Mini-Reviews: Friends With Kids, Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, Goon
In an attempt to give readers my feelings on films as I plug away on a number of writing assignments, I’ll provide mini-reviews to give my succinct opinion on films and to give me time to finish my other projects.
Friends With Kids:
Jennifer Westfeldt, writer and star of Kissing Jessica Stein, makes her directorial debut with Friends With Kids, an amusing and intelligent comedy about becoming grown-ups. While the premise– two platonic friends decide to have a kid together– is sitcommy and overly facile, the execution is heartfelt and the dialogue is strong. Westfeldt is a very atypical leading role personality, which feels refreshing, and some of the men stars like Adam Scott and Chris O’Dowd continue to have their stock rise. The film is fitfully funny, yet its strongest moments are the most unpredictable, such as Westfeldt’s handling of Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm’s characters, whose arc goes into places you’d never expect knowing their flair for the comedic. Though it settles for a predictable Hollywood ending, the journey through Friends With Kids is rewarding and makes for an ideal date movie for adults.
The most compelling thing about Goon, a movie about a poor skater put on a hockey team because of his amazing fighting skills, is its basis in reality: it’s an adaptation of a true story. It makes me want to pick up the book, which certainly is a credit to the film. Seann William Scott is an appealing lead, but the film generates very few laughs. Most of the chief attempts at humor come from Jay Baruchel (also the co-writer) spouting a stream of profanities like a typical Massachusetts hockey fan, but there’s no real wit to the proceedings. Goon is still somewhat diverting, and the final ten to fifteen minutes, a showdown between Scott and Liev Schreiber, are certainly entertaining, much like any good sports underdog tale. This is a case of a good ending making a mediocre movie seem better than it is upon leaving the theater– on the whole, though hockey fans may enjoy it, Goon misses more than it hits.
Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie:
As a fan of Tim and Eric’s TV shows, the beginning of Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie had me enormously excited. It perfectly parodies the opening credits of films, in an absurd and irreverent way, leaving me wondering if their brand of anti-comedy could work over a 90-minute span. Sadly, it disappointingly turned into a typical gross-out narrative with only flashes of the strangeness and cut-away humor that makes their work so terrific in small doses. A few musical interludes and side characters will have diehard Tim and Eric fans laughing, but too often the film felt (and I never thought I’d use this word) old hat, relying on the same old scatological and sexual humor you see in every lame R-rated comedy nowadays. Some may think the movie is too odd, but I think many familiar with Tim and Eric will yearn, as I did, for the Billion Dollar Movie to be odder.