[FILM] Threesome – We’re The Millers, Now You See Me, Pain & Gain

We’ve a triple feature today. I’ve been a busy little movie muncher this week and managed to gobble up three relatively new releases to Ireland, but because I found that I actually had very little to say about them I’ve decided to merge all reviews into one offering.

we'rethemillers

We’re The Millers

In this comedy/crime caper we follow the unfortunate events that lead drug dealer David Clark (Jason Sudeikis) on a mission to Mexico to smuggle a couple of tons of weed back over the border to the US. In order to pull off the job he hires local stripper Rose O’Reilly (Jennifer Aniston), abandoned virginal neighbour Kenny (Will Poulter) and tearaway delinquent Casey (Emma Roberts) to pose as his family. They fly to Mexico, rent an RV and head back to the States. Ridiculous stuff happens and supposed hilarity ensues while they strive to get their shipment to orca-loving drug kingpin Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms).

Now don’t get me wrong, there were definite laughs to be had here. Well, chuckles anyway. One or two well-delivered lines had me simultaneously rolling my eyes and gigglesnorting at the impossibility of it all. The film makes a solid effort at a decent comedy, with all of the cast (particularly the support) performing rather well. There was a good chemistry on-screen, even though the bonding of the starring “family” felt rushed and quite insincere. Aniston, of course, looks great, and is perfectly cast for the role as some eye candy for the older gentleman and is an attractive but non-threatening addition for the ladies to “relate” to.

Sudeikis breaking the fourth wall.

Sudeikis breaking the fourth wall.

It works in places and We’re The Millers is your typical “leave your brain at the door” comedy viewing. It won’t blow your mind or make you burst a blood vessel from excessive laughter, but it is worth a watch. Maybe on DVD. Or alternatively, it’s a good choice for a date movie.

IMDB rating: 7.2/10
Do I agree?: lolno.

nowyouseeme

Now You See Me

Initially this movie attracted me because of the cast. I was intrigued, but I didn’t know much about the plot at all. In a way I’m glad I didn’t have a clue because this added to the entertainment value for me.

A team of illusionists (The Four Horsemen) join their skills and talents to create the perfect magic show. The team, Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco), while bankrolled by Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine), pull off the most ambitious magic trick ever; they rob a bank in Paris live from Las Vegas. There is a recurring Robin Hood-esque theme that runs throughout, with the foursome throwing notes at their audiences during their performances. Philanthropic pursuits aside, it is obvious that something deeper, and possibly darker, is going on.

Bubble Man.

Bubble Man.

FBI Agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) teams up with Interpol mademoiselle and obligatory love interest Alma Dray (Mélanie Laurent) in the hunt for the foursome, all the while calling on the aid of professional magic debunker Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman). The shows and performers themselves I found highly entertaining, I’d even go so far as to say I was excited while I watched. Naturally too the cast did a good job (except for maybe Ruffalo, whose face had started to annoy me by the end). However I got the impression that I was supposed to think this film was amazingly clever, like I was being smacked in the face by a smelly fish and told over and over, “WE R SMRT LOL1!11!!”. I did think it was clever in parts. I liked the style and the way the story and the explanations of the tricks unfolded. What I didn’t like was how easily the FBI and all the other acronymed agencies seemed so completely stumped by the whole thing.

"Since the dawning of time, people have loved listening to the sound of my voice."

“Since the dawning of time, people have loved listening to the sound of my voice.”

As for the twist, I didn’t like it, found it hard to swallow. It made no sense to me really and I felt like I’d been watching a completely different movie. But then, in the spirit of the premise of Now You See Me, maybe that was how I was supposed to feel. After all, illusions are all about misdirection. Apparently.

IMDB rating: 7.3/10
Do I agree?: I think that’s a little generous, but it is a solid 6-7. I enjoyed.

paingain

Pain & Gain

Based on a true story, Pain & Gain revolves around three bodybuilders who become kidnappers in their desire to achieve their elusive “American Dream”. Despite still managing to sneak in a trademark “walking away without looking at the explosion” scene, this film is a serious departure from director Michael Bay’s normal fare. If I’m honest I have no idea how to categorise it; it is in all equal parts a dark comedy and a crime drama, with more than some elements of horror.

Bodybuilder and personal trainer Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) enlists the help of his ridiculously ripped buddies Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and Paul Doyle (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), in order to kidnap self-made millionaire Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub) and torture and extort his fortunes from him. Things quickly go badly for the trio of totally inept and intellectually impaired fitness fanatics. Enter Ed DuBois (Ed Harris) as the ex-cop turned PI to start dismantling their prematurely erected house of cards.

"His parents took him on vacations to countries like Paris and France." My companion missed this gem, he was too busy laughing at the Scooby-doo interior of the Toyota T-bar that looks remarkably like my own MR2.

“His parents took him on vacations to countries like Paris and France.” My companion missed this gem, he was too busy laughing at the Scooby-doo interior of the Toyota T-bar.

The cast did a tremendous job, I have to say. Wahlberg succeeded in making me dislike Lugo with intensity, and Johnson, who was the star of the show for me, was hilarious as the recovering coke addict and born again Christian madman Paul Doyle. I laughed out loud on numerous occasions at the sheer stupidity of our main protagonists and their descent into complete disarray and deluded lunacy. Admittedly though, there were parts I found extremely difficult to watch. So many scenes saw me with my hand over my mouth in shock, bug-eyed and unsure if I should look away or continue with the visual torture. My film companion though, he split his sides laughing the entire way through, at one stage I thought he was going to pass out from repressed mirth. I am known to be the most likely to cringe between the two of us though.

The Rock smells nothing that he's cooking after putting all that stuff up his nose.

The Rock smells nothing that he’s cooking after putting all that stuff up his nose.

This was a surprising hit for me. I was shocked to find out just how true to the original story this film was and we hurried to Wikipedia it as soon as the credits rolled. I’d imagine, of course, that the crimes committed in this story were not at all amusing, and whether or not you think the humour in Pain & Gain is appropriate will have to be something you decide personally. But for this, you will need a strong stomach and a capacity to tolerate extreme idiocy.

IMDB Rating: 6.6/10
Do I agree?: I would give it a 7.



Categories: Film, Review

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

15 replies

  1. I pretty much agree with your ratings. Overall, the movies are watchable, but nothing to write home about.

    • Indubitably my dear JF! Am curious to learn your own thoughts on Pain & Gain?

      • I like Wahlberg and Johnson, so for me they were the saving grace of the movie. Since I’m just a tad over 17, the violence wasn’t a big issue, although the humor intermixed with it caused me to change gears pretty quickly on occasion. That was a bit jarring.

        I know it was based on a true story, but directors and scriptwriters have a lot of leeway with how a “true story” is developed. This one seemed a little “loose” like they taped the script on the wall and threw things at it to see what stuck. Maybe that’s the way the real events led them but, even if that’s the case, they could have massaged things a bit to present a better story.

        Fortunately, I saw this one with friend. If I’d have taken my wife to this one, she would be picking out the movies for at least a year.

        • Succinctly put. The humorous violence mixture was exactly that; jarring. And it would have been a completely different movie IMO without Wahlberg and Johnson, they were very well cast. At times too, the story did feel disjointed and “loose” as you put it, I agree.

          This was definitely a movie to see with a buddy, I’m glad you’ll continue to have equal say in future movie theatre excursions with the missus! :D

  2. Haven’t watched the other two but I liked We’re the Millers more than you. It’s certainly not Oscar worthy but it has its laugh. Like you I think it is a good date night movie.

  3. “It is obvious that something deeper, and possibly darker, is going on.”
    BUBBLE MAN!

    I LOLed. Good reviews.

  4. Great reviews, all three of them! Still haven’t seen Pain & Gain but your review of that makes me want to now, despite my hatred towards all things Michael Bay. lol We see eye-to-eye on We’re the Millers, apparently, too

    • Thanks Tom! I would definitely recommend Pain & Gain, it really is a huge departure for Michael “EXPLOSIONS!!!” Bay. If you do watch it make sure you either review it or come back and tell me your thoughts.

  5. Don’t insult Ruffalo’s face. He may Hulk smash you.

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