What I am about to say may sound completely foreign to some of you, as if I lived on a different planet. It is okay because I have seen the generational shift and what was the norm for me does not apply to the present anymore. When I would come home from school I only stayed for enough time to put my books and supplies away before heading out to meet up with my friends. Depending on the day or our moods we would play games, go to the music store or climb trees, along with a variety of other activities. Of course if I had a school project there were times I could not participate and spent the afternoon at the library. There really was not much structure for any us. Sure there were days where someone had to stay home and work on their homework; depending on the amount, I used to do my homework after dinner. That was then, I am aware things are different now. I have seen and heard the schedules some kids have these days and it leaves me exhausted just hearing about it. Some children’s parents keep up a rigorous schedule of after school activities, such as soccer, science lab, painting; essentially any and everything from the arts, science and sports. I see these small children toting these massive backpacks that I am surprised don’t make the kids fall over. From some of the conversations I have heard from parents it seems peer pressure plays a major factor in this constant need to keep their kids occupied with extracurricular activities. The thought of being considered a “bad mom” seems to be enough motivation to keep up with the majority; or does it? FOR all intents and purposes Amy, played by Mila Kunis (Friends with Benefits, Jupiter Ascending), did it all. She had a job, took care of the kids, participated in the PTA and kept the household going. Everyone has their breaking point and sometimes it takes only one thing to break everything down. As I sat and watched this film it occurred to me I could not remember the last time I had heard so much laughter from an audience, including myself. This comedy had extremely strong language and inappropriate humor; you have been warned. From the comments I heard afterwards it appeared as if most women who were mothers could relate to this picture. Along with Mila there was Kathryn Hahn (We’re the Millers, This is Where I Leave You) as Carla, Kristen Bell (The Boss, Veronica Mars-TV) as Kiki and Christina Applegate (Vacation, Hall Pass) as Gwendolyn; these four women were outstanding in their roles. Despite the non-believability to some scenes the comedic strength of these actresses propelled the story throughout the movie. The soundtrack fit perfectly with the scenes and I thought the use of slow motion accentuated the humor. As a side note the majority of the movie goers were female; but, the men who were there laughed just as much as the women. I think most anyone would find this comedy entertaining. And no one would judge any of you with children for letting loose and having a good time watching this film.
When I used to hear the word vacation I knew that meant we were taking a road trip. My preparation consisted of getting the latest comic books, magazines, along with plenty of snacks; what clothes to bring was less important to me. With the entire back seat of the car as my living space throughout the trip, I could stretch out and nap when there was nothing interesting to see out the car windows. I not only have hundreds of fond memories from those road trips, but I can recall all the not so nice things that I experienced going across the country. For example there was the trip we took to Florida where the driver was the son of family friends. He wanted to take the shortest amount of time to get to our destination so bathroom breaks were scheduled based on time not need. There was one long stretch where I started to cry because I had to use the bathroom so badly. There was another trip where we planned to stop overnight so we could rest up and arrive for lunch the next day at our destination. Unfortunately the motel we had reservations at had mice and cockroaches leading us down the hallway towards our room. We did not even bother making it to our room before turning around and leaving that place. Oh and I cannot forget the motel room that had a bathroom that looked like a crime scene. Vacations should not have to be hard; someone needed to tell the family in this adventure comedy. HOPING to give his family the same fond memories he experienced when he was a kid Rusty Griswold, played by Ed Helms (The Hangover franchise, Cedar Rapids), decided he was going to take the family on a vacation to Walley World. There certainly was going to be a lot of memories made from this road trip. This story was not a sequel or reboot; what it did was take the character of Rusty from the original film and have him be an adult with a family of his own. Christina Applegate (Hall Pass, Anchorman franchise) played Rusty’s wife Debbie. Five minutes into the picture and I was immediately turned off by the story. Essentially the writers tried to make jokes out of the younger son bullying his older brother and I found it offensive. This went on for over half of the film and I did not find it funny at all. The rest of the jokes consisted of crude bathroom humor and dull sight gags. The only plus in this movie was Leslie Mann (The Other Woman, This is 40) and Chris Hemsworth (The Avengers franchise, Rush) as Audrey and Stone Crandall. If I had known I would have put in a 60 hour work week instead of taking time to go see this boring film.
1 1/2 stars
Credit has to be given to a person who believes their own convictions. Their dedication does not waiver during the low points in their life. When I was auditioning at several health clubs to teach aerobics, I still remember the reactions I got from several fitness directors. The most negative comments came from the director of one of the more prestigious health clubs in the city. As I drove home I went over everything I did in the audition, looking for something that I could have done differently, wondering what caused the sourness on that director’s face. Knowing my style was different with its choreographed movements; by the time I got home I decided I would not change, believing there was a place that would take a chance on me. The following week I had an audition where I did the same routines and this time the director not only had a smile on her face but joined in on the routines. I was hired on the spot. Since then whenever I applied to teach at another club I would insist the director come to my class to see what I was doing instead of me performing in their empty aerobic studio. Understanding a person’s dedication, I have to commend Will Ferrell (Elf, The Other Guys) in his desire to entertain audiences by bringing back his character, newsman Ron Burgundy. In this sequel a television station decided to launch a 24 hour news channel, looking at Ron Burgundy to be one of their announcers. Assembling his former news team Brick Tamland, Brian Fantana and Champ Kind, played by Steve Carell (The Way Way Back, Get Smart), Paul Rudd (Role Models, Wanderlust) and David Koechner (Thank you for Smoking, Balls of Fury), the news team came to New York City to make their mark with their own style of reporting. This comedy film had been hyped for so many months by the time I sat down to watch it I have to admit I was already a bit tired of it. The film trailers had the better jokes from the script because what I saw was not all that funny. Sure there were a couple of chuckles, due more to the outrageousness of the scene, but I did not find much creativity being used throughout the film. I did enjoy the variety of celebrity cameos, surprised by the actors who agreed to be in the movie. For those looking for some mindless fun, this would be the film to see. There was a brief extra scene at the end of the credits.