That story about the stork delivering new born babies was something I never believed to be true. Even before I was taught the facts of life, I thought the idea of birds flying over houses and dropping babies down was weird. There were other stories I heard that seemed more plausible; for example, when the baby is ready it will come out of the belly button or the one about the soon to be parents choosing the day they want to go to the doctor’s office to have their child extracted from the woman’s body just like one would get their tooth pulled. Once I understood the real way babies were born there still was nothing mentioned about possible pain or discomfort being experienced during the pregnancy. Everything told to me was kept on a sweet and rosy level. As I got older I started to become better aware about the reality of the birthing process. The biggest shock for me was discovering not every woman had a storybook pregnancy. I remember hearing about a woman who was confined to her bed for over half of her pregnancy due to her body wanting to reject the fetus. In fact the first time I became aware of the term stillborn was when a friend’s aunt had one. It was an awful time where she was depressed for several months. When you think about all the scary things that could go wrong with having a baby, the process of bringing a healthy child into the world is an amazing feat. FINDING out they were both pregnant close to the same time; inner city high school teacher Samantha Abbott and her student Jasmine, played by Cobie Smulders (The Avengers franchise, How I Met Your Mother-TV) and Gail Bean (At Mamu’s Feet), formed a special bond as they started their journey through unfamiliar territory. This film festival nominated comedic drama had in my opinion a real and honest dialog about the fears and joys of having a baby. Though the script did not delve down very deep, the acting by Cobie and Gail was totally believable to me. Along with Anders Holm (The Interview, Neighbors) as John and Elizabeth McGovern (Once Upon a Time in America, Ordinary People) as Carolyn, I thoroughly enjoyed the cast and felt they really pushed this script to full advantage. Even though I thought there was a part of the story that could have used more exposure, I found myself experiencing a similar reaction to the one the characters were sharing in the scene. This was only another sign of how good the performance was from the actors. In a way one could say creating a movie shares some similarities to having a baby; the people behind this film should feel proud of what they created here.
2 3/4 stars
DISCLAIMER: The description and actions described below do not describe actual people. Any resemblance to an actual individual is purely a coincidence. In addition, the scenarios and/or people do not represent any health club members who presently attend any of my fitness classes. The fitness center was situated on the border between an upper and lower class neighborhood. This produced an eclectic mix of people with different reasons for joining the health club. There were factory workers, executives, family members of organized crime figures; you name it and more than likely they attended the club. I had a large morning class that consisted of policemen, housewives, doctors and students. There were a couple of attendees who never came to class without being in full makeup and their hair in perfect place. The part I had a hard time with was the strong perfume they wore that always wafted just above everyone like a rolling bank of thunderclouds. Besides the assortment of members, the staff was just as diverse. There was one trainer that literally looked like a beast; they were so muscularly pumped up, one had to wonder how they could even bend their limbs. One trainer was engaged to marry another trainer, but one month before the wedding called it off and eloped with the fitness floor manager. Oh, I have to tell you about the aerobic instructor who was a chain smoker. They never understood why no one would stand close to them when they taught class. It was because the stench of cigarette smoke would ooze out of their pores and choke the front row of members; it was utterly nasty. So you see I had excellent training to understand this comedy film. FITNESS club owner Trevor, played by Guy Pearce (Lawless, Memento), was hesitant to let his trainer Kat, played by Cobie Smulders (The Avengers franchise, How I Met Your Mother-TV), work with new wealthy client Danny, played by Kevin Corrigan (The Departed, Pineapple Express). He had good reason to think it. This film festival nominated comedy offered an odd offbeat take on the health care industry. At first glance I thought some scenes were unrealistic; but the more I thought about it the more I realized any of the situations could be feasible based on the things I had seen at the different health clubs where I taught. I still did not get a good handle on Danny’s character until later in the movie. There were a few spots where my attention waned which I attributed to the uneven script. Also, I have to say I did not find the acting that great; the characters never seemed fully developed to me. As an overall experience I did not mind watching this film, but maybe I was grateful I did not have to teach a class there.
2 1/2 stars
Walking down the grocery store aisle can be dangerous for me. Besides my desire for foods that are not the healthiest, my eyes can easily spot the words “new” and “improved” on any package. When it comes down to it I am a marketer’s dream shopper because I am easily swayed to try new food items. If they fit into my world of approved foods I am always adventurous to bring home new stuff and taste it. Sometimes I hit the jackpot when the product tastes so good, I do not want to brush my teeth for hours, letting the sumptuous taste linger in my mouth as long as possible. Other times it is a bust and I bring it to the office, hoping someone will get a positive experience from it. When it comes to a product’s packaging that claims a new fuller taste or improved flavor, I am aware it is more of a gamble. I have been disappointed when I brought the package home only to find the improvement consisted of shrinking the size of the food. To make matters worse, I can see it was done to make the package look fuller, but the net weight was reduced and I am being charged the same price as the former package. Stuff like this ticks me off as I am sure it would you too. I have to tell you I felt the same way about this comedy remake of the French Canadian film Starbuck, which I reviewed here previously. This American version starred Vince Vaughn (The Internship, Couples Retreat) as David, a delivery driver who discovered he was the father to 533 children, due to a mixup at the fertility clinic he donated at years ago. If a film studio wants to do a remake I do not have an issue with it. However, if it is going to be done I expect to see and experience things differently than the original; otherwise, what is the point? The biggest flaw in this movie was Vince Vaughn. I am tired of him playing the same role now in every one of his movies, it does not provide any entertainment value to his films. Supporting characters Brett, played by Chris Pratt (Moneyball, Wanted) and Emma, played by Cobie Smulders (Safe Haven, Now I Met Your Mother-TV) at least tried to act in this dud. Another thing that annoyed me was the obvious manipulation of emotions the writers were trying to do in the script. It did not work for me. Save your money by skipping this film and go rent Starbuck instead.
1 3/4 stars
More times than not, the body can heal quicker from a physical attack than from an emotional one. The body immediately works at repairing itself where the mind tends to absorb the emotional abuse, letting it settle close enough to always be heard. It takes much effort to overcome that strange voice talking from the inner mind. Running away is usually only a temporary option. Such was the case for the main character Katie, played by Julianne Hough (Footloose, Burlesque), who found herself one day in the small coastal town of Southport, North Carolina. Deciding to settle down and leave her past behind, Katie tried to keep to herself even when widowed shop owner Alex, played by Josh Duhamel (Transformers franchise, When in Rome), tried to help her out. Could Katie really leave her old life behind and find happiness in this peaceful place? Adapted from the Nicholas Sparks (The Lucky One, The Notebook) novel that I did not read; I was surprised by the suspenseful opening scenes. Beautifully filmed, Julianne and Josh were okay in their roles as they made a handsome couple. I thought David Lyons (Eat Pray Love, Storm Warning) as Tierney did a better job of acting; his character was creepy. It was possible the script made his role easier, since the rest of the formulaic story was syrupy and rushed in places. The scenes felt forced to me, as if the goal was to get a reaction out of the audience instead of the actors. I found one of the twists in the story to be utterly unnecessary which made me angry enough to lower my rating of this dramatic film. Before I am asked, this movie worked as a date movie. By the end of the film I was physically tired from sitting and unsatisfied emotionally.