Thursday, May 20, 2010

Summer movie previews: comedies

The summer movie season is officially upon us, folks. It's been a dry couple of months at the cinema, but thankfully we'll be able to avoid the increasingly nice weather by escaping into the theaters for some decent entertainment.

Since I love a good comedy, and despise a bad one, let's take a look at some titles to check out and others to avoid this summer.


SYNOPSIS: Will Forte brings his SNL character, a hapless handyman/adventurer, to the big screen. The always-funny Kristen Wiig costars with Ryan Phillippe and Val Kilmer. Jorma Taccone, best known as the copy-flipping member of The Lonley Island, directs.

IHYFM RECOMMENDATION: Hollywood adaptations of SNL skits do not have a great track record, so when I first heard of MacGruber I was skeptical. However, early reviews from SXSW and on RT and Metacritic, combined with several funny trailers, suggest that getting MacGruber out of those perpetually-locked control rooms makes for some good action-comedy. I'm a sucker for Kristen Wiig and can't help but giggle at Forte's boyish naiveté, so I'm hoping MacGruber delivers laughs as big as this sequence of skits wherein MacGruber tries to come to terms with his unapologetic racism.

Sex and the City 2

SYNOPSIS: Everyone's favorite alcohol-swilling, shoe-buying, sex-having ladies since Desperate Housewives and Cougartown return for more alcohol, shoes, and sex, this time in Abu Dhabi, which is looking to ban the film from playing within its borders, and wouldn't even allow it to be filmed there - it was shot in Morocco.

IHYFM RECOMMENDATION: As you may have guessed from my incorrect timeline of television airings, I'm not a huge Sex and the City guy. If you were into the series, the first film, or have a promising date with someone that is, I guess check it out. I'll probably stay home and watch Swingers instead.

Get Him to the Greek

SYNOPSIS: Aldous Snow, the lothario Russell Brand portrayed in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, is hired for a 10 year anniversary show in the Greek Theater in LA. Jonah Hill is dispatched to pick him up and get him there. It's not easy.

IHYFM RECOMMENDATION: Look no further than the un-embeddable red-band trailer for proof that this could be one of the best comedies of the year. Definitely worth checking out.


SYNOPSIS: John C. Reilly's life is falling apart when ex-wife Catherine Keener gets engaged to Matt Walsh, but he meets single-mother Marissa Tomei and everything seems to be going his way. Except Tomei's son, Jonah Hill (remember him?) is not on board with the new relationship.

IHYFM RECOMMENDATION: It's a solid cast of funny actors, and so long as Cyrus doesn't get as shapeless as other Official Sundance Selections have been, it could be a potent dark comedy in the vein of last year's bleak but funny World's Greatest Dad.

Grown Ups

SYNOPSIS: Old dudes Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, Kevin James, Chris Rock, and David Spade reunite the old high school basketball team for a weekend of high-jinks and fat guy jokes.

IHYFM RECOMMENDATION: There are some very funny grown ups in the cast of this flick. I'd like to think Kevin James is capable of more than 'big dude fall down', but I'm going to go out on a limb and say this isn't the picture to prove it. Also, the voice over guy that does the voice over for the trailer seems to be the guy that does the voice overs for trailers of shitty movies. Pass.

Dinner for Schmucks

SYNOPSIS: Paul Rudd plays the straight man to Steve Carell's goofball. In order to impress the company brass and secure a promotion, Rudd needs to bring a bizarre guest to a dinner for schmucks. Will he instead find true friendship? Something tells me... maybe.

IHYFM RECOMMENDATION: Sure, the premise is lacking in originality, but a cast that includes Rudd, Carell, and Zach Galifianakis is promising. Helmer Jay Roach (Meet the Parents) has a good track record too. I hope this turns out like Role Models instead of like I Love You, Man. I'll check it out, but you should wait for the reviews if you're not a fan of either the leading men.

The Other Guys
RELEASE DATE: August 6th

SYNOPSIS: Adam McKay and Will Ferrell team up once again, this time to turn the buddy-cop genre on its head. Mark Wahlberg costars, along with Michael Keaton and Steve Coogan.

IHYFM RECOMMENDATION: Adam McKay's pictures are hit and miss for me. While no picture could quite do to the genre what Hot Fuzz accomplished, the trailer for The Other Guys looks promising enough. Might as well mark your calendars.

The Switch
RELEASE DATE: August 20th

SYNOPSIS: Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston are a Harry and Sally, and through a mix up, Bateman accidentally artificially inseminates her. Seven years later, she starts to put it together.

IHYFM RECOMMENDATION: The trailer reads like a sappier version of Knocked Up with a splash of About a Boy. Probably a pass unless the reviews are rock-solid, which, sadly for Bateman, I'm guessing they won't be.

Is there essential summer comedy viewing I left out? Mention it in the comments.

Unless, of course, it's Marmaduke, in which case, just check this out.

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