Currently browsing the "Kristen Wiig" tag.

Review: Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar is an extremely campy comedy that plays like an overlong skit on Saturday Night Live. It stars SNL alum Kristen Wiig (Wonder Woman 1984), and Annie Mumolo as longtime friends who embark on the adventure of a lifetime when their dream jobs at Jennifer Convertibles go belly-up. They decide to leave their small Midwestern town for the first time ever, to “find their shimmer” at a cheesy resort in (fictional) Vista Del Mar, Florida – a hot spot for singles in their “middle years.” There they meet the hunky sad sack Edgar Pagét (Jamie Dornan, Wild Mountain Thyme, Synchronic, Fifty Shades), who’s been sent by an evil villainess to unleash killer mosquitos on Vista Del Mar, as part of a nonsensical revenge plot. Did I mention this movie is really quite silly? I’d venture to call it silly bordering on stupid, if not for the flashes of funny and splashes of heart that offer escapist redemption.

Review: Wonder Woman 1984

Wonder Woman 1984 is the first movie released mid-pandemic for which I was sorely tempted to mask up and venture into a theater. Really glad I didn’t. Lasso of truth: WW84 is okay, but falls far short of its predecessor and is, most definitely, not worth risking your life for. It’s simply too long and meandering in plot to fully satisfy all but those desperately hungry for a superhero movie. I thought I was. Now I’m not so sure! I didn’t dislike WW84; but I was disappointed.

Girl Power – in front of and behind the camera – can only take you so far. Pieces of the story are good. They just don’t hang together all that well. The movie is too heavy on the messaging (Don’t lie. Greed is bad. Most people want to be good. Be careful what you wish for. Truth is all there is.) and too light on the superheroics. I’m all for Diana Prince living a double life, but aren’t we here mostly to see Wonder Woman doing her thing? Wonder Woman 1984 needed more Wonder Woman!

Review: Downsizing

Downsizing starts with a fun premise: What if you could make humans really small so our impact on the earth is also really small? It’s a great jumping off point for a silly comedy, but what makes Alexander Payne’s (Nebraska, Sideways) new film Downsizing work is that it winds up being more than that. Matt Damon stars as everyman Paul Safranek who’s convinced that he and his wife (Kristen Wiig) can have a better life as tiny people. More money, a bigger house, more leisure, (and yeah, save the planet.) But after he’s already downsized, she backs out and he’s left all alone in tiny town. Fortunately for the audience, he soon meets two new friends: the irrepressible Dusan (Christop Waltz, Inglourious Basterds), his upstairs neighbor and man of multiple schemes, and Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chau Treme, Inherent Vice), a former Vietnamese dissident and now Dusan’s one-legged housekeeper who drags Paul into a more interesting life. Not that Matt Damon isn’t good, it’s just that these two steal the show.

Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters is an okay reboot of a comedy classic. It has funny moments, but falls far short of hilarious – and that would have been the case regardless of the gender of the leads. The dominance of estrogen over testosterone in this “Ghostbusters for a new generation” has everything to do with what makes the movie entertaining, and nothing to do with what makes the narrative fall flat. These talented ladies deserved better material from director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids), but that said, they make the most of what they got.

The Martian

Finally! A movie I can recommend to just about anyone. The Martian has soared to the top of my (extremely short) ‘what’s out there right now that you really should see on the big screen’ list. It’s smart, entertaining, uplifting and remarkably accessible to mainstream as well as geeky-fringe audiences. Seriously, this movie has it all: it’s visually immersive, the stakes are palpable, and despite the science-fiction nature of the plot, the characters are relatable and – certainly in the case of botanist-astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) – worth busting NASA’s budget to save!

Welcome to Me

What happens when a mentally ill woman who is obsessed with Oprah wins the lottery? She buys her way onto television and her very own talk show, of course. In Welcome to Me, Kristin Wiig plays Alice Klieg. She lives her quirky little life in a California desert town and spends most of her time watching and memorizing Oprah shows (on VHS) and devouring infomercials. She is in court-mandated therapy, but has decided that she doesn’t need any meds because she can control her emotions through other means, or so she firmly believes. So when she suddenly comes into $86 million, she decides to live out her dream to have her own talk show and finds a struggling production company that is more than happy to take a huge chunk of her winnings. And what is the show about? It is all about her. And it’s called “Welcome to Me.”

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is based very loosely on a James Thurber short story. As a lover of old films, I fondly remember the Danny Kaye version from the 40s, which was also kind of loosely based on said short story. What the two movies have in common is that they focus on a mild-mannered man who lives his life of adventure through his own very imaginative daydreams. From there they diverge quite a bit. The new version directed by and starring Ben Stiller is not content with Walter’s fantasies remaining in the realm of the imagination. It turns the story into a very 21st century personal growth, action hero flick. Walter starts off as the same milquetoast kind of nice guy, but inspired by his unrequited love for a co-worker, he becomes the man of his dreams.

Despicable Me 2

Despicable Me 2 serves its purpose – entertaining the kids. It’s bright and colorful and quirky and cute. Adults may be a tad disappointed at the lack of any real narrative or drama, but all in all, the movie is more than fun enough to justify 98 minutes in an air-conditioned theater.

Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids really is like The Hangover with chicks. And like The Hangover, this smart adult comedy should appeal to both sexes because, well, it’s pretty darn funny – even when it’s gross.

Paul

Here’s the deal: If you’re old enough to remember – or at least have a fondness for movies like Alien, Close Encounters, E.T., Escape to Witch Mountain, and Galaxy Quest, then trust me– you will find this movie downright hilarious – and heartwarming.