MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES review

Oh… oh god, did I not want to see this flick. This looked exactly like a traditional comedy formula: stupid characters making stupid decisions getting other stupid people in trouble. Can’t believe I paid money for this. Your assumptions for my initial impressions are probably right. No, I’m not a particular fan of Zac Efron. I’m sure he’s a nice guy and is a ton of fun to hang with, and I’m sure he’s a fine enough actor, he’s proven that before, but… fuck, he’s type-cast like Megan Fox: every movie needs him to be eye candy for the ladies instead of portraying a character that has, you know, character. It’s hard to have an opinion of Adam Devine because I’ve only ever seen him in the Pitch Perfect movies, which he was not my favorite character or actor. Really though, I was not holding high hopes for his performance. About the only interesting thing worth noting was the inclusion of both Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza. Kendrick’s a hit or miss for me. For every UP IN THE AIR, there’s a TWILIGHT on her resume. What’s not in question is her singing and acting talent, but that doesn’t always translate to a good movie. And, like anyone familiar with Plaza, I adored her in the TV show PARKS AND REC. Without much effort, she can be hilarious. However, her film transition hasn’t been good. Her last notable appearance being in one of my least favorite films of the year, DIRTY GRANDPA. At the very least, I want the ladies to dominate the film. Kendrick isn’t playing her usual straight-woman role, which may be refreshing, but who knows? So, do Mike and Dave deserve their wedding dates, or should they stay sad and alone? This is my honest opinion of MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES.

(SUMMARY)

Brothers Mike (Adam Devine) and Dave (Zac Efron) Stangle are good-natured, but have a nasty reputation for partying too hard at the parties and causing damage and injury while drunk and hooking up with random . However, their little sister Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard) is getting married soon in Hawaii, and if they want to remain invited to the wedding, they have to not only be on their best behavior, but have to being wedding dates. But not just any girl, like their usual floozies, they have to bring nice girls. Cue down-on-their-luck roommates Alice (Anna Kendrick) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza). Alice was about to get married once, but her husband left her at the altar, which prompted her to start drinking heavily. At first, this suited Tatiana just fine, as she’s a hard party girl too, but because of Alice’s behavior, they’ve barely been able to hold down a job long enough to do anything fun. Back to Mike and Dave, they release a Craiglist ad saying how they need dates, which goes viral and eventually gets media coverage. Alice and Tatiana see them on TV and Tatiana gets an idea: get these guys to invite them to Hawaii so the two girls can have a real adventure somewhere nice. They give themselves make-overs to appear respectable, meet up with the guys, and successfully get invited. But upon arrival, things get a tad chaotic as Alice and Dave maybe start to have a spark, and Tatiana is trying to keep Mike from getting too hot and heavy around her, as well as the girls not being very good at being “nice girls,” and slowly, but surly their plans become unraveled.

(REVIEW)

It almost pains me to say it, but… I’ve been Paddington’d. What does that mean? I made it up, but the definition: when you think a movie is going to be god-awful turns out to be pretty enjoyable. Well… sort of. Yes, I was pleasantly surprised by this movie, but… it’s still not good per se.

Just like in the Pitch Perfect movies, Devine annoyed the shit out of me. In my opinion, he was not funny in this movie. Mike is written to be this over-the-top loser and somehow, his cartoonish facial expressions are supposed to amount to comedy. This doesn’t work because he’s literally the only character that does that whereas everyone plays their characters pretty straight given the circumstances. I really hope this isn’t all that Devine will be offered in his career, and equally hoping that he doesn’t strictly accept roles like this.

Now for the character of Alice, while Kendrick is serviceable in the role, which I will get into later, there is a lot that this movie is expecting me to buy with her character. I get it, her fiance broke her heart by leaving her at the altar. That’d mess anyone up. So I get that she would smoke pot or drink heavily, but this movie has no idea how to write her. Here’s what I mean, the basic idea behind Alice and Tatiana is that they’re bad girls, foul-mouthed, wild and crazy, but have to act like nice girls. Here’s the problem, the movie doesn’t follow through with that when it comes to Alice. She’s clearly a nice girl that does what would be considered “bad” things. Taking drugs, complaining about how hard it is to be a nice girl, but… if she’s such a bad girl, why is she still watching the recorded wedding video of her man leaving her at the altar? Bad girls wouldn’t be watching that over and over and being depressed over it. Never mind that a “bad girl” wouldn’t get married to what appeared to be a reasonably normal guy (you know, minus the leaving her part), bad girls would be shouting, “Fuck you, dude!” and owning their inebriation while dancing on those tables. They most certainly wouldn’t second guess manipulating a couple of idiot guys into taking them on a vacation to Hawaii, and they certainly wouldn’t be emotionally invested in a wedding while simultaneously finding romance with the bride’s attractive brother. Her character arch feels incredibly forced and not earned thanks in large part to her inconsistency of personality.

The same absolutely goes for Tatiana, which is the cardinal sin of the flick. At the end of the movie, she reveals that she is secretly afraid that if Alice gets over her fiance that this will lead to Tatiana being not needed anymore, obviously implicating that she’d lose her only friend. Look, Plaza can act. I know this. If you told me she could act with the big dogs of Hollywood, I’d believe you, and again, I’ll get into that later, but… when did this internal struggle become a thing in the story… or with her character for that matter? At every turn, we see her trying to get Alice over the break-up. Hell, the plot of the movie practically kicks off because she wants her over that guy. So why the hell in the last fifteen minutes of the movie are we now learning that she’s afraid of losing her only friend? When did we ever get the impression that she was even alone in this world? The tragedy is that Tatiana could have saved this movie in a lot of ways. If there was a scene where Tatiana happens upon Alice and Dave talking and she sees how Alice is happy and enjoying herself, while smiling but still having this sense of vulnerability, her admission of losing the only person she has in her life could have been a truly heart-breaking scene and carried significant weight. But that’s all ruined because this movie is more concerned about nonsensical slapstick, uncomfortable not-sex scenes, and absurd drug trip-outs. This had potential to give the movie some serious heart, but it utterly fails.

I don’t want to keep going on all the things I didn’t agree with because there were a few things that I did like.

I’ve been building up to me talking about Kendrick and Plaza, so let’s dive into that. Essentially, I got my wish. I wanted the ladies to dominate the screen and they most certainly did. They were bar-none the funniest in the movie. Despite her character’s inconsistencies, it was amusing to see Kendrick play a wild a crazy character and be so good at it. But Plaza practically made this movie for me. Shyeah, how’s that for inconsistent? I droned on and on about how her character was sorely mishandled, which it was, but beyond that, Plaza was as a whole, the most engaging in the movie. She had the funniest lines, the best reactions, the best moments out of anyone in the core cast. Her role may not be much of a stretch as far as her talent is concerned, but much like how Brad Pitt made a career off of playing himself and owning it, Plaza does the same here. She owns the role of Tatiana she was worth the price of admission alone.

I’ve grown comfortable with saying that I’m not much of an Efron fan, but similar to Plaza, he was also one of the better written characters. For once, we don’t see him out of his shirt being eye candy for girls everywhere and pretending that his abs are his personality. Dave actually does have the best arch in the movie. It’s clear that Dave was supposed to be the smartest of the brothers, but because he’s so attached to his clingy older brother, he’s never allowed himself to realize his full potential and become a graphic novel artist, in which he has mad talent for. But slowly over the course of the movie (granted, in random intervals), he does start to see that he is allowing Mike to hold him back and he’s learning that he does want more out of his life, despite how hurt Mike may end up. Dave actually learns something and wants to be better than when the story started off.

And despite not being Devine’s biggest fan, I can’t deny that he and Efron work really well off of each other. I buy these two being brothers and have occasionally gotten a laugh out of me. They share solid chemistry, which made them enjoyable to watch and that counts big time in my book, especially in comedies.

It’s nothing particularly special, but I won’t say it’s all bad. It’s enjoyable enough, I suppose. I’m sure I’ll be in the minority of movie-goers who didn’t love this movie or think it was overly funny, but it had the right kind of performances and just enough laughs for me to think that my money wasn’t wasted.

My honest rating: 3/5

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Upcoming review:

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ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS review

It’s here. It’s really here. Despite so many having loved ALICE IN WONDERLAND, I find myself in the minority of those who weren’t so crazy about it. No, I didn’t read the book, nor do I remember the Disney original too well, so my opinion isn’t that bias in that regard. No, I just couldn’t get into Johnny Depp’s awkward performance, Alice turning into Aragorn, a bunch of other things too. Youtube’s “Nostalgia Critic” made a review that pretty much summed up how I felt about the movie. Maybe I didn’t hate it as much as he did, but I sure didn’t like it. As you can tell, I wasn’t excited for this inevitable sequel. But I knew everyone would flock to see it since the first was so popular, so now I’m here to spew my opinion. Does the movie improve over the first, or is it time for this franchise to call it quits (haha, see what I did there? “Time” to call it quits? I’m funny! Laugh at me, damn it!)? This is my honest opinion of ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS.

(SUMMARY)

Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikowska) returns from her voyage to China. However, upon arrival at home, she finds out that her mother Helen (Lindsay Duncan) has sold Alice’s ship Wonder to the pompous Hamish (Leo Bill). Furious with her mother’s actions, Alice encounters the moth-like Absolem (voiced by Alan Rickman) who leads her to a mirror that takes her to back Underland. There, she finds that her closest friends are in mourning for the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) who believes that his family survived their fateful encounter against the Red Queen’s (Helena Bonham Carter) Jabberwocky. However, no one believes him, and because of this lack of belief, he’s dying. Even Alice can’t convince him that his family’s dead, so in order to bring closure for her friend, Alice is shown the way to Time’s (Sacha Baron Cohen) domain to steal his Chronosphere, the device that will enable her to travel back in time. However, Time refuses her the chance to try, as he says changing the past cannot be done, but Alice steals it anyway. So begins a race for Alice to save the Hatter’s family while Time is hot on her tail to prevent her from causing too much destruction to Underland’s space-time continuum.

(REVIEW)

Uh, no. No… no no, no no, no no no no NO!!! UGH!!!

Excuse me, I need to find my calm.

*breathes in, and out*

*breathes in, and out*

First off, a basic complaint that carries over from the first film. Again, the world is called “Underland” instead of “Wonderland.” You know, like every Wonderland story has always called it. *sarcasm* I would have considered it an improvement in the story if the movie retconned the name of this world and simply said, “Why are you calling it ‘Underland?’ Our home is called ‘Wonderland,’ stupid girl.” But nope, we’re still going with the weird-ass “Underland.” It astounds me how much I still hate this.

But on to the actual movie. That opening scene was damn near pointless. It straight-up opens a-la Pirates of the Caribbean. Literally, this scene is trying to tell the audience that Alice is a strong and fearless leader of her people who will make the drastic calls and pull them through hardship. Of course… none of this is ever shown again as the plot centers around her telling her “truest friend” that his family is dead, rather than believing in him and trying to figure out where they are.

Let’s talk about this kick-started plot, shall we? It’s pointless. Fucking, pointless. Why? Because, like I said, Alice tells her “truest friend” (yes, I’ll be doing this a lot in this review) that his family is dead. She is referring to an event that she was not present for and speaks about it like she was. Check out the fucking tits on you, bitch, you’re basically telling your “truest friend” that he’s insane. Yeah, fuck you too! If my best friend told me that his family was alive, even if I didn’t believe it, I would believe that he believes it and tell him, “Alright, where do we start? Any ideas what could have happened? Let’s go to where it happened and try to look for clues.” You help your best friend. Best case scenario, he’s right and so begins a journey of searching for the family. Worst case scenario, they’re really dead and your best friend gets closure. If Alice had done this for the Hatter, the movie would basically be over by the twenty minute mark. They find evidence that the Red Queen took them, sweet, storm the castle and find them. Movie over. Or maybe no evidence to be found? That sucks, but at least the Hatter has closure and can move on with his life. But no, Alice is a bitch and tells him his family’s dead without listening to him or even trying to help him.

But you know what, let’s pretend that we wanted to continue with this time-traveling bullshit. It actually could have worked. Go through everything that Alice should have done for the Hatter, Anne Hathaway’s “Good Queen” character (oh trust me, I’ll rage about this twat later) could have still directed Alice to Time’s palace and convince him to let Alice travel back in time to figure out what happened. However, some more problems. Time says that the past can’t be changed. Fine. Alice, shouldn’t need to change time, she only needs to know what happened in a specific point in time. Seriously, Time doesn’t have some doohickey that simply shows them what happened on that day? No need to change anything, it’s just a matter of information. Find out what happened, go back to the present day, storm the Red Queen’s castle, the movie should be over by the thirty minute mark. But nope, Alice needs to straight-up steal the ever-important chronosphere and change the past. This is our hero, everybody. A thief who gives zero shits about fucking with the space-time continuum.

Onward to the next pointless plotline!

So, Time manages to shoot Alice down, knocking her away from the timeline she intended to go to and lands further back before the Hatter’s family’s death. The chronosphere, which is revealed to be able to shrink to a portable size when not in use, shrinks upon entering this new timeline. Wanna know how it becomes big again and ready for usage? You toss it somewhere. Yup, that’s it. However, Alice doesn’t try this. Nope, she just looks around the unintended timeline she’s in and explores it. Why does she do this? She has to know what happened to her “truest friend” and his family! Quite literally, she could have thrown the chronosphere, got back in, and simply try to get to the correct timeline again. She should have spent a grand total of twenty seconds in this timeline, but instead, we get fifteen to twenty minutes of pointlessly learning about how the Red Queen and Good Queen became estranged! Who the fuck cares?? You’re not here for this shit! Hell, you’re not supposed to be here at all! Sequence over, she throws the sphere and goes back into the time-stream.

Will the next pointless plotline please step forward!

Alice is back in the time-stream, but for some fuck reason, she doesn’t try again for the timeline she’s supposed to go to. Instead, she goes even further back in time to the Hatter’s childhood. Oh my god, why Alice? Why? The Hatter, your “truest friend” is dying back in Underland! Just get the information you need, tell the Hatter what happened to his family and end this pointless shit! Yeah, we learn the tension between the Red Queen and the Good Queen started at this timeline as well, but again, that’s not why Alice is here! She’s wasting more time by learning the absolute true reason why there was so much hatred between the Red Queen and Good Queen when they were children (Good Queen ate a tart that their mother said not to, and lied to their mother saying that Red Queen did it and has lied about it everyday, even well into their adulthood)! No one cares!

Oh, I’m sorry, now the story decides to get back on track? Well fuck me in the ass and call me Jenna Jameson, a miracle has occurred!

Alice finally manages to get to the fateful day of the Hatter’s family’s death. Lo and behold, they’re not dead! They were shrunk and the Red Queen has them captive in an ant farm. She goes back to the present and we get that fake-out, “oh no, the Hatter’s dead, oh wait, no he’s not” bullshit and they go and get his family back. But, oh no’s, the Red Queen catches them and steals the sphere from Alice.

Oh dear god, we’re about to fly off the tracks again! It’s going to get bloody!

After the Red Queen steals the chronosphere, she drags the Good Queen back to the timeline when her sister framed her for the tart-eating incident. Seriously, she’s still holding a grudge about this? But this isn’t the worst part. Are you ready for this? Sit back and hold on to something because I promise you, you’re not ready for this. No one can be ready for this, it’s so spectacularly fucked up. So Time stated that if you travel back in time to see yourself, time itself will be destroyed along with the rest of Underland. Standing at the doorway, of the room where this all takes place, Red Queen gives Good Queen one last chance to tell the truth that she ate the tart and lied saying that Red Queen did it. What does Good Queen do? SHE FUCKING LIES AGAIN!!! This prompts Red Queen to swing the door open, sees herself, and time begins to collapse, and now it’s a race back to Time’s palace to put the chronosphere back in its rightful place to reverse the damage.

First of all, why did Good Queen lie? What’s the point? It’s a fucking tart! Your sister just wants you to do the right thing and tell the truth! You didn’t shoot your sister in the spine and paralyze her, or murder her children. You ate a fucking tart and lied about it. Problems solved if you’d have just told the truth. And if you really want to get into how fucked up this scene is, it’s basically stating that the events that occurred in the first movie are because of this fucking tart incident. Yeah, never mind that the Red Queen is making such a big deal about it, but the Good Queen is far worse. She took the crown that rightfully belonged to her sister, allowed a war to rage on killing who knows how many people, and allow the space-time continuum to be destroyed, as well as Underland with it… all because this prissy little cunt couldn’t tell the truth ABOUT EATING A FUCKING TART!!! WHAT THE FUCK IS THE MATTER WITH YOU, YOU STUPID WHORE!!!

Fuck my life… so they’re racing through the palace and Alice is about to put the chronosphere back, but the time’s destruction catches up with her and freezes her in place just mere inches away from where the chronosphere is supposed to go. The movie tries to trick us into thinking that we’re stupid enough to believe that this is how the movie will end, but because bad screenwriting is a sick fetish in this movie, the chronosphere makes its own way back to its perch, undoes the destruction, and everything goes back to normal. Oh, and now the Good Queen tells the truth… WHAT A BIG FUCKING HELP THAT IS NOW!!!

So of course, Alice goes back to the real world and who the fuck cares about what happens, the credits are about to roll and I wanted to go home.

Here’s the absolute hilarious thing that occurred to me. There is one thing that this movie could have done, and I would have totally taken back every bad thing I said and would have labeled this movie as a gift from God. Wanna know what it would have had to do? There is one brief scene in the middle where Alice wakes up back in the real world in an insane asylum that she escapes from (some of you know exactly where I’m going with this). Then, had the movie committed to the idea that Wonderland is a figment of Alice’s imagination, ended this movie like it did with time collapsing and destroying Underland, this movie could have totally set up AMERICAN MCGEE’S ALICE the video game.

For those of you who don’t know, AMERICAN MCGEE’S ALICE was a computer game back in 2000 that was technically a sequel to Lewis Carroll’s novels. It’s also dark, grizzly, violent, basically stating that Alice went Rated-R insane and goes around a sick and twisted version of Wonderland killing its denizens with a butcher knife. I personally never played the game, but I’m aware of the basic premise as well as its popularity for its creative visuals and psychologically fucked up story. Apparently, a film has been in talks ever since 2000, and Wes Craven signed on to direct it. But one misfire after another, and this film’s been in production hell for as long as the name’s been around. A Youtube movie was supposed to be in the works thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, but I don’t think that saw the light of day much.

In any case, I won’t lie, if that’s what this movie was set out to do, I would have totally loved this movie for it. But wishful thinking doesn’t save the actual product that I ended up getting.

I downright hated this movie. I wasn’t a fan of the first one, way too many silly choices to enjoy, but at least it wasn’t…. this. I don’t know what this movie is other than a desperate cash-in to prove that Depp is still a box office gold mine. Clearly, he’s not. While I may say that Wasikowska was given better direction in this film than the previous, nothing good saves this movie from being absolutely terrible. The characters are unlikable and stupid, Depp’s performance is still awkward and uncomfortable, and everything else is just utterly pointless. I honestly can’t recommend this movie to even the die-hard fans. Here’s hoping that this franchise dies from its box office bomb and we can move on… maybe give that intense and dark variation a chance.

My honest rating: 1/5

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THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY review

Oh dear god was I not looking forward to this movie. Alright, so let’s get this out of the way, as I’ve had a little too many people curse me out and tell me I’m scum: I AM NOT A SACHA BARON COHEN FAN!!! I have only seen so much of BORAT, BRÜNO, and THE DICTATOR before having to switch away out of lack of funny. So no, I’ve never seen any of these movies all the way through. I’ve seen enough.

I will say, however, his supporting roles have been good. MADAGASCAR, for example. He was King Julien. Who doesn’t love King Julien? Or SWEENY TODD. He was great in these movies, and he’s not the star. That’s about the only capacity that I can tolerate him. If he’s the star, nope… just nope. Running away from that shit like a gamer told to play SUPERMAN 64. Not happening.

Except it did happen, and I have no excuse other than… I need an opinion for it when I go to work and guests ask me what I think of it. So this will be the first Cohen movie that I will have sat all the way through for. This is my honest opinion of THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY.

(SUMMARY)

The story follows Nobby (Sacha Baron Cohen), who is an Englishman from the small town of Grimsby. He has a wife, several children, and spends most of his days drinking beer with the townsfolk and watching soccer. Despite his poor status, he’s a happy camper… except he thinks about his baby brother Sebastian everyday. When he was a kid, Nobby and Sebastian’s parents died and they ended up separated. While Nobby grew up as he did, Sebastian on the other hand became MI6’s top agent. Well, an assignment of his takes Sebastian back to Grimsby: prevent an assassination of an important person. However, Nobby gets word that Sebastian will be at this important event and finds him… messing up Sebastian’s attempt to do his job, accidentally kills the person he was supposed to protect, and now MI6 thinks that Sebastian has gone rogue. Barely able to tolerate Nobby’s interference, the two embark on a journey of survival and the attempt to clear Sebastian’s name.

(REVIEW)

Dear JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS… I am so sorry… I labeled you as my #1 worst movie of 2015. You were definitely a rotten movie, but… by comparison to the violation I suffered through, the unrelenting mind rape that I was forced to endure for an hour and twenty-three minutes… you might as well have been CITIZEN KANE. Yup, this is it folks. I am officially declaring THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY the absolute WORST movie I have personally ever seen.

I don’t even really want to talk about it because it’s so painful to think about, but no reviewer or critic worth their mettle would ever just spout “IT SUCKS!!!” without going into why. I don’t intend this to be a very long review, so I will just describe one scene and you can decide for yourself if this movie is for you or not and figure out my absolute loathing of this… piece of shit masquerading as a movie.

Nobby and Sebastian are on the run from assassins and find themselves in a savanna with a herd of elephants. With little time to think, Nobby tells Sebastian to trust him. The assassins arrive, but only see the elephants and decide to search for the brothers elsewhere. Turns out, the brothers were hiding in an elephant’s vagina. This is about as graphic as it sounds. (If you stop reading here, you’ve come far enough and are a valiant soldier.) In an attempt to see if the coast is clear, Nobby wiggles toward the exit and pokes his head out. He says the assassins are indeed gone, but as if on cue, the female elephant has caught the eye of a male elephant with an erect penis, making a beeline for it. Unable to leave in time, Nobby goes back to Sebastian and the male begins to fuck the female, its penis repeatedly striking Sebastian in the face. In order for this to end quicker, Nobby suggests that Sebastian stroke the elephant’s penis as Nobby works the testicles. The male elephant soon jizzes all over Sebastian. The male leaves the female and the brothers try to leave. However, another male elephant enters the picture and the same thing happens. Then it’s revealed elephants are standing in line to fuck this one female and one of the elephants ends up fucking Nobby’s ass, all the while drenched in elephant semen.

If you managed to read all of that, I salute you. While that may be the worst offending scene in the entire movie, don’t think for a minute that the rest of the humor is that much better. It’s chalk full of wide-angle lens shots of human testicles in another man’s mouth, being sucked, the thumbs up of giving children loaded guns and vaping… it’s a colossal contamination of the brain that I can’t believe I sat all the way through of. I have never walked out of a movie before. I didn’t do it here, but guys… I really wanted to. I really fucking wanted to. I didn’t spend money on this (thank God almighty), but I still wanted my money back. I wanted my hour and twenty-three minutes back. The day this movie leaves the cinema, I swear, I’m going to celebrate with cake and presents and declaring it a personal holiday.

My honest rating: 0/5

That’s right, a ZERO out of 5. I don’t give those out. That’s not on my 1 to 5 out of 5 scale. That’s how bad this fucking thing is.

THE BOY review

As many of you might guess, I didn’t have high hopes that this movie was going to be good. Horror movies rarely are these days, so I generally avoid them. Or at least, since I started working for the Arclight Cinemas, I would watch everything else first before settling for the ONE horror film that’s left. Having nothing else to watch before the next wave of films, I took a crack at this one. About the only thing that I cared about in the movie was that it starred TV show WALKING DEAD alum, Lauren Cohen, whom is a very talented actress and hopefully would be given a good role to make that apparent… but again, no high hopes. Still, got my ticket and sat down for the movie. This is my honest opinion of THE BOY.

(SUMMARY)

The story follows a young American woman named Greta (Lauren Cohen) whom has traveled to England for a nanny position for a wealthy English family, Mr. and Mrs. Heelshire (Jim Norton and Diana Hardcastle respectively). Upon arrival, she meets another employee of the Heelshire’s, a young gentleman named Malcolm (Rupert Evans) who brings groceries for the family. As soon as the Heelshires make an appearance, they introduce Greta to their son, Brahms… only, their son is a live-sized doll. Greta, naturally thinks this is a joke, but the Heelshires aren’t joking; they truly believe this doll is their son. After accepting that these older people are serious about the job, they charge Greta with watching over him while they’re gone for the next couple months and keep to a strict schedule to care for the doll. As soon as they leave, Greta immediately doesn’t take the job too seriously and ignores Brahms. But as soon as she does, she’s plagued by supernatural dreams of Brahms being alive and attacking her… and the smallest of things beginning to convince her that the doll is in fact alive. So begins a struggle to figure out if she’s crazy, or not.

(REVIEW)

GAH, it was so close to being good! God damn it, fuck that ending in the eyesocket…

Alright, my formatting for this review is going to be a bit different this time around. I will be going through the entire movie, almost scene for scene, or rather what stood out. I’ll put down a table of contents below so you can skip anything if you don’t want the details. Also, I’ll alert where the spoilers are. So let’s shut me up and get started.

(TABLE OF CONTENTS)

  • ACT 1 of the movie … HPO001
  • ACT 2 ……………………. HPO002
  • ACT 3 ……………………. HPO003
  • FINAL THOUGHTS … HPO004

ACT 1

The beginning of the movie is one big phoned-in cliche. The opening scene is Greta sleeping in the back of a taxi and we set the bar for this movie so incredibly high… by having the old fart driver tilting his rear-view mirror to take a peak at Greta’s tits. Horny and perverted people? Check one for whatever check-list the filmmakers were using. This jab at sexism goes nowhere, by the way. We never see this fucker again throughout the film. We just had to remind the audience that Cohen is a woman with breasts. Yeah, neat.

Upon arrival, of course we’re announced that the Heelshires are gone from the house for a bit. The same house that she’s commenting looks like “something out of a storybook.” Uh, no bitch, anyone with half a brain cell is looking at this house thinking, “okay, so what’s gonna haunt me? One ghost, many ghosts… the Casper kind, or the pale zombie kind? Oh, will they go all THE HAUNTING on me and bring statues to life?” Stop acting like you’re awe-inspired. Everyone else has the creeps. Place a check mark next to “unrealistic reaction to creepy shit.”

Greta’s let in and immediately starts hearing noises upstairs and goes ‘sploring. Mark another check for when the character goes into a room, plays with a toy (because that’s what people do in a stranger’s house, just touch whatever they see) and one more check for our first CHEAP JUMP SCARE as a ninja – I’m sorry, quietly approaching normal person – walks in, says one word, and startles Greta. Well, you ain’t a horror movie if you don’t have a few of those.

Well, turns out this is the grocery boy, Malcolm. He and Greta start having a chat about the Heelshires, and mark down a check for “terribly-written male character who is horrible at flirting” as he has Greta take out her gum and he reads it like a palm-reader. I… I can’t make that shit up. He thinks he’s so charming when he does it too. Uh, no, dude. You got creepy really fast. While we’re at it, place another check for “terribly-written female character who actually thinks he’s cute when he really isn’t.” Anyone else getting a bit of a headache from this movie yet? And we’re not even ten minutes in.

Now we’re introduced to the boy himself. The doll. Yeah, nah, I’m with Greta on this one. I’d be snickering too if someone legit told me this was their kid. Hell, I’d probably just walk out of the house believing I’m being conned. What gets me is that these people don’t even think there’s anything wrong here. Um, yeah, YOU’RE crazy enough to get away with believing that the doll is real, but please wake up and acknowledge that no one else is buying this horse-shit. You gotta give a harder sell to keep your future nanny around for two months caring for this doll. But… nope, place a check next to “main character sticks around in crazy situation for no good reason.” I don’t even think we’re told how much they’re paying her. But yeah, Greta sticks around and the Heelshires leave.

Immediately, she puts a blanket over Brahms and leaves him alone, also completely ignoring the list of things that the Heelshires gave her for what Brahms must do everyday. Yeah, not gonna lie, I’d probably do the same. But now the movie starts developing its atmosphere. She passes by Brahms on the chair she left him in and the blanket is on the floor. Greta’s freaking out and throws him on a chair in his room. For the rest of the first act, she’s basically struggling with little boy voices in the walls, maybe she’s crazy or maybe Brahms is alive, who knows, and having dreams of the doll attacking her in some form, cheap scares occasionally.

ACT 2 – HPO002

But, somewhere in the middle, the movie gets surprisingly good. How? It does away with cheap thrills and starts developing the backstory of Brahms a little more and the movie starts to convincingly tell us that this doll is indeed alive.

***SPOILERS***

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From here, there’s also a bigger focus on developing Greta and you become pretty attached to her and feel for what she’s going through. She begins to accept that Brahms is alive and accepts her role as the nanny of this doll. This acceptance isn’t sporadic. It’s very much developed and when she starts talking about her past how she left America for this nanny position to leave her abusive ex-boyfriend and move past losing her unborn child, she thinks it’s not coincidence that she has been brought to this family. The Heelshires lost Brahms in a fire twenty years prior to the story and the doll showed up not long after and have treated the doll like their son every since.

The cheapest twist at this point would be that Malcolm was Brahms the whole time, but considering how likable Greta was becoming and how well-written this movie was getting, I was really hoping that wouldn’t have been the case.

In any case, Greta feels a sense of understanding of what it’s like to lose your child and to find comfort in something to at least feel like he’s still with you. She begins to adhere to the routine that she’d been ignoring and there’s an implication that she is having better rest and even seems to enjoy doing everything for Brahms. At some point, she even tries to convince Malcolm that the doll is alive and succeeds. This doesn’t become a moment of fear for the two, but rather something incredible. Greta becomes convinced that this is something that she has to commit to, opening up about her past to Malcolm and generally given a pretty solid character arch.

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***END SPOILERS***

ACT 3 – HPO003

What was that line in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN? “…picture a girl who took a nosedive from the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.” Yeah, this is where the movie does the same fucking thing.

***SPOILERS***

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Remember that asshole ex-boyfriend of hers? Well, earlier in the movie, we are informed that this prick got the address of where she’s living in England. Because, you know, every parent would willingly give that information to their daughter’s abusive ex-boyfriend… and this fucking guy, Cole, played by Ben Robson, just breaks into the house, starts playing pool… and Greta has NO expression. Actually, scratch that. I take that back, she does have an expression, but THE WRONG FUCKING ONE!!! She’s gawking at the surprise guest and making him dinner (yeah, she fucking does that). Fuckin’ hell, you stupid bitch, get your well-sculpted ass to the fucking telephone and call the fucking police. HE’S BREAKING AND ENTERING!!! HOW ARE YOU NOT NOTIFYING THE AUTHORITIES!?!?!?

Fucking fine, whatever, they’re eating and Malcolm makes an appearance as well (it’s been established that he has a key to the house). They start talking away from Cole and she starts saying that she’s not letting the jackass stay with her and that “she has a plan.” Malcolm leaves the house, but hangs out in his car just in case. Well, guess what happens in the next scene… THE ASSHOLE EX IS SLEEPING ON THE FUCKING COUCH!!! What did you just say, bitch?! What did you just fucking say?! Oh my god, this bitch is driving me up the walls, especially when she STILL does nothing when he grabs her arm and practically commands that in the morning, she’s leaving her job. Oh, excuse me, she whimpers. An effective strategy. *SARCASM*

Well, that night, while Greta’s asleep, Brahms isn’t where Greta left him and we see him near Cole, looking at him, a handwritten message in rats blood saying “get out” with the same dead rats shoved in Cole’s suitcase. Cole wakes up, freaks out, and starts demanding answers as to why she and Malcolm (who makes an appearance again) want him gone so bad… Are you fucking kidding me dude? Are you seriously fucking- you know what? I can’t even right now. The worst has yet to come. So in a fit of rage, Cole picks up Brahms and starts swinging him around and smashes it on a table, destroying the doll. Of course, Greta’s doing a silent slow-mo “nooooo.” Fucking bitch, there were a million things you could have done to prevent this and you fucking know it. Whatever sympathy I had for you, it’s gone now. This was your fault.

But that mentality lasts for about as long as the slow-mo lasts, which is about a second. Now things get good. The walls are banging, the lights are flickering, the paintings are rocking, I’m thinking to myself, “oh motherfucker damn, the wrath of Brahms is coming down on this biznatch.” I’m all giddy waiting for Cole to get what’s coming to you. The idiot approaches a mirror, pressing his ear against it, and BAM, exploding mirror! FUCK YEAH!!! Cole may not be dead yet, but…

Wait wait wait, what’s that in the hole of the wall where that mirror used to be? Is that… is that a person? Oh no… oh, oh god, no… Oh god, there’s a hand, there’s a torso, there’s a sweater on that torso, OH MY FUCKING GOD, THIS MOVIE DID IT!!! ALL THIS TIME, AFTER AN ENTIRE ACT OF CONVINCING ME THAT IT’S A LIVING DOLL, THIS WHOLE MOTHER FUCKING TIME, THE THING WE WERE SUPPOSED TO BE AFRAID OF WAS A MOTHER FUCKING DUDE IN A MOTHER FUCKING MASK!!! BRAHMS NEVER DIED IN A FIRE AND WAS ALIVE THE WHOLE FUCKING TIME!!! No… no, no. No, no, no, no, NO, NO, NO, NO, NONONONONONONO, FUCK!!!

I… I don’t even know where to begin. This whole movie was built up to be a supernatural haunted house kind of movie. It abandons its own genre and suddenly becomes a slasher flick. The last ten minutes of the movie and it decides to be a cheap FRIDAY THE 13TH. Oh and get this, there’s even action movie elements. I’m not kidding, there’s a bit where guys are breaking through walls in slow motion. I swear to god, I was watching that scene in THE MATRIX where Morpheus headbutts his way out of the wall and starts fighting Agent Smith, only that was bad-ass and this is painfully obnoxious.

Brahms still has his little boy voice, which for some reason reverts to a man voice a few seconds after.

Turns out that the Heelshires killed themselves and left a note for Brahms that Greta was for him to have forever. They knew he didn’t die twenty years ago and he’s literally been living in the walls. So… why are you pretending the doll is Brahms? Or maybe the question should be, why use a fucking doll to lure this hapless girl into a life of pretty sick servitude? You couldn’t just… hire a house-sitter to keep the place clean and pay the same? You know what though, the million dollar question would be this: did you old farts really think this shit through? If Greta died in this house, guess what would have happened? Her family would have investigated. They have the address to this place. Police, demolishing the house, eventually finding Greta’s dead body, your precious boy probably wouldn’t go quietly and would have most likely be killed. And who would have been there to cover for him? NO ONE, YOU DUMB FUCKS!!! And for that matter, WHY THE FUCK DID YOU KILL YOURSELVES??? This isn’t explained. At all. They just drown themselves…

And there’s a moment where Greta escapes. Scott-free to get the hell out of dodge. But what does she do? Oh, she can’t bare the thought of leaving Creepy McGum-Reader to die at Brahms’ hands. She finds a screwdriver and hides it in her back pocket. She encounters Brahms, naturally, and commands him like a disciplinary nanny to go to bed… and this… somehow works. Yeah, under the blankets and everything. And… she just kind of walks away. Oh, but not before Brahms wants a kiss goodnight. Yeah, a full-on make-out with the mask takes place. The blanket’s thrown off and THAT’S when Greta stabs Brahms with the screwdriver. Fuckin’ bitch, you had a GOLDEN opportunity to hold him down under the blanket and stab away until he wasn’t just dead, but SUPER dead. Instead, you make out with his mask, stab him once, get… rather supernaturally thrown against a wall, and held against that wall by your throat. Yeah, you get out and kill Brahms… kinda, whoopee for you. Now it’s time to leave, but don’t forget your incredibly uncharming British man-ass.

The final shot of the movie shows a rebuilt Brahms doll, implying that maybe the real Brahms didn’t die. Honestly… I don’t give two fucks anymore, this ending hurt me so bad.

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***END SPOILERS***

FINAL THOUGHTS – HPO004

This is my longest review guys. You want to know why that is? Because I wanted to like this movie. I really did. And you know what? At this very moment, I still love the middle. But… that FUCKING ENDING RUINED EVERYTHING!!!

I can’t… I just, can’t.

If the movie had committed to it’s supernatural build-up and given a much more satisfying ending, I would have given this movie a strong three out of five. Yeah, that first act anchors it down to just “okay,” but the rest of the movie picks up and delivers a pretty solid product. But because the ending is so infuriating, ON TOP of the cliche-infested first act, this movie…

My honest rating: a weak 3/5.

That middle prevents it from being a complete shit-storm.

Sound off on the comments, though. What did you guys think? Was the entire movie garbage? Did you think the ending fit nicely with the rest of the film? Let me know what your honest opinion is.