Tag Archives: Wanda Sykes

“Snatched”

LOUISA: 3.5 STARS


LOUISA SAYS:

I went in expecting the Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn adventure caper “Snatched” to be as awful as its previews suggest. Luckily looks can be deceiving because it makes for a pretty funny (and also pretty good) night out at the movies. If your mama’s cool as heck, this would be a great one to catch with her on Mother’s Day.

After getting dumped by her boyfriend, lazy woman-child Emily (Schumer) convinces her cautious, cat-loving mom Linda (Hawn) to join her on a whirlwind trip to Costa Rica. Emily is duped by a handsome stranger at the hotel bar (Tom Bateman) one evening, and the two women are kidnapped and held for ransom somewhere in the remote jungles of South America. Along the way, the gals get into all sorts of strange predicaments, all while attempting to escape.

Schumer is definitely an acquired taste and there are going to be plenty of haters coming out of the woodwork simply because she’s attached to the project. Love her or hate her, she has a keen sense of comic timing and is the perfect young comedian to pair with workhorse Hawn (really now, who doesn’t love Goldie)? Their mother / daughter relationship feels sincere and authentic, and they both play it up both physically and verbally for laughs. There are a few painful, lazy, tasteless, and crude jokes about vaginas and whale semen, but when screenwriter Katie Dippold (“Ghostbusters,” “The Heat”) actually works for the laughs, she more than earns them.

It feels as if the film is divided into two parts, with the first being a straight comedy with a believable kidnapping story and the second half going all out and plunging into truly goofball territory. Lots of things just don’t make any sense, and the story jumps all over the place. I could’ve done without the ridiculous giant tapeworm scene (a slapstick joke gone horribly awry) and some of the more ludicrous secondary plots like brother Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz) sparring with a federal agent and leading an unlikely rescue mission deep into the rainforests of Colombia.

But for every miss there are twice as many hits, including the bizarrely humorous subplot of talkative gym lover Ruth (Wanda Sykes) and her mute ex-special forces “lady friend” Barb (Joan Cusack) and a downright hilarious supporting turn from Christopher Meloni as an American adventurer who takes the women under his wing.

This review comes with a very important warning label: while I found this movie to be filled with giggles and ridiculously amusing, I do realize that my sense of humor is all over the place and can be viewed as being atypical and best and on the polar opposite end of the mainstream comedy spectrum at worst. Your mileage may vary in terms of laughs, but I found the humor to be spot on (for the most part).

“Ice Age: Collision Course”

LOUISA: 3 STARS


LOUISA SAYS:

The fifth film in the prehistoric animated franchise, “Ice Age: Collision Course,” may feel a little stale but it’s still an enjoyable movie. There’s plenty for kids and adults alike to appreciate. It’s funny, heartwarming, and beautifully directed by Mike Thurmeier and Galen Chu. It’s not something that will change the face of cinema but it’s far better than the usual throwaway animated junk that Hollywood frequently churns out.

The formula may be the same (our beloved animal heroes once again set out on an adventure, this time to save themselves from a giant incoming meteor) but the movie somehow manages to still feel original. In a brilliant move by the filmmakers, there’s quite a bit of screen time devoted to the silly, accident prone squirrel Scrat. (Seriously, it’s time for Scrat to get his own movie)! As with the previous films, “Collision Course” features brief snippets of several subplots interspersed with Scrat’s slapstick antics.

Woolly mammoths Manny (Ray Romano) and Ellie (Queen Latifah) are struggling with their daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer) growing up, getting married to the goofy Julian (Adam DeVine) and leaving home. Manny’s best friends are back too: Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo) continues his quest for true love and saber tooth tiger Diego (Denis Leary) is as wise and grumpy as ever. I was thrilled to see Granny (Wanda Sykes) back with a larger role; she’s easily the funniest of the bunch. The gang teams up with erratic one-eyed weasel Buck (Simon Pegg) for help saving the planet.

The voice talent rages from brilliant (Sykes and Leguizamo) to good (DeVine and Pegg) to barely acceptable (Latifah and Romano) to downright irritating (Jesse Tyler Ferguson‘s lame shtick as the Shangri-Llama is neither funny nor original, and Palmer is simply awful). Other actors lending their voices include Jennifer Lopez as Shira, Jessie J as Brooke (a gorgeously animated new character that’s sure to be a hit with little girls everywhere) and Nick Offerman as Gavin (the only supporting voice actor whose performance is so strong that he doesn’t get lost in the background).

The movie has a slightly smart, slightly scientific plot and message. This film isn’t even close to being as brainless as the studio’s marketing campaign would lead you to believe. The science is ludicrous of course, but at least astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson shows up for a tongue-in-cheek ‘explanation’ (as Neil deBuck Weasel). It’s enough to make inquisitive kids go home and pick up a book or Google the scenarios that are presented. Overall the movie’s message values science and learning over ignorance, and we should all get behind that.

That’s not to say that this movie isn’t stuffed with stupidity, but at least it’s not overly stupid. Yes, there’s plenty of lowbrow bathroom humor; yes, there’s a substantial amount of modern lingo sass-talking; yes, the obnoxious possums Crash and Eddie (voiced by Seann William Scott and Josh Peck) are back with groan-inducing flamboyance. But the core characters are so likeable and the animation so skilled that it’s easy to overlook the film’s flaws.


Matt was unavailable for review.

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