It’s January, so suffice to say any movie out is either up for an award of just flat out lousy. I’ve already reviewed some of the more critically acclaimed films of the month. Here are some quick thoughts on the rest of the pack.
THE WEDDING RINGER By now you should be accustomed to Kevin Hart’s antics. And if you are a fan than you’ll undoubtedly enjoy him in this role as a businessman who lends himself out to desperate grooms to be their impromptu best man. But as Ride Along so eloquently taught me last January, Kevin Hart antics are not enough to make for an enjoyable comedy.
Luckily, this time around, there is more to like than just Kevin Hart. Co-Star Josh Gad (you might recognize him as the voice of Olaf in Frozen) is actually pretty funny and loveable himself as the groom who hires Hart in hopes of impressing his attractive, but shallow fiancé (Kaley Cuoco of Big Bang Theory). Like with many comedies nowadays, some parts of the movie go for the raunchy factor instead of just attempting to have good comedic timing, but overall this generic comedy packs enough genuine heart and laughter to make for a worthy couple of hours spent. FINAL GRADE: B-
MORTDECAI Johnny Depp stars as eccentric art collector Charlie Mortdecai in a comedic caper apparently based on a 1970’s book series. Supporting roles include Gwenyth Paltrow as his witty wife who struggles to get passed his newly grown mustache, Paul Bettany as his loyal best friend and bodyguard, and Ewan McGregor as a police detective who enlists him to help solve a murder and find a missing painting worth a fortune.
The movie certainly is zany, sometimes to a fault and sometimes perfectly enough to squeeze out some strong laughs. And if you can get past the scattered pacing and the classic-Brit vernacular, the story isn’t all too bad. Or, you could just skip it all together and watch the much more solidly staged The Grand Budapest Hotel. The latter is probably the wisest. FINAL GRADE: C
THE BOY NEXT DOOR Jennifer Lopez is still incredibly attractive into her mid 40’s. But we all know that already. So ogling her shouldn’t be that big of an incentive to see this movie about an affair between a divorced mother/teacher and a barely legal psychopath. We’ve seen this all before. In fact, movies like this seem to come out every January and each seems to grow more forgettable than the last.
If the acting were good, or even if there was a hint of a twist thrown in, I could possibly understand the intrigue with seeing this movie. But, there is nothing memorable here. There is nothing that you can’t find in dozens of other thrillers. So don’t bother. Even if watching Jennifer Lopez in a steamy love scene is your sole mission, you can save yourself some time (and some brain cells) by getting up and walking out a third of the way through. FINAL GRADE: F (YES… my first “official” F)