“The Valet” is a remake of the French film “La Doublure,” but has been thoroughly Americanized. The romantic comedy aspect of the story has survived but the remake emphasizes, for better and for worse, the heartwarming aspects of what quickly becomes an increasingly scattershot story of friendship, family values and immigrant life in America.
“Ready or Not’s” Samara Weaving plays Olivia, a spoiled movie star who has a tendency to date married men, including richie-rich guy Vincent Royce (Max Greenfield). When the paparazzi catch a photo of the two of them having a lover’s spat on the steps of a tony hotel, Olivia fears the negative publicity will tank the box office for her upcoming film.
Luckily for Olivia, someone else also appears in the picture. Just as the camera snapped the damning photo, hard-working valet Antonio (Eugenio Derbez) crashed his bicycle into a parked car and was caught on film. “I never thought I’d get hit by a parked car,” he says.
With her career and reputation as a role model hanging in the balance, Olivia agrees when an assistant suggests, “What if we find the other guy in the photo and you pretend to be a couple?”
Antonio is incredulous when approached with the scheme, but agrees to the deal and a large pay cheque. Soon he is on the arm of one of the most famous women in the world, photographed at hot spots and appearing on TV. “What’s wrong with him?” asks his mother. “Why is he making that dumb face?”
But what begins as a sham for publicity, deepens as Olivia learns about Antonio and his family. “He’s decent and kind,” she says. “That is surprisingly hard to find.”
When “The Valet” isn’t trying to pluck at your heartstrings, the fun cast, featuring “CODA’s” Derbez and Weaving, find the funny in the one joke, culture-shock premise.
Derbez, whose work in “Instructions Not Included” honed his blend of heartfelt and humorous, knows how to get a laugh but also deepens Antonio’s working-class immigrant story. “You can’t imagine how hard it is when people hand me their keys,” says Antonio, “and don’t look me in the eye.” His character takes a man who felt invisible and puts the spotlight on him, a vulnerable, hardworking guy who has often been overlooked.
Weaving plays up the over-the-top Hollywood stereotype of a Hollywood actor whose is not was wholesome as her squeaky-clean image would suggest. In the beginning she’s willing to exploit Antonio for her own purposes but as the story progresses Weaving does a good job at making Olivia’s inevitable character arc from morally-challenged movie star to an accepting and understanding real person, believable.
By the time the end credits roll, ”The Valet” reveals itself to be not so much a romantic comedy as a morality tale of a sort about family values, being a good person and treating others with respect. Add in a few laughs and you have a farce that, while predictable, succeeds because of the talented cast.
Richard and CP24 anchor Cristina Tenaglia have a look at the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including a pair of kid’s flicks “The War with Grandpa” and “100% Wolf,” the touching dramas “Percy” and “Yellow Rose” and the hilarious “The Forty-Year-Old Version.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Jennifer Burke to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including a pair of kid’s flicks “The War with Grandpa” and “100% Wolf,” the touching dramas “Percy” and “Yellow Rose” and the hilarious “The Forty-Year-Old Version.”
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 kid’s flicks “The War with Grandpa” and “100% Wolf,” the touching dramas “Percy” and “Yellow Rose” and the hilarious “The Forty-Year-Old Version.”
There is nothing particularly original about “100% Wolf,” the animated coming-of-age story now playing in Cineplex theatres, but what it lacks in new ideas it makes up for in gimmicks and screwball action.
In this werewolf story for kids, based on the book by Jayne Lyons, lycanthropy isn’t a curse. Sure, they have claws and great big teeth and are still misunderstood by humans but instead of mauling people their purpose in life is to help folks in need. “The best wolves don’t have the sharpest claws or the pointiest teeth. They have the biggest hearts.”
“An American Werewolf in London” this ain’t. In fact, it’s more “Lion King” than anything else.
At the center of the story is Freddy Lupin (voiced by Jerra Wright-Smith as a child and later by Ilai Swindells), a ten-year-old from a long line of powerful werewolves. When Freddy’s father (Jai Courtney) and pack Alpha is killed during a selfless act of heroism, the youngster not only loses his dad but also the pack’s sacred Moon Stone ring. In the midst of the turmoil Freddy’s evil uncle, Uncle Scar…. Er, ahhh, I mean, Lord Hightail (Michael Bourchier), takes over, assuming control of the pack (sound familiar?). When Freddy is old enough he will be king of the werewolves but first he must be initiated.
That’s where the real problems start.
On the night of his coming-of-age Freddy isn’t graced with fearsome fur and elongated claws. Instead he’s turned into the sworn enemy of the werewolves, a dog. A delightful poodle with a shock of pink hair and wide eyes to be exact. “I’m a fluffy, pink joke,” he says.
“You bring shame on the memory of your father.,” snarls Lord Hightail. “You have until moon rise tomorrow to prove you are a real wolf. Otherwise the moon spirits will choose a new High Howler and you will be banished.”
With the help of a scruffy stray called the Great Houndini (Samara Weaving) Freddy goes on a madcap mission that sees them sent to a canine beauty parlour before making a stop at the dog pound. On top of that they must deal with Foxwell Cripp (Rhys Darby), an ice-cream truck scooper who brings the slapstick and some wild-and-crazy ideas. Will Freddy make it back in time to prove he’s wolf worthy? I think you probably already know the answer.
Throwing the best bits from “The Lion King,” “How to Train Your Dragon,” “The Secret Lives of Pets” and a handful of others into a blender and hitting puree shouldn’t work, but “100% Wolf” pulls it off, modestly. Good messages about accepting everyone for who they are adorn a story with lots of eye-catching action—even if the animation isn’t as slick as the movies that inspired it—fun, kid-friendly characters and jokes that should make children giggle. Parents may not be as engaged, although a doberman who seems to be channeling Werner Herzog is a hoot.
“100% Wolf” isn’t destined to become a classic like the movies that inspired it, but as an agreeable time waster for kids who miss going to the theatre, it’s a howl.
Richard and CP24 anchor Cristina Tenaglia have a look at the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the Christopher Nolan head scratcher “Tenet,” the Disney+ animated flick “Phineas And Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe,” the timely period piece “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” the long awaited X-Men spin off “The New Mutants” and the return of William S. “Bill” Preston, Esq and Theodore “Ted” Logan in “Bill and Ted Face the Music.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Jennifer Burke to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including Christopher Nolan mind bender “Tenet,” the Disney+ animated flick “Phineas And Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe” the return of William S. “Bill” Preston, Esq and Theodore “Ted” Logan in “Bill and Ted Face the Music.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with guest host Matt Harris to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the Christopher Nolan mind bender “Tenet,” the Disney+ animated flick “Phineas And Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe,” the timely period piece “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” the wrestling doc “You Cannot Kill David Arquette,” the long awaited X-Men spin off “The New Mutants” and the return of William S. “Bill” Preston, Esq and Theodore “Ted” Logan in “Bill and Ted Face the Music.”
Just because Bill and Ted, the time travelling slackers last seen on screen almost thirty years ago, got bigger and older doesn’t mean they grew up. Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves reunite as William S. “Bill” Preston, Esq and Theodore “Ted” Logan in “Bill and Ted Face the Music,” available now in theatres and on demand, to try, once again, to save the world through music.
The leaders of the Wyld Stallyns are now middle aged with kids of their own, played by Brigette Lundy-Paine and Samara Weaving. At their peak Bill and Ted’s band played at the Grand Canyon but are now reduced to performing at a lodge for a handful of people who were already there for taco night. Still, they persist in their quest to write the perfect song, a tune so powerful it will unite the world.
Not everyone is on board. “It’s been hard to watch you beat your heads against the wall for 25 years,” says Ted’s wife Princess Elizabeth Logan (Erinn Hayes). “Not sure how much more we can take.”
But when their old mentor Rufus (George Carlin in archival footage) send his daughter Kelly (Kristen Schaal) from the future with a mission, Bill and Ted accept. Given 77 minutes and 25 seconds to create a song that will “save reality,“ the duo go on an excellent, time travelling journey to the future to get the song from their future selves. “Let’s go say hello to ourselves and get that song,” says the ever-optimistic Bill.
Cue the famous inner-dimensional phone box.
The new adventure brings with it some grown-up issues, marital problems, matters of life and death, their manipulative future selves, a trip to hell and killer robots.
Meanwhile, as Bill and Ted race into the future with Kelly their daughters are on a mission of their own. Zipping through time they convince some of the greatest musicians the world has ever known—Jimi Hendrix (DazMann Still), Louis Armstrong (Jeremiah Craft), Mozart (Daniel Dorr), drummer Grom (Patty Anne Miller), flautist Ling Lun (Sharon Gee) and rapper Kid Cudi as himself—to bring Bill and Ted’s music to life.
A mix of quantum physics and silly humor, “Bill and Ted Face the Music” is more a blast in nostalgia than laugh out loud funny. The screenplay, by Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon, who also penned “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey,” haven’t played around with the formula. This isn’t a gritty reimagining of the franchise. Bill and Ted haven’t developed dark sides or become jaded. They are carbon copies of their former screen selves, albeit with a few more miles on their faces. The yuks are derived from Bill and Ted as wide-eyed, Valley-speaking saviors who look for and find the best in everyone they meet in the past, present and future.
Along the way there are some welcome returns, most notably William Sadler as the bass playing Grim Reaper, who can’t understand why Bill and Ted don’t appreciate his 40-minute-long bass solos, and it’s nice to see Carlin again, if only for a second. Lundy-Paine and Weaving, have fun, playing the daughters as two chips off the old blockheads, naively discovering the true secret of world unity.
“Bill and Ted Face the Music” is a blast from the past, a movie that would look great on VHS, that maintains the goofiness and the optimism of the originals.