Greetings fellow movie-goers! May I start this delayed post with an apology. Over the past couple of months my commitment to blogging has been somewhat lackluster. This is due to a number of factors. First one, I graduated (Andrew Gaudion, BA Hons, at your service) and secondly my trusty old Inspiron 15 laptop has died… well the battery has anyway, leaving me with no means of writing and surfing the internet (this post is currently coming courtesy from my Dad’s Kindle). But rest assured, I shall persevere, bring the inspiron back to life and make my film blogging presence one to be reckoned with once again! First off, let’s start with some laughs.
The summer season is often one crowded with uninspired sequels and run of the mill comedies that work lazily to inspire giggles in audience members (more on that later). Comedy sequels are an entirely different matter, for the reason being that almost 100% of the time, they suck. Most seem content with hitting the same beats with little concern for containing surprise or conveying a sense of invention that its predecessor may have contained. While 22 Jump Street, the sequel to 2012’s adaptation of the 80’s TV show 21 Jump Street, hits the same beats of the first instalment, it does so with such a self-aware verve that it is impossible not to get caught up in the meta-madness of the whole affair. Our young cops Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum), are assigned a new mission in which they are required to go undercover in College to find the source of a new drug craze that has taken the life of a student. Their only order, do exactly as you did before, everybody will be happy. What ensues is a mission bigger, madder and more homoerotic than before. Directing duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller have already had a hugely successful year with the brilliance of The Lego Movie, to have such a success merely four months after is astounding. The duo have quickly and firmly established themselves as the most unique and original comedic filmmakers of modern American comedy. Their comedy is zany, hyper, confident and running at a mile a minute. This sequel does suffer from a little flab round the middle, and in terms of plot there is little in the way of surprises, but those with a knowledge of post-modern theory shall have a field day with both this and The Lego Movie. 22 Jump Street easily stands as the funniest comedy of this summer, with engaging, playful performances and meta smarts to match the component action beats. 4/5
Less successful is the latest comedic effort from Seth Macfarlane, a comedic voice I am usually quite receptive towards. This Western spoof is not entirely without its merits, but when a comedy calls comparison to much greater efforts of the past like Blazing Saddles , it is almost inviting you to consider it lacking. MacFarlane takes centre stage as cowardly sheep farmer Albert Stark living in the hostile Old West, who feels worthless after his girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried) dumps him. When he sparks a friendship with the new to town hottie, Anna (Charlize Theron), things start to look up in an environment in which everything seems set to put you in an early grave. However, everything is not what it seems with Anna, all but confirmed by the arrival of the fearsome gunfight in the territory (Liam Neeson). Where the film succeeds is in its casting. MacFarlane himself proves to be quite an endearing and affable lead who strikes up an easy going and convincing chemistry with the beautiful Theron. Support from the likes of Giovanni Ribisi, Sarah Silverman, and Neil Patrick Harris adds some great comedy pedigree, but the issue with the film is that the script is no where near as funny as it, and the cast, think it is. MacFarlane has a flair for the vulgar but he is not the best self-editor, with a fair few minor gags falling flat. The abundance of superfluous cameos also add little in regards to laugh, inspiring looks of puzzlement rather than belly laughs. Visually, MacFarlane has grown as a director, making sure that his film does look and feel like the classic Westerns it is lovingly mocking. Yet at 2 hours, the film far out stays its welcome, burying the film under a needless third act stretch that undermines many of the strengths of the picture. While not entirely worthless (you have to appreciate convincing chemistry and a good fart gag), this is a film that will do nothing to convert the MacFarlane haters. 2/5