Comedies

scary-movie-5-01

Movies that spoof a bunch of other movies that already exist became really popular in the late ’90s. So popular that we’re creeping up on 2013 and people are still putting them out, even though none of them have been remotely watchable for as long as anyone can remember. Why won’t the studios stop punishing us with these painfully lazy, painfully unfunny pseudo-movies? Because far be it from those greed vampires in Hollywood to leave the corpse of any genre alone until they’ve drained it completely dry of every last possible dollar. That being said… MTV has posted a new trailer for Scary Movie 5! Despite the current state of the spoof genre, we shouldn’t have any fear about this one, right? Because this isn’t one of those lousy Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer movies that are so lazy they don’t even bother to write jokes—Scary Movie 5 was written by spoof veterans David Zucker and Pat Proft, who have credits on things like Kentucky Fried Movie, The Naked Gun, and Hot Shots, so it should probably at least be decent, shouldn’t it? Well, not from the looks of the trailer.

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The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

If there’s anything that The Incredible Burt Wonderstone has going for it that makes it look really exciting, it’s that it offers us up the opportunity to watch Jim Carrey getting completely off the wall with character work for the first time in forever. In recent years we’ve seen his attempts to do dramatic work, we’ve seen his attempts to star in corporate, family films, but none of these efforts have been able to touch the manic energy of his first few projects—the goofy shit like Ace Ventura and Dumb and Dumber that people fell in love with, and that made him a star. From the looks of this trailer for Burt Wonderstone, it seems like his work as a douchey, Criss Angel lookalike here might be the first taste of classic Jim Carrey we’ve gotten in a long time.

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Identity Thief

Given the fact that Identity Thief stars Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy, it wasn’t all that much of a surprise that its first trailer was full of laughs. But what kind of came out of nowhere was how many cars got crashed in it and how much serious physical trauma Bateman and McCarthy endured during just two minutes of footage. It got to the point where it started to look like they were starring in an action movie. The second trailer that just got released for the film doesn’t do anything to contradict that notion either. As a matter of fact, it gives us another scene where McCarthy gets hit by a car, and one where she gets her head smacked against a passenger seat window; and that’s in addition to the part where Bateman hits her with an acoustic guitar. Is it possible that this year’s rekindling of the Three Stooges franchise was so inspiring to people that it’s going to usher in a full-on slapstick revival in comedy?

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Director of film and builder of podcast empires Kevin Smith has been talking about his retirement as a movie man for quite a while now. The plan, until very recently, has been for him to go out with a film called Hit Somebody, an epic in scope hockey movie that follows a sports career from its beginning in the ’50s all the way through to its end in the ’80s. What wasn’t quite clear was exactly what form Hit Somebody was going to take. At first it was thought to be one film, then it got confirmed that it was going to be split into two films, and then, just a couple days ago, Smith confirmed on Episode 99 of his ‘Jay & Silent Bob Get Old’ podcast [via /Film] that it’s now going to be split into six hour-long episodes of a mini-series, to be aired on a yet to be named TV channel. That’s not the end of the story though. Apparently Smith still wants to make one big final film that he can market as his retirement project, and earlier today he took to his Twitter account to fill everybody in on what that would be. He started things off by explaining to his followers that, “Since HIT SOMEBODY is now gonna be a mini-series, yes – that leaves room for a new final flick before I retire from directing feature films.” And then followed that up by dropping the fairly big bombshell that, “ … the […]

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Seth MacFarlane

Even though Seth MacFarlane’s animated shows for Fox, Family Guy and American Dad, have been hugely successful, MacFarlane himself still gets a lot of guff from critics for his shows being too formulaic and his talent being overstated. He relies too much on pop culture references and absurdist asides, people say. All of his characters’ voices sound the same, people say. But, in the last year or so, we’ve really seen MacFarlane take the first few steps toward branching out and proving that he has more to offer the entertainment industry than his critics would suggest. The biggest step toward that goal was proving that he can write and direct a successful feature film with Ted. Despite a few dissenting voices complaining that MacFarlane’s voice for Ted’s CG teddy bear sounded too much like his voice for Peter Griffin, most everyone was in agreement that MacFarlane had directed one of the year’s best feature comedies, and the box office results more than backed its positive reviews up. Ted brought in about ten times the coin that it cost to make. Suddenly, MacFarlane finds himself in the elite club of being a money-making filmmaker, and a whole new world of possibilities has opened up for him. So what’s he going to do with his newfound clout? Not rest on his laurels, that’s for sure. Not only is he all set to host this year’s Academy Awards, which should boost his profile in the culture even higher, but now THR is reporting […]

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Admission Trailer

How could a modern woman possibly handle becoming a mother when it already takes all of your focus to reach your goals in the professional world? It’s a question that’s been one of the major preoccupations of Tina Fey’s work as an actress, and while there are no easy answers to it, watching Fey struggle is usually fertile grounds for comedy. It will always be true that taking someone who’s generally bumbling and self-centered and forcing a kid upon them—while traumatic for the child—is hilarious for the casual observer. But, by the looks of its new trailer, it seems like Fey’s new starring vehicle, Admission, might be treading on familiar ground one time too many. The deal here is that Fey’s character gave up a kid when she was in college, and now that said kid is teenaged and attending a hippie school run by Paul Rudd, Rudd has taken it upon himself to reunite mother and son. While Fey is generally incredulous about the idea at first, eventually she finds herself becoming attached to her long lost progeny…and she might even be developing some feelings for that charming and handsome guy who brought them back together.

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The Heat Trailer

Entertainment doesn’t necessarily have to be original to be good. Sometimes things get used over and over again because they make sense and just work. Tried and true, the expression is. This is good news for Paul Feig’s (Bridesmaids) new film, The Heat, because, while its new trailer makes it look like it’s probably going to be a good time in the theater, it also doesn’t seem to have an original bone in its body. What Feig has given us appears to be typical buddy cop fare, where a straight-laced officer gets partnered up with a loose cannon, and while there’s an initial period of friction, eventually they end up bonding. It casts Sandra Bullock in the frigid shrew role that she knows so well, Melissa McCarthy in the role of the slovenly loudmouth that she’s been continually revisiting ever since Bridesmaids, and it seems to follow the usual formula right down to the letter. Heck, this trailer even uses that M.IA. song, “Bad Girls,” that’s already appeared in ads for For a Good Time Call and TV’s The Mindy Project, and that’s starting to feel played out. But, you know what? It’s using that song because it has the sort of hook that sells movies.

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21 & Over Trailer

Jon Lucas and Scott Moore hit a goldmine when they wrote the script for The Hangover. It turns out young people like to watch movies where the characters on screen are partying so much that they’ll even buy tickets to retreads like The Hangover Part II, or movies that barely even qualify as being movies, like Project X. It’s gotten to the point where party-gone-out-of-control is pretty much a genre onto itself. Enter Lucas and Moore’s new film, which they’ve both written and directed, 21 & Over. Jeff Chang is newly turned 21, and despite the fact that he has an important interview tomorrow morning, a couple of his crazy friends have decided to take it upon themselves to take him out drinking and give him the night of his life. The results are a derivative mix of those aforementioned party films, a little bit of the journey aspect of the Harold & Kumar films, and a sprinkling of the way they kept repeating the name McLovin in Superbad (though here it’s repetition of the protagonist, Jeff Chang’s, name, Jeff Chang).

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Warm Bodies Trailer

Zombies don’t exactly lend themselves to teen romance stories as well as vampires do, what with their flesh being all gross and decaying, like a jack o’ lantern in November, rather than pale and smooth, like a porcelain doll. But that’s not going to stop the creators of Warm Bodies from capitalizing on the current zombie crazy by making a teen zombie romance anyway. Ridiculous idea or not, one has to admit that the zombie apocalypse genre can get pretty homogenous and predictable, and could use some sprucing up. It feels kind of refreshing to see a zombie movie where the walking dead have thoughts and emotions, but have trouble acting on them due to their newly unresponsive bodies and overpowering craving to consume living flesh. Not only does the conceit seem to make for good comedy, but there are hints in this new Warm Bodies trailer that it could make for an effective character moment or two as well; which kind of makes sense, because this one is being brought to us by Jonathan Levine, the director of the funny, yet affecting cancer drama 50/50.

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John Dies at the End

If you watch the new trailer for co-writer/director Don Coscarelli’s (Bubba Ho-Tep) latest film, John Dies at the End, you’ll probably be left with some questions. Why are those pills that can grow wings called “soy sauce?” Can taking them really make you jump to different dimensions? Is the main character talking into a Polish sausage like it’s a cell phone? Don’t let all of these questions left hanging in the air worry you—a lot of them don’t even get answered after you watch this crazy film in its entirety—just focus in on the fact that Coscarelli has taken David Wong’s crazy novel of the same name and made a crazy movie out of it, and the results are crazy hilarious.

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Comic actor Adam Sandler, his production company Happy Madison, and Sony Pictures all have a rich history of working together. They’ve brought us a litany of steaming piles of comedy crap, including titles like Grown Ups, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, and the Kevin James-starring Paul Blart: Mall Cop. And, despite the fact that Sandler’s last horrible excuse for a comedy that he made with Sony, That’s My Boy, didn’t perform up to the standards of his previous films, all indications have been that the studio and Sandler were still perfectly happy in their relationship and ready to continue work on a Grown Ups sequel and then some sort of untitled Western comedy. But recently there was a glimmer of hope. Sony has been experiencing some money troubles, and has, as THR puts it in their report of all this inside baseball stuff, started, “actively seeking partners, divesting and abandoning specific projects.” This means that guys like Sandler, who may be showing signs of slowing down as an earner, are starting to look like a bigger risk to the studio, and that they’re less likely to fund risky projects unless they can get some sort of partner to come on board and split the cost. Suddenly, that untitled Western comedy was in trouble. Might it be possible that it could get put in turnaround, thus sparing us from having to see another terrible Adam Sandler comedy for a few years?

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Anyone who’s lived in a college town or a neighborhood with a bustling bar district over the past ten years or so has probably heard the term “walk of shame.” Or, at least, you have to have seen one take place, even if you didn’t know what the kids were calling it at the time. The walk of shame happens when somebody makes some bad decisions at a bar, spends the night at the house of someone they don’t know, and then has to walk back home the next morning looking all disheveled and gross because the person they spent the night with doesn’t even have the decency to give them a ride. Due to the fact that the walk of shame is both comically embarrassing and promotes casual sex, it was only a matter of time before somebody in Hollywood used it for the basis of a raunchy comedy, and that time is now. According to THR, Elizabeth Banks has just signed a deal with Lakeshore Entertainment to make Walk of Shame her next project after filming wraps on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The film, which was written and will be directed by Steve Brill, tells the story of a news anchor in Los Angeles who has to make her way across town after a one night stand in time to receive a promotion at her work that she’s been dreaming about forever.

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Seeing as he appeared in commercials, had his own television series, and starred in nine feature films, you would think that the character of Ernest P. Worrell was one of the most hilarious and beloved in comedy history. But that’s not exactly the case. As a matter of fact, you would probably be hard-pressed to find anyone willing to admit to ever liking an Ernest movie these days (full disclosure: I still consider Goes to Camp, Saves Christmas, and Scares Stupid to be guilty pleasures). We must have all just been experiencing some mass hallucination throughout the 80s and early 90s, and there’s no way anybody could make any money by trying to market another Ernest product in this day and age, right? Well, don’t tell that to RuckusFILM, as they’re trying to bring the character back in a new feature called Son of Ernest. As announced in a press release (which was originally given exclusively to Variety) today, Ernest creator John Cherry, along with Ruckus’ Clarke Gallivan and Coke Sams, and screenwriter Dan Ewen, hope that there’s still enough affection for the denim-vested friend of Vern to transition the character from the late Jim Varney to a new actor, who will essentially be doing the same schtick under the guise of being Ernest’s son. You know what this means, don’t you? Ernest got laid!

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Over Under - Large

Sidney Lumet’s 1975 tale of a bank robbery gone bad, Dog Day Afternoon, is not only considered to be a high point in the careers of both its director as well as its star, Al Pacino, it’s also considered to be one of the key films that was a part of the New Hollywood movement, which started in the late ’60s and continued through to the blockbusters of the 80s. New Hollywood was all about a generation of filmmakers making films that were artsier, grittier, and more experimental than most commercial fare, all from within the confines of the studio system. But while Dog Day Afternoon and its tale of cross-dressing and violent crimes certainly looks at home under that classification, is it really good enough to be mentioned in the same breath as stuff like Bonnie and Clyde, The Godfather, or Mean Streets? The early ’90s saw one of the biggest boom periods in the history of sketch comedy mainstay Saturday Night Live. Cast members like Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, Adam Sandler, and Chris Farley led the show to probably its most critically successful period since the original cast, and pretty much everyone on the show went on to become a star in film. Out of all of these talented comedians, however, none became quite as successful as Sandler. After starring in Billy Madison in 1995, he was off to the races, earning big paychecks, pulling in big box office dollars, and gobbling up media attention. Some of his […]

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Yes, It

Do you love all of the dick jokes in today’s raunchy, R-rated comedies, but hate it when the movies stray away from its protagonists’ penises and try to put their focus on something else, like flash mobs, food trucks, or burgeoning art careers? Then the new comedy from screenwriter Jeff Tetreault, Johnson, might be exactly what you’re looking for. The movie is about a womanizer named Rich Johnson (get it?) whose genitals feel so overworked by his sexual conquests that they take human form, leave his body, and refuse to come back until he learns how to be a better man. According to THR, Twilight star Cam Gigandet has been signed to play Johnson, while comedian Nick Thune has been tapped to play the johnson. Wondering how exactly one depicts a wang taking human form on film? You’re in luck, Tetreault has another dick joke to tell as a non-answer to this question. He explained to THR that his script is, “semi-autobiographical. Nick is only 6’4, though. Shaq would be more of an accurate physical representation.”

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Movie 43 Trailer

It’s been a really long time since a sketch anthology movie got released in theaters. I’m not some sort of human trivia machine, so I don’t know exactly how long, but let’s just say that it’s been quite a while since somebody showed somebody else their VHS copy of Kentucky Fried Movie in a college dorm room. The people at Relativity Media are making a big play at bringing the form back though, by recruiting an army of funny filmmakers and a legion of talented actors to put together a new sketch comedy anthology called Movie 43. Who do they have directing segments of this thing? People like Bob Odenkirk, James Gunn, Elizabeth Banks, Peter Farrelly, and tons others. Who’s starring? People like Halle Berry, Anna Faris, Richard Gere, Emma Stone, Hugh Jackman, Richard Gere, Kate Winslet, Uma Thurman, and many more than can be typed without having your fingers cramp up. This movie cast Gerard Butler as its leprechaun, so you know it’s star-studded.

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The Guilt Trip Trailer

They’ve been a staple of comedy for as long as people having been waxing comedically about their problems: overbearing Jewish mothers. They poke, they prod, they have a uniform misunderstanding of everything that’s happening in the modern world, and they’re generally able to get under your skin like no one else you’ve ever met. But still…they’re mom. Sounds like a guy being annoyed by and then eventually growing closer to his overbearing mother could make for a good movie, huh? Well, that’s what the writer and director of The Guilt Trip, Dan Fogelman and Anne Fletcher, are hoping, because they’ve made a movie whose entire narrative seems to consist of a cross-country trip taken by a mother and son team played by Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen. So, how does it look? Not terrible. Certainly this is well-worn territory to anyone who’s seen more than a few minutes of stand-up comedy or watched more than a couple failed sitcom pilots, but the dialogue in this trailer appears to be amusing enough, and Streisand and Rogen both seem to be spot-on in their interpretations of the archetypical characters they’re playing. For Streisand fans especially, who haven’t been able to see her star in a movie that doesn’t have the word Fockers in the title for quite a while, this one should be a real treat.

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We’ve been hearing about Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s next film together as co-writers for a while. A mashup between the concepts of the pub crawl and the apocalypse, The World’s End has been said to be the third film in an informal trilogy that started with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Other than Wright directing and co-writing the film with Pegg, we’ve also known from the start that Pegg was set to re-team with Nick Frost as its stars. But, seeing as the film’s synopsis says that it’s about five friends in their forties trying to recreate an epic pub crawl they completed when they were younger, there’s always been a question of who else was going to be joining the cast. Well, a press release put out by Universal today not only confirms a couple names that have been floating around for a while, it also adds two more to the mix.

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The Comedy Trailer

Whether you like the work Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim do on their cable show, Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job!, or not, you have to admit that what they produce is so unique and absurd that it’s hard to explain to those who haven’t seen it. And the trailer for a new film that they star in, The Comedy, is exactly the same way. You can sit through over two minutes of this preview, you can get introduced to the lives and struggles of this group of characters, but when it’s all over, it’s still kind of hard to explain what you’ve watched. Despite the head-scratching nature of some of this material, The Comedy isn’t rampant silliness like Tim and Eric’s other work. It’s looks gritty, indie, kind of dark, and it sees the famous comic duo taking acting roles in a project that was the creative work of someone else. From director Rick Alverson and his co-writers Robert Donne and Colm O’Leary, The Comedy tells the story of an aging, trust fund hipster (Heidecker) who has begun to feel trapped by his life of convenience and irreverence, so he’s started to act out in destructive ways.

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King Kelly Trailer

If modern technologies like video upload sites and HD video cameras small enough to fit into phones are scaring you because of the new possibilities they bring to narcissistic vanity goblins like Internet porn stars and reality TV actors, then King Kelly might be the scariest horror movie you see all year. But, if teenage-aimed movies like Project X, which glorify the most vapid and soulless aspects of party-obsessed youth culture, really get under your skin and make you mad, then King Kelly might be the funniest piece of satire you see all year. Shot entirely on iPhones and telling the story of a teenage girl who makes amateur strip videos (Louisa Krause) looking to get into the world of indie filmmaking (you know, so she can be famous), King Kelly appears to be a brutal skewering of the self-obsession and celebrity worship that’s running rampant in today’s culture. Thanks to advances in modern technology, nearly anyone can now take a shot at becoming famous (as long as they’re willing to humiliate themselves), and the effects of that seem to be a gradual poisoning of our society that’s not looking like it’s going to end anytime soon.

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-


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