I joined CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres. Today we talk about the threequel “Magic Mike’s Last Dance,” the non rom com “Somebody I Used to Know,” the Dolly Parton tribute “Seriously Red,” and, just in time for Valentine’s Day, “Your Place or Mine.”
I join CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to talk about the threequel “Magic Mike’s Last Dance,” the non rom com “Somebody I Used to Know,” the Dolly Parton tribute “Seriously Red,” and, just in time for Valentine’s Day, “Your Place or Mine.”
I join 1290 CJBK in London and host Ken Eastwood to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the threequel “Magic Mike’s Last Dance,” the non rom com “Somebody I Used to Know,” the Dolly Parton tribute “Seriously Red,” and, just in time for Valentine’s Day, “Your Place or Mine.”
I sit in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres including the threequel “Magic Mike’s Last Dance,” the non rom com “Somebody I Used to Know,” the Dolly Parton tribute “Seriously Red,” and, just in time for Valentine’s Day, “Your Place or Mine.”
Watch as I review three movies in less time than it takes to change a lightbulb! Have a look as I race against the clock to tell you about the threequel “Magic Mike’s Last Dance,” the non rom com “Somebody I Used to Know” and, just in time for Valentine’s Day, “Your Place or Mine.”
At the movies, the days leading up to Valentine’s Day are filled with meet cutes, misunderstandings, complications, wacky neighbors and swanky apartments. “Your Place or Mine,” a new rom com starring Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher and now streaming on Netflix, is chock a block with all that, plus the star power of its leads.
Twenty years ago Debbie (Witherspoon) and Peter (Kutcher) had a wild one night stand that blossomed into a lifelong platonic friendship. These days, she’s a high-strung single mom to teenager Jack (Wesley Kimmel), living, working and going to school in Los Angeles,
New York based Peter is into branding for big companies. Self-possessed and cocky, he is the polar opposite of Debbie, who thinks he is irresponsible and terrible with women. Nonetheless, they are besties who tell each other everything.
Or almost everything.
When Debbie’s babysitter cancels on the eve of a trip to New York City, Peter offers to swap places. She’ll stay at his luxury NYC apartment and he’ll look after Jack in Los Angeles.
Over the week the city swap opens windows into each other’s worlds. It soon becomes obvious they have more has gone unspoken in their relationship than they ever could have imagined.
“Your Place or Mine” is the rare rom com that keeps its main characters across the country from one another. They don’t gaze into one another’s eyes, don’t hold hands and rarely even share the same frame.
Imagine a bi-coastal “When Harry Met Sally.”
For most of the running time their relationship is long distance and it is a testament to the strong cast that “Your Place or Mine” is as much fun as it is. The end point is predictable, as it is in all rom coms, but the journey to the ultimate destination is a pretty good ride. Even their take on the patented airport rom com run is given a fresh treatment.
Witherspoon cuts through this light comedy like a hot knife through butter. She brings an effortless charm that helps make this 90s style rom com as buoyant as it is.
Kutcher, who like Witherspoon, has a few rom coms under his belt, displays a way with a line—“I’m just a lonely guy with outstanding hair,” he says.—and carries his side of the equation, particularly in the scenes he shares with Kimmel and the deadpan Tig Notaro as one of Debbie’s friends.
“Your Place or Mine” succeeds because it understands what it is, a rom com tilted just slightly to create something that provides nostalgia for 90s romantic comedies and something new and just a little different for Valentine’s Day.
Despite Thomas Wolfe warning, “you can never go home again,” characters in rom com after rom com do just that. Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes “Somebody I Used to Know,” a charming new Alison Brie movie, now streaming on Amazon Prime, that defies the usual romantic comedy playlist.
Brie is Ally, the hard driving producer of the recently cancelled reality show called “Dessert Island.” Cut adrift from the long hours and stress of life in Los Angeles, she ignores Wolfe’s advice and returns home to her hometown, the quaint, Bavarian-styled village of Leavenworth, Washington.
Being home again stirs up some ghosts for her. Memories of the simple, happy life she had before her career complicated everything come flooding back, just as she has a chance encounter with her ex-boyfriend Sean (Jay Ellis).
They haven’t been in contact in 10 years, since Ally skipped town to pursue her career, but both feel a blast of nostalgia. “Here we are,” says Sean, “going down memory lane!”
“I kind of resented your entire industry for a long time,” he tells her, “for taking you away from me.”
A few laughs, some reminiscing and a quick kiss later, Ally wonders if Sean is the one who got away. Trouble is, he’s engaged to Cassidy (Kiersey Clemons), a punk rock singer about to give up her career to settle down.
Determined to win back Sean’s affections, Ally uses all the tricks she learned making reality TV to wage a not-so-clandestine campaign to derail the wedding and win back her ex.
“You’re not going to pull some Julia Roberts, ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ stuff are you?” asks Cassidy.
“Somebody I Used to Know” defies the usual romantic comedy formula. You know how most, if not all, rom coms will end. The good ones are about the journey, not the destination. This one, director Dave Franco’s follow-up to the creepy “The Rental,” is about both, a classic rom com st up that walks a different, sometimes bittersweet, path to its destination.
It is a story about passion, but not romantic passion. It’s about a lust for life, following your heart and making choices. It’s a refreshing genre twist in a film, that despite a slow start, pays off as a compelling story about empowerment.
As Ally, even at her most devious, Brie brings enough authenticity and charm to keep the character likable. There is enough chemistry between her and Elis to fuel the film’s fire, but it is in her scenes with Danny Pudi, one of her former “Community” co-stars, where the platonic sparks fly.
The relative simplicity of “Somebody I Used to Know” is its main selling point. Unlike other recent rom coms—I’m looking at you “Shotgun Wedding”—it avoids screwball situations in favour of human contact and actual emotion.
In today’s fractured and polarized world there are few inarguable facts. Chief among them is that everybody loves “Jolene” singer and icon Dolly Parton. In our crazy, upside-down universe there is always Dolly, a fact embodied by the character Red (Krew Boylan), a Parton tribute artist and star of the new film “Seriously Red,” now on VOD. “We need more Dollys in the world,” Red says.
When we first meet thirty-something Red she is in a rut. She still lives at home with her mother and is trapped in a dead-end real estate job. Things change when she enters the office talent show, doing an impression of her idol Dolly Parton.
“She’s heartbreaking and she’s a poet,” says Red. “She knows who she is.”
Dolled up as Dolly, she sings “Nine to Five” and is an unexpected hit with her co-workers. Unfortunately, her behavior after the show gets her fired.
Sacked, but filled with confidence, she’s open to new opportunities when talent agent, and booker of tribute artists, Teeth (Celeste Barber) approaches her with an audition. With Dolly words, “If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one,” echoing ion her head, she aces the try-out. After convincing head honcho and Neil Diamond impersonator (Bobby Cannavale) that she eats, lives and breathes Dolly—“I want to make a living doing this,” she says earnestly. “I feel at home here.”—she is put on tour to play Dolly opposite a Kenny Rogers (Daniel Webber) sound-a-like.
Despite her family’s ridicule—“I managed to be normal while you are off on some wild sequined goose chase,” says her mother ((Jean Kittson).—before you can say “Hello Dolly!” she hits the road and learns the ropes about how to be Dolly and herself.
“Seriously Red” is a feel-good flick set against the backdrop of the ups and downs of show business. Sprinkled with mild laughs throughout, it can’t rightly be called a comedy. Perhaps inspirational character study about the difficulties of “being a diamond in a rhinestone world” is more on the mark. Either way, the engaging performances, including Rose Byrne as an Elvis impersonator, and Boylan, who isn’t afraid to let Red’s rough edges show through, go a long way toward selling the material, which often feels underdeveloped.
It is, I guess, ironic that Red learns how to be her true self while being someone else, but as Dolly, Red discovers that she is more than a blank canvas, that self-acceptance is OK. The movie is a little convoluted, and takes a bit too long to get where it is going, but the ode to embracing one’s own uniqueness is a potent message.
I appear on “CTV News at 6” with anchor Andria Case to talk about the best movies and television to watch this weekend. This week I have a look at the anti-hero flick “Black Adam,” the historical drama “Till,” and the starry rom com “Ticket to Paradise.”