Mini-Reviews: The Internship, Now You See Me

The Internship:

As charming and sunny as we’re likely to get this summer, The Internship proves that even if gags are inconsistent, affable characters in a comedy will save the day. Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson may start this film as similar fast-talking con men to the ones we loved in Wedding Crashers, but as the film progresses, something strange happens: we realize these guys aren’t schemers at all. They’re endlessly optimistic salesmen, confident not only in themselves, but in their ability to make the world around them a better place. The usual irreverence unfolds, coasting predominantly on the chemistry Vaughn and Wilson generate. The supporting cast aren’t weak links, however: they are well-developed counterweights, grounded with cynicism and practicality, in desperate need of a lesson in how to dream. Much like one could say about Wedding Crashers, many of the biggest laughs come from throwaway one-liners: here, some of the bigger set pieces are weak links (especially the X-Men gag, inexplicably featured in every commercial), but the movie doesn’t lack for laughs. Even in its admittedly less funny moments, an amiable nature prevails– I smiled throughout. Consider me one of the few utterly baffled by the critical hatred for this movie: it’s undoubtedly formula comedy, executed with grace. Don’t let anything about this movie keep you away, even an unfunny sequence or two. To paraphrase Vince Vaughn to Aasif Mandvi in this film, The Internship can’t make me not like it.

Now You See Me:

There’s plenty to like about Now You See Me. For starters, it’s a non-sequel spectacle in a summer rife with them, so a certain underdog charm is present. It’s perpetually laced with non-stop, fast-paced dialogue, and it packs itself to the brim with terrific character actors like Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, and the under-appreciated Michael Kelly. Whenever sequences seem too confusing or implausible to comprehend, it has Morgan Freeman come out and lay his smooth voice upon us to make us feel like we understand. Finally, some of the action utilizes magic as a type of defense mechanism in combat, which is ultra-cool in execution (by far and away, the best sequence consists of Dave Franco fighting off cops using card tricks and illusions). However, as Now You See Me unfolds, it relies less upon practical illusions and more upon CGI-laced impossibilities, which wouldn’t matter so much in a different film, but when a movie has taken such a large amount of screen time to try to convince you that its magic is achievable, when that trust is shattered, it emerges as an overall disappointment. If that weren’t enough, the radiant Melanie Laurent is shackled with a lifeless love story that seems to have been added in after the film was finished (does she share the screen with anyone other than Ruffalo? Honest question), dragging the film to a screeching halt whenever she appears. Finally, the film’s big reveal at the end is the most illogical twist imaginable, which means it’s also the most predictable. We’ve seen this twist in many a film, the type of twist that holds a “shock” in higher esteem than logical storytelling. Now You See Me seems on the surface to have a stacked deck, but this house of cards eventually folds.

~ by russellhainline on June 12, 2013.

One Response to “Mini-Reviews: The Internship, Now You See Me”

  1. Reblogged this on emmagemma and commented:
    Sums up my feelings about “Now You See Me” very succinctly, and makes me want to go see The Internship even more than I did before. Which…wasn’t really that badly. But still.

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