I joined CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres. Today we talk about the mockumentary “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul,” the Netflix Kevin Hart comedy “Me Time” and the gritty coming-of-age story “Funny Pages.”
Watch as I review three movies in less time than it takes to do a pushup! Have a look as I race against the clock to tell you about the mockumentary “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul,” the Netflix Kevin Hart comedy “Me Time” and the gritty coming-of-age story “Funny Pages.”
I sit in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the mockumentary “Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul,” the Netflix Kevin Hart comedy “Me Time” and the gritty coming-of-age story “Funny Pages.”
I join NewsTalk 1010 guest host Dave Kaufman on the coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse Like This?” This week we talk about the mockumentary “Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul,” the Netflix Kevin Hart comedy “Me Time” and the gritty coming-of-age story “Funny Pages.”
Most movies for kids often have just enough adult content to give parents a chuckle as the young ones giggle to the silly stuff. “Shrek,” “Minions” and even the wholesome “Toy Story” movies have embedded subliminal messages and jokes for parents who sit dutifully by as their children watch
The same is not usually true with movies aimed at grown-ups. Mature themes about house husbanding, unfulfilled career ambitions and marital discord aren’t exactly the stuff of family movie night. And that’s what makes “Me Time,” a new Netflix comedy starring Kevin Hart and Mark Wahlberg such a head-scratcher. Hart and Wahlberg should be able to squeeze some adult laughs out of the story of self-discovery by men who explore uncharted avenues in their lives, so why is so much of the humor aimed at kids?
Hart is Sonny Fisher, husband to architect Maya (Regina Hall) and father to two adorable kids. While Maya is advancing her career, Sonny put his dreams of being a musician to stay home with the kids. At home he’s a natural. It’s in the outside world that his awkwardness comes to the fore.
On the other end of the spectrum is his best friend Huck Dembo (Wahlberg). The embodiment of YOLO, he’s a party-boy and a risk-taker with a way with a phrase.
When Maya convinces Sonny to opt out of a family vacation and take some “me time,” he reluctantly agrees and winds up on Huck’s latest birthday adventure, a trip to Burning Man with a bus load of party people.
Cue the odd mix of adult reckoning and infantile gags.
“Me Time” wastes its two leads in a sea of wasted opportunities. Individually, Hart and Wahlberg bring the funny, so the comedic combo effect should be doubled, but director John “Along Came Polly” Hamburg keeps his two stars apart for most of the film’s first half. By the time their hijinks really begin, the mix of sincerity and silly has already worn thin. Both actors try hard to elevate the poop jokes and frenetic physical comedy, but are left hanging by a script that attempts to mix-and-match adult concerns with juvenile jokes.
The result is a movie that feels like it can’t decide who it is for, the poop joke audience or the buddy comedy crowd.
“Me Too” is a childish movie that attempts to examine what it means to be an adult.
The term mockumentary has become synonymous with Christopher Guest’s work, a mix-and-match of documentary style and satirical fiction. Movies like “Spinal Tap” and “Best in Show” poked fun at the excesses of rick n’ roll and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show respectively.
“Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul,” a new film starring Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown, and now playing in theatres, amps up the mock in mockumentary, to present a satirical take on Southern Baptist megachurch values.
Brown and Hall are former power couple Lee-Curtis and Trinitie Childs, pastor and “first lady” of the Wander To Greater Paths church. Once a powerhouse, with a congregation in the thousands, the church was temporarily shuttered in the aftermath of a sex scandal involving the narcissistic Lee-Curtis. “I’m not a perfect man ladies and gentlemen,” he preaches. “God doesn’t make perfect men. What I am is a servant of the Lord. Folks being the Lord’s servant doesn’t mean that you are not susceptible to being lured or seduced or being ambushed by the devil.”
In an effort to rebuild their congregation’s confidence, they set out with a plan to reopen the church and earn back trust, and the big bankroll that provided their lavish lifestyle. “We need to connect to people and make them see why they need you back in the pulpit,” says Trinitie.
There are some very funny moments in writer-director Adamma Ebo’s “Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul,” ably performed by Brown and Hall, but it is the dramatic sections that this mockumentary soars. For proof of this movie’s ability to surprise, see Hall reclaim her power in a gut-wrenching monologue, while wearing mime make-up. It’s remarkable work that blurs the line between the ridiculous and the sublime.
Emmy-winner Brown is equal parts charisma and egomania. His love of fine Italian hand-crafted shoes, helicopters and the finer things seems ripped from the megachurch playbook, but it is his power that impresses. Brown brings the juice, preaching to the choir with an authority that is both divine and extravagant.
Together their collective passion for piousness and material items may put you in the mind of Jim and Tammy Faye Baker, but Lee-Curtis and Trinitie lean heavily into the tragicomedy their real-life counterparts somehow managed to avoid.
“Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul” doesn’t hold back in its savage satire, but it is in the character work by Brown and Hall, that cuts the deepest.
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the drama “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Theatres), the psychological thriller “St. Maud” (digital and on-demand), Robin Wright’s directorial debut “Land” (in theatres), the cheesy action flick “Skyfire” (VOD) and the dark comedy “Breaking News In Yuba County” (VOD).
Like Rodney Dangerfield, Sue Buttons (Alison Janney) gets no respect. In the new dark comedy “Breaking News in Yuba County,” now available on VOD, she discovers that with respect and unwanted attention comer hand in hand.
A help-desk operator, Sue is verbally abused by random callers, her half-sister Nancy (Mila Kunis) doesn’t remember her birthday and even shopkeepers talk down to her. “You’re important. You’re strong. You matter,” she says into the mirror, despite all the evidence to the contrary. When her husband Karl (Matthew Modine), who has been laundering money for crime boss Mina (Awkwafina), goes missing after a tryst with his mistress (on Sue’s birthday no less), people begin to take notice of Sue. Elevated to local celebrity status, Sue weaves a web of lies to keep policewoman (Regina Hall), deadbeat brother-in-law (Jimmi Simpson) and reporter Nancy from discovering what really happened to Karl.
“Breaking News in Yuba County” is part suburban satire, part character study. As a satire it aims to peel back the soft underbelly of big box stores, small town attitudes and middle-age angst.
As a character study, it follows Sue as she blossoms from wallflower into the anxious center of attention.
In a well-oiled machine, these two elements would sit comfortably side-by-side but here the satire doesn’t cut and the characters don’t compel.
The performances, particularly from Janney, tap every ounce of interest from the script, but the underwritten story from Amanda Idoko doesn’t dig deep enough for the satire. Mean spirited instead of insightful, it attempts the kind of juggling act Joel and Ethan Coen perform in films like “Fargo,” where crime, character and satire blend to unveil a more universal truth. Here, Sue’s search for acknowledgement and fame is as uninspired as her oft-repeated mantra, “You’re important. You’re strong. You matter.”