictions—she describes herself as “a daydreamer and a dawdler,” and “a very serious person” who has “always been kind of girly”—she lives in Toronto despite having a thriving career in Hollywood.

The common thread that links her movies, from the über-romance of The Notebook to the bawdy comedy of Wedding Crashers and the intrigue of State of Play is a simple, yet indefinable quality: intelligence. Her intellect informs every role she takes, even in a completely silly comedy like The Hot Chick, her first hit. It takes smarts to suggestively deliver a line like, “I hear it’s good for the skin if you take your towel off,” to a sauna full of women while playing a boy trapped in a woman’s body and still have a career once critics get through with the film.

“That brain is substantial,” says Diane Keaton of her frequent co-star, “and if you have that along with a face you can’t take your eyes off, it’s so compelling. It’s rare.”

She is a rarity, one of the few gilded members of young Hollywood who has made her work the focus of her career and avoided becoming a tabloid punching bag like her Mean Girls co-star Lindsay Lohan.

“I want to pick good projects,” she said in 2004, “I want to work with great directors and try not to put too much pressure on myself and just read things for the story and recognize when I’m drawn to something for the right reasons.”

After years of figure skating at ice carnivals, working at MacDonald’s in southwestern Ontario, studying drama at York University and appearing in forgettable TV shows (Shotgun Love Dolls anyone?) the smart and funny exposé of high school caste systems Mean Girls was the movie that put her on the map.

She modeled the flamboyantly wicked Regina George on Alec Baldwin’s performance in Glengarry Glen Ross. Spitting out lines like, “So you think you’re pretty?” through a cobra smile, she won critical praise and very nearly stole the show.

Then, just when audiences thought they had her typecast along came 2004s The Notebook, the deeply romantic Nicolas Sparks story. Given the script just one day in advance of the auditions McAdams beat out nine other actresses (including Ashley Judd, Britney Spears and Reese Witherspoon) for the now iconic role of Allie, the woman who finds freedom in the arms of a man (Ryan Gostling) her mother calls “trash.” Roger Ebert said her performance contained “beauty and clarity” and suddenly Hollywood had a new “it” girl.

Although she admits to being a “sucker for sweeping love stories” she didn’t capitalize on the breakout success of The Notebook by churning out a series of cookie-cutter romances or taking advantage of the huge offers coming her way—she turned down the role of Bond girl Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale—instead she opted for a variety of projects, none of which was a romance in the traditional sense.

She made waves as Owen Wilson’s love interest in the raunchy comedy Wedding Crashers, became an action star in Wes Craven’s thriller Red Eye and played the outspoken daughter of Diane Keaton and Craig T. Nelson in the critically lauded ensemble family drama The Family Stone.

Then, as quickly as she came to prominence, she was gone. For almost two years she was absent from screens until she took on the role of Kay, the platinum blonde focus of a love triangle between Chris Cooper and Pierce Brosnan, in the suspenseful psychological thriller Married Life. It’s the film she credits with rejuvenating her interest in filmmaking after some time off.

Since then she’s been a mainstay at festivals and multiplexes playing everything from a soldier whose boyfriend was killed saving her life in The Lucky Ones to the titular spouse in the sci fi romance The Time Traveler’s Wife and Sherlock Holmes’s beguiling Irene Adler opposite Robert Downey Jr.

Her best reviews of 2009 came with State of Play (which airs on TMN and Movie Central this month), a political drama in the spirit of All the Presidents Men. She co-stars with Russell Crowe and Helen Mirren as a Washington Post blogger working with Crowe’s investigative reporter to unravel clues in the murder of a congressman’s mistress.

With a full slate of films announced for the next couple of years—including Morning Glory with Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton and a project with legend Terrence Malick—it seems the chameleon spirit of Rachel McAdams is just as restless as ever.

“It’s fun to experiment,” she says, “I’m always kind of a slave to the character. Whatever kind of vision comes to my head I just have to go with it.”

Tina Fey enjoys a decade of comic clout By Richard Crouse Metro Canada – In Focus March 20, 2013

paul_rudd_tina_fey_admissionTina Fey regularly appears on the Forbes’ annual Celebrity 100 list of the most powerful celebrities. She’s made the Entertainment Weekly roll call of Entertainers of the Year and Time called her one of the most influential people in the world.

Did I mention she’s also really funny?

For nine years on Saturday Night Live she worked behind the scenes—as the show’s first female head writer—and on camera as the anchor of Weekend Update. “She might be the best Weekend Update anchor who ever did it,” said Dennis Miller. “She writes the funniest jokes”

Then came 30 Rock, the medium-rated but critically adored sit com, a best selling book and a celebrated impersonation of Sarah Palin that even got the thumbs up from the ex-Governor.

This weekend she’s on the big screen in Admission, a comedy co-starring Paul Rudd. She plays a Princeton admissions officer who thinks one of her new recruits is the son she gave up for adoption years ago.

Fey made her film debut a decade ago in the quirky comedy Martin & Orloff as part of an ensemble cast that included SNLers Amy Poehler and Rachel Dratch.

That movie didn’t garner much attention, and her role of “Southern Woman” even less, but in 2004 she shortened the unwieldy title Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughters Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence to Mean Girls. The story of high school in-groups was a hit and launched the careers of Rachel McAdams and Amanda Seyfried.

She co-starred in Mean Girls as math teacher Ms. Norbury and made on-screen appearances as “Front Desk Girl” in Beer League but got her name over the title in Baby Mama.

She played Kate, a single thirty-seven year old businesswoman so desperate to have a baby she hires Angie, an inappropriate South Philly wild child (Amy Poehler) to be her surrogate.

Next was the “stranded-in-big-bad-New-York-City” movie Date Night opposite Steve Carell. The movie wouldn’t be as enjoyable as it is without the two leads. Fey and Carell breathe life into a hackneyed situation, bringing not only likeability, but also great chemistry and a way with a line that really works.

In the animated Megamind she voiced intrepid girl reporter Roxanne Ritchi, kidnapped by the master of all villainy Megamind (voice of Will Ferrell) and next year she stars with Ricky Gervais in The Muppets… Again!