A provocative drama wrapped in the skin of an adult sex comedy, this sharply written and performed movie is hugely entertaining even as it grapples with some big issues. The central themes here are notions of celebrity and sexuality, neither of which is nearly as clear-cut as the audience or characters think they are. And the script allows actors like Jack Black and James Marsden to do what they do best while undermining their usual personas with some edgy shadings.
Black plays Dan, the self-proclaimed leader of his high school class' 20-year reunion. He has always felt invisible, and is annoyed that he gets no respect from the reunion committee. Then he spots hot classmate Oliver (Marsden) in a TV advert and hatches a plan to increase his popularity by convincing Oliver to attend the reunion. He lies to his boss (Jeffrey Tambor) about needing to go to Los Angeles on business, and he gets carried away as the openly bisexual Oliver shows him the partying lifestyle, taking things far beyond where he thought his limits were. Back home, he can't admit any of this to his sharp wife (Kathryn Hahn) and begins to lose touch with his smart teen son (Russell Posner). Then when Oliver turns up, things get even more precarious.
Filmmakers Andrew Mogel and Jarrad Paul get everyone into this mess in the usual ways, with snappy dialogue, goofy antics and rather a lot of humiliating embarrassment for poor Dan. Then they do something interesting: they refuse to play it safe, taking a surprisingly complex journey through questions about everything from peer pressure and family dynamics to the illusion of fame and the unspoken spectrum of sexuality. So even though the characters aren't always likeable, and even though all of them make some questionable choices, they're unusually sympathetic because the astute script and performances make them thoroughly recognisable.
Continue reading: The D Train Review
In 1828 Edinburgh, friends William Burke (Pegg) and William Hare (Serkis) realise they can make good money supplying cadavers to world-class surgeon Dr Knox (Wilkinson). But when they can't find a dead body, they kill someone instead. Hare's wife (Hynes) finds out and wants in on it, but Burke can't tell his aspiring actress girlfriend (Fisher) how he makes his living. Meanwhile, Knox is battling a rival surgeon (Curry) for the King's seal. And the local militia captain (Corbett) is closing in.
Continue reading: Burke & Hare Review
The Victorians were well known for keeping a stiff upper lip about everything, and their romance was absolutely no exception. Their entire world was constructed around subtlety, and, in tune with that, the one word that can be used to describe An Ideal Husband is subtle.
Continue reading: An Ideal Husband Review
The story revolves around two dashing English gentlemen in the 1890s - John "Jack" Worthing (Colin Firth) and Algy Moncrieff (Rupert Everett) - and their trials and tribulations in the games of love and marriage under the moniker of Ernest. Jack spends his days watching over his bookish charge Cecily Cardew (Reese Witherspoon) - the granddaughter of his adopted father - at his country estate. When his restless spirit calls for adventure, he travels to London and visits his wayward city brother "Ernest." In London, Jack becomes "Ernest" and partakes in decadence with his affluent but reckless best friend Algy and ends up madly in love with Algy's sophisticated society cousin Gwendolen Fairfax (Frances O'Connor) - who has a strange love for the name of "Ernest."
Continue reading: The Importance Of Being Earnest (2002) Review
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