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.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Lois Lee to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including “Ammonite” (in theaters 11/13, premium on demand 12/4), the horror comedy mash-up of “Freaky” (in theatres), the kid’s movie for adults “Come Away” (EST) and the farce “Dinner with Friends” (VOD).
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 Oscar contender “Ammonite” (in theaters 11/13, premium on demand 12/4), the horror comedy mash-up of “Freaky” (in theatres), the kid’s movie for adults “Come Away” (EST), the farce “Dinner with Friends” (VOD) and the dramedy “Saint Frances” (iTunes Canada and on-demand).
“Dinner with Friends,” a new comedy starring Malin Akerman and Kat Dennings now on VOD, is a Hollywood Hills friends and family farce that seems to have done much of its casting at the nearby Comedy Store on the Sunset Strip.
Dennings and Akerman are Abby and Molly, BFFs who have both recently split with their significant others. After declaring she would love her to “the moon and back,” Abby’s girlfriend left abruptly and Molly is now a single mom after her four-year marriage imploded. Their plan to spend a quiet Thanksgiving is turned upside down when Molly’s one-night-stand (Jack Donnelly) blossoms into a relationship and decides to crash their party.
From there the party grows and grows as word gets out of a Friendsgiving at Molly’s house. Her touchy-feely mom Helen (Jane Seymour) arrives, fresh off her fifth divorce, and gets friendly with Molly’s old boyfriend (Ryan Hansen). Then there’s an assortment of characters like self-described “shawoman” Claire (Chelsea Peretti), the hemorrhoid obsessed Rick (Andrew Santino) and Lauren (Aisha Tyler) who shows up with her husband (Deon Cole), two kids and a stash of magic mushrooms.
Predictably, things swing out of control as friends, family and ex-lovers collide. There’s even a trio of “Fairy Gay Mothers” (Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho, Fortune Feimster) who descend to offer Abby some life advice.
“Dinner with Friends,” called “Friendsgiving” in the United States, is an all-out farce with a heart of gold. By the time the end credits roll the movie reveals itself not to be about a randy mother figure or a friend’s psychedelic trip. Ultimately, it’s a story of healing and working through dysfunction. Along the way, however, are enough raunchy jokes to curdle your eggnog. It’s an old formula and despite some winning performances—many from the stand-up comics who migrated down from the Comedy Store—it feels as stale as Thanksgiving’s left-over stuffing.
A new(ish) feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at “Snatched” with Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn, “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”and the sniper flick “The Wall.”
Richard and CP24 anchor Jamie Gutfreund have a look at the weekend’s new movies, “Snatched” with Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn, “Bon Cop, Bad Cop 2” with Patrick Huard and Colm Feore, “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”and the sniper flick “The Wall.”
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the big weekend movies, “Snatched” with Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn, “Bon Cop, Bad Cop 2” with Patrick Huard and Colm Feore, “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”and the sniper flick “The Wall.”
“Snatched” is a mother and daughter comedy. Sounds wholesome, right? Mom and daughter on holiday, but add in kidnapping, sex trafficking and manual tapeworm extraction and you have a raunchy comedy that plays like a cross between “Taken” and “Steel Magnolias.”
Amy Schumer is Emily Middleton, a sales clerk with no filter who over-shares with customers. On the eve of an Ecuadorian vacation her musician boyfriend (Randall Park) dumps her, leaving her with two plane tickets and a South American hotel with a king sized bed. Rather than cancel the trip Emily asks her divorced, retiree mother Linda (Goldie Hawn) to come along for the ride.
“Pack your bags,” Emily says, “we’re going to South America.”
“Everybody knows you need two years to plan a vacation,” says her cautious mom.
Linda is a worrywart, as uptight as Emily is free spirited. She’s the kind of person who triple locks her suburban doors and checks websites for nearby sex offenders.
To convince mom to come along for the ride Emily pulls the one card her mother can’t refuse. “The trip is non-refundable.”
In Ecuador Emily meets James (Tom Bateman), a handsome English man who sweeps her off her feet. On a day trip he convinces Emily and Linda to take the scenic route back to the hotel only to stand by as the women are abducted. Their captor is Morgado (Óscar Jaenada), a notorious gangster who holds them for $100,000 ransom. One daring escape later they are off on their own in the Columbian jungle, trying to make it to the American consulate in Bogotá. On their trip they are aided by Roger Simmons (Christopher Meloni), an explorer who seems to have just stepped out of a 1950 adventure film and two friends from the resort, Ruth (Wanda Sykes) and Barb (Joan Cusack).
Back home Jeffrey Middleton (Ike Barinholtz), Linda’s agoraphobic son convinces a reluctant State Department official (Bashir Salahuddin) to get involved.
At its dirty little heart “Snatched” is a movie about the importance of family, specifically the bond between mother and daughter but it’s not all sweetness and light. The film is inhabited by comic creations that are grounded enough to prevent the movie from careening into farce, but not so grounded that they can’t surprise us.
In her first movie role in fifteen years Hawn reminds us of what a gifted comedienne she is, spouting lines like, “I tell you when dad left I thought I’d never have sex again… and I was right,” with pitch perfect comic timing.
Schumer’s self-depreciating humour—“The sex traders want beautiful women. Your poufy faces will protect you.”—is relatable but it is her more subtle character work that really shines here. Little things, like the way she tries to take the perfect selfie, tell us everything we need to know about the self-indulgent Emily without a line of dialogue.
Sykes, Cusack, Barinholtz and Meloni all bring the funny in a series of off kilter cameos.
“Snatched” isn’t exactly a laugh-a-minute, it’s more a giggle followed by a laugh every few minutes but director Jonathan Levine (“Warm Bodies,” “The Night Before” and “50/50”) has a good grasp of the humour, action and mushy stuff, finding a pleasing balance between all three.