Is there anything that Mark Wahlberg can’t do? As if the transition from musician to actor wasn’t enough he now seems to be making every genre of the film industry his as well. From saving the world in the Transformers franchise to cracking jokes with a smart-ass bear in Ted and then thrilling critics with mind-blowing dramatic performances in movies like Mile 22, there seems to be nothing this man can’t do.
Now Wahlberg plays a husband alongside Australia’s Rose Byrne who is exploring the notion of adopting to start a family in the brand new brilliant comedy-drama Instant Family and it seems to be role that he just loved sinking his teeth into.
“Sean Anders who I worked with on Daddy’s Home 1 & 2 was brave enough to bring three children into his home,” says Wahlberg when he talks about what the inspiration was for the film. “They were children that were in foster care and he talked to me a little bit about the idea of making this movie at the beginning of Daddy’s Home 2 but it was just an idea and we had talked about other ideas in the past. Then basically when he came to me and said ‘no did you really want to do this?’ I just fell in love with idea.”
“Every time I talked to him about the idea before I got the actual script I always got emotional,” he says when the discussion turns to the emotions in the film. “I’m parent I understood the emotion and I understood how emotional it would be for foster kids in the system. Then when I read the script and having laughed hysterically and cried a fair bit to it was just one of things where I saw that Sean was great with the tone and he pushed things but also delivered on an emotional level. Sean knows what he wants and he will always take that little bit of extra time when it comes to the emotional stuff. It is just nice to see him to continue to mature and grow, he is a great writer and director and he has a great partnership with John . It is just great to see people get more experience and more confident about how they want to do things.”
When talk turns to the fact that the film garners emotion by being both a comedy and a drama Wahlberg says. “I think that will be really satisfying for audiences and I think that people may be inspired to look at children in the foster care system and creating a home for them. I still want to explore more about and I think it will encourage other people to take a look and see that there a lot of wonderful children that need families…. it is an amazing thing. Being a family can be a wonderful thing but it can also be very trying at times – that is the same whether it be with adopting children or with your biological children. But the ultimate goal and the ultimate reward is coming together in love… and that is a beautiful thing. I think this is going to be a feel good movie in a time when people need to feel good. People need to be reminded about the importance of family and connecting with others. To have that opportunity to go and laugh and cry at the thought of being a family and then have the thought about helping all those wonderful children out there… I think it will be interesting. There will be a lot of people who will laugh and cry and then be like ‘oh my God’ and then the wheels will start turning.”
The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest, most global threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization… and now you can view it all in this brand new trailer.
Directed by F. Gary Gray and starring Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Rebecca Ferguson, Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson Men In Black: International will be released in cinemas on the 13th June, 2019.
For the first time since 2011, Queen of the US alt-comedy scene and celebrated TV star Maria Bamford returns to Melbourne for five shows only!
Compelling, charismatic and completely original, Maria is known for her refreshing honesty and self-deprecating comedy. Her ingenious comedy brain works in mysterious ways, with deadpan delivery sitting comfortably alongside the silly and surreal.
Named by Judd Apatow as the “funniest woman on Earth”, Maria has been seen in her semi-autobiographical Netflix series Lady Dynamite, as a recurring role on Arrested Development and in her own cult web series The Maria Bamford Show. Her quirky and unique voice lends itself perfectly to comic characters, with notable appearances including Bojack Horseman and Adventure Time.
Fans of Sherlock Holmes better get ready because Sony have just given us a look at the trailer for new brand new film Holmes & Watson. Starring Will Ferrell (Anchorman, Blades Of Glory) as Holmes, John C. Reilly (Guardians Of The Galaxy, Wreck-It-Ralph) as Watson and Ralph Fiennes (Schindler’s List, The Grand Budapest Hotel) as Moriarty.
The film will be released on Boxing Day in Australia.
Summary: THAT’S NOT MY DOG is a joyous comedy that celebrates our love of joke telling. The film centers around the lovable Shane Jacobson (playing himself) who is throwing a party. Invited are the funniest people Shane knows comprising of Australia’s biggest stars along with several Australian music legends playing their biggest hits live, right throughout the party. The invite that goes out is clear. Don’t bring meat. We’ll provide the beer. Just come armed with nothing but the funniest jokes you’ve ever heard. Shane will take care of the rest. It’ll be a night of great friends telling the world’s funniest jokes over a beer and BBQ.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 15th March 2018
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Dean Murphy
Cast: Bec Asha (herself), Michala Banas (herself),Adam Brand (himself),Rob Carlton (himself), Ross Daniels (himself), Dave Eastgate (himself), Stewart Faichney (himself), Paul Fenech (himself),Tim Ferguson (himself), Marty Fields (himself), John Foreman (himself), Stephan Hall (himself), Paul Hogan (himself),Ronald Jacobson (himself), Shane Jacobson (himself), Jimeoin (himself), Joe Camilleri & The Black Sorrows (themselves), Ed Kavalee (himself), Dan Kelly (himself), Khaled Khalafella (himself), Bev Killick (herself), Hung Le (himself), Anthony ‘Lehmo’ Lehmann (himself), Nathaniel Antonio Lloyd (himself), Lulu McClathy (herself), The Meltdown (themselves), Genevieve Morris (herself), Russell Morris (himself), Spud Murphy (himself), Fiona O’Loughlin (herself), Emily Taheny (herself), Steve Vizard (himself), Christie Whelan (herself)
OUR THAT’S NOT MY DOG REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Dave Griffiths Review:
When it comes to comedy specials things are normally pretty straight forward – it’s either one comedian doing stand-up for the entire special or a producer randomly selects the current ‘it’ comedian to host a special where they simply just stand in front of a camera and ‘introduce’ a myriad of comedians to perform their own stand-up routine. That’s where That’s Not My Dog comes into its own.
Aussie comedy great Shane Jacobson (The Bourne Legacy, The Dressmaker) came up with an absolute gem of an idea when he rang his great mate producer/director Dean Murphy (Charlie &Boots, Strange Bedfellows) and said that he wanted to bring back the art of telling a good old-fashioned joke. Of course the creative mind of Jacobson wouldn’t settle for just the plain old comedy special, and in his brilliance he comes up with the wonderful idea of inviting 30 of his funniest mates to come to a BBQ – eat great food, have some brilliant live music played for them while they also stand around telling some of the funniest jokes that you are ever likely to hear.
The result is a brilliant film that turns out to be a celebration of Australian comedy like we have never seen before. The audience sits laughing themselves into hysterics as comedy greats like Paul Hogan (Crocodile Dundee, Strange Bedfellows) and Steve Vizard (Full Frontal, The Wrong Girl) join forces with comedians of today, like Jimeon (The Craic, The Extra) and Lehmo (Any Questions For Ben, Utopia) and tell three of the funniest jokes that they know. Then of course there are also the hidden talents of those such as Michaela Banas (Nowhere Boys, Always Greener) who steals the show with not only her jokes but also with her ability to tell them.
The concept of the jokes being told at a BBQ just adds to the film with the background noise, and live music being provided by the likes of Dan Kelly, The Black Sorrows and Adam Brand just adding even more atmosphere to the film. What works best though with the film is of course the jokes and luckily for Jacobson his cast came along armed with some of the best jokes that you are ever likely to hear. Aside from Michaela Banas the other star here who really steals the show is the great Marty Fields (Ghost Rider, Blue Heelers) who just delivers comedy gem after comedy gem.
That’s Not My Dog is a brilliant comedic idea that results in pure comedy gold. Shane Jacobson needs to be applauded for taking a stance and re-introducing the lost of art of joke telling to Australians and we should all support him by not only going to see the film but by turning up to work on Monday and saying “hey guys, you should hear this joke I heard on the weekend.”
Greg King’s Review:
The affable Shane Jacobson (whose previous film The BBQ was a massive disappointment and a laboured and unfunny comedy that failed to fire up) threw a massive party at his father’s property in Clarkeville, in regional Victoria. He invited along thirty of Australia’s top comics to share in the joy of joke telling and laughter. He provided all the meat and beer, all the guests had to provide was their funniest jokes. Guests included Paul Hogan, Jimeoin, Marty Fields, Stephen Hall, Fiona O’Loughlin and Tim Ferguson, amongst many others.
The whole night was captured on film by filmmaker Dean Murphy, who directed both Jacobson and Hogan in the road comedy Charlie And Boots. Murphy adopts a free-flowing style here as the camera roams around the party, recording the jokes and the camaraderie. Gags fly thick and fast throughout the relatively brisk 89-minute running time. Each of the guests are given their moment to shine, but some seem to get more screen time than others. Some of the jokes may be familiar, but the veteran comics also put a fresh spin on the gags. And the musical accompaniment to the evening was provided by a bevy of musical acts, including The Black Sorrows, Russell Morris, Adam Brand and Dan Kelly.
That’s Not My Dog is like spending an informal evening in the company of these comics as they enjoy each other’s company and eavesdropping on their funny stories in a somewhat relaxed setting. Everyone seemed to be having a ball. Jacobson’s father Ron comes across as a pretty good story teller himself, but his energy seems to be flagging by the end of the night. The whole thing was filmed over one long night, shot by cinematographer Robert Lanser (who shot Murphy’s Charlie And Boots). Then Murphy and his editor Robert Mond patiently worked through the footage to tighten up the material and remove jokes that were repetitious or potentially too crude or offensive.
One of the big distractions in the film is the blatant product placement, although this is probably how Jacobson and Murphy gained the funding for this low budget film and extravagant evening.
Depending on personal taste though some of the humour will be hit or miss. The title itself comes from the punch line to a classic joke that was used in a Pink Panther movie. For me the highlights were Marty Fields and his stream on clever and witty one-liners and a great joke about a woman joining the CIA.
And while a generally entertaining film, That’s Not My Dog is not great cinema. However, it will be best enjoyed in the cinema where audiences can share the experience and the humour with others, as laughter is often infectious. But it will also do well when released on DVD, where you can re-watch and listen to your favourite jokes over again.
Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):
Other Subculture Entertainment Girl’s Trip Reviews: N/A
Summary:A group of friends who meet regularly for game nights find themselves entangled in a real-life mystery.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 22nd February 2018
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United States
Director: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
Screenwriter: Mark Perez
Cast: Jason Batman (Max), Kylie Bunbury (Michelle), Kyle Chandler (Brooks), Camille Chen (Dr. Chin), Michael Cyril Creighton (Bill), John Francis Daley (Carter), R.F. Daley (Tats), Abigail Ford (Mrs. Anderton), Jonathan Goldstein (Dan), Michael C. Hall (The Bulgarian), Natasha Hall (Madison), Sharon Horgan (Sarah), Malcolm X. Hughes (Not Denzel), Danny Huston (Donald Anderton), Candy Ibarra (Rachel Burns), Jessica Lee (Debbie), Daniel Lucente (Dan Steele), Curtis Lyons (Logan), Billy Magnussen (Ryan), Rachel McAdams (Annie), Joshua Mikel (Colin), Lamorne Morris (Kevin), Tony Ohara (Kramer), Olivia (Bastian), Chelsea Peretti (Glenda), Jesse Plemons (Gary), Brooke Jaye Taylor (Linda), Michael Twombley (Michael Bates), Zerrick Williams (Val)
Runtime: 100 mins
OUR GAME NIGHT REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Dave Griffiths Review:
To listen to some film journalists talk the state of the comedy genre is in tatters. Apparently unfunny comedy after unfunny comedy floods our cinemas screens. The notion is ridiculous though. It seems that films like Horrible Bosses and We’re The Millers have been completely forgotten about… hell even the local comedy Swinging Safari was a lot funnier that most journos gave it credit for. Now comes Game Night a film that certainly shows that comedy is back – not only does the film’s twists and turns keep the audience guessing but it’s sassy comedy and modern edge make a film worthy of more than one viewing.
The plot of Game Night is unique in itself. Max (Jason Bateman – Arrested Development, Juno) and Annie (Rachel McAdams – The Notebook, Mean Girls) are a regular couple with a big difference – they are driven by a competitive spirit that makes their frequent games’ nights a must attend for their friends.
However their games nights are changed forever when the couple realise that their inability to conceive a child is caused by Max’s competitive streak with his rich and popular brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler – Argo, Manchester By The Sea). With Brooks coming to town and deciding to host the latest games night… a night that he says nobody will forget… Max and Annie are already on edge. To make things worse they are trying to hide the night from their creepy, ex-friend and Police Officer Gary (Jesse Plemons – Battleship, Black Mass) so he doesn’t turn up, but that all pails into insignificance when Brooks’ real life makes the night potentially deadly.
Universally panned for their work on Vacation directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein bounce back here largely thanks to a witty script written by Mark Perez (Accepted, Herbie: Fully Loaded). While the premise of the film seems basic Perez’s screenplay makes this film stand-out. Game Night has everything that a good comedy should have – witty one-liners plus memorable characters like the dry and dull Gary and the extremely dumb himbo Ryan (Billy Magnussen – Into The Woods, The Big Short).
But Game Night also has more than that. The suspense of the plot is only enhances with a serious of twists and turns that soon has the audience realising that they can’t predict what is going to happen in the next minute let alone for the rest of the film. The fact that Perez is smart enough to have Max almost narrate what some would call film flaws with lines like ‘great two guys show up that haven’t been revealed in the plot earlier’ makes the decision to include such risky choices in the film pay off with laughter. The screenplay also gives a nod to other films, again with a smirk to the audience as Rachel McAdams declares ‘like Liam Neeson in Taken 3.’
In fact it is the chances that Game Night makes that ends up letting the film work. The decision to tone the adult humour down when compared to a film like Horrible Bosses means that this becomes the perfect date movie for both men and women while the interesting choice of cast all works. Batman and McAdams gel well as an on-screen couple while Jesse Plemons steals just about every scene he is in with some brilliant deadpan character acting. The other big surprise here is Kyle Chandler. Known more for his gritty dramatic roles in productions like Friday Night Lights Chandler here shows the world his comedic skills as he makes sure Brooks is one of those characters that the audience will love one moment and hate the next.
Game Night is one comedy that is well worth a look. Its great screenplay allows for a little more storyline and suspense then what we expect from most comedy films while Jason Bateman once again shows why he is the current king of comedy. As you sit down to watch Game Night be prepared for a wild ride with more than enough laughs to keep the comedy fans happy as well.
Greg King’s Review:
This enjoyable mix of action and comedy from the team behind films like Horrible Bosses is like David Fincher’s The Game crossed with Date Night.
A group of friends regularly meet every Saturday night for some old-fashioned fun, playing old school board games and charades. The games are held at the home of Max (Jason Bateman) and his wife Annie (Rachel McAdams), both very competitive gamers who met a trivia night. The players include bickering high school sweethearts Kevin (Lomorne Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury) and dim-witted ladies’ man Ryan (Billy Magnussen, from tv series Get Shorty, etc), who brings along a different shallow empty-headed date each night.
But this time, Max’s supposedly much more successful and wealthy older brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler, Emmy winner from Saturday Night Lights, etc) arrives for a surprise visit and decides to up the ante when he hosts his own game night. He has chosen an interactive “mystery” theme around the concept of a kidnapping. But things quickly go pear shaped when real life crooks invade the house, beat up Brooks, duct tape and drag him from the house. Max and the gang initially think it was all part of the game.
But when they realise that it was real, Max and his friends embark on a cross town chase to try and rescue Brooks. Their competitive spirit though means that they try to race each other to find Brooks and their efforts are driven by their natural one-upmanship. They soon discover that neither the game nor Brooks are what they seem. The chase also sees them having to find a Faberge egg, which is something of a McGuffin.
For the most part Game Night is an energetic and light-hearted action comedy with thriller elements as it mixes some car chases, fight scenes and the odd angry shot. But the plot is also very convoluted and there are a couple of last minute twists that defy credibility. The script comes from Mark Perez (the more family friendly Disney film Herbie Fully Loaded, etc). The film has been directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, who are best known for writing comedies like Horrible Bosses, etc. They made their feature film directorial debut with 2015’s disappointing Vacation reboot, and here they bring their own comic sensibilities to Perez’s screenplay and make the most of the thin premise.
The film is slickly paced, and cinematographer Barry Peterson suffuses the material with a noir like palette. There are some nice visual gags as well, including establishing shots of various neighbourhoods that initially resemble a board game community.
Bateman often has a nice everyman quality that shapes his performances. Here he seems far more comfortable than in some of the crass comedies like Office Christmas Party that he has appeared in. He and McAdams develop a wonderful chemistry that lifts the film, and they play off each other well. It seems that she has allowed Bateman to lift his game. McAdams also shows a nice flair for comedy. The cast also features Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale, etc), and Danny Huston and Dexter star Michael C Hall in small roles as shady underworld figures.
Everyone in the cast is given their own moment to shine. But the stand out of the ensemble is Jesse Plemons (American Made, etc) who plays Gary, Max and Annie’s somewhat creepy and obsessive neighbour. Gary used to be a regular part of their game night crowd until he and his wife Debbie divorced, and he became too moody and depressed for their liking.
Game Night is uneven, but with a brisk running time of 100 minutes it never quite outstays its welcome. And it is a lot more fun than many other recent Hollywood comedies.
Nick Gardener’s Review:
The amiable if at times flat Game Night is a little like David Fincher’s The Game done in the style of contemporary comedies like Horrible Bosses. It also falls into that cinematic sub-genre the Jason Bateman movie in which Bateman plays the put-upon, every-man, nice guy schlub forced into a dangerous situation that inevitably provides some necessary jolt to his staid suburban life.
Here Bateman plays Max who, despite a comfortable life and marriage to the gorgeous Annie (Rachel McAdams), is perpetually stressed, a condition that seems to be impeding his ability to conceive a child. The source of his anxiety seems to be his arrogant Wall Street trader brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) who has always taken sadistic delight in trouncing Max at games and competitions throughout their lives. When the obnoxious Brooks invites Max and Annie and their friends to a murder mystery party the night unexpectedly turns into a battle against kidnappers and sleaze-ball gangsters.
The film attempts to weld a typical Bateman middle class suburban rom-com to a crime thriller but the results are at best middling. Bateman’s easy charm and comic timing work about as well as they do in other films where he’s played essentially the same character and McAdams’ cheery, live-wire performance is typically fun and endearing. Add an amusingly creepy performance from Jesse Plemons as a weird, angry cop neighbour who’s determined to inveigle himself into Max and Annie’s life and at least in its early stages, this is an enjoyably perky comedy.
As the film attempts to entangle Max and Annie in a twist-laden action/crime/ caper/ story, though, it begins to lose its appeal. The film lacks the necessary thrills, intensity and drama for this part of the movie to work. Add to this a few dud gags, predictable story threads, sub-plots about characters misfiring relationships that don’t really go anywhere and some completely unbelievable scenarios including a ludicrous sequence at a gangster’s mansion and Game Night becomes a little laboured.
Thankfully, Game Night eschews much some of the grubbiness and nastiness of contemporary raunch comedies but it doesn’t replace this with enough genuine wit, energy or clever story-telling.
Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):
Other Subculture Entertainment Game Night Reviews: N/A
Summary: When four lifelong friends travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there’s enough dancing, drinking, brawling, and romancing to make the Big Easy blush.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 31st August 2017
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Malcolm D. Lee
Screenwriter: Kenya Barris, Tracy Oliver, Erica Rivinoja (story)
Cast: Deborah Ayorinde (Simone), Ricky Bell (himself), Donna Biscoe (Delores), Michael Bivins (himself), Mariah Carey (herself), Morris Chestnut (himself), Kyle Clements (Officer Sims), Mike Colter (Stewart Pierce), Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs (himself), Common (himself), D-Nice (himself), Gabrielle Dennis (herself), Ronnie DeVoe (himself), Ava DuVernay (herself), Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds (himself), Aadyn Encalarde (Riley), Estelle (herself), Faith Evans (herself), Kevin Frazier (himself), Doug E. Fresh (himself), Johnny Gill (himself), Lara Grice (Bethany), Tiffany Haddish (Dina), Carla Hall (herself), Regina Hall (Ryan Pierce), Melissa Harris-Perry (herself), Lalah Hathaway (herself), Sunny Hostin (herself), Charreah Jackson (herself), Queen Latifah (Sasha Franklin), Alona Leoine (Sonya), William Levy (himself), Mase (himself), Maxwell (himself), MC Lyte (herself), Terry McMillan (herself), Robert Miano (Hobo Bob), Ne-Yo (himself), Shrey Neil (Vikram), Jaina Lee Ortiz (herself), Jannette Sepwa (Rhonda), Jada Pinkett Smith (Lisa Cooper), Kofi Siriboe (Malik), Tonia Stewart (Aunt Marian), Larenz Tate (Julian Stevens), Lorraine Toussaint (herself), Ralph Tresvant (himself), Iyanla Vanzant (herself), Kate Walsh (Elizabeth Davelli), Ricky Wayne (Ted), Cayden Williams (Austin)
Runtime: 122 mins
OUR GIRL’S TRIP REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Comedies aimed at a female audience have proven to be very popular at the box office over the past few years. Some, like Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect have been on song (excuse the pun) and worked wonderfully well. Then came Rough Night, the film that Hollywood hoped would be a female version of The Hangover, but it flops badly. Following on with that same goal we now have Girls Trip… a film that is head and shoulders above Rough Night.
In a story of friendship we meet The Flossie Possie – made up of the world’s new Oprah, Ryan Pierce (Regina Hall – Scary Movie 4, Law Abiding Citizen), almost-bankrupt gossip columnist Sasha Franklin (Queen Latifah – Living Single, Chicago), boring divorced mother Lisa Cooper (Jada Pinkett Smith – Collateral, Scream 2) and the fun loving but very violent Dina (Tiffany Haddish – Keanu, Meet The Spartans).
The Flossie Possie started out in High School but have drifted apart over the years, but now they are back together and heading to New Oreleans where Ryan is the keynote speaker at a conference while her agent Elizabeth (Kate Walsh – Grey’s Anatomy, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower) works on a business deal that will see Ryan and her husband Stewart (Mike Colter – Luke Cage, Million Dollar Baby) become one of the richest celebrity couples in America. But with their marriage not as perfect as first seems and each of the members of the Possie dealing with their own demons this could turn out to be a very interesting weekend indeed.
As a film Girls Trip does hold up. The characters are instantly likable and for once a comedy gives you just enough back story for each of the characters to seem real, and even more importantly is there a no clichéd characters here. These important things all working with the screenplay and for director Malcolm D. Lee (Undercover Brother, The Best Man) means as an audience you find yourself barracking for these characters straight away.
What also works with the screenplay is the relationships between the characters. We get that there is tension between Sasha and Ryan without the screenplay having to spell it out in plain English for us. The script also allows for an interesting development between Ryan and Stewart by introducing his mistress, Simone (Deborah Ayorinde – Luke Cage, Game Of Silence) and then introducing a potential love interest for Ryan in the form of the almost perfect bass-player Julian (Larenz Tate – The Postman, Ray). The twisted four-way relationship never feels forced, which the screenwriters need to be congratulated about, and once again draws the audiences interest.
However, the major flaw of Girls Trip is that it feels like the screenwriters were never one hundred per cent sure what kind of comedy they were looking to make the film. There are witty lines and great moments of comedy that will make you laugh, Dina’s exchange with her boss as she is being fired is hilarious, but then when you suddenly find yourself watching a women pee on a crowd beneath her while she is on a zip line or another giving fellatio to a banana you find yourself wondering what are they trying to achieve here. These kinds of gags work in films like American Pie or The Hangover because they are constant, but there they seem out of place. Ironically it is when this film is showing moments of true heart and feelings between its characters that it works, that makes the outrageous comedic moments seem like an even stranger fit.
One of the main things that does work in favour of Girls Trip though is the performances of its cast. Everybody comes together really well and together Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish are one of the best comedic ensembles that we have seen in quite a while. Hall brings are sensitivity to the film, Latifah brings heart and Haddish is there for the more outrageous moments. Then you have the utility – Smith who does a mixture of whatever each scene calls for. Then there is Larenz Tate who must be itching towards a headline role in a film soon, while Kate Walsh also delivers some of the film’s most funny moments.
Girls Trip does have a little issue with its comedic tone but for the most part this is a film that works pretty well. There are moments that will make you chuckle, which is more than you can say for a lot of comedies these days, while there is enough heart to win over any audience. If you’re looking for the perfect girls night out then Girls Trip should be number one on your list.
Bridesmaids pretty much set the standard for the R-rated raunchy girls misbehaving comedy, and we have seen a lot of these female centric versions of The Hangover. But subsequent films in this subgenre, like the recent Rough Night, Bad Sisters and even Sex And The City 2, have continually lowered the bar. And now we get to Girls Trip, an African-American variation on the girls behaving badly formula. But this is a dreary, offensive and largely unfunny comedy which, quite frankly, scrapes the faecal matter off the bottom of the barrel.
As with Rough Night the basic plot centres around the reunion between a group of female friends who were once tight in college, twenty years ago, who get together for a wild weekend. Known as the “flossy posse” they were known for their hard partying ways. Over the course of time though they drifted apart and haven’t seen each other for five years.
Ryan (played by Regina Hall) is now a successful author and self-help guru who supposedly has it all. She is married to Stewart (Mike Colter) a former football star and is about to sign a lucrative deal to host her own nationally syndicated television talk show and book deal. She has been asked to deliver the keynote address at the annual Essence Festival in New Orleans. So, for some reason she decides to get the flossy posse back together to share in her success.
Sasha (Queen Latifah) graduated with a degree in journalism but, strapped for cash, is now reduced to writing for a low rate gossip blog. She dishes the dirt on celebrities. Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith) is a conservative, straitlaced divorcee, a helicopter mum who tries to protect her two children. She plays it safe and leads an unadventurous life and has to be talked into going to New Orleans with her former friends. And Dina (Tiffany Haddish) is still the wild child, the sexually aggressive hard partying type who hasn’t really changed her behaviour. She is unable to hold down a job because of her brash manner and a series of wrong choices.
Once the quartet hits New Orleans the ladies cut loose. However, before too long old resentments, lingering tensions and new revelations threaten the friendship and test their bonds. Sasha learns the truth about Stewart, who has been cheating on Ryan with seductive and well-endowed Instagram model Simone (Deborah Ayinode), and she has to choose whether to publish her scoop or remain silent out of loyalty to Ryan. Dina’s wild ways get them thrown out of a luxurious five-star hotel and they find temporary accommodations in a two-dollar hooker hotel. Cue plenty of drinking, brawling, crass sexual innuendo, and some frank dialogue, but little of it rings true.
Girls Trip has been written by a trio of writers, including Erica Rivinoja, who hails from a background in television and animated films; Kenya Barris (Barbershop: The Next Cut, and lots of tv work including Blackish); and Tracy Oliver (Barbershop: The Next Cut, etc). Directed by Malcolm D Lee, better known for Barbershop: The Next Cut and Scary Movie 5, Girls Trip gets the tone wrong from the start. As with Rough Night, I found it hard to believe that a successful character like Ryan would hang out with these losers by choice, especially at such a pivotal point in her career. This is fairly formulaic stuff, with plenty of the gross out humour and crude dialogue that we have seen before.
Most of the main characters are an unlikeable bunch, and the time spent in their company is tiresome. At an overly generous 122-minutes, the film is way too long for what it wants to say. Although this ode to sisterhood delivers some positive messages about friendship, female bonding, the joys of being single in the 21st century, and staying true to yourself, we have to sit through nearly two hours of dreck to get there. The film also explores issues of race, class and gender politics.
There is some surprisingly strong chemistry between the four leads though. Girls Trip reunites Latifah and Pinkett Smith twenty years after the both appeared in the heist thriller Set It Off. Hall delivers her usual solid performance here. Latifah always has a brash style and plenty of attitude, but here she often seems uncomfortable and doesn’t exactly bring her A-game. This is a breakout performance from Haddish, who delivers a volatile and scenery chewing performance as the unpredictable Dina, and she does bring some energy to the material, and virtually steals the film.
There are also lots of star studded cameos though from celebrities playing themselves. Girls Trip is a sub-Apatow like comedy, but it is largely unfunny, with too many flat spots and many supposedly humorous moments that are misjudged. The film hits a low point with a tasteless sequence set on a flying fox over New Orleans’ famous Bourbon Street that sets a new low for this kind of comedy.
Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):
Other Subculture Entertainment Girl’s Trip Reviews: You can also listen to Dave’s Girl’s Trip review from That’s Entertainment on 31/08/2017 right here.
Summary: Falling in love is easy, getting out of it is hard. Our hero, Josh ﬁnds himself ‘LoveStuck’ between his best friend, his ex-girlfriend and the new girl he is about to move in with. As a lowly clerk working with the public service in Canberra, Josh is used to procrastination, but his fear of con*ict and knack for stretching the truth gets him into trouble with the women that he loves.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 24th August 2017
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Murray Fahey
Cast: Rik Brown (Josh), Fenella Edwards (Horatio), Murray Fahey (Polonius), Cathy Hagarty (Cath), Malcolm Irvin (Rosencraztz), Ali Little (Barnardo), Jenny Lovell (Gertude), Heady Manders (Voltemand), Gabby Millgate (Bag Lady Ophelia), Glen Morrison (Laertes), Robert Morrison (Guilderstein), Rama Nicolas (Kate), Emma Reid (Hecuba), Patti Stiles (Trish), Geoff Wallace (Claudius)
Runtime: 73 mins
OUR LOVESTUCK REVIEWS & RATINGS:
The Australian film industry has been throwing up some extremely experimental films over the past few years – from one-shot action films through to filmed theatre productions. Well now comes Lovestuck – a completely improvised film from director Murray Fahey (Cubbyhouse, Dags). Not only does the film toss up a story that keeps you guessing but also gives you a look behind the scenes of what goes into making an improvised film at the same time.
The film centres around Josh (Rik Brown – Utopia, Dinner For Three) a man who is struggling with his feelings with three woman – his ex Kate (Rama Nicolas – Little Solider, The Mutant Way), his current girlfriend Cath (Cathy Hagarty – newcomer) and his best friend Trish (Patti Stiles – Neighbours, Stingers). On one disastrous day he meets with Kate to hand back some of her things – which then sets him on a journey to find a pen that she once gave him – while meanwhile Cath and Tess meet for the first time. The result is him having to make a decision about the three woman if he has any chance of moving on at all.
The danger of doing an experimental film like Lovestuck is that sometimes the experiment itself can get in the way of the story or can distract the audience from getting immersed in the film. Strangely, given that the film also shows the audience what is happening behind the scenes at times, neither happens here. The actors at hand – especially Rik Brown – are so good at the improvisation that you forget that you are watching a film that never technically had a script. The scenes flow together well and while there are some scenes that perhaps didn’t need to be there, most of the scenes featuring the main four characters tie in together well and do raise the suspense of who Josh will chose at the end… something that director Murray Fahey let Rik Brown decide as part of the improvisation.
The improvisation of the film does allow for the tone of the film to switch at times which gives Lovestuck a really unique feel. From comedic moments when Josh runs into Cath outside a massage parlour and tries to explain that he didn’t get one of ‘those’ massages right through to more dramatic scenes like Cath and Trish meeting for the first time this is a film that at one moment feels like an episode of Seinfeld one moment and the latest romance drama the next. Even the Hamlet Hip-Hop scene which had the potential of feeling out of place in the film works well because as an audience member you find yourself sitting there thinking ‘do they have the pen or not?’
The key to this film working though was the cast and to Fahey and his casting assistant’s credit they get this 100% right. Rik Brown carries the film throughout and with the tone changes that is no easy feat. From moments of complete awkwardness right through to almost slapstick comedy he delivers each time while Nicolas, Hagarty and Stiles also amazing throughout the film. Not once does there seem to be a moment where they hesitate when they think of what to say next and to be able to deliver improv lines so naturally means they deserve high credit… it is no easy feat.
Lovestuck just shows what you can create when you get together a creative team of people. While an improvised movie sounds like it shouldn’t work this one does to the point where you really do care which decision Josh makes. Worth checking out if you like your cinema a little left of centre.
Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):
IMDB Rating: N/A
Other Subculture Entertainment Lovestuck Reviews: Nil