Tag Archives: bank robbery

The Parole Officer: A Coogan-y Film

I must admit I was excited to see Steve Coogan’s face on the cover of this movie on my Netflix. 2001 is a bit iffy for comedies for me (I’m a 200 and late… -r), but this one did the job for the most part. Steve Coogan wasn’t at top form (a bit of a problem) but I got through it all the same. The first scene was promising, but you can only be so outrageous before nobody watches your movies…

The story of The Parole Officer is a pretty straightforward one. Steve Coogan plays Simon Garden, and awkward and sad probation worker (confusing movie title, I

All too true…

know…). He is being transferred to another city (Manchester, I believe) and he’s going to be attempting to correct those sorry crooks that litter the streets of England. What he stumbles upon is something a bit more intense. A fellow officer in crime prevention, Inspector Burton (Stephen Dillane), commits a murder that is caught on security camera. Holding the evidence in his possession, Burton the crooked cop is planning on framing Garden if he tattles. Not wanting this being held over his head, Garden employs the help of the only four former criminals he corrected in robbing a bank with the tape inside. Oh, the comedic irony.

The most awkward place for Coogan? Strip club.

It’s pretty cut and dry from there. The movie has some of Coogan’s own brand of awkward comedy, but not enough to make it a signature film of his. (I’d say Hamlet 2 is more his style.) You get an awkward sense of Alan Partridge, but it comes up short of expectations. The acting is fine and the movie is dated, which always makes it a bit hard for me to watch. But overall, think Johnny English with dry comedy instead of slapstick. You got this film right there.

There are a couple of great little parts other than the versus mode of Coogan/Dillane. There’s Ben Miller as Colin, one of Garden’s former clients. Being Rowan Atkinson’s sidekick in Johnny English, it was a nice change to see him delivering comedy more than being the straight actor taking it all in. There’s Lena Headey as a watered down version of the strong British actress she will one day become in things like 300 and Game of Thrones. Not the most adequate of cops, it

Team of crack cons, assemble!

always gets weird whenever Coogan lays his puffy lips on a love interest in a movie. And then there’s a non-speaking cameo from Simon Pegg in the art gallery scene. I had no idea what to expect there. But worth a laugh.

The bank heist is a little above my understanding with some strange technology lingo and complicated means of infiltration, leaving part of the movie as bland. The back and forth between the cons was fine, although overall it lacked a certain star quality for me that would’ve

Aha! I’m Simon Garden.

sent the jokes home better. It really was an all eyes on Coogan film for me. Throw in some slapstick/situational comedy towards the end (and a break-in scene reminiscent of The Dark Knight) and you have yourself a throwback to the 1950’s heist movies. Not a bad roll into one.

Not one of my favorites, but not the worst Coogan attached film I’ve seen. I still feel like one of my only friends who actually recognized/knew Coogan in Tropic Thunder, something that saddens me to this very day. But it’s not about notoriety or popularity. There are those of us out there who salute Steve Coogan for his amazing contribution to the world of comedy. He deserves a ranking up there with Ricky Gervais, Matt Lucas/David Walliams, and even Monty Python. Can’t get enough of those Brits. For this, I give The Parole Officer a 6.8 out of 10.

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30 Minutes or Less: Aziz Ansari Hour!

Now, I’m not gonna lie, I’m not a big Parks & Recreation fan. But I am a huge Aziz Ansari fan, especially after this movie. 30 Minutes or Less is hilarious and a lot of things came together to make this movie near perfect as a comedy. A lot of things I think came together to make Aziz Ansari a tour de force of hilarity in this film as well. Starting off with a small acting career (or comedy first?), Aziz started with School for Scoundrels and moved on from there after a few shorts as well. (I’m using IMDB, not exactly sure on the details…) But, after a funny episode as a racist fruit seller in Flight of the Conchords, Aziz took off in the MTV show Human Giant. With some Scrubs work and a few more small comedy films, he made his way into Parks and Recreation, and this opened the door to a starring role in 30 Seconds or Less. And by God, was it phenomenal.

Let’s get to the story. Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is a down in the dumps pizza

Hilarity ensues! Yay!

delivery guy who prides himself on his driving ability and speed in getting there, “30 minutes or less,” the slogan of his employer’s pizza business. He has a best friend, Chet (Aziz Ansari), now a school teacher and not lowlife like Nick. Nick and Chet are pretty good friends, other than the fact that Nick slept with Chet’s sister, Kate (Dilshad Vadsaria). This has created a rift between them and this pervades as comic throughout the film.

McBride and Swardson are fiends in this film! (Big Nick Swardson fan!)

Meanwhile, two friends, Dwayne (Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson) are two scummy friends who live off of Dwayne’s dad the Major (Fred Ward) and his winnings from the lottery. But he spends it like a bastard. So Dwayne and Travis make a plan to off the Major through an outside hitman, suggested by a hooker/stripper/prostitute. But it’s gonna cost 100,000 bones.

And that’s where Nick comes in. With their expertise in pyrotechnics and bomb making (more Travis’s forte…), they strap a bomb to Nick’s chest and demand that he rob a bank for their nefarious purposes. Nick enlists the help of Chet and these two groups are off on a wild ride of wild driving, destruction, and a string of hilarious jokes (one in particular about Facebook that Jesse Eisenberg delivers expertly.).

This Ansari face explains all.

From occaisional film director Ruben Fleischer (director of Rob & Big and Zombieland. Guess he really likes Jesse Eisenberg…) and first time writer Michael Diliberti, comes a fantastic film about love, betrayal, and all things ridonkulously funny. Aziz Ansari kills it in this film and I was literallly howling in the theater with laughter (my mom looking at me strangely). I gotta admit though that Danny McBride, although sometimes funny, ruined this movie with tons of sex jokes and random unfunny swear words. All-in-all, I give this film a definite top 5 best of the summer and a definite watch with a group of friends. 8.8 out of 10.