ORBzine - Comedy 2017 Movie Reviews

TITLE & REVIEW

Mindhorn

Mindhorn Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barratt - A Field In England ) is an actor who was famous for starring in a UK TV show in 1989. He played the title character in a show named Mindhorn, which is a mish-mash of 1970s/80s series. A Secret Agent was in a plane crash (like in The Champions ), got a bionic eye (a la Six Million Dollar Man ) and became a detective in a small British island's police department (Bergerac).

Now, three decades later, Thorncroft is a has-been. Luckily for him, a mentally ill murder suspect named Paul Melly (Russell Tovey - Being Human ) believes the show is real. More specifically, the lucky break is that the local police request Thorncroft help them catch the killer.

Thorncroft is teamed up with Detective Constable Baines ( Andrea Riseborough ). However, this is not a parody of Forever and all the other mainstream cop shows these days. Instead we see Thorncroft reluctantly reunite with former co-stars. The result is a slapstick comedy-thriller that might be considered a missed opportunity. There is so much more that could be done with this concept. Hopefully there will be a sequel. Perhaps even a spin-off TV show, like Garth Marenghi's Darkplace .

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    Walter Mitty

    Walter Mitty This is a remake of a classic American film from the 1940s. The visuals are well-directed by Stiller, but the script is a bit predictable.

    Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller - Zoolander ) is a daydreamer trapped in a dead-end job. He wants to impress a female co-worker ( Kristen Wiig ) and follow in the footsteps of his idol, photo-journalist Sean Penn ( Gangster Squad ). This involves going on an epic trek to Iceland, where he fails to realise that a volcano is about to erupt.

    Wiig is an established comedy performer in her own right. Unfortunately she does not get the chance to show this off, although she does get to sing a song.

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    The Voices

    The Voices Ryan Reynolds ( Green Lantern ) steps away from his usual Van Wilder persona. He plays a likeable loser who has mental issues. His pets (voiced by Reynolds himself) give him advice - the evil Scottish cat gives devilish tips, while the big dopey dog tells him to Beee Good like E.T. .

    Our protagonist works with a handful of young women. Anna Kendrick takes a liking to him, but Gemma Arterton is the one he wants to be with. However, she does not reciprocate.

    It turns out our hero is haunted by a dark past. This is basically a comedy about a seral killer. It has very dark subject matter, but manages to pull the comedy off quite well.

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    Lesbian Vampire killers

    Lesbian Vampire killers Cordon ( Three Musketeers ) and Horne, a pair of UK comedians who recently got their own TV show, now have their big-screen debut. The lads go on holiday, and hike into a parody of a 1960s Hammer Horror lesbo vamp movie. Myanna Burring is a not just a damsel in distress - she is a foreign exchange student who is an expert in folklore, and can more than look after herself. Paul McGann is a vampire-fighting preacher.

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    Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

    Ghosts of Girlfriends Past This is a Feminazi rom-com version of A Christmas Carol . Matthew McConaghey wants to avoid being trapped in a bad relationship, so he is painted as a villain. Jennifer Garner and her friends (a gang of smutty bridesmaids) sleep around, and are therefore role-models of female empowerment. Hypocritical crap!

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    17 Again

    17 Again Chandler from Friends is middle-aged, getting divorced by his still-hot wife. He is magically transformed into teen heart-throb Zac Efron, who looks like a young Ian Somerhalder ( Smallville, Lost, Vampire Diaries ). He uses this as an opportunity to interfere in the love life of his hot teen daughter ( Michelle Trachtenberg ).

    The hero's nerdy sidekick prevents genre blindness by identifying the hero's journey as a magical spirit quest.

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    U.F.O.

    U.F.O. This was made in 1993, starring Roy "Chubby" Brown. He is abducted by Captain Sarah Stockbridge and her Feminazis from the future. Kenny Baker ( Time Bandits ) has a cameo as Casanova!

    The result is a poor story, but it gives excuse to some shockingly funny (or just shocking) jokes.

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    Space Station 76

    Space Station 76 As the title suggests, this is set on a Space Station where everyone dresses as if they were in 1976. It is a soap opera with a light-hearted approach.

    Captain Patrick Wilson ( Watchmen ) is estranged from his boyfriend Matthew Morrison (Glee).

    The other crew members include:

  • Liv Tyler
  • Kali Rocha
  • Jerry O'Connell ( Piranha 3-D )
  • Keir Dullea ( 2001: A Space Odyssey )

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    Knights of Badassdom

    Knights of Badassdom The prologue explains the backstory, which is predictable enough. There is a magic book, and when the contents are read aloud it summons demons into the world. The only original aspects are that this time the book was created by Dr John Dee, the Elizabethan wizard, and that some LARPers ended up buying it on E-Bay.

    (Ryan Kwanten - True Blood ) gets dumped by his girlfriend. His flatmates Eric (Steve Zahn - ) and Hung (Peter Dinklage - Game of Thrones ) try to cheer him up by taking him to a Live Action Roleplay (LARP) event. The rest of the team includes Danny Pudi ( Captain America: Winter Soldier ) and Summer Glau , while the Game Master is Jimmi Simpson ( Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter ).

    Our all-star cast go on a merry quest. Naturally, a demon gets accidentally summoned and predictably goes on a killing spree. However, this is well handled and the resulting film is an above-average effort.

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    Action Movie Parodies

    Johnny English Reborn

    Johnny English Reborn Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson - Never Say Never Again ) is surprisingly competent, just very unlucky. He investigates an evil conspiracy of assassins, who use a Chinese cleaning lady to bump off witnesses. His Boss ( Gillian Anderson ) and co-worker (Dominic West - The Awakening ) do not have much faith in his abilities. Luckily Bond girl Rosamund Pike does ...

    The movie plays more like a UK version of Steve Carrell’s Get Smart than the previous film. Pity there is no Anne Hathaway in this one, though.

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    Grimsby

    Grimsby MI6 Secret Agent Mark Strong ( Stardust ) is a one-man Special Forces unit, singlehandedly fighting a terrorist conspiracy. Unfortunately he ends up disavowed - like in all the Mission Impossible films. The MI6 boss (Ian McShane - Hercules (2015) ) sends Strong's predecessor after him. This hit-man does not do it single-handed, and has a whole SWAT team of heavily-armed goons to help. Luckily, the office Moneypenny type ( Isla Fisher ) is willing to send Strong a few updates.

    The Secret Agent has to team up with his long-lost brother Nobby (Sasha Baron Cohen - Sweeney Todd ), a chav who is shacked up with Rebel Wilson in the post-Industrial town of Grimsby.

    Nobby must become a secret agent himself, but predictably makes a mess of things and accidentally seduces Precious from American Horror Story: Coven .

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    MacGruber

    MacGruber A Supervillain (Val Kilmer - Willow ) steals a Russian rocket equipped with a nuclear warhead - a more compact version of the Scud featured in Spies Like Us .

    Colonel Trautman (Powers Boothe - Agents of SHIELD: S3 ) goes to a Buddist Monastery (in Latin America) and recruits his best man - Macgruber. Once he is back, Mac gets a couple of sidekicks - Ryan Phillipe ( ) and Kristen Wiig .

    This is a parody not just of the TV show MacGuyver, but of 1980s action movies in general. For example, his signature move is the throat rip from Road House.

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    Zom-Com movies

    Night of the Living Deb

    Night of the Living Deb The story starts in Portland, Maine, on the night before the Fourth of July. Debbie (who looks like a shorter, perkier version of ) has a one-night stand with a generic pretty-boy (Michael Cassidy - ). Next morning, after an embarrassing walk of shame, she discovers the town has been hit by a zombie apocalypse.

    The bickering pair head to the boy's family home. His father (Ray Wise - Twin Peaks ) runs the water treatment plant. It turns out that the company's environmentally unsafe procedures have contaminated the water with a brain-eating parasite.

    This is an indie movie crowd-funded by kickstarter. The result is a pretty decent rom-zom-com, not the usual SyFy-type garbage.

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    Stalled

    Stalled It is the Xmas party in a British office building. The janitor is hard at work, fixing the womens toilets. The good news is, he gets to spy on girls in skimpy outfits making out. The bad news is, there is an outbreak of zombie-itis and people start to eat each other.

    The movie is a horror-comedy with some camera shots inspired by the works of Sam Raimi . The protagonists are trapped in a confined space, and the tension slowly ramps up as the bathroom gradually fills with more and more zombies.

    There is also an after-credits sequence, although it does not really add much to the story.

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    Zombeavers

    Zombeavers A couple of truckers drive some barrels of toxic waste along the backroads of rural USA. Unfortunately the driver is one of the title characters from Clerks , so they end up losing a barrel. It drifts downstream, until it gets stopped by a beaver dam.

    Later, three sexy tweenage girls go to stay in a Cabin in the Woods . As always, it is right next to a lake. The good news is, it is not Crystal Lake or even Lake Placid . The bad news is, it is the lake that the beavers created with their dam.

    This parodies a few different movies in the horror genre. However, it is not just a parody - it is more of a horror-comedy, like Gremlins . Rather than just endlessly mock genre films, it is both scary and funny in alternate turns. Perhaps this could be the Critters for the new century. Unfortunately, those movies had teenage boy protagonists so appealed to a more adventure-loving audience.

    This effort clings to horror movie tropes that became cliches long ago. However, it adds a new twist. If you get bitten by a zombie, vampire or werewolf then you turn into the thing that bit you. But if you get bitten by a zombeaver, it turns out that you become a were-beaver.

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    Animated films

    Storks

    Storks This is an enjoyable, groundbreaking wildlife documentary about talking wildfowl that create human babies by means of a machine that clones them from letters. Well, it is actually the kind of film that Sausage Party parodied so well.

    A young boy in suburban USA is lonely because he does not get enough of his parents' attention. The parents (including Jennifer Aniston ) are self-employed and work from home, unlike the vast majority of parents in the world, so he really does not have much to complain about. However, he writes a letter to the Storks and requests to have a baby brother delivered.

    The protagonist (Andy Samberg - Brooklyn 99) must deliver the baby to its parents before the boss (Kelsey Grammer - Transformers 4 ) finds out and fires him.

    The Storks have a token human, Tulip. She is portrayed as a heroine who can do no wrong, even though she is incompetent and everything she does ends in disaster. Disaster for everyone except her, that is. She never has to take responsibility for her failures. Tulip's policy is Diversity for the sake of diversity. The business already employs Pigeons as office drones and Penguins as nannies. However, she wants to take the flightless birds and put them on delivery duties (for which they are fundamentally unsuitable). That said, with the enormous back-log created at the end it might be necessary to lower standards and hire a few new staff outside of traditional recruiting zones.

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    Boss Baby

    Boss Baby The pre-teen protagonist discovers he suddenly has a younger brother. What his parents are oblivious to is the fact that the baby can talk. It is voiced by Alec Baldwin, and is basically an extension of his well-known parody of Donald Trump.

    The protagonist sets out to undermine his unwanted sibling, who has the brain of a grown man in the body of a tiny infant. The result is an incredible parody of Hollywood car chases, which illustrates (no pun intended) how animated films are far superior to live-action ones in terms of cinematography.

    There is an overall plot to the story. Babies are about to be replaced with robot puppies. If this happens, the Boss Baby will be out of business and will be trapped in the family forever. The two unwilling siblings must learn to work together.

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    Hercules (1997)

    Hercules (1997) This is a cartoon with musical interludes. It came out around the same time as the live-action TV show Hercules: The Legendary Journeys , but beyond using the same ancient Greek legend they are not connected.

    Hercules (Tate Donovan) is the son of Zeus, but he must prove himself before he inherits his godhood. He is trained by a satyr (Danny DeVito - Batman Returns ) and assisted by his animal sidekick, Pegasus the flying horse.

    Hades (James Woods - Videodrome ) is plotting a takeover of Olympus.

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    Sing

    Sing This is an animated story about anthropomorphicised animals, voiced by a number of big-name celebrities.

    Moon (Matthew McConaghey - Kubo and the Two Strings ) is a koala bear who runs a failing theatre. His scripted shows have failed, so his next business venture is a singing contest.

    The contenders include a teenage hedge-hog girl ( Scarlett Johansson ) and a teenage gorilla boy (Taron Egerton - Kingsman ).

    The story is quite predictable, with a believe in yourself moral in the end. What really sets it apart is the fact that animated films are far superior to live-action ones in terms of cinematography.

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    Secret Life Of Pets

    Secret Life Of Pets The pre-teen protagonist discovers he suddenly has a brother. Pre-teen? Sorry, the setup is the same as for Boss Baby - but instead of babies talking when the adult humans are not around, it is pet dogs and cats.

    A young woman in New York City buys two mis-matched dogs as pets. They bicker and fight, and end up getting lost on the streets of New York. The dog catcher is after them, and they do not have their collars on. Eventually they end up in a sausage factory, which may have inspired the parody film Sausage Party .

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    Sausage Party

    Sausage Party This is an animated film about inanimate objects, but it is certainly NOT for children! These objects are foodstuffs that include sausages and buns, so the constant sexual references should not be a surprise.

    The happy foodstuffs go on a trek across the supermarket. All the usual cliches are parodied ceaselessly.

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    Minions

    Minions This is a prequel to the Despicable Me Films, featuring the tribe of Minions. They are a prehistoric tribe of creatures that live as henchmen to super-villains. The creatures are all male (they are too stupid to be female) and they are apparently immortal, which explains their inability to breed.

    In 1968, a trio of Minions visit the USA to find a super-villain they can be henchmen for. Due to an incredible series of coincidences they accidentally discover the Supervillains’ TV channel, and then get a lift with a group of amateur villains to the annual Super-villain convention. The best villain of the bunch is Ruby ( Sandra Bullock ), and the guys manage to impress her enough to get hired. But given their slapstick nature, things will not go according to plan.

    The film also introduces a very young Groo, who becomes their master in the other films in the series.

  • Despicable Me
  • Despicable Me 2
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    Despicable Me

    Despicable Me Groo is a super-villain whose MO is to steal something impressive and then ransom it to the original owners. Unfortunately his most recent robbery, that of a Pyramid, was pre-empted by a nerdy rival named Vector. In order to pull off his latest robbery, Groo needs to steal a gadget from Vector. And the only ones who can get into Vector’s fortified home are three little orphan girls ...

    Groo adopts the girls, purely as a temporary measure for the duration of the robbery. But the loveable little things eventually get to him. All the usual clichés come into play, and he must eventually choose between success in his career and success as a father.

  • Minions
  • Despicable Me 2
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    Despicable Me 2

    Despicable Me 2

  • Minions
  • Despicable Me
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    Lego Movie

    Lego Movie The story itself is not original - it is basically the plot from The Matrix , which itself is straight out of Hero of a Thousand Faces. The cameos are too many to list.

    It is a family-friendly film that works on a number of levels:

  • It is child-friendly
  • it has a lot of parody
  • it takes a step sideways into meta

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    Soon

    Soon

  • 2000
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