I get mixed emotions when I see advertisements for upcoming shows or concerts headlined by artists who are in the twilight of their careers. There are some artists who are still vibrant and continue to make contributions to their art; just take a look at Tony Bennett who is traveling with Lady Gaga in sold out concerts. However, there are some artists I have seen where I wonder what is the motivation that keeps them plugging along; is it due to financial reasons, the need for people’s continued adulation or maybe the fear of retirement. I hope this is not coming across as judgmental but I do have an issue when someone says they are retiring but then a few years later decide to come out of it for a world tour. I tend to see it as a money grab. Maybe because I take people for their word I react this way; however, if they would have said they are retiring from touring but may do a concert once in a while it would sit better with me. Looking at my fitness level as I age I wonder how I will be in my cycle class when I get older. If I could not keep up with my classes I would want to step down from teaching and become instead a participant. Of course when the time comes for me to retire I hope to end on a hight note with a packed class as we go on one last intense fun ride. This is why I was able to understand what the male entertainers wanted to accomplish in this musical sequel. THREE years has passed and Mike, played by Channing Tatum (Foxcatcher, Dear John), has finally seen his dream come true with the start of his custom furniture business. But when his old dance troupe buddies wanted to get together one last time for a contest, would Mike be willing to don his thong one last time? The difference between this sequel and the first film was like night and day. Where the original was fun with solid dancing routines and acting ability from Matthew McConaughey; this movie came off as a crass knockoff. The cast of men such as Joe Manganiello (Sabotage, True Blood-TV) as Big Dick Richie and Matt Bomer (The Normal Heart-TV, In Time) as Ken were joined by Jada Pinkett Smith (Reign Over Me, Matrix franchise) as Rome who was ridiculous because of the script. What surprised me the most was how bad the dancing was this time; it was uninspired with tired stripper pole moves. I will say this did not stop some of the people in the audience from hooting and hollering during several scenes. As for me this group should have quit while they were ahead.
1 3/4 stars
Everybody has one in their family or in their circle of friends. There usually is one person; though there may be more, who is the funny one, the jokester. Depending on the structure of the group this person may be the one who does the most outrageous things or the most daring among the individuals. On the other hand it could be a less dramatic person who has a sly wit or satirical slant to their humor. To me these folks play an important part within the group. If one had a choice to feel happy or sad, the majority would choose happy I would think. From my experiences I have always been exposed to humor in almost every type of situation. Of course not during a tragic event; however, there would be traces that would eventually filter out during a time of sadness. A large portion of the humor I have heard within my family has been done through the telling of stories. There is nothing like listening to a person talk about an experience they had, who can put a funny twist on the events. It is a gift when a person not only can find the humor in a situation but spin it so that another person finds it relatable. GABRIEL Iglesias (A Haunted House 2, Magic Mike) is such a person and I had no idea he was a stand-up comedian; I only knew his face from a role he played in a movie. Directed by Manny Rodriguez (Soul Train Awards-TV, Jimmy Kimmel Live!-TV), this movie was the filmed version of Gabriel’s sold-out concert tour titled “Unity Through Laughter.” The advertisements for this comedy picture state there is “never before seen footage.” The first thing I have to say about this movie is about the title; I loved the use of the word Fluffy instead of the “F” word. Since I never utter that word I will spell it for you: F-A-T; such a disgusting word. Next, because this was my first time experiencing Gabriel doing his act, I found him to be an easy likable guy. His use of accents and the sound effects he made were quick and precise. I enjoyed both watching and listening to him as he spun his humorous tales. Though I did not find anything that made me laugh out loud, I did smile and chuckle numerous times. The part I really liked about his act was the fact he did not resort to strong language to amuse people; that takes talent these days in my opinion. Entertained through the entire movie, I was surprised by the vulnerability he showed from time to time. If your group of friends or family is missing a funny person, Gabriel would be a positive addition to it.
2 1/3 stars
The repetitive irritations in life can be considered the universe’s way of testing us to see if we have learned to let go. Scrubbing down from top to bottom your kitchen after spotting a trail of ants, only to discover the next day they returned, can be upsetting. Maybe you were inflicted with a rash, where you had to apply a topical ointment and take medicine. It finally cleared up in a couple of weeks. Three days later your skin started to itch, heralding the return of the rash and a new round of antibiotics. This past winter was not only hard for me but it was irritating. It seemed like every time I shoveled the snow around my house another storm would come by and I had to redo the sidewalks again. I remember at one point thinking if I could rent a flame thrower, it would be worth it to take care of the unrelenting snow. At least I knew the seasons would eventually change but imagine what poor Malcolm, played by Marlon Wayans (Scary movie franchise, White Chicks), had to go through when he discovered he was being haunted again. In this sequel Malcolm was starting out fresh; he had his new girlfriend Megan, played by Jamie Pressly (My Name is Earl-TV; I Love you, Man), a new house and new neighbor Miguel, played by Gabriel Iglesias (Magic Mike, Days of Santiago). Life was good until Malcolm noticed something was wrong. The basis of this comedy horror movie was to be a parody of several recent scary films. I will say Marlon threw himself into his character, screaming and yelling his way through the physical stunts. At one point it seemed as if Marlon created this picture just so he could see how many times he could be on screen without wearing clothes. Since the movie trailer had some of the better humor, there was very little in this film that produced a chuckle or snicker out of me. I just found the story was one long series of skits, each one getting more ridiculous than the previous one. As for commenting on the directing or camera work, there really was nothing I could offer since this film didn’t pretend to be anything else but what it was–a low level joke fest. Maybe I was wrong to assume Marlon had more to offer, because if he is going to make these movies a continuing franchise, they will become nothing more than a plantar wart that keeps coming back.
1 1/2 stars