Amy Schumer makes her big screen debut with a script that feels like a much-extended sketch from her TV series. It's hilariously observant and refreshingly grown-up about sex, but the plot falls back on the usual cliches. Even with some clever twists and turns, the structure is oddly predictable. But the biggest surprise is that Schumer and director Judd Apatow ultimately cave in and take a traditional approach to romance.
As she does on her show, Schumer plays a sexually frank woman called Amy. Taught by her father (Colin Quinn) to distrust monogamy, she has indulged in a commitment-free life, rarely seeing a man more than once. And her one repeat male partner (John Cena) is a rather too self-obsessed bodybuilder. Then her boss, blithely demanding magazine editor Diana (Tilda Swinton), assigns her to interview Aaron (Bill Hader), a doctor who specialises in sports injuries. Amy can't help but seduce him; it's what she does! But in the process she realises that she actually quite likes him. This idea so rattles her that she sabotages her close relationship with her sister Kim (Brie Larson), who is expecting a child with husband Tom (Mike Birbiglia).
Schumer has impeccable comic timing, and she's hilarious all the way through this film, playing on her character's riotous way of being shockingly honest at all the wrong times. In other words, the character is entertaining but never very likeable because of the thoughtless things she does and says. So our sympathies lie with Hader, who gives an unusually layered turn as a smart, sensitive and very funny guy who just might be too good for Amy. Other characters are either here to provide emotion (Larson and Quinn) or to shamelessly steal scenes (Swinton). And Apatow brings in a usual stream of big-name cameos, including Daniel Radcliffe and Marisa Tomei in a clever pastiche of a New York indie movie.
Continue reading: Trainwreck Review
On the day of his new company's big launch, and young and successful entrepreneur suffers, and pays the price for his hubris. Jake (Nick Kroll) loses everything; not only his money, but also the money of a lot of other people. Forced to move in with his pregnant sister, Justine (Rose Byrne), and her husband, Danny (Bobby Cannavale), for around three months, Jake takes to baby-sitting, and has to learn to love his family once again. In the process of raising a child, Jake, Justine and Danny are all forced to grow up a little themselves.
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US intelligence services have been following the exploits of a Mexican drug Cartel lieutenant for a long time. They also happen to have uncovered a woman who is willing to testify against him (Sofía Vergara). A Texas police officer (Reese Witherspoon) is sent to collect the woman and bring her in. This is where problems begin to arise, however, as the Cartels are notorious for their violence and brutality, leading to the two women being forced to make their way back to the police station with trained killers at their backs.
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Amy enjoys her life in the big city with her comfortable apartment, wacky friends and driven job as a reporter for a men's magazine. As a young girl, her parents sadly divorced, and her father wasted no time in drumming into her that a lifelong partnership with just one person left much to be desired. So she's certainly taking her father's words literally and seems to enjoy the company of a different man every night (though never the full night); it's a life that she has no plans to change any time soon. However, something shifts in her consciousness when she meets sports doctor Aaron Connors on whom she's been commissioned to write an article. The pair hit it off right away, but after their first night together, Amy's left wondering if ending it there is really the best thing to do. It feels weird to carry on seeing someone after she's slept with them, but at the same time, she can't remember the last time she had so much fun.
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Based on the beloved novel by John Green, this film is so squarely slanted toward teen girls that it is likely to annoy everyone else. Written and directed in a way that never allows even a hint of ambiguity, each scene and line of dialogue is on-the-nose, pushing the audience to a specific emotional response. This of course leaves everything feeling manipulative and false. Even so, the movie is rescued by another wonderfully layered performance from Shailene Woodley.
She plays the 17-year-old Hazel, who has been dealing with aggressive cancer for three years and has only just been stabilised by a breakthrough treatment. As she still needs to carry oxygen to breathe properly, her parents (Laura Dern and Sam Trammell) are understandably protective, but she's happy to get out on her own whenever possible. Then in a support group she meets 18-year-old cancer survivor Gus (Ansel Elgort), who is immediately smitten with her and flirts so aggressively that she finally agrees to be his friend, but nothing more. As she hangs out with Gus and his pal Isaac (Nat Wolff), another cancer patient, she begins to open up to her innermost dreams. So she goes along with a make-a-wish plan to travel to Amsterdam with Gus and her mother to meet the author (Willem Dafoe) of her favourite novel. And the trip changes her life in several unexpected ways.
Sensitive audience members will be sobbing from the beginning to the end of this film, simply because director Josh Boone tells them to. More cynical viewers will find it impossible to believe anything on-screen. This isn't because the plot is bad (it's actually quite thoughtful and provocative) or the actors get their performances wrong. It's because Boone and the screenwriters can't resist punching every note as loudly as they can. It's been so tidily shaped into a cinematic structure that everything feels fake, which makes it impossible for the actors to create characters who could exist anywhere besides in a movie.
Continue reading: The Fault In Our Stars Review
Hazel Lancaster is a bright 16-year-old girl suffering from terminal cancer who is forced to carry an oxygen and breathing tubes with her wherever she goes. Her mother forces her to attend a nearby cancer support group in a bid to help her come to terms with her illness and make friends who understand her situation. She meets a charming former cancer sufferer and amputee named Gus who is immediately taken by Hazel and the pair become inseparable; he sees past her tragic illness and is the only person who makes her feel as if she has a lifetime ahead of her. However, she soon begins to realise that her feelings for him are becoming stronger and stronger and she attempts to distance herself from him to avoid hurting him in the future. But Gus is determined that he loves her, and will stay by her side until the very end.
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A year after his brother's death, Jack (Duplass) has become best friends with his brother's ex Iris (Blunt), who suggests that he take some time out in her father's island cabin outside Seattle. When he arrives, Iris' sister Hannah (DeWitt) is there, nursing her pain from the breakup of a long-term relationship. After a few drinks they end up in bed, which is a problem for two reasons: Hannah is a lesbian who wants a baby, and Iris arrives the next day to tell her sister that she's in love with Jack.
Continue reading: Your Sister's Sister Review
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