Tag Archives: Jason Bateman

Twisted Trailer: Horrible Bosses 2!

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In Horrible Bosses 2, Nick, Dale and Kurt – thoroughly tired of answering to higher-ups – set up their own business but get ousted by a slick investor. Once again, they see themselves as being forced to do something reprehensible to save themselves. In theory, hilarity ensues. Which it might – Jennifer Aniston is back, in full sexual predator mode; Jamie Foxx is back as the would-be advisor to the trio’s illegal activities, and even Kevin Spacey is back as one of the first movie’s titular horrible bosses.

The new trailer is promising. Very promising. Check it out after the jump. Horrible Bosses 2 will attack theaters on November 26th.

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Bad Words–Not Bad, Not Bad At All!

Bad Words

The primary draw for Bad Words is seeing Jason Bateman veer from his usual roles as decent Everyman types in favor of a potty-mouthed jackass. That works for a while, but gets old pretty quickly. Then it tries to shifts gear and goes for the feel good ending – without having its lead change too drastically. Mostly, it works.

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Identity Theft Suffers Identity Crisis!

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Identity Theft takes a comedic look at one of the most frightening possibilities of the computer age. While it’s an odd choice of subject for a movie, let alone a comedy, the combination of the straight man’s straight man, Jason Bateman, with one of the hotter comedic talents in recent years, Melissa McCarthy, is inspired – despite the movie suffering from wildly disparate tones and uneven pacing.

Continue reading Identity Theft Suffers Identity Crisis!

MOVIE REVIEW: Extract Mirrors Office Space!

Mike Judge makes the movies and TV shows he wants to make. He knows his characters and reveals them to an audience in the same way that we get to know people – prolonged exposure over a period of time. That’s how he made Office Space and King of the Hill, and that’s how he’s made Extract.

Extract

Joel Reynold [Jason Bateman] is the owner of a factory that makes extracts – vanilla extract, cherry extract, root beer extract] – and seems to be enjoying a pretty good life. “Seems” being the operational word, here. Joel hasn’t gotten laid in months. If he arrives home after 8 p.m., his wife, Suzie [Kristen Wiig] has changed into sweats and he’s out of luck.

Then there’s the collection of idiots who work for him – quick to judge, and quick to stop working over various slights, real or imagined. When a jobsite accident floors Step [Clifton Collins Jr.], the most experienced of Joel’s staff, things really slide downhill fast. New employee, and grifter, Cindy [Mila Kunis] soon has Step thinking lawsuit and hiring a real shyster of a lawyer [Gene Simmons] to represent him.

All of this occurs just as it seems that General Mills might be interested in buying the factory for a very tidy sum – leading everyone to decide that they all want a piece of the action. Add passive-aggressive neighbor Nathan [David Koechner], who is always there whenever Joel leaves for work – or comes home; Joel’s friend, bartender and idiot philosopher Dean [Ben Affleck], giver of really bad advice, and dumber-than-a-sack-of-flying-mallets gigolo Brad [Dustin Milligan] and you have a crazy crew that slowly builds to a gut-busting at a funeral.

I haven’t even mentioned the gossiping biddies and Goth rocker-wannabe who work for Joel – or his second-in-command, Brian [J.K. Simmons] who has yet to memorize the names of the factory’s employees.

Extract builds slowly [remember, Office Space wasn’t the fastest-paced movie ever made] but it has its moments as it builds to that moment during the funeral. In that respect – and the fact that Extract is about the boss – Extract mirrors Office Space [which was about the employees]. It’s about people, as opposed to punchlines. The laughs build because we get to know these people.

Extract may not be as funny as Office Space, but before Office Space became recognized as the classic workplace comedy that it is, it got pretty much panned in its theatrical release. Now, it’s considered one of the funniest movies of the nineties. I have a feeling that Extract will play better every time I watch it. For now, though, it’s better than most of this year’s comedies.

Final Grade: B

MOVIE REVIEW: Hancock is Definitely Not Superman!

The trailers and clips released online for Hancock promise a superhero dramedy with an edge – and, for the first half of the film it delivers just that. Watching the drunken superhero get the bad guys while toting up millions of dollars in property damage is, at first, diverting and new. When he saves a PR whiz named Ray Embry [Jason Bateman], Bateman persuades him to change his image – first by doing jail time, second by treating people with more respect, and third by wearing a spiffy spandex outfit that looks like something out of the X-Men movies. Of course, being the rotten example that he is, before he can completely remake his image, Hancock develops the hots for Ray’s beautiful wife, Mary [Charlize Theron].

So far, so good. Hancock, in its first half, comes off as an effort to make a movie about the kind of hero that Marvel [Spider-Man, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk] does so well – the hero with superpowers and regular people’s problems. But now, we come to Hancock’s kryptonite. Like Superman, Green Lantern and so many classic superheroes, Hancock does, indeed, have a weakness – a weakness that’s telegraphed by several clues scattered through the first half of the film.

HANCOCK

Therein lies the problem. After carefully setting up Hancock as one thing – a superhero – the revelation of his weakness changes everything, and not in the most sensible of ways. As I watched the clues develop, my first thought was, “oh, no. They wouldn’t…” Then, when it happened, I thought, “oh, no! They didn’t” – followed closely by, “golly-gosh-all-hemlock-gee-whiz-to-pieces! They did!” I won’t give the twist away, but I will say that, when you add up all the species of life and types of minerals there are on this planet, Hancock’s weakness is so hugely, disproportionately coincidental that, had it been used in a real comic book or graphic novel, the writer would’ve been laughed out of every comics shop in North America – just for starters!

As a result, the second half of Hancock is filled with mayhem of all sorts that, essentially, robs the film of the charm and wit that helped build up the first half. The shame of it all is that Smith, Bateman, and Theron give really good performances as the film disintegrates around them – and Peter Berg’s direction is precisely what it should be throughout. The problem with the script is that writers Vincent Ngo and Vince Gilligan seem to think that, because Hancock is a superhero movie, they can do anything they want. They’ve forgotten [if they ever even thought about it] that the best comics and graphic novels are set in universes that have rules – and adhere to them.

Sadly, the last half of Hancock, full of sound and fury as it is, totally undercuts the first half of the film’s effectiveness. In the end, Hancock may not be an average superhero, but his movie never reaches that level.

Final Grade: D+

MOVIE REVIEW: Hancock fizzles by Michelle Alexandria

HANCOCK

You know it’s the 4th of July when you are sitting in a theater watching a Will Smith movie. Last week, I complained that Hollywood is trying desperately to turn James McAvoy into a leading man and I said he doesn’t have the “it” factor. Well one week later we see a full on display of a leading man who has that quality. And it’s surprisingly enough – Jason Bateman. He is what makes this mess of a film somewhat watchable. Now I’m not denigrating Smith because whatever you say about him, he also has that “it” factor where you would watch him read a phone book.

But Bateman is a real find. I loved him in Juno, but here I think he finally goes from being a cult favorite from Arrested Development (which I don’t get why people love it) to summer blockbuster status. I don’t think he’s ready to take on a leading role, but he’s great. Maybe it’s due to the fact that he’s the only likable person – the do-gooding, tree hugging, save the world PR guy Ray Embrey, who, after being saved by the foul mouth, alcoholic anti-Superman John Hancock decides he can turn Hancock into a real Hero.

The problem with the film, besides the fact that I was sitting next to these two girls who wouldn’t shut the f up, is it’s a ½ hour movie stretched to 90 minutes. Usually summer blockbusters have great 1st and 2nd acts, but lousy finishes. Hancock is the opposite. The first hour of this film is painfully slow, devoid of any heart, plot or reason for existing. The trailers and clips of Hancock walking around and flying drunk gets tired in the commercials, now imagine an hour of that. We see Hancock drink bottle after bottle of whisky. We see him tearing up streets just taking off and landing, we see him picking his nose. It’s a one note movie for the first hour; which is why Bateman’s manic performance comes as a breath of fresh air. Rumor has it Director Peter Berg wanted the movie to be edgier than this final cut. If edgier means another 20 minutes of a drunken Will Smith I would pass.

Hancock lacks a driving plot, villains and people we actually can get behind. The movie picks up in the 3rd act when Hancock finally becomes the Superhero he’s meant to be and we finally get to uncover some of his back story, his history with Ray’s wife Mary (Charlize Theron). There’s an interesting, tragic love story that gets thrown in and here we start to see the beginnings of some interesting ideas that slowly started to suck me back into the film. It would have been fantastic if the studio had the guts to actually kill off Hancock at the end.

If Hancock didn’t try so hard to be “edgy” and “different” it could have been a winner. Instead with the only villain in the movie being a Whiskey bottle it barely registers as a blip on the radar. Though, I still loved Jason Bateman in this. Whatever you say about Will Smith he brings it with every role he takes on and you can tell that even here he’s really intense.

Final Grade D

EM Review
By Michelle Alexandria
Originally Posted 7.2.2008