It felt as if I was receiving the winning lottery ticket when I was handed my high school diploma. I saw it as my opportunity to become someone different. You see, I was tired of being a punching bag and a punch line in high school. One of the reasons why I chose the particular university I attended was, as far as I knew, no one from my high school had applied there. The summer prior to attending the fall semester, I let my hair grow out to its natural curly state, began an exercise and diet program and most importantly, found student housing off campus. My studio apartment was on a floor that had mostly graduate students. Being the youngest and newest on the floor, the older students not only helped me navigate my way through the university system, but looked out for me. It was a whole different world for me, where I was finally able to be myself and not be judged. Having always felt that peer pressure was a highly infectious disease; I immediately understood where valedictorian Brandy Klark, played by Aubrey Plaza (Safety Not Guaranteed, Damsels in Distress) was coming from in this story. Determined not to still be a virgin by the time she started college, Brandy made a to do list of all the activities she felt she needed to achieve her goal. This comedy was filled with a multitude of strong, crude, graphic language and scenes. I did not have an issue with it, understanding the attraction to this film was having the story being told from a woman’s point of view. To verify my reactions, I imagined scenes where the female characters were male and came to the same conclusion: I did not find this movie funny. There were pockets of humor here and there, but overall I felt the movie was on overkill. Brandy’s relationship to her older sister Amber, played by Rachel Bilson (Jumper, Hart of Dixie-TV), was similar to other sister relationships done before. I felt more humor could have been mined from Brandy’s parents Judge and Mrs. Klark, played by Clark Gregg (The Avengers, 500 Days of Summer) and Connie Britton (Conception, Friday Night Lights-TV). As for Bill Hader (Superbad, Saturday Night Live-TV) playing pool manager Willy, his character was no different then the characters he did before on television. I did find the crisp pacing led to tight, steady scenes. If only the to do list in making this movie had been double checked.
1 3/4 stars
Part of maintaining my certificates for teaching fitness and yoga is attending continuing education classes. I usually sign up for a variety of classes during fitness conventions. There has been several times where the class description did not match the course content. During those times I felt like a foreigner. It seemed as if everyone was talking a different language than me, especially when the other participants were engaged in the instructor’s discussion. It was uncomfortable as I sat there feeling out of place. I have to tell you I had a similar reaction while watching this film. As far as I can remember I have never read or seen a production of William Shakespeare’s story, “Much Ado About Nothing.” It was a large disadvantage I felt, for being able to follow this comedy from writer/director Joss Whedon (The Avengers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer-TV). The story was about the different aspects in love and romance; focusing on one couple becoming attracted to each other, while another couple started out bickering with each other. For the majority of this sharp looking black and white film I was lost. Joss did the filming from his actual house, using actors he had used before such as Nathan Fillion (Serenity, Castle-TV) as Dogberry, Amy Acker (The Cabin in the Woods, Catch Me If You Can) as Beatrice, Alexis Denisof (First Knight, The Avengers) as Benedick and Clark Gregg (The Avengers, Iron Man franchise) as Leonato. Using Shakespeare’s words, Joss wrote and directed this film. I found it odd to have a modern setting while the actors were speaking Old English. The acting was good and as I said earlier, I enjoyed the look of the film. Because I was floundering as I tried to figure out what was happening, I will tell you about the audience. It was an older crowd, where several exclaimed their surprise at how full the theater was for this movie. They laughed out loud throughout, as I saw several couples acknowledge particular scenes with a hand gesture or nod of the head towards their companion. At the end of the film it appeared as if everyone immensely enjoyed the movie. In light of this I will give two ratings, one from the crowd and one from me.
3 stars from audience 2 1/2 stars from me