Summary: A young girl has her world turned upside down when she finds herself accidentally swapping bodies with a serial killer.
Cinema Release Dates: 12th November 2020 (Australia), 13th November (USA), 25th December 2020 (UK)
VOD Release Dates: TBA
Director: Christopher Landon
Screenwriter: Michael Kennedy, Christopher Landon
Cast: Nick Arapoglou (Deputy Jim Hayworth), Melissa Collazo (Ryler), Dave Davenport (Deputy Parsons), Deja Dee (Karla Parsley), Magnus Diehl (Phil), Dana Drori (Charlene Kessler), Katie Finneran (Carol Kessler), Carter W. Glade (Tobin), Charles Green (Frank), Emily Holder (Sandra), Mitchell Hoog (Evan), Tim Johnson (Squi), Kathryn Newton (Millie), Celeste O’Connor (Nyla), Misha Osherovich (Josh Detmer), Alan Ruck (Mr. Bernardi), Maria Sager (Senora Cayenes), Ezra Sexton (Brett), Uriah Shelton (Booer Strode), Zack Shires (Tim Turnipseed), Don Stallings (Cooter Scriggins), Nicholas Stargel (Isaac), Brooke Jaye Taylor (Mrs. Detmer), Vince Vaughn (The Butcher), Alonzo Ward (Mr. Daniels), Kelly Lamor Wilson (Ginny)
Running Time: 102 mins
Classification: MA15+ (Australia), 15 (UK), R (USA)
OUR FREAKY REVIEWS
David Griffiths’ Freaky Review:
If you’ve dug deep into some of the movie themed accounts on YouTube then you’ve probably come across a few movie mash-ups during your time. Normally they are short videos put together by obsessed movie fans that have cut scenes or pieces of dialogue together from a number of movies to create a short film. Now a kind of cinematic movie mash-up is about to find its way onto the big screen.
New horror/comedy Freaky sees the world’s busiest film studio, Blumhouse Productions, take the concepts behind cult classics Freaky Friday and Friday The 13th, and mash them together – the result is a surprisingly funny, if not a little gory, film that is a lot better than it has any right to be.
Written and directed by Christopher Landon (the man behind the brilliant Happy Death Day franchise) Freaky sees alternative and unpopular high school student, Millie (Kathryn Newton – Pokemon Detective Pikachu), accidentally swap bodies with a serial killer known in the press as The Butcher (Vince Vaughn – Hacksaw Ridge) after he tries to kill her with an ancient ceremonial knife.
As she tries to get used to being in the body of a middle-aged man the Police are looking for, he is using her innocent look as a way to lure in new victims. While she desperately tries to find out a way to reverse the body swap she also has to convince people including her best friends, Nyla (Celeste O’Connor – Ghostbusters: Afterlife) and Josh (Misha Osherovich – The Goldfinch), that she is who she says she is.
Yes, on paper Freaky sounds like a pretty average teenage horror film but in the hands of Landon the film actually becomes something pretty special. While any horror/comedies tend to be let down by one side or the other Freaky seems to work on both levels. The comedy hits the spot providing laugh after laugh and even introduces some classic comedic characters (especially with Josh) while the horror will appeal to the more hardcore horror films as it verges on the creative gory side that Landon is beginning to make a name for himself with.
The general plot of Freaky is also surprisingly believable and while it does poke fun at some of the more clichéd tropes that many horror films are filled with these days it never goes so far that it could be considered a parody like Scary Movie.
Of course a film like this can’t just work because of a pretty decent script and one of the biggest drawcards for Freaky is also its most talented asset – Vince Vaughn. Over the years Vaughn has become known for his outrageous comedies like Wedding Crashers and Couple Retreat and people tend to forget that he has also made some sensational dramas like Dragged Across Concrete and Hacksaw Ridge. To be honest it wouldn’t surprise me if one day Vaughn put in a performance in a serious drama that earned him an Oscar nomination and it that acting ability that makes him stand-out in Freaky. Not only does he have to pull off moments of comedy gold as he has to play a ‘teenage girl’ for a majority of the film there are other scenes where he has to be as menacing as a Jack Nicholson or Anthony Hopkins. The good news is he does both brilliantly.
You could be excused for thinking that Freaky is one of those movies that would never be a must see. But if you like a good, creative horror or are in the mood for a laugh then it is the perfect film. Yes, Freaky is one of the biggest surprises of 2020.
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 Jacob discovers clues to a mystery that spans different worlds and times, he finds Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. But the mystery and danger deepen as he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 29th September 2016
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: UK, Belgium, USA
Director: Tim Burton
Screenwriter: Jane Goldman, Ransom Riggs (novel)
Cast: Nicholas Amer (Oggie), Jack Brady (Mr. Clark), Asa Butterfield (Jake), Raffiella Chapman (Claire Densmore), Justin Davies (Worm), Pixie Davies (Bronwyn Bruntley), Louis Davison (Victor Bruntley), Helen Day (Miss Edwards), Judi Dench (Miss Avocet), Rupert Everett (Ornithologist), Aidan Flowers (10 Year Old Jacob), Eva Green (Miss Alma LeFay Peregrine), Scott Handy (Mr. Gleeson), Ioan Hefin (Kev), Samuel L. Jackson (Barron), Allison Janney (Dr. Golan), Jennifer Jarackas (Aunt Susie), O-Lan Jones (Shelley), Hayden Keeler-Stone (Horace Somnussion), Cameron King (Millard Nullings), Mary Leonard (Mary), Finlay MacMillan (Enoch O’Connor), Lauren McCrostie (Olive Abroholos Elphanta), Chris O’Dowd (Franklin Portman), Joseph Odwell (Masked Ballerina #1), Thomas Odwell (Maked Ballerina #2), Nicholas Oteri (6 Year Old Jacob), Milo Parker (Hugh Apiston), Georgia Pemberton (Fiona Fruanfeld), Philip Philmar (Mr Archer), Ella Purnell (Emma Bloom), Terence Stamp (Abraham Portman), Brooke Jaye Taylor (Aunt Judy), Shaun Thomas (Dylan), George Vricos (Uncle Bobby), Robert Milton Wallace (Malfous)
Runtime: 127 mins
OUR MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Tim Burton fans it is time to rejoice because the man of creepiness is back with a film that once again sees him using his creative genius to full effect. The last few years has seen Burton serve up films like Big Eyes and Dark Shadows – films that to be honest have been a waste of his talents. With Miss Peregine’s Home For Peculiar Children though Burton once again lets his creativity come to the fore as he delivers a film that is visually appealing and brings some ‘older’ special effects back to life.
Based on a novel by Ransom Riggs Miss Peregine’s Home For Peculiar Children centres around Jake (Asa Butterfield – Ender’s Game) an unpopular teenager who has been brought up listening to his Grandfather Abe’s (Terence Stamp – Wanted) tales of a miraculous island that he once lived on. Jake’s father, Franklin (Chris O’Dowd – The Sapphires) tells him these tales are part of his Grandfather’s dementia but Jake finds himself wondering whether or not they are true when he finds Abe brutally murdered and he witnesses a ‘monster’ at the scene.
Soon Jake finds himself discovering that Abe’s stories are true as he meets Miss Peregrine (Eva Green – Dark Shadows) a mysterious shape shifter who looks after a school for children with peculiar abilities, such as Emma (Ella Purnell – Never Let Me Go), and makes sure that the ‘loop’ they live in resets each day. While at first Jake believes their lifestyle is picturesque who soon becomes involved in their dangerous war with the psychotic Barron (Samuel L. Jackson – Pulp Fiction).
On the surface it would be very easy to dismiss Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children as a mish-mash of Harry Potter and X-Men but with Burton at the helm this film becomes much more than that. Burton’s finger-prints are all over this film from start to finish. While the opening scenes of the stale white store where Jake works seems largely un-Burtonesque it gives way to a world where Burton can bring a steam punk feel to a World War II bombing raid, use ‘jumpy’ special effects during a scene of re-animated dolls fighting and use old-school CGI to bring skeletons to life for a large scale battle. To some younger cinema goers the use of the ‘older’ effects may seem a little strange it does fit the film’s storyline of flashing between time periods… and better still it’s Burton being his creative self.
Storywise the film does have a fair bit to get your head around. While the time-jumping sequences will be very quick to lose you Burton gets away with it by the fact that Jake himself doesn’t fully understand what is happening either. Generally though this is your typical good versus evil storyline with a touch of coming-of-age as the audience gets to experience Jake’s first romance as well.
Under the watchful eye of Tim Burton the cast here regularly get a chance to shine. While Butterfield’s performance is nowhere near as intense as his performance in Ender’s Game he still does a good job. Likewise Samuel L. Jackson is far from his best but seems to be having fun as he plays the menacing Barron. The real standouts here though are Eva Green and Ella Purnell. Purnell announces herself as a star of the future with a performance very similar to what Burton normally gets out of Mia Wasikowska. Green plays Miss Peregrine as a sultry character that we can only help returns to the screen soon.
Whether Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is meant to kick-start a franchise or simply be a one off movie the film holds its own as Burton delivers a film a little too dark for children but something that adults and young adults will certainly warm to. This surprisingly good film sees Burton return to do what he does best – produce a creepy yet truly creative film.
Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):
Other Subculture Entertainment Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children Reviews: Nil
Summary: Based on the true crime and novel by Mara Leveritt, Devil’s Knot explores the murder and trial of three boys that went missing in Memphis in 1993. The crime brings three teenagers to trial and despite pleading innocent and the mounting forensic evidence to support their innocence, the teenagers are persecuted without question and left at the mercy of lawyer Ron Lax who continues to probe deeper into the case and the prejudices that exist within the court of law. The film explores the lives of deeply misunderstood outsiders, their families and communities, and their darkest fantasies. The conviction of the West Memphis Three – Damien Echols, Jesse Misskelley, Jr., and Jason Baldwin – riled the American justice system, shocked a tightly knit religious town and outraged the nation.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 24th July, 2014
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Atom Egoyan
Screenwriter: Paul Harris Boardman, Scott Derrickson, Mara Leveritt (novel)
Cast: Robert Baker (Detective Bryn Ridge), Paul Boardman Jnr. (Michael Moore), Kerry Cahill (Jo Lynn), Brandon Carroll (Bobby DeAngelo), Jack Coghlan (Aaron Hutcherson), Dane DeHaan (Chris Morgan), Kevin Durand (John Mark Byers), Mireille Enos (Vicki Hutcheson), Colin Firth (Ron Lax), Wilbur Fitzgerald (Tom), Michael Gladis (Dan Stidham), Bruce Greenwood (Judge Burnett), Gary Grubbs (Dale Griffis), James Hamrick (Damien Echols), Martin Henderson (Brent Davis), Kristopher Higgins (Jessie Miskelley), Stan Houston (Detective Donald Bray), Brian Howe (Detective McDonough), Ted Huckabee (Steve Jones), Julie Ivey (Melissa Byers), Jet Jurgensmeyer (Stevie Branch), Elias Koteas (Jerry Driver), Matt Letscher (Paul Ford), Rex Linn (Chief Inspector Gitchell), Seth Meriwether (Jason Baldwin), Stephen Moyer (John Fogelman), Bill Murphey (Marty King), Alessandro Nivola (Terry Hobbs), Kristoffer Polaha (Val Price), Anessa Ramsey (Rosie), Amy Ryan (Margaret Lax), Lori Beth Sikes (Annie), Brad D. Smith (Todd Moore), Brandon Spink (Christopher Byers), Matthew Stanton (Detective Durham), Clay Stapleford (Detective Mike Allen), Stephanie Stewart (Domini Teer), Brooke Jaye Taylor (Officer Regina Meeks), Reese Witherspoon (Pam Hobbs), Collette Wolfe (Glori Shettles), Isabella Zentkovich (Amanda Hobbs)
Runtime: 114 mins
OUR DEVIL’S KNOT REVIEWS & RATINGS:
The story of The West Memphis Three has been itching to be turned into a feature film for a great deal many years now. Countless documentaries have been made around the case over the years, and so powerful is the story of injustice that it has been impossible for anyone to sit through them without some kind of anger building up inside them. To be brutally honest the whole story (or should that be saga) is really a screenwriter and director’s dream.
Devil’s Knot looks at the case of The West Memphis Three told through the eyes of a private investigator, Ron Lax (Colin Firth) and one of the grieving mothers, Pam Hobbs (Reese Witherspoon). As Hobbs desperately tries to work out what happened in her son’s murder Lax concentrates on the theory that the three accused, Damien Echols (James Hamrick), Jason Baldwin (Seth Meriwether) and Jessie Misskelley (Kristopher Higgins) are innocent.
Oscar nominated director Atom Egoyan decides to tackle the case head-on in his latest film Devil’s Knot. Now a rookie filmmaker may have simply decided that this film should be told through the eyes of one of the accused but Egoyan is smarter than that and instead digs up the story of one of the case’s lesser known players, the private investigator hired by the three accused’s legal team to try and clear their clients name. So not to make the film too one sided Egoyan also tells part of the story through the eyes of Pam Hobbs, a grieving mother who seems more open to the fact that injustice is being done than anyone else involved in the case.
Early on Devil’s Knot is a promising film. It digs up certain parts of the case that are naturally overlooked in most explorations into the case including the mysterious ‘muddied and bloodied black man’ who was spotted in a fast food diner on the night of the murders. But it’s not long after that revolution that Egoyan seems to let Devil’s Knot dangerously let itself down. Just as Lax beguns to uncover series leads that suggest a Police cover-up and Police corruption the film pulls back from how hard-hitting it should have been and instead becomes a court room drama in the vein of a television show like Law & Order.
The second half of Devil’s Knot shows why a director of the class of David Fincher needs to get hold of this story and do something with it. The links of the boys to the occult and Satanic rituals could have taken the film into some dark places while the whole Police corruption element and them deciding to investigate Ron Lax needed to have a lot more suspense put into it then what it shown here. For Devil’s Knot to work there needed to be less of Lax sitting around in an office and talking to the lawyers and more of him actually out on the street doing the leg work – after all he had to be getting these leads from somewhere, right? Perhaps the most ironic thing about how much the screenplay lets down the film is that it comes from the same pen as Deliver Us From Evil, Scott Derrickson.
As a result Egoyan really under uses his two leads. Colin Firth seems like an actor champing at the bit for a dramatic scene right throughout Devil’s Knot while Reese Witherspoon plumps up and heads into the similar character territory she explored in Mud but again she is let down. Instead of allowing her character to deliver some powerful scenes when she starts suspecting her own husband, Terry Hobbs (Alessandro Nivola), as being involved in their son’s murder. It’s a sad point to make but the screenplay here really does let down both Firth and Witherspoon.
Devil’s Knot could easily have been one of the best films of the year, but sadly it is let down by a director and screenwriter who seem reluctant to tap into the suspense that is handed to them on a plate. Instead the second half of the film becomes a slow court room drama that never really lives up to its potential. Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon try in vain to deliver something but even they are let down dangerously by a script that needed to be much better.
Summary: A married mom asks her parents to look after her three children when she needs to leave town for work.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 25th December, 2013
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Andy Fickman
Screenwriter: Lisa Addario, Joe Syracuse
Cast: Dwayne Boyd (Lowell), Bart Hansard (Joey), Kyle Harrison Breitkopf (Barker Simmons), Billy Crystal (Artie Decker), Joanna Daniel (Lauren), Jennifer Crystal Foley (Cassandra), Patricia French (Rose), Daniel Fridkin (Chet Halloran), Kendra Goehring (Doris Halloran), Rhoda Griffis (Dr. Scheever), Jan Harrelson (Babaloo), Tony Hawk (himself), Gina Herron (Carol), Kathleen Hogan (Betsy), Brad James (Officer Chernin), Cade Jones (Ivan Halloran), Karan Kendrick (Lisa), Justin R. Kennedy (Brad Zolick), Joe Knezevich (Kent), Christine Lakin (Helen), Steve Levy (himself), Madison Lintz (Ashley), Bailee Madison (Harper Simmons), Marla Malcolm (Emma), Audrey McCroskey (Gwen), Bette Midler (Diane Decker), Mavrick Moreno (Cody), Tiffany Morgan (Amanda), Maia Moss-Fife (Samantha), Jade Nicolette (Lulu), Erin O’Connor (Clara), Nate Panning (Coach Bostick), Joshua Rush (Turner Simmons), Tom Everett Scott (Phil Simmons), Troy Michael Simeon (Parker), Ron Clinton Smith (Umpire Clark), Brooke Jaye Taylor (Lois), Jody Thompson (Aaron), Marisa Tomei (Alice Simmons), Matthew Warzel (Josh), Gedde Watanabe (Mr. Cheng), Hunter Weeks (Dino), Cody James Wright (Drayton Glass), Paul Luis Zimmerman (Nate)
Runtime: 105 mins
Dave Griffiths’s ‘Parental Guidance’ Review:
Take a look at the poster of ‘Parental Guidance’. Did I miss the time warp back to the 1980s? Am I supposed to pull out the happy pants and slap a happy-slapper on my arm? Maybe I’m wrong but ‘Parental Guidance’ seems to have surfaced a little too late (like thirty years too late) because with this cast, and these jokes it could have done awfully well back in 1985.
‘Parental Guidance’ sees Artie Decker (Billy Crystal – Small Apartments, Tooth Fairy) losing his beloved job as a baseball broadcaster. With his life in freefall his wife, Diane Decker (Bette Midler – Cats & Dogs: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore, The Women) feels the best medicine is to answer the call from help from their daughter, Alice Simmons (Marisa Tomei – The Ides Of March, Crazy Stupid Love) and her husband, Phil (Tom Everett Scott – Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups, TV’S Good Christian Bitches), who need to go to a work conference but have no-one that can stay at home and look after their children.
While it seems quite simple for some grandparents to look after their grandchildren the big problems are the fact that Artie and Diane rarely see Harper (Bailee Madison – TV”S Holliston & Once Upon A Time), Turner (Joshua Rush – Playing For Keeps, TV’S Teens Wanna Know) and Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf – TV’S Being Human & Against The Wall) and while Alice and Phil run their household using modern family techniques Artie and Diane are certainly part of the old school way of doing things.
While ‘Parental Guidance’ seems like it may come from the 1980s it suffers from the same problem that so many modern comedies seem to do these days, and that is the fact that it just isn’t funny. The film tries for laughs many times but each time it fails miserably and at the end of the day director, Andy Fickman (You Again, Race To Witch Mountain) has delivered yet another dog of a film.
At times ‘Parental Guidance’ does threaten to be an okay film. The idea of some old school parents clashing with the new generation’s parental skills seems like it should work but the film’s laughs just never come and the inclusion of people such as Tony Hawke really does leave you with a feeling that the writer’s never really left the 1980s.
As a sign at just how bad ‘Parental Guidance’ really is the lead actors are outacted by the kids all the way. Billy Crystal really shouldn’t have come out of retirement for this rubbish while Marisa Tomei and Bette Midler seem to have been instructed to ‘just look pretty and whatever you do don’t act’.
One of the unfunniest comedies you are ever likely to see, ‘Parental Guidance’ is not even worth a look.