For Your Renting Pleasure

win_win_headerIn this week of rentals I found myself disappointed with many of this years “better” comedies, where two other films ending up where I expected them to be.  If you’re considering renting The Alphabet Killer, Horrible Bosses, Your Highness, or Win Win then read my thoughts before making your choice this coming weekend.

The Alphabet Killer (2008)

Last week was Case 39, this week’s entry into the “you should have known better, but you watched it anyway because you are willing to watch almost any horror film” is The Alphabet Killer.  This time around I was drawn in with Eliza Dushku’s name in the cast list, as well as because of the title.  Not only did it make me chuckle, but even with low expectations I thought it might have a chance to be decent because the name reminded me of Zodiac, and I thought the premise might do the same.  But meh.

Dushku plays a detective that has a psychological break during a case that overwhelms her.  She sees connections and a possible serial killer in the making, and her insight brings out a hidden mental disorder that ruins her life for her.  Years later she is working in the station once more, just in a demoted position.  However, when a case comes in bringing similarities to the first, she is brought back in to the story.

Her deteriorating state allows for a few cheap scares in the form of hallucinations, but I still have trouble believing that she would have been brought on the case as she was.  But hey, I’ll go along with it.  However, what I cannot go along with is the cheap reveal of a killer at the end.  It would have been just as satisfying had the killer been the neighborhood milk man or something, because then at least I could make a joke about how he probably picks his victims based on the last letter left in his bowl of Alpha-Bits and milk.  But no, the reveal is completely unsatisfying, only made worse when the killer’s motives for choosing certain victims is revealed.

Final Grade:  D

Horrible Bosses (2011)

I don’t know if it is just because of all the hype surrounding this film, but I’m not seeing it.  Don’t get me wrong, it has its moments, but a lot of the comedy was falling flat with me.

I’m just going to move past the unlikely premise because it serves its purpose in creating hilarious situations, but some things just weren’t as funny as they thought it was going to be. Starting with the bosses themselves.  Sure, the fact that they are described as being horrible means that they will probably be hard to like, but the only one that ever had any funny moments for me when it came to interacting with their employee was Jennifer Aniston.  Everyone else was just meh, with Colin Farrell being on the bottom of the list because all his character had were his trailer moments.

And now that I think about it, Jennifer Aniston was only the best boss because she had the best employee to work against in Charlie Day.  He ended up being the highlight of ever scene he was in on most occasions, including a long stretch tainted by the side effects of accidentally sniffing coke, with Jason Sudeikis being the least favorite.  Don’t get me wrong, when he was actually being an integral part of the team he was fine, but his character’s one-track mind towards women was just annoying.  This is always expected in a male character so it wasn’t anything new, but it was just frustrating that the need was felt to always have him randomly hooking up with people, especially when it just didn’t make sense.

Overall there were some great bits of dialog here and there, as well as situational/physical comedy, but in the end this film disappointed me because of my high expectations for it.  Better than Bridesmaids my behind…

Final Grade:  B-

Your Highness (2011)

First thing’s first: How the heck does someone do a summersault up stairs?  I just don’t see how that is possible, let alone why someone would have the urge to do that.

Ok, so that question might seem a little ridiculous, but this question shows just how much this movie asks of you if this is the most thinking I had to do throughout its run time.  To put it simply, it is a very unsophisticated comedy, at least in terms of the comedy element.  As Zac says in his review, it is a fantasy throwback film and I can appreciate these moments, but when they are surrounded by penis joke after penis joke, as well as any other sexual aspect that can be laughed at, the depth they are trying to reach gets a little lost.  So where this might have made the film a solid go for him, I just can’t say the same.

Personally, the main thing that I can say that I did enjoy was the relationship between James Franco and Danny McBride as brothers, the former being the hero and the latter being the slacker.  Their journey together to get back Franco’s love does bring out great moments between the two, as well as bits when they are apart and McBride is complaining about how great his brother is that are truly enjoyable.  And then there was yet another penis joke and I am reminded why I am having trouble truly enjoying it.

Final Grade:  C-

Win Win (2011)

When a teenage boy shows up on the doorstep of one of Mike Flaherty’s clients, circumstances lead to the Flaherty family gaining a member.  Some monetary issues and a drug-addicted mother lead to some drama, but the main draw to this movie is the bond between the family as they bring in a child with no one else to turn to.

Paul Giamatti plays Mike, a couch for the high school wrestling team that has possibly seen better days (though possibly not), until Kyle decides to get back on the mats.  Seeing as Alex Shaffer has a background in wresting, he does a great job in these scenes, but my biggest question comes in his moments of acting.  Win Win is the first film in his filmography, so I can’t quite tell if he still has plenty of room to grow as an actor, or if he is actually so good that the quite, slightly monotonous tone he takes with the character was all by choice.  I am going to choose the latter though because I was a fan of this portrayal.  As a strong combatant on the mats, almost every other moment on screen is one of serenity.  He speak in almost a matter of fact manner, doesn’t have an emotional inflection, things just are and he takes them in stride.  However, all this means is that when he finally decides to show emotion it will be quite the expression.

Though these two are front and center on many occasions, the supporting cast is just as strong.  Bobby Cannavale plays Terry Delfino, a man who wrestled with Mike back in high school and has reverted back to this teen in many ways as he deals with his divorce, choosing instead to dive back into the world of wrestling by living vicariously through Kyle.  However, my favorite would probably have to be Amy Ryan as Mike’s wife, Jackie.  She takes Kyle in out of necessity since he has nowhere else to go, but she quickly includes him in her mama bear mentality.

In the end Win Win is just a feel good movie that will have you smiling.

Final Grade:  B

 

  • zac

    Horrible Bosses is not good, Your Highness is fantastic fun.

  • Lauren

    Sure it was fun, but I just like having a little more than a minotaur raping a man, or sexual abuse of children, gay jokes… So meh. It just ruined everything else that was good about the movie for me.