Wanderlust Trailer

If this was a showbiz news website, I would be commenting about how Wanderlust is the film set that Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux met. As this is a film site, I will say that Wanderlust is the new Judd Apatow-produced comedy. Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd play a Manhattan couple who stumble upon a commune on a trip to Atlanta. Directed by David Wain, Wanderlust is out in cinemas on 2nd March 2012.

Film Review: Horrible Bosses

Horrible Bosses is a fun comedy that entertains throughout. All is forgiven, Jennifer Aniston. Well almost all. Not The Bounty Hunter.

Friends Nick, Kurt and Dale all hate their bosses. Nick’s boss Dave has psychotic tendencies. Kurt’s new boss Bobby is a habitual drug user. Dale’s boss Julia makes unwanted sexual advances towards him on a daily basis. The trio contemplate killing their bosses, but things don’t go according to plan…

Horrible Bosses works very well as a 15-rated comedy. The humour is sometimes lewd but never descends too far into crassness. There are some very amusing site gags as well as a script that is punctuated with humour throughout. The comedy has a universal appeal. It is not too close to the bone as to offend people, yet there are some darkly humorous jokes.

Seth Gordon’s film is well paced, and provides some tension (although this is never without humour). Given the premise, the narrative seems quite predictable from the outset. Nevertheless, the film features a number of small twists, making it more difficult to predict the outcome. Horrible Bosses does some of the things expected of it, but subverts other elements.

Considering that there are several main characters, it is unsurprising that the film relies on stereotypes to a certain extent. The trio of friends are sufficiently developed and have a believable relationship. However, the screenwriters have made the bosses into caricatures. This may sound like a negative, but it reality it is not. Given the genre, these over-the-top characters are responsible for much of the film’s humour. The bosses are given the freedom to be as outlandish as possible, making them far worse than the average nasty employer. As well as creating humour, this gives credence to the murder plot.

Horrible Bosses boasts great performances from its stellar cast. Jason Bateman is as watchable as ever as Nick, playing the straight guy to the more comical friends. Jason Sudeikis is a lot of fun as Kurt, while Charlie Day once again shows off his comedy chops as Dale. Jamie Foxx is amusing in a small role.

As Dave, Kevin Spacey appears to be playing a more heighten version of himself. Colin Farrell is wildly amusing as Bobby, but is sadly underused. Jennifer Aniston is great as Julie. It is refreshing to see her in a different type of role, which goes some way to redeem her recent film choices. Aniston also seems to be having a lot of fun with her character.

Horrible Bosses is highly recommended for mainstream comedy fans. Although it is unlikely to win any awards, it should prove very enjoyable for audiences.

Horrible Bosses is out in UK cinemas on 22nd July 2011.

Film Review: Bad Teacher

Cameron Diaz is on top form in entertaining comedy Bad Teacher. It is definitely one of the better recent adverts for females taking on central comedic roles, proving that women can hold their own and should not be confined to cheesy, predictable rom-coms. Unless they are Jennifer Aniston.

Elizabeth Halsey is foul-mouthed, unprofessional teacher, concerned only with finding a rich man to marry. When her fiancé dumps her, Elizabeth is forced to go back to her old job. She sets her sights on rich new teacher Scott Delacorte, but her behaviour attracts the attention of the successful colleague Amy Squirrel…

Given the premise, Bad Teacher could have gone down a similar path to School of Rock. Thankfully, Jake Kasdan’s film eschew this option, choosing to focus on a character that does not want to redeem herself or help others. The aim of Bad Teacher is to generate laughs; other aspects are secondary to this.

What works so well in Bad Teacher is the frequency of the humour. Comedy in the film balances carefully between being accessible and being raucous. Jokes are not too close to the bone as to offend anyone but the most sensitive of souls, yet humour is often garnered from shocking or surprising comments.

As such, Bad Teacher exudes an admirable attitude. It is not offensive for shock value; the humour more often than not is better than this. Rather, the crassness is present simply because it is genuinely funny, immature as this may be. Although there is a romantic angle, this never overshadows the humour. Plenty of comedies feature more serious or poignant scenes, which can become overly sentimental if not executed well. Writers Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg avoid this trap in Bad Teacher. Any moments of realisation or emotion are handled with the lightest touch; there are no heavy-handed scenes where the protagonist realises the error of her ways. The film is all the better because of this.

Cameron Diaz is great as Elizabeth. The actress clearly seems to be having a lot of fun with the role, and the style of comedy suits Diaz very well. She gets fantastic support from most of the cast. Lucy Punch is fantastic as Amy, while Jason Segel is wisely cast as gym teacher Russell. Segel’s role is fairly minor but provides sufficient humour. Justin Timberlake is a lot of fun as Scott, and is given some great lines.

Bad Teacher is not the greatest comedy ever made. It is, however, great fun and a lot better than many of the other comedies released this year.

Film Review: Just Go With It

A rom-com starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston sounds appealing to only the sickest members of society. Just Go With It isn’t terrible, but it isn’t highly recommended either.

Plastic surgeon Danny wears a fake wedding ring in order to bed women without the complication of relationships. When he meets the beautiful Palmer, Danny decides he wants to date her. As Palmer has seen the ring, Danny persuades his assistant Katherine to pose as his ex-wife…

Just Go With It is typical of many of the films that both Sandler and Aniston appear in. It is a predictable rom-com that shows no ingenuity. There are however a few amusing moments, although Just Go With It is never downright hilarious.

All the genre’s archetypes are present in Dennis Dugan’s film. Just Go With It features the friendship that develops into love narrative, the kooky best friend, the ditzy but beautiful girl, the cheeky kids that manipulate the situation, to name but a few of these. Although the situations present the requisite humour, there is little spark to the film. It is passable, but never elevates itself above this station.

Some audience members might take exception to the depictions of some of the characters. Just Go With It requires viewers to suspend disbelief enough to accept that beautiful young Palmer (played by Brooklyn Decker) might fall the significantly older Danny.  What might be harder to stomach, however, is that both Palmer and Katherine would parade around in their bikinis for his pleasure. Brooklyn Decker, Jennifer Aniston and indeed Nicole Kidman all don skimpy attire in what appears to be a slow-motion swimwear competition. Danny and Eddie (frequent Sandler co-star Nick Swardson) meanwhile lap it all up, thankfully staying fully clothed. More concerning are the overtones of homophobia in a supposedly humorous moment at the end of the film. Rather than coming off as amusing, the attempted joke leaves a sour taste.

Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler have surprisingly good chemistry. Their roles are not much of a stretch for either of them, however. Nicole Kidman has an interesting little role than sees her playing against type, while Brooklyn Decker is effective eye candy. Griffin Gluck and Bailee Madison are quite annoying as Katherine’s two children, but this has more to do with the writing and directing than their acting skills.

Just Go With It will satisfy fans of Sandler and Aniston, but is unlikely to exceed expectations. Entertaining enough, but problematic in areas.

Film Review: The Switch

There has been much emphasis on The Switch being a ‘Jennifer Aniston movie’, but in reality this is not the case. It is interesting to consider if it would make any difference to box office results if this fact was more widespread. As it stands, The Switch is a movie that features Jennifer Aniston, but the focus is predominantly on Jason Bateman.

Wally Mars is skeptical when his best friend Cassie Larson tells him she wishes to have a baby by herself. After a drunken mishap, Wally is far more involved than originally planned, unbeknownst to Cassie…

Perhaps what is most interesting about The Switch is that it takes the unusual step of being a romantic comedy taken from the viewpoint of a male character. Although the romantic element is really between the two main characters, it is Wally’s inner turmoil that we see, rather than Cassie’s. Wally is undoubtedly the protagonist; he narrates the film and the focus is almost entirely on him. Inevitably, it is Wally we want to see have the obligatory happy ending.

The film was originally entitled ‘The Baster’. Filmmakers were wise to alter the title, as it moves the film away from the crass connotations of the original name. The film isn’t a crude comedy; there is plenty of more poignant moments along with some laughs. Furthermore, changing the title to The Switch reiterates the emphasis on the male rather than the female character.

The Switch offers a number of humorous incidents, but these are rarely of the laugh-out-loud calibre. The film is more effective when it concentrates on the drama. There are some cheesy moments, but these seem a prerequisite in the rom-com oeuvre. The more serious scenes, however, are at times touching.

Jason Bateman gives an excellent performance as Wally. He generates a sense of believability that really carries the film. Wally’s flaws (his neuroticism, lack of self-confidence and assertiveness) make him a relatable character, more so than the others featured in the movie. The Switch illustrates that Jennifer Aniston, Juliette Lewis and Jeff Goldblum each appear to play very similar characters in most of their performances. As Cassie, Jennifer Aniston gives us the type of character we have seen numerous times before from her. Lewis does her kooky friend schtick, whilst Goldblum does the obligatory laid-back guy who talks fast thing so associated with his persona. A stretch for none of them, then.

Although the plot is thin, Jason Bateman elevates The Switch to a much more watchable level. It is not a brilliant film, but neither is it a bad one.

Film Review: The Bounty Hunter

In The Bounty Hunter, Jennifer Aniston plays a career-obsessed journalist determined to get the scoop on the latest story. It’s a pity in real life Aniston does not pay as much attention to her career, otherwise she may not have opted for such a dud.

Though a regular fixture in the rom-com genre over the last decade, surely the actress receives scripts more promising than this. The Bounty Hunter does not work on any level. The film attempts to combine an action thriller with a romantic comedy, but fails on all accounts.

The main problem with The Bounty Hunter is that it is painfully unfunny. Whilst some lacklustre comedies may have only one or two humorous set-ups or jokes, this film does not have a single genuinely funny moment. Furthermore, the characters are one-dimensional; when the couple is in a somewhat perilous situation, it is hard to muster the effort to care.

The film is inevitably predictable, which wouldn’t be such a problem if the film had something else to offer. As it stands, The Bounty Hunter is the worst film of the year, so far.