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Monday, 16 November 2020 15:31

‘Chick Fight’ can’t go the distance

There’s a long tradition of mining the struggles of women to self-actualize for comedic purposes. Functioning in a world whose rules are stacked against you in many ways is difficult, and there’s often humor to be found in difficulty. Sometimes, this humor is subtle, but most of the time, it’s pretty overt.

“Chick Fight” definitely falls into that latter category. The comedy – directed by Paul Leyden from a script by Joseph Downey – is ostensibly about a woman’s efforts to get her life on track couched in her inadvertent membership in a fight club for women looking for ways to functionally express their more robust emotions. But while there’s potential here for a deeper dive, the filmmakers seem content to pay lip service to the fundamental concerns while focusing on the broader comic aspects of the concept.

That’s not a condemnation of the movie, per se – “Chick Fight” actually has some pretty funny moments. It’s an entertaining enough watch in its way. Unfortunately, it’s tough to ignore the whiff of squandered potential; this is a movie that could have been funny AND had something of note to say. Alas, it seems far more concerned with the former than the latter.

Published in Movies
Friday, 23 October 2020 15:09

Dinner with friends – ‘Friendsgiving’

Thanksgiving has always been a bit of a forgotten holiday when it comes to movies. Halloween’s got the horror genre on lockdown – not to mention its own named franchise – and Christmas, well … you don’t need to tell me that there are a lot of Christmas movies out there. But Thanksgiving has always been a bit adrift in terms of cinema – for whatever reason, it just doesn’t have the wider cultural relevance of its bookending holidays.

That doesn’t mean we don’t still see some Thanksgiving films, though. The latest entry into the genre is “Friendsgiving,” an indie comedy by first-time feature writer-director Nicol Paone. Featuring a star-studded cast, the film takes a look at two friends struggling to deal with the changes in their lives, dealing with their new realities in very different – and equally unhealthy – ways.

It’s also a very funny look at how the holidays have very different impacts on different people, as well as how our blood relations aren’t necessarily as close to us as the chosen families we assemble from our nearest and dearest friends. It’s goofy and light and occasionally poignant – all in service of the spirit of togetherness that is, at its core, the whole point of Thanksgiving.

Published in Movies

If you’re looking to make a kid-friendly action movie, you’re limited in many ways. Ultimately, this means that there are only a handful of basic ideas that are feasible. Filmmakers take one of these concepts, slap some cosmetic changes onto it and call it a movie.

One of the go-tos for kiddie action is “Parents have a secret and kids are the only ones who can save them.” We’ve seen it a million times.

Better make it a million and one.

“The Sleepover,” a new original movie from Netflix currently streaming on the service, is the latest to throw a coat of paint and a few accessories onto that baseline idea and let her rip. Now, there’s a certain base level of competence that comes with Netflix films, so this film’s floor is pretty high. Unfortunately, it’s rare that the company’s originals far exceed that base level, so the ceiling is fairly low.

And so we get “The Sleepover,” a reasonably-executed and largely soulless collection of dopey kid jokes and slightly-off adult banter featuring a couple of decent action sequences. The story is thin and the film features a couple of actors you recognize giving inoffensive performances; basically, it’s the exact kind of disposable cinema we largely expect from Netflix.

Published in Movies

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