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They Came Together

MV5BMTkzNzA2Nzc1Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzcwNzk3MTE@._V1_SX214_AL_Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd

New Yorkers, Molly and Joel, are out to dinner with friends. They spend the night explaining how they met – it started off badly before they fell in love.

Their story is a romantic comedy satire and they are rom com characateurs – she’s cute and klutzy and he’s handsome and ‘vaguely jewish’.

I hate this film for making fun of romantic comedies, because I love a good rom com. Good rom coms transgress the stereotypes, and it is possible to break the mould, to be clever and witty, and tell an interesting, romantic tale.

But, granted, a lot of rom coms are very predictable, and against my will, I did find a lot of this film funny as it plays out every single rom com cliche. I don’t think Amy Poehler is the best person for the role of Molly, but as she is an outstanding actor, she does what she can with the script.

This looks like it would have been a fun movie to make, it has lots of quirky guest appearances, but overall I think it fell a bit short.

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Admission

MV5BOTE2OTkwNzg5Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTY0NzQ3OA@@._V1_SX214_Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Nat Wolff, Lily Tomlin

Portia is an Admissions Officer at Princeton University (Fey). She’s organised, neat and methodical and her life is simple and controlled. But is she as happy as she could be?

When Portia visits an alternative school to talk about entry to Princeton, she meets Jeremiah and his teacher, John (Rudd).  She tries to help young Jeremiah get a place at Princeton, chiefly because she believes him to be the child she gave up for adoption many years ago.

Both Jeremiah and John challenge Portia’s simple and controlled life. They ignite her passion, her suppressed wild side, the side she tries to subdue because it reminds her too much of her own mother (played by Tomlin). In the end, her life may have had the shake up it needed, but she might be left with nothing and no-one.

I quite like this film. I’m extremely partial to both Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, so the film would have to be really awful for me not to like it. It doesn’t try too hard to be funny, letting Fey and Rudd bring out the humour through their acting rather than through jokes.

Admission isn’t a hum-dinger of a rom com, but if you’re a Fey fan, then it’s worth seeing, and will be enjoyable.

 

This is 40

MV5BNzQxMDQ1NjA4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTE5MjQ3OA@@._V1_SX214_Leslie Mann, Paul Rudd, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow, Jason Segel, Melissa McCathy, Megan Fox, Charlyne Yi, Graham Parker, John Lithgow

Debbie and Pete are both turning 40, and both are having a bit of a hard time in life – trouble with their businesses, trouble with the kids, troubles with their dads, and trouble with their relationship. Debbie is difficult to please at the best of times, so has a hard time accepting turning 40. Pete has a better handle on it, but his birthday party is a disaster when some of their troubles come to the surface. Debbie’s quest to fix their lives has to be abandoned, but will they survive as a couple, and as a family?

Debbie and Pete and their kids are, of course, the characters from Knocked Up which is one of my favourite movies. After watching the trailers for This is 40, I waited with baited breath to finally see this Apatow flick. But what went wrong? It has Jason Segal, it has Paul Rudd, it has Megan Fox semi-naked!  It wasn’t as good as I expected it to be and I was a little disappointed.

For some reason the film didn’t come together as expertly as it should have with Apatow’s guidance and so many good actors. However, there were still quite a few funny moments and I had did manage to have a few laughs. One saving grace was Melissa McCathy (Bridesmaids) in a very funny scene with Pete and Debbie in the principal’s office.

In the end, I couldn’t listen to any more of Pete and Debbie fighting – it became tiring. I would like to give this film another watch to see if it gets better, but for now it sits on the shelf with those films that are particularly  mediocre.

 

Over Her Dead Body

MV5BMTI3NTgyNjg3NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzg2MzU1MQ@@-1._V1_SX214_Eva Longoria, Lake Bell, Lindsay Sloane, Paul Rudd, Jason Biggs

…and yet another rom com from 2008…

Kate is tragically (yet comically) killed on her wedding day. A year later, her fiancé, Henry, is having trouble moving on with his life. Henry’s sister, Chloe, drags him to see a psychic. She organises for the psychic, Ashley, to fake contact with the dead Kate. She thinks if Henry has contact with Kate, he may feel happier. But Henry and Ashley develop feelings for each other. So Kate decides to intervene from beyond, appear as a ghost to Ashley, and scare her off. But Ashley fights for Henry. Kate can never get Henry back, so will she let him be happy with some-one else?

I love Lake Bell (see It’s Complicated, What Happens in Vegas, No Strings Attached) but have only seen her in supporting roles. I was very excited to see her in a lead role, and I think she did a pretty good job. Paul Rudd always plays the loveable, good guy – I think, however, he’s been in funnier roles. I also like Lindsay Sloane, she’s a great rom com support female. So put them all together and the flick works. It’s not great, but it works.

 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

MV5BMzIxOTQyODU1OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDQ4Mjg4Nw@@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, Paul Rudd

Charlie is an intelligent, gentle, young 15 year old who goes into high school like a lamb to the slaughter. But luckily he is taken under the wing of a gang of off-beat seniors, particularly Sam (Watson) and Patrick.

His new gang of friends help to make him feel special, no longer the wallflower. They show him how to have fun, how to be alive, but also how to understand his emotions. He is struggling with repressed hostile feelings about a childhood relationship that he doesn’t really understand. His new relationships guide him towards the professional help he needs.

Based on the novel of the same name, this film is a coming-of-age flick rather than a rom com. It is sensitive, humorous, and passionate. Definitely worth watching – it makes you want to be young again at the same time as being glad that you’re not.

Wanderlust

Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Malin Akerman, Justin Theroux, Alan Alda

Manhattan couple, Linda and George, are suddenly down on their luck after buying their first apartment. They have to sell up and leave the Big Apple, moving to George’s hideous brother’s place in Atlanta. Along the way they accidentally come across Elysium – a commune, no, intentional community. This seems to be a much better option than being unemployed in New York, or George working for his brother. So they decide to stay.

George embraces the hippy lifestyle first. But after a while, Linda wants to stay and George starts to become skeptical. Their marriage threatens to fall apart as they try to discover what it is in life that makes them happy.

Paul Rudd is one of my favourite actors. He’s always the good guy in rom coms and he’s usually pretty funny. He didn’t disappoint me in this flick and I really like him coupled with Jen. There were some over the top stereotypes (as usual) with the intentional community, but none that make you cringe.

This movie is light and funny, has good romantic content, some important messages about money and what can make you happy, and can easily be watched again. I very much enjoyed it and had a good laugh.

How do you Know

Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson, Jack Nicholson

Lisa (played by Witherspoon) is a baseball player who’s dropped from the team. But that doesn’t seem to be so important to the plot.  The movie is mainly about her relationship with Matty who is also a baseball player (played by Wilson) and the new relationship she forms with George (Rudd). George is being investigated for corporate fraud, but finds relief from his problems when he pursues Lisa.

I find Witherspoon a delightful actor, but can’t quite work out her character in this one. Rudd and Wilson both play their usual roles – Wilson the bad boy and Rudd the good. Nicholson’s role seems quite incidental in this film, even though he’s George’s father and the whole reason that George is being investigated. The film focuses on who Lisa is going to chose, Matty or George.

The main problem is that there’s not enough depth here. I know what you’re thinking – it’s a rom com, it’s not supposed to have depth. But that’s not true, even predictable story lines can be meaningful enough to drive the film and give it purpose. But I couldn’t find it in this film. Watch it if you’re a Witherspoon fan.

The 40 Year-Old Virgin

Steve Carrell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd

Carrell plays Andy, who as the film’s name suggests, is a 40 year-old virgin. He wasn’t particularly interested in changing his situation. But his workmates at the electronics store found out about him being a virgin and decided to take it upon themselves to help him.

Andy does a better job at meeting a woman without the help of his workmates, but he does need them to give him a kick start. He meets Trish (Keener) who helps him better express himself. They don’t seem well suited, but love is a funny thing – especially in Hollywood.

There are some extremely funny scenes because this is Steve Carrell flick. He doesn’t have too many flops under his belt does he? And one of his buddies is Paul Rudd so when they’re hanging out, things always go wrong. There is one particularly unforgettable scene involving hot wax!

Another smoochy ending for this rom com (surprise surprise), but it’s cute and worth watching.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Jason Segal, Kristen Bell, Jonah Hill, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand

Peter (Segal) is heartbroken over being dumped by his TV star girlfriend, Sarah (Bell). He is openly vulnerable and hurt and becomes self-destructive. They end up at the same hotel in Hawaii for separate holidays – she with new rocker boyfriend (Brand) and he alone to cry in his bedroom. It’s extremely hard for him to forget Sarah Marshall when she’s right there under his nose with a major rock star.

He goes on a journey of heart-break recovery and eventually moves on from Sarah, finding inspiration in his music (he’s writing a Dracula musical). But it’s not that easy, and when Sarah wants him back, he messes things up with his potential new girlfriend, Rachel.

Both Brand and Hill are characteristically brilliant. Everything fits together perfectly and all the ‘bit’ parts make this a great movie. The Dracula musical is quirky as hell and is a great way to end the flick. Watch it more than once and you will laugh at bits you didn’t notice the time before.

 

Knocked up

Katherine Heigl, Seth Rogan, Paul Rudd, Leslie Man, Kristen Wiig, Jason Segal, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Martin Starr

Alison and Ben (Heigl and Rogan) are complete opposites. He needs to straighten up, and she needs to lighten up. When they hook up on a drunken one night stand, he gets her pregnant. Now they have to form some kind of relationship, starting with getting to know each other, and trying to like each other.

Alison lives with her sister Debbie (Leslie Mann) and her husband Peter (played by Paul Rudd). Their relationship has a few problems of its own, which has an influence on how Alison and Ben think about their future. Will they even have a future together considering they are so ill suited?

This is a very funny movie, with much of the humour supplied by Jason Segal, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, and Martin Starr – Ben’s friends and housemates. This was the first rom com where I saw Heigl and I loved her straight away. This is a fast and funny film, with great acting, and lots of hilarious ‘bit’ parts (Wiig playing one in particular). Classic rom com, one of my favourites.

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