REVIEW: Somebody I Used to Know (2023)

Alison Brie and Danny Pudi star in Somebody I Used To Know — PHOTO: Scott Patrick Green/Prime Video

Directed by Dave Franco — Screenplay by Dave Franco and Alison Brie.

Somebody I Used to Know is Dave Franco’s second film as a director. The actor-turned-filmmaker has teamed up with his wife (and co-writer) Alison Brie, of Community, Mad Men, and GLOW fame, to make a modern romantic comedy with an indie look and references that make it clear that the filmmakers behind Somebody I Used to Know are fully aware of the films they’re aping. The film isn’t merely derivative; you know where it’s going almost from the minute the premise has been introduced to you. 

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REVIEW: Shotgun Wedding (2023)

Jennifer Lopez as Darcy Rivera and Josh Duhamel as Tom Fowler in Shotgun Wedding. — PHOTO: Ana Carballosa

Directed by Jason Moore (Pitch Perfect) — Screenplay by Mark Hammer.

The start of the new year is going by so fast. I’m still trying to catch up on some late 2022 releases, just as I’m trying to see notable 2023 releases. Well, one of the films I missed in January was Amazon Prime Video’s release of the Jennifer Lopez-led action rom-com Shotgun Wedding. I’ve now finally had the chance to check it out. And, well, in spite of a relatively star-studded cast, it’s mostly just ‘okay.’ It’s nowhere near as good as the films it’s clearly modeled after. 

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REVIEW: You People (2023)

L-R: David Duchovny, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jonah Hill, Lauren London, Eddie Murphy, and Nia Long in YOU PEOPLE — PHOTO: NETFLIX / Parrish Lewis.

Directed by Kenya Barris — Screenplay by Kenya Barris and Jonah Hill.

In SAVE THE DATES, Netflix’s 2023 preview of select significant upcoming films to be released by the streamer this year, the first date and film that Netflix wants us to mark down is January 27th’s release of Kenya Barris’ You People starring Eddie Murphy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and co-writer Jonah Hill. Released on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, You People from Kenya Barris (the co-writer of both 2021’s disappointing Coming to America-sequel and the dull modern remake of Cheaper By the Dozen from 2022) follows Ezra Cohen (played by Jonah Hill), a hip and modern podcaster of Jewish heritage, as he decides takes it upon himself to gain the acceptance of his girlfriend’s family before he asks her to marry him. His girlfriend, Amira (played by Lauren London), is a young Black costume designer who grew up in a Muslim household, and her father, Akbar (played by Eddie Murphy) is staunchly against her taking a white husband. While both Ezra and Amira struggle with each other’s families, the situation goes out of control when the families meet each other.

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REVIEW: The Lovebirds (2020)

Original Theatrical Release Poster – Paramount Pictures

The following is a review of The Lovebirds — Directed by Michael Showalter.

The Coronavirus Pandemic has had a serious impact on the film industry. The future of the movie theater industry is uncertain as some films that were meant for a theatrical release have been released on video-on-demand or streaming services, while many of the year’s biggest films have been removed from the 2020 theatrical release schedule entirely. This Michael Showalter romantic-comedy, The Lovebirds, was originally meant to be released in theaters by Paramount Pictures in April, but when theaters around the world closed their doors, the film studio sold its rights to Netflix, who finally released the film on the 22nd of May. The Lovebirds fits right in on Netflix, but, quality-wise, it is a significant step down from The Big Sick, Showalter’s previous film as a director. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Lovebirds (2020)”

REVIEW: The Half of It (2020)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of The Half of It — Directed by Alice Wu.

Netflix has, in a way, become the home of the teenage coming-of-age romantic-comedy genre. Since they achieved great success with Susan Johnson’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Netflix has been eager to return to that same subgenre and treat their worldwide audience to stories about young Americans finding themselves, discovering their own identities, and expressing their true feelings. Netflix has successfully cornered that market as of late, and their latest teenage romantic-comedy success story comes from filmmaker Alice Wu, whose second feature has finally come out for all to see fifteen years after her directorial debut was originally released. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Half of It (2020)”

REVIEW: Yesterday (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Universal Pictures

The following is a review of Yesterday — Directed by Danny Boyle.

What would you do if you woke up one day and found yourself in a world where no one knew of The Beatles? Just picture it. This world wouldn’t think of John, Paul, Ringo, and George when they thought of Abbey Road. People wouldn’t know the words to “Eleanor Rigby,” “Yesterday,” or “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” and you would be the only one in the world who could be the vessel and voice of their genius. Would you tell the world of their music, or would you make a career off of their work? In Danny Boyle’s Yesterday, the failing musician Jack Malik (played by Himesh Patel) finds himself in that situation after he is involved in, and knocked out by, a car crash during a worldwide power outage. Malik eventually decides to take credit for the song-writing to advance his career, but, in doing so, he soon realizes that he’s letting go of the person that means the most to him. Continue reading “REVIEW: Yesterday (2019)”

REVIEW: Always Be My Maybe (2019)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a short review of Netflix’s Always Be My Maybe — Directed by Nahnatchka Khan.

Netflix has a pretty solid reputation when it comes to producing these hip romantic comedies. One of those films, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, received a lot of praise from both critics and audiences last year. Now, in 2019, Netflix has a new romantic comedy with a culturally diverse and thus modern cast. Always Be My Maybe is Fresh Off the Boat-creator Nahnatchka Khan’s feature film directorial debut.

Khan’s debut is a romantic comedy about two former best friends reuniting. Sasha (played by Ali Wong) and Marcus (played by Randall Park) were once childhood best friends, but their friendship eventually ended when a one-night fling went poorly. Now, they are living completely different lives. Sasha is a celebrity chef engaged to Brandon (played by Daniel Dae Kim), a successful restaurateur. Meanwhile, Marcus is stuck in a rut. This all changes when Sasha returns to their home city of San Francisco as Brandon has decided that they should ‘see other people.’ Sasha and Marcus eventually reconnect and soon sparks fly. Continue reading “REVIEW: Always Be My Maybe (2019)”

REVIEW: Long Shot (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Lionsgate

The following is a review of Long Shot — Directed by Jonathan Levine.

It would appear that I have a soft spot for Jonathan Levine films. His is a name that immediately gets me excited to watch a film if his name is attached to it. I am one of the few who thinks Levine’s 50/50 is a genuine masterpiece of the genre within which it belongs. Furthermore, I think his 2015 holiday film The Night Before has the makings of a modern Christmas classic — in fact, it has already become a tradition for me to watch that film every Christmas. Likewise, I really enjoyed my time with Long Shot, which is Levine’s attempt at Rogenesque romantic comedy with a political twist. While I doubt that Long Shot will become as memorable to me as the aforementioned efforts, I think it is another example of a hip Levine film that goes down well. Continue reading “REVIEW: Long Shot (2019)”

Best of the 2010s: Top Ten Comedy Films

Paramount Pictures; Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Comedy isn’t black-and-white. The genre most associated with films like your average American comedy like, say, American Pie or some Judd Apatow film is much more than its stereotype. There are stylish and quirky comedies, absurd and dark comedies. Comedy films come in all shapes and sizes, and the Best of the 2010s-list highlights multiple different types in the genre. Continue reading “Best of the 2010s: Top Ten Comedy Films”

REVIEW: Isn’t It Romantic (2019)

US Theatrical Release Poster – Warner Bros. Pictures

The following is a quick review of Isn’t It Romantic — Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson.

Released in theaters on Valentine’s Day in North America and at the end of February on Netflix elsewhere, Isn’t It Romantic is a film about a woman tired of a stale film genre who, then, suddenly finds herself inside of such a film. The film follows Rebel Wilson’s Natalie, an Australian woman living in New York City whose mother turned her off romantic-comedies as they presented scenarios that ‘weren’t made for girls like them.’ Continue reading “REVIEW: Isn’t It Romantic (2019)”