Tag Archives: Role Models

The Sitter: The Fat Before the Form

Okay, so by the title you might have noticed I’m gonna focus a lot on Jonah Hill in this review. The movie is basically about him right? But unlike the woefully misinformed Rotten Tomatoes that thinks that “groundbreaking originality” is the only thing that gets a high rating (along with “the reviews” it claims), I actually kinda liked this movie. Who says that sticking to a plot device that works so well with all those other movies

Close dat mouth, tubby.

(Superbad, Knocked Up, any sort of out on the town trouble film with hijinks) is all that bad? Sure it may not be “fresh” (what the hell does fresh have to do with movies anyways?), but it sure made me laugh, the whole point of comedies, remember?

So what clicked so well with me in this movie? This is the first film where Jonah Hill gets to stand alone. No Michael Cera, no Judd Apatow cast, it’s all him. And to see a sidekick comedian like Hill perform wellis a breath of fresh air. I admit it, Superbad was a flop of a film for me, couldn’t get into it. Ever since then, sorely disappointed with Judd Apatow & gang.

Never made Minivans look so ballin’.

(And that’s from someone who considers The 40 Year Old Virgin his favorite comedy, followed closely by any Jim Carrey film.) And why did I find Jonah Hill so funny now instead of all those other times?

He embraced his inner Farley. Plain and simple.

From the first time he gets sprayed in the mouth with perfume, to getting laid out by a black chick, he kept me laughing with never-gets-old slapstick. Something you don’t see in these gross-out, absurdist films these days. He went off the rails a little bit and he looked mighty comfortable in the role he was in. I know now he’s lost weight, but he was going after it as the fat man falling through quite a bit of this movie. And still gets the chick.

So let’s back this bitch up a bit and go back to the plot. Noah (Jonah Hill; I’ve always wanted to call him that for some

Gotta be jive to stay alive (one of my favorite scenes).

reason…) is a couch potato pansy that got kicked out of college. He doesn’t do anything with his life and disappoints everyone around him. He’s capable, he just doesn’t apply himself (sounds like myself…). His dad left his mom and him for a babysitter, and he has always had an attitude since then. But it’s all going to have to change if he’s going to cover this babysitting job his mom needs him to take.

The after lights out night life.

So after meeting all the tikes, Noah gets a call from his “girlfriend” asking him to buy some blow and head on over for some sex, the first time in his life (I think…). Without thinking, Noah heads out in the baller ass mini van and hauls it all over to Craig (Sam Rockwell) in order to get the goods. What happens in the course of that ride is what makes for some pretty sticky situations. Formulaic, they may be, but decently funny all the same.

This is one of those movies that I haven’t seen since Role Models that actually had good child actors. (Ronny will never be beaten though.) Slater is played by Max Records (ironic name, no?), the kid people may remember from Where The Wild Things Are. His panic attack of a character isn’t all that funny, but more of the straight man in the group (oh the

Kaah-Kaah!

puns…). Kevin Hernandez, a kid I’ve never seen before, plays Rodrigo, the bad boy in pajamas and cowboy boots. In some strange manner, he plays the Latino stereotype everyone is afraid of, or something… I wasn’t sure. And rounding out the group was Landry Bender as Blithe, the celebrity-slut in the making. She was adorable, and, like Ronny, said some things kids basically learn from rap music. Sad.

Throw in a hilariously psycho performance from Sam Rockwell and you have a well rounded out cast. All you gotta do is add the mass amounts of African American kids that Noah went to school with and you paint a picture of an unnamed town with a nice suburban feel and

Taking him back to El Salvador, eh Jonah?

a threateningly urban vibe. Because what film would there be if Noah didn’t run into some major problems with the homies? Oh, and a bat mitzfah (did I get that right? That’s the female one… right?).

So with all the language and kids there to hear it, Jonah Hill brings this movie above decent for me to a pretty damn funny level. All the parts I saw in the trailer made me laugh just as much in the movie, and there were some great surprisingly funny scenes thrown in there as well. If you like Jonah Hill or just a decent film to laugh at, this movie should probably be on your short list of recent films to catch. I enjoyed the 90 minute semi-gut buster, and maybe you will too. 7.5 out of 10.

 

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The Ten: Thou Shalt Laugh

David Wain surprises me again and again with his hilarious body of work. And not his actual body, mind you, because it is funny that his balding haircut is as comic as his movies. But The Ten is a comedic movie taking a different angle on the Ten Commandments. With ten short sketches about just what do those commandments mean leaves you understanding just what a modern view of those rules are.

Paul Rudd is the host of this little soiree, sticking his head in and out as he lives beneath the two behemoth tablets. Married to Famke Janssen, Paul struggles with the commandments himself and finds love in Jessica Alba, as his life is turned upside down. Now, I love Paul Rudd. Being the straight man comes off as strange for him sometimes, but 50/50 it works in his comedies. I just love that he has worked so closely with David Wain over the years (Role Models, Wet Hot American Summer, this…) that he has been able to

Paul Rudd, you genius, you.

cultivate comedic characters that are both funny and underhandedly serious at the same time. That’s a balance that’s hard to walk, but Rudd finds a way. He is one of my favorite comedic actors of all time. Thank God (pardon the pun) for The 40 Year Old Virgin.

Some Pinocchio lovin’.

Now some of these stories are hit and miss. Winona Ryder’s scenes with Adam Brody and the ventriloquist dummy are some of the best. It’s nice to see that characters came back in this series. The commandment story with Liev Schreiber in competition with Joe Lo Truglio over MRI machines was hilarious. But not all of them are that good. The goof story and the subsequent ass rape story were a little off base, but I can see where David Wain was coming from. To take a serious situation and make it into something darkly funny is usually key, but it all comes with the territory that you might fudge it up. But it all wraps together nicely with a song and dance with some nude men and Roberta Flack. It was truly killing me softly.

That’s a lot of nude men who like Roberta Flack.

I would say as far as concept, this movie is an interesting one. It hits the points I find interesting. Modern day religion, characters tied into each other’s stories, and a comedic element of seriousness that pushes the story along. It’s not as good as some of David Wain’s other work, but it wasn’t a bad attempt either. It’s worth watching, but if you are offended by animated orgies or sex with dolls, then maybe you should look elsewhere for your comedy. I got a laugh out of it, and you might too. A decent film, The Ten deserves a 6.5 out of TEN.


Wet Hot American Summer: “I Said NO!”

My friends had talked about this movie in passing and said it was pretty damn funny. From the title, I thought it was going to be some sort of American Pie ripoff. Not being a big fan of that idea, I put off watching the movie. I put off watching it for far too long. I should’ve watched it the day it was mentioned. This commercial flop turned cult following (by me and my friends) really is a worthwhile film to watch, and then rewatch as many times as possible. This cast has a bunch of star studded comedians right before their prime, and they destroy this movie with how creatively comedic they really are. A big nod to David Wain and Michael Showalter (Of the Michael and Michael Have Issues show, a show cut too short by Comedy Central) for their great writing based on their childhood camp experiences.

This movies got a lot of moving parts going on all at once. Lots of people getting lots of face time all at once, and its mayhem and a perfect parody of a 1980’s feel good camp film. First off, every camp counselor at this movie is well into their mid 20’s, early 30’s. It’s so ridiculously misrepresented that it has to be laughed at. And the whole point of this movie, as the title implies, is about sex. It’s the last day of camp, and every camp counselor wants to get with another camp counselor. But a lot of stuff happens in this day.

All the wonderful faces of the film.

I don’t wanna delve into every funny scene or situation, so I’ll just lay down the groundwork for this film. Beth (Janeane Garofalo) is the camp director, who is a bit slow in the womanly department.  For being a feminist, this fits Garofalo’s humor quite well (I’ve loved her since Dogma). She falls in love with Henry (David Hyde Pierce), an astrophysicist who happens to be vacationing right next to the camp. His inadequacy with social situations creates some funny outbursts. Coop (Michael Showalter) is seen as the main protagonist in the film, trying to win away Katie (Marguerite Moreau) from her toolish and hilariously stereotypical boyfriend, Andy (Paul Rudd). There’s Victor (Ken Marino) and his friend Neil (Joe Lo Truglio) and the girl who comes between them and their campers when it comes to a river rafting ride. And, meanwhile, Gail (Molly Shannon), the arts and crafts counselor, is being consoled after her divorce by her campers.

A training montage for the ages, with Christopher Meloni.

There’s a lot more going on here, but you are hereby warned. There is some gay butt sex between two characters you wouldn’t expect. And, despite its tastefulness, its quite graphic in its suggestion. But throw in even more great comedic actors like Michael Ian Black, Elizabeth Banks (for sex appeal), Amy Poehler (eh, not so good…), Bradley Cooper, and Christopher Meloni as a twist in his acting style from Law and Order: SVU, and you got an all-star cast that actually has a majority of actors from Children’s Hospital on Adult Swim. Thank god for that.

This movie takes everything that John Cusack stood for in his earlier years and parodies it. For me, this was the comedic equivalent of Heavyweights. There’s the sexual/romantic undertone brought to the surface. The reversal of adults acting like children more than the campers themselves. A bit of slapstick/absurdist humor (I don’t think absurdist is a word, but it is by far the best and purest type of humor), and throw in an all day montage of drug addiction and you got yourself a cult following. Bravo for that.

Get some, Paul.

I love Paul Rudd in everything he does, and this film is no exception. Playing the “who gives a shit?” badboy with the best girlfriend who’s always mistreated is something he wouldn’t normally do. But after seeing his role in The 40 Year Old Virgin, my favorite role, this guy can do anything. And has done everything, even a bit of serious acting. Thank the Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce that I have a love for the Halloween series, so I could discover Paul Rudd sooner. Throw in Bradley Cooper in a role I found funnier than The Hangover, how great is that? And Molly Shannon, really letting her Superstar shine through in a more grown up role than she’s done in a while, how classy. I could rave on and on about the comedic actors in the film, but I’ll cut this short before my grandstanding this film gets out of hand.

All you really need to do is get on Netflix, or buy this movie off Amazon, and you won’t be disappointed. It has humor for everyone and a cast you can’t help but love. In David Wain’s fashion, he created a precursor to Role Models that I wish I had found when I was 12 when this movie came out. (A bit young for it, I know). But any sort of comedic inspiration such as this needs to be taken in and developed into a greater body of humor. Campy, B-rated, absurdist humor. I’ll take another helping of that, and I’ll take that prequel to this film you’ve been talking about, David Wain. Just bring on the humor some more. A well deserved, cult following 8.6 out of 10. (If you’re into my kind of humor, Meet the Spartans, Dumb & Dumber, 40 Year Old Virgin Style. Or some similar combo.)

Thanks David Wain!