Posts Tagged ‘Nick Offerman’

22 Jump Street: The Second Funniest Address in America—Movie

June 16, 2014

As the follow-up to the funnier and better written “21 Jump Street,” “22 Jump Street” is still fun in large, if not continuous, doses of laughter. Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, with story by Jonah Hill and Michael Bacall and screenplay by Bacall, Oren Uziel and Rodney Rothman, “22 Jump Street” features some hilarious work by Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill. The two have amazing chemistry with one another and with the other actors with whom they interact.22_Jump_Street_Poster

“22 Jump Street’s” plot is a fairly simple one. Fresh off their 21 Jump Street success, Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are now engaged in non-scholastic, seemingly more challenging work. However, in comical fashion, they quickly blow that job and Deputy Chief Hardy (Nick Offerman) reassigns them to the spanking new 22 Jump Street headquarters under the command of their former leader, Captain Dickson (Ice Cube). Their assignment this time is to pose as the unlikeliest set of college-age student siblings at a local college, looking for the suppliers of WHYPHY, the latest college drug of choice.

Schmidt struggles to find his way in college and falls in with an artsy crowd. He hits it off with coed Maya (Amber Stevens), an arts major who comes with the meanest and creepiest of roommates, Mercedes (Jillian Bell). Bell’s and Hill’s chemistry is off the charts and she delivers choice one-liners about how not like a college student Schmidt looks with the sharp skill of a female Don Rickles. Meanwhile Jenko is adjusting to college life perfectly. He finds a kindred spirit in dim-witted, frat boy football player, Zook (Wyatt Russell). The two are so much alike, despite the age difference, that they are practically finishing one another’s sentences. This budding bromance puts a strain on the relationship between Jenko and Schmidt. It’s their conflict that is at the movie’s heart…and to quote the Righteous Brothers, “will they ever get that feeling back again?”

“22 Jump Street” has some terrifically funny moments and Tatum and Hill each get a chance to shine separately several times. Tatum has become a true multi-faceted actor. He can handle the serious work, but he is really gifted with physical comedy material. Hill is also very good, but because we’ve known his comedic work for so long, through no fault of his own, his work is less surprising.

The film’s supporting cast adds some additional pizzazz. In addition to Jillian Bell’s fantastic efforts, Ice Cube and Nick Offerman are very good with their bombastic roles. Patton Oswalt has a small part as a professor and he is just hysterical. Rounding out the fun are the Lucas Brothers as Spike Lee look-alike twins Keith and Kenny Yang, who befriend Schmidt and Jenko and are so in sync with one another that they speak in unison. It’s a small bit, but an extremely funny one.

What makes “22 Jump Street” fun and superior to other buddy comedies is that Schmidt’s and Jenko’s partnership is treated like a real romance. Whatever it is, Tatum and Hill still have it. However, there is something about the film’s writing that feels off…something about it that doesn’t flow. The laughs come in segments and this segmented feel gives the film a disjointed tone. That said, the individual segments are often hilarious and the treatment of future “Jump Streets” will have you keeling over with laughter.

3 nuggets out of 4

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In A World: You Are Woman and You Can Roar—Movie

August 21, 2013

“Who’s ready to be heard?” asks Carol (Lake Bell) at the conclusion of “In A World.” Since this film stars and is written and directed by Lake Bell, for my money Lake Bell is more than ready to be heard and as a movie-goer, I couldn’t be happier.In a world

Bell is Carol, a member of “voice-over” royalty. She makes a living as a vocal coach, but longs to do more. She wants to do voice-overs like her father, Sam (Fred Melamed). Unfortunately a career in voice-overs is dominated by men, especially when it comes to feature films. With the death of the king of voice-overs, Don LaFontaine (LaFontaine is a real person and the film starts with a terrific homage to him), there is now a window of opportunity for winning the prestige jobs. Two men are vying for LaFontaine’s crown–Carol’s father and his much younger colleague, Gustav (Ken Marino). Neither of them give Carol a second thought until…

Bell covers a lot of territory in a 93 minute film, but the movie never feels rushed. It just flows naturally and effortlessly. Along with the voice-over story, Bell interweaves other storylines. When the movie begins, Carol is living with her father. But because he wants his much younger girlfriend, Jamie (Alexandra Holden), to move in with him, Carol is forced to live with her sister, Dani (Michaela Watkins), and Dani’s husband, Moe (Rob Corddry). The ying and yang of her sister’s and husband’s relationship feels very genuine as done the one Carol has with her sister. In fact, some of the film’s best moments revolve around the “sister code.”  “In A World” also spends a lot of time in Carol’s workplace with her co-workers Louis, Cher and Heners (Demetri Martin, Tig Notaro and Nick Offerman respectively), and those scenes are especially funny.

“In A World’s” ensemble cast is terrific. Many of them have either a standup or improv background and it shows. The universe they create seems very real and relatable.  Eva Longoria, playing herself, proves to be a very good sport as one of Carol’s clients, trying to speak with a British accent. And if you pay close attention, you’ll see a cameo by Cameron Diaz in a very funny bit.

Lake Bell is a familiar face on television and film, often the vixen, but never the star. With “In A World” she proves to be a triple threat and a force with whom to be reckoned.  I can’t wait to see what she does next. I can’t wait to hear her roar.

4 nuggets out of 4

We’re The Millers: We’re Crude, but Fun—Movie

August 11, 2013

Remember the line then Senator Obama said to Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Presidential campaign—“you’re likeable enough.” That pretty much sums up, “We’re The Millers.”

Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, “We’re The Millers” has an interesting premise, but the film just somehow lacks oomph. Four screenwriters on one movie might be part of the problem.

“We’re The Millers” revolves around pot dealer Dave (Jason Sudeikis) who is robbed of his stash and cash owed to his supplier, businessman Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms). In order to make up for the money owed to Gurdlinger, Dave reluctantly agrees to go to Mexico and pick up a “smidge” of weed for him. A chance encounter with some tourists in an RV gives him the “great” idea that if he travelled to Mexico with a family in an RV, he’d be more likely to escape the scrutiny of the border patrol. His supplier provides the RV, but Dave does have one problem—no family. So he goes about putting one together. For his son he “adopts” Kenny (Will Poulter), the lonely teen who lives in his building and seems to have no family in evidence. Street-wise runaway Casey (Emma Roberts) becomes his daughter.  Finally, Rose (Jennifer Aniston), the man-weary stripper who is his neighbor, is bribed to play his wife. Dave calls his family the Millers and off to Mexico they go.Millers

Naturally nothing goes according to plan or there would be no movie. The “family” has encounters with stoners, border police, drug dealers, thugs and most especially, fellow RV travelers Don and Edie Fitzgerald and their daughter, Melissa (Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn and Molly C. Quinn respectively).

Everyone in the cast has impeccable comedic timing. Sudeikis  is terrific as is Aniston (and she’s never looked better) and the two have great chemistry together. Their scenes with Offerman and Hahn are extremely funny. Emma Roberts is also very good. But the movie’s real find is Will Poulter. The film’s funniest scenes involve him…be it learning to kiss or experiencing the aftershocks of being bitten by a spider. His deadpan reactions and delivery are spot on.

“We’re The Millers” has a crude likeability to it  with touches of laugh out loud moments along the way. Be sure to sit through the credits for film outtakes. They are hysterical and worth the extra time in your seat.

2 ½ nuggets out of 4


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