Jake Johnson

Damon Wayans Jr and Jake Johnson in LETS BE COPS

Schmidt and Jenko. Riggs and Murtaugh. Tango and Cash. Coach and Nick Miller? The trailer for Let’s Be Cops has dropped, and the buddy cop genre is about to have a new entry for best dynamic duo, courtesy of Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. The New Girl co-stars are teaming up for a new project that doesn’t involve Zooey Deschanel or the word “adorkable.” Johnson and Wayans star as a couple of screw-up friends named Ryan and Justin who were planning on being a lot more successful by the time they hit 30. Sure, they’ve done stuff — Ryan was in a herpes medication commerical at one point, doesn’t that count? — but it’s nothing near where their younger selves thought they’d be at their milestone birthdays. Justin has pointed out that they both agreed that they would move back to Ohio and start over if they hadn’t made anything of themselves by the time they hit 30. But before that depressing pact is revisited, Ryan is going to cheer them both up with a costume party. When the invitation is misread and they show up in police uniforms to a very Eyes Wide Shut-looking masquerade ball, the boys take yet another rejection in stride. And then they make something of themselves. Kind of.

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the-pretty-one02

There are no evil twins in Jenée LaMarque’s clever and creative The Pretty One. There are no good twins in the film, either, no such black and white distinctions between siblings split from the same egg. There’s not even really a pretty one (because there’s certainly no ugly one), there are just two very different girls from the same place. (And a haircut and a car accident and a mix-up and a plan, but we’ll get to that in a bit.) Laurel (Zoe Kazan) hasn’t progressed much beyond her younger years – after the death of her mother, she’s stayed nearly housebound, painting high class copies (read: forgeries you can hang in your own home) alongside her beloved father (John Carroll Lynch), sporting her mom’s duds, and bedding a high school student she used to help babysit (Laurel’s childish spirit helps this thorny subplot seem at least a hair less troublesome than it sounds on paper). Elsewhere, her idolized twin sister Audrey (Kazan, obviously) has carved out a new life for herself in the big city, complete with a career selling “storybook homes” to buyers looking for that extra something special. Audrey may be absent in Laurel’s everyday life, but she looms large – the duo’s twin beds remain pushed together in their shared childhood room, a bulletin board touts her many accomplishments (Laurel’s board holds but one ribbon), and an imminent birthday visit thrills Laurel.

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Nick Robinson

Like a herd of startled brachiosaurus, casting announcements for Jurassic World continue to stampede in, and the latest actor to hitch a ride to this dinosaur train is Nick Robinson. The star of this year’s The Kings of Summer and the ABC Family sitcom Melissa and Joey, Robinson will be playing the older brother of yesterday’s addition, Ty Simpkins. This newest piece of news (which we’ve got thanks to Variety) seems to confirm that the central characters of Jurassic World might be one big happy dinosaur-bitten family. Throw Bryce Dallas Howard into the mix as a potential mom and the rumored Jake Johnson as a potential dad and things really start to take shape. Though we don’t know anything for certain about the plot of Jurassic World, the (I’m assuming) family dynamic seems to tie in with the biggest story rumor so far – that the film will see a Jurassic World that’s up and running and very successful, and it’s during a run-of-the-mill day at the park that the dinosaurs decide to start snacking on tourists. We’ve still got a ways to go before Jurassic World hits theaters (the film is set for a June 12, 2015 release date), but at least we can be satisfied knowing that the film is coming together, being cast and will most definitely not be sinking back into the development hell from whence it came.

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Drinking Buddies

Editor’s Note: This review was originally part of our SXSW coverage, but Drinking Buddies is in theaters this weekend so stop messing around and go see it. Joe Swanberg is one of a group of filmmakers who made their mark with movies that relied on improvisation more than script, 20 something ennui more than narrative and friends more than professional actors. This model works for some viewers, but it’s not designed to ever really appeal to the wider audiences. His latest film, Drinking Buddies, keeps the improv method, but it still manages to tell a cohesive and truly affecting story. A big reason for that is a cast of extremely talented actors with wicked good comedic timing in the lead roles. The four performers, along with a more assured Swanberg directing and editing, have crafted a story about heartbreak, temptation and friendship.

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Drinking Buddies

Do you like fun things? Things like beer and love and friendship and mostly improvised movies? Or even fun people? Fun people like Jake Johnson, Olivia Wilde, Anna Kendrick, and Ron Livingston? Would you like to see all of those things and people together in one of SXSW’s biggest hits from earlier this year? Good, you can do that quite soon. Until then, here is a poster. Refreshing! Drinking Buddies will be available on VOD on July 25th, with a theatrical release following on August 23rd. [EW]

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Drinking Buddies

The positive buzz surrounding Joe Swanberg‘s SXSW Film Festival premiere, Drinking Buddies, was heady enough to carry over throughout the 89-day (almost) festival, so it was quite surprising that the filmmaker’s latest had not found a home by the time the fest ended this past weekend. No matter, however, as the Olivia Wilde- and Jake Johnson-starrer has lined up a big deal that will put the favorite into theaters nationwide by the year’s end, as Magnola Pictures has just picked up North American rights to the comedy. The film “follows the lives of Kate (Wilde) and Luke (Johnson) who work together at a craft brewery. They have one of those friendships that feels like it could be something more. But Kate is with Chris (Ron Livingston), and Luke is with Jill (Anna Kendrick). And Jill wants to know if Luke is ready to talk about marriage. The answer to that question becomes crystal clear when Luke and Kate unexpectedly find themselves alone for a weekend.” Uh oh.

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Wayans and Johnson

Every good sitcom has to have a black dude. Or, at least, this seems to be the theory that FOX’s New Girl was working by when, after they lost Damon Wayans Jr. to ABC’s Happy Endings following the filming of their pilot, they dealt with the situation by replacing his Coach character with another black dude named Winston (Lamorne Morris). Since then though, Happy Endings has done well for itself, and – after a period of hanging around the outskirts of the show as the token who the writers didn’t have much for – Morris has found his groove and started getting big laughs on New Girl. So it’s kind of hard to get upset about any perceived racism or whatever. One thing that we can still get upset about, however, is that we never really got the chance to see a couple of comedic talents like Wayans and Jake Johnson play off of each other. They’ve both been great on their respective shows, and it’s kind of hard not to dream about what might have been had they been given a chance to play in the same sandbox. This is the part of the story where there’s good news. Deadline is reporting that Fox has just green lit a new comedy called Let’s Be Cops that’s coming from The Girl Next Door director Luke Greenfield. It’s about two idiot best friends who decide to start impersonating police officers in order to entertain themselves, and – here’s the big news – it’s […]

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Editor’s note: With Safety Not Guaranteed beginning its limited release roll-out today, we thought to share our SXSW review again. This review was originally posted on March 14, 2012, and it’s much safer to read than anything you might find on Craigs List. The want ad is simple. A partner is needed to travel backward in time. It will be dangerous, it will be an adventure, and their safety will not be guaranteed. A magazine writer convinces his editor that there’s a goofy human interest story in the ad and gathers together two interns for a trip north to Seattle in the hopes of meeting the ad’s owner. What they discover is that not all time travel involves machines, portals or HG Wells chasing Jack the Ripper through modern day San Francisco. Sometimes all it needs are heads and hearts refusing to let go of the past. Director Colin Trevorrow‘s feature debut is just as likely to make you laugh out loud as it is to make you tear up in hopeful anticipation. The concept of time travel is the catalyst for a story that examines the idea of returning to an earlier time in our lives when things were better and our futures were still bright. Or at least, that’s how we remember things.

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Here’s a tip, indie producers, cast Zoe Kazan in anything and I’ll buy a ticket. Toss in Jake Johnson and I’m convinced someone cast this film out of my dreams. Deadline Portland reports that Kazan and Johnson will star in Jenee LaMarque‘s Black List script, The Pretty One, which was also a finalist for the Nicholl Fellowship and Zoetrope screenplay contest. LaMarque will also make her directorial debut with the project, which is billed as an “offbeat comedy” that centers on Kazan’s as an “awkward but loveable young woman who is mistaken for her dead ‘perfect’ identical twin, and seizes the chance to masquerade as her sister. But when she falls in love with her twin’s eccentric next door neighbor, she finds herself wanting to live her own imperfect life, and have the truth come out.” Oh, man, sounds wacky! But also lovable…and possibly eccentric. There’s nothing quite like a good mistaken identity romantic comedy, and I’m sure the film will be rife with all sorts of missteps, awkward moments, and near-misses until some big, emotional reveal. Though that all sounds like standard stuff, the heaps of praise that the film’s script has received, along with this rising star cast, hint that perhaps we’re in for a surprise treat. Consider my ticket bought.

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Here’s how it is (and how I suspect it’s going to be) – we love Colin Treverrow‘s Safety Not Guaranteed ’round these parts, and we think you might love it, too. The film debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and while I was not as effusive in my praise for it as Rob Hunter was when it played at SXSW last month, I have not been able to stop thinking about it, and do agree with Rob’s assessment that it’s warm, witty, and wonderful. Hell, we even threw this time travel love story into our Best Movies of SXSW 2012 list, and Hunter and I gabbed about it on Reject Radio. See? Love. Based on a true story (read: based on a want ad placed in a paper), the film follows Jake Johnson‘s cocky journalist who drags two interns (Aubrey Plaza and Karan Soni) into the search for a man who has placed an ad looking for someone to travel through time with him. Again. Because he’s done it before – though he can’t guarantee, you know, safety. What they find is Mark Duplass, a man who already more than a little off, with his time travel beliefs not doing him too many favors. But more than just the discovery of Duplass’s Kenneth, the group discovers, wait for it, much more about themselves. No, really. At the heart of that is an unexpected and consistently charming romance between Plaza and Duplass that should melt even the darkest of hearts. […]

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A man places an ad in a local paper looking for a partner to go on a journey with him – but this particular man is not looking to make a love connection, he is in need of a companion to travel through time with him. He’s done it once before, but you’ll have to bring to your own weapons because, as he tells it, “safety not guaranteed.” From this seed of an idea, director Colin Trevorrow and screenwriter Derek Connolly have crafted Safety Not Guaranteed, a low-fi romance that benefits both from charismatic performances and the intriguing background that the time travel element provides. The film is loosely based on a true story – an ad did appear in a Seattle paper, exactly as it appears in the film, but Connolly and Trevorrow have taken their film in a different direction – stuff mentioned in the ad (payment, that it’s been done before) never comes up after its first read, and no one ever says anything else about it. Instead, the film focuses on a trio of intrepid reporters (really just one mild douchebags and two interns who don’t have a choice in the matter) who decide to craft a piece about the man who has placed the ad. A fluff piece, something silly. Of course, they find much more than they bargained for once their investigation commence.

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published: 04.16.2014
C-
published: 04.16.2014
B-
published: 04.14.2014
B
published: 04.14.2014
A-

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