Happy Singles Awareness Day!

That Awkward Moment (2014)
Chick Flick Rating: (1/5)
Film Rating: (1/5)
Boyfriend Friendly: If he is actually your boyfriend, yes. If he is a guy you’re just dating and haven’t had the “so, where is this going?” talk yet, then NO NO NO.

If there has ever been a movie to deter me from ever wanting to date in New York City again, this was that movie.

Now listen, I may pride myself on having an unhealthy obsession with chick flicks but I also LOVE myself some guy humor. I mean, I may or may not have spent my Valentine’s Day night sitting on the couch with my two roommates watching fart videos on YouTube like this one:


(Note: our V-Day wasn’t completely void of any class. Prior to this we smuggled some Two-Buck Chuck into a movie theater and saw Her for the 3rd time. Review to come.)

Anyway, my point is that normally I can overlook the copious amount of sexism that is prevalent in most “guy humor” flicks, IF they are indeed funny and original and all of that other stuff that makes a movie enjoyable. But the most awkward moment in That Awkward Moment was five minutes in when I realized I had already cringed at two flat jokes about how easy-yet-needy females are and still had a full hour and 29 minutes to suffer through.

The film opens up with some VO by Zac Efron telling us about this dreaded thing he calls “The So Moment” which occurs after roughly six weeks of fucking a girl where she asks (while his dick is inside her, obvs), “So… where is this going?” because, I mean, girls can just never have casual sex and ALWAYS have to let emotions get involved and just want to be in a relationship with anyone who will be in a relationship with us. Right?! After this, we meet Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) whose wife is cheating on him with some guy “who looks like Morris Chestnut” (and is played by Morris Chestnut, which actually did make me laugh). He tells his besties Jason (Efron) and Daniel (Miles Teller) about it, and they all decide YEAH! THIS IS GREAT! WE CAN ALL BE SINGLE GUYS WHO BANG LOTS OF CHICKS AND PLAY XBOX IN OUR BOXERS WHILE DRINKING WHISKEY TOGETHER! POUND IT.

Except then Jason meets Ellie (Imogen Poots) who is perfect because she is blonde, and witty, and well-read, and forgives him when he misunderstands what she meant by “dressing up” for her birthday and shows up wearing a dildo (which is not only a total Legally Blonde rip-off but also an inappropriate costume choice for anyone not in a fraternity even if this WAS a costume party). Also, she’s really good at Xbox and drinks Scotch. And did I mention she’s cool with the fact that he thought she was a hooker when they first met? Meanwhile, Daniel starts hooking up with his super down-to-earth gal pal Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis), and Mikey and his wife give their marriage another go. But of course, the friends aren’t honest with one another about their relationships. Because they made a pact. And bro pacts are ALWAYS more important than the feelings of a female. So they all downplay it, to the point where Jason stands up Ellie AT HER OWN DAD’S FUCKING FUNERAL because that would make him look weak to the guys. God forbid!

Spoiler alert: Ellie forgives him at the end. Of course.

Anyway, this film – written and directed by Tom Gormican – was just one bad joke after another. It was literally like his formula for writing this script was sexist cliche + trying-to-be-edgy pop culture ref, followed by lame joke, repeat. As you know, I am a big Zac Efron fan for more than just his looks and I defended his acting in my review for The Lucky One. I stand by that opinion here, and I also feel the same about Michael B. Jordan (whose Fruitvale Station performance moved me beyond belief) and Miles Teller, who I haven’t seen much of but like his comedic timing. Why any of them would agree to this movie though is beyond me. Maybe they thought they’d find the comedic success that Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis did after The Hangover, or like the whole Apatow crowd did after Superbad, but sorry guys – the material just WAS NOT there.

As they say, don’t hate the players, hate the game. Well, I REALLY hated this game.

Advertisements

The (Wayyy Too) Lucky One

The Lucky One (2012)
Chick Flick Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ (3/5)
Film Rating: ★ ½ (1.5/5)
Boyfriend friendly: No chance. Unless he happens to be some big Nicholas Sparks fan, in which case – tell him to call me, maybe. (Zac Efron was in that music video, right?)

I have been talking about The Lucky One (2012) since I welled up with tears the first time I saw its trailer back in January. I was convinced this movie was going to be right up there with The Notebook in my eyes. I didn’t even read the book beforehand to eliminate any “book bias” when reviewing! But perhaps I should have read it, because without doing so, I felt disconnected from the story and just completely “meh” towards the whole thing.

Now, I created this site so that chick flicks can be reviewed for what they are meant to be. And I think I have done a pretty decent job at not reviewing them as seriously as films of higher caliber, and forgiving the creative liberties they sometimes must take (a la my reviews for The Vow and This Means War). But this film really had me scratching my head at some a lot of points. So, I am going to break down The Lucky One bit by unconvincing bit. Excuse the longer length – I promise, it’ll be fun! Starting from the top…

Warning: I will spoil the entire movie for you. Even though the trailer beat me to it.

Zac Efron plays a U.S. Marine stationed in Iraq, Logan Thibault. (It’s French, pronounced like Tebow. As in, Tim Tebow – which would’ve been a lot more Amurrican of a spelling, if you ask me.) The morning after a night raid, Logan finds a photograph of a pretty, blonde woman sitting in front of a lighthouse. As he examines it, an explosion goes off where Logan would have been standing had he not found the picture. He decides to keep the photo, which becomes his guardian angel – protecting him through all sorts of brutal combat. Upon returning home to his sister’s house in Colorado, he decides to make it his mission to find the woman in the photograph and thank her. After a really brief googling of lighthouses, he is able to determine that this woman lives in a small town in Louisiana. He then proceeds to take Zeus, his German Shepherd, and walk there. From Colorado.

Let’s stop there a moment. According to Wikipedia (only the most reliable source ever), there are over one thousand lighthouses in the US alone. And a lot of them look really similar! I mean, how different can 1,000 lighthouses honestly look? And whose to say this girl is American? What if she was British? There were British troops in Iraq and the UK has lighthouses too! Not to mention, she signed the back of the picture “Keep Safe. X.” And British people end everything with X’s. I worked at the BBC briefly and even my boss signed his emails to me with them… kinda creeped me out. But my point is: Americans use XO’s, and sparingly. British people use X’s, but everywhere. Wouldn’t Zac Efron at least consider all of this before hiking all the way to Louisiana?

And how ’bout that hike… Without stopping to eat, sleep, rest, and only using major highways which are illegal to walk on, Google Maps tells me that the walk from Colorado to Louisiana takes approximately 15 days, 9 hours. And that’s state line to state line. So realistically (if there is such a thing), that walk would take at least a month. Seems like an awfully long walk to find a woman that could have been on vacation when that photo was taken. And even if Logan can do the walk, there is no way that a dog who’s been house broken all his life would. I don’t care how loyal he is. My dog won’t even let me take him on the long route around our neighborhood before plopping his fat ass down and refusing to move anywhere but back in the direction towards our home. Nevertheless, Logan walks to Louisiana, stops in a bar, and shows the picture to a guy who happens to know exactly who this girl is and where she lives. Keep in mind, this is all within the first five minutes of the movie. I thought the search for her was going to a major part of it. Wouldn’t a movie about the journey a Marine takes trying to find the beautiful woman in the photograph that saved his life be so utterly romantic? Like, can someone make that movie, please?

So he goes to her home, which is also a family-run dog kennel business (so perf!), and comes face-to-face with Beth (Taylor Schilling): the woman in the photo, former wife of the town Sheriff, and mother to young Ben (Riley Thomas Stewart). Now, there would be no movie if Logan told her why he was actually there, so he chickens out and Beth mistakes him for a job applicant. He takes a job at the kennel, and the two of them develop a steamy relationship (duh) – much to the disapproval of her combative ex-husband Keith (Jay R. Ferguson) who uses his power as Sheriff to threaten to take Ben away. During all this, Logan learns that Beth’s brother died in combat in Iraq, which may have been the result of friendly fire, so he decides to keep the photo a secret. That is until Keith raids his house, finds it, and convinces Beth that Logan was the friendly firer. As this all goes down, the gorgeous Louisiana weather rapidly switches to a torrential hurricane and an upset Ben runs away to his safe haven: a treehouse. (I don’t know about you – but the first thing my Momma ever told me was don’t climb a tree when its lightening.) Logan and Keith team up to save him – which they do – but the treehouse falls on Keith and his dead body floats down the river leaving Logan, Beth, and Ben to live happily ever after.

So what else bothered me about the above? Well, once I found out the photo was for her brother I was a little creeped out. It was just a weird photo for someone’s brother. If my brother went to Iraq, I’d give him a photo of the two of us as dorky kids. Or, if I was a mom like Beth, a photo of me and his nephew. Not a photo of me being all sexy in white by a lighthouse! But whatevs – I get it. Logan wouldn’t have fallen for her if he knew she came with baggage. I was also like, “What’s the big deal? Why won’t he just tell her about the photo? Doesn’t he realize any girl in her right mind would think that’s so hot?” But again, there’d be no movie if he did, so I mostly ignored it. Not a huge deal. Then there was the fact that the yummy sex scenes were marred by the art director’s bizarre choice to put one of those white, tulle princess canopy things over Logan’s bed. 8 year-old girls have those things over their beds, not US Marines! Mostly though, Keith’s death felt like a cop out (see what I did there?). Sure, he was a total psycho but that doesn’t mean he deserved to die! And what about poor Ben?! That kid’s gonna be in therapy for life knowing it’s his fault his dad got crushed to death by his treehouse. Alone, I may have forgave the ending. But combined with everything else, it was icing on the cake – and I’m talking one of those fancy Cake Boss cakes that look beautiful but taste like ass.

Now, I am perfectly aware that chick flicks should not solely be judged on how realistic they are. So since I gave this flick 3 hearts on the Chick Flick Barometer, there had to be some things I liked about it, and there were. I know Zac Efron gets panned by critics for his acting, and I was right there with them until I saw Charlie St. Cloud a couple of years back. He impressed me in that, and he continued to show promise here. Logan Thibault might not have been the most complex of roles, but I enjoyed watching him play the brooding solider who falls in love. And it certainly didn’t hurt that the role required him to heave around heavy packages of dog kibble shirtless. I never heard of Taylor Schilling before, but I really liked her as well. There is one scene where she rips Keith a new one, and she completely nails it. The entire audience broke out in applause! It was nice to see a fresh face, and I hope to see more of her on the silver screen. Blythe Danner, as always, was fantastic as Beth’s whacky Nana who says everything on her mind and got some legit laughs. Plus, every Nicholas Sparks book-to-movie adaptation is good for a few killer cheeseball lines that you can’t help but swoon over.

The Lucky One was one of those situations where giving it a “3” seems generous, but giving it a “2.5” would be too harsh. I didn’t hate it, but I wouldn’t necessarily watch it again. I prepared myself to cry my eyes out and I didn’t even tear up. I would normally think that’s a good thing, since I’ve been getting sick of those trademark Nicholas Sparks sad-for-the-sake-of-being-sad endings, but it means I wasn’t overly moved by the movie either. As I said, I think the story would have been stronger if it focused more on Logan’s journey to find the woman in the picture. But hey, it could have been a lot worse… Beth could’ve ended things with Logan out of nowhere to marry her skeevy, old-man of a neighbor. You know, like that other Nicholas Sparks book/movie about a US soldier in love. I’m looking at you, Dear John.

One For The (Gimme Back My) Money

One For The Money (2012)
Chick Flick Rating: ♥ ♥ (2/5)
Film Rating: (1/5)
Boyfriend friendly: There is shooting, car explosions, & a millisecond of Katie Heigl side-boob action.

If the highlight of a movie is the trailer you see before it, something’s up. (BTW if you haven’t seen the trailer for “The Lucky One,” the latest Nicholas Sparks installment starring ZAC EFRON, watch it here after reading my review. Tip: Pause at 2:07, pretend it’s your hand down Zac’s pants, & let out a big “Have Mercy” in your best Uncle Jesse voice.)

One For The Money is based on the best-selling novel by Janet Evanovich, about Stephanie Plum: lingerie-salesperson-turned-bounty-hunter, whose first job is to bring in bail-skipping murder suspect Joe Morelli…who happened to take her virginity when she was 17 on the floor of a Tasty Pastry. Now, movies are never as good as the books they’re adapted from. I accepted that a long time ago, and generally do an OK job separating the two. But I don’t think they even tried here – which is a shame, considering this is an 18-part & counting book series with serious franchise potential. Even if you haven’t read the books (major mistake on your part), it should be obvious what a horrendous effort this was.

I have deemed myself a Katherine Heigl champion, defending her harshly criticized work in 27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth, and Life As We Know It. And I’m still not going to criticize her. I’m going to criticize the people who cast her. What part of Stephanie Plum – a clumsy, brunette bounty hunter with a thick Jersey accent – screams Katherine Heigl?
I honestly would’ve preferred it if they lost the painfully wrong accent and sloppy dye job and just let her do her thing. Or if they cast someone like Anne Hathaway who has that “I’m awkward but hot” vibe down. Bringing me to the bigger question…

…WHO in the casting department was Irish actor Jason O’Mara sleeping with to get the role of Joe Morelli: Italian heartthrob with hard muscle, black hair, and Mediterranean complexion?! He’s a decent actor but was there no just-as-decent Italian-looking actor? Milo Ventimiglia pulled off that Italian badass thing real well in Gilmore Girls/Rocky VI. If these casting directors find work in Hollywood again it’s only because of their choice with Sherri Shepherd as Lula. She was hysterically fantastic!

I still gave this a Rom Com rating of 2/5 “hearts”. There were some good laughs, the premise is great, and it was slightly better than that other Jersey-based bounty hunter romcom (What was that called again?). If you haven’t read the books, read them. If you haven’t seen the movie, wait till it’s on Netflix. Thankfully, I got a 1/2 price ticket through Groupon. Otherwise this Jersey girl might be going bounty hunter on Lionsgate’s ass.