WE WERE SITTING AROUND THE DINING room table when his cell phone rang. From where I was sitting, I was able to see the display with the caller’s phone number. The young man had a quizzical look on his face as he studied the number. I took it upon myself to tell him the call was coming from Oklahoma. He looked and asked me how I knew that as he let the call go to voicemail. I told him I knew because of the area code, 405; it was the area code for the Oklahoma City area. He was so surprised by my knowing such a thing that I found it amusing. When he asked me why I knew such a thing, I explained that I have accounts in Oklahoma that I have to call on the phone; so, the area code is something that has stuck in my brain from all the times I have called them. This explanation sparked a curiosity in him that spurred him on to suddenly test me. He asked if I knew any other area codes; I told him I know some states, but not all of them. He needed proof so he unlocked his phone and started looking up area code numbers. Not to toot my own horn, but out of seven area codes he tested me on I knew six of them. He was totally amazed by this; I found the whole thing curious. ON MY WAY HOME, I STARTED to think about the area code “game.” Was my generation the last one that dialed phone numbers instead of pressing one button on their cell phone? I looked at my ability to remember area codes/phone numbers as a positive statement on my brain’s ability to retain information. For some reason, I feel depending on a device for common functions like simple math or reminders will make my mind soft. I will never forget walking into a bank to cash a check for $19.81 and handing the teller nineteen cents to round up the change on the dollar amount. The teller was perplexed by my actions and had to pull out a calculator to figure out I wanted to get back an even $20.00. Besides thinking how they graduated out of high school, I wondered what they would do if they did not have the use of a calculator. When you think about it; don’t you think it would be a valid discussion to say the same thing about someone who only knew how to tell time in a digital format instead of a clock dial? It scares me to think how future generations will function when they do not have a device to depend on and this comedic, science fiction adventure did nothing to help alleviate my concerns. WHAT WAS TO BE A ONE YEAR experiment for Private Joe Bauers, played by Luke Wilson (The Family Stone, Old School), turned into a decades long event that left Joe the smartest man on the planet. He did not believe it until he saw for himself. With Maya Rudolph (Sisters, Away We Go) as Rita, Dax Shephard (Employee of the Month, Chips) as Frito, Terry Crews (The Expendables franchise, John Henry) as President Camacho and Anthony “Citric” Campos (Harsh Times, Lopez-TV) as Secretary of Defense; this film festival nominated movie had a script that was filled with satirical bits and sight gags. A good portion of them hit their mark and were amusing to me. However, the script had so much going on with it that I felt at times things were just silly and dragged on too long. The cast was fun to watch, especially Maya and Dax. Ultimately, I felt the story was relevant and, in some ways, important; the writers just chose a fun way to deliver their message. I do not know what I would do if reading becomes something that we let our digital assistants do for us; you just never know.
2 1/3 stars
It is not easy to keep a smile on your face when you are sitting across from a jerk. There have been situations where a friend wants to introduce me to their new boy or girlfriend. I have no qualms meeting them but it can be hard when I see or hear things they say or do that raise a red flag in my mind. What can I say in private that will not offend them about the person they are dating? I have learned to only offer advice if I am asked and to remain supportive towards my friends. It is much harder to do this when it involves family. At a wedding where 2 families have come together to celebrate the marriage of their relatives it can be a challenging time for me. Sitting at a table with a relative from the other family, who is making rude and inappropriate remarks, can be an unpleasant experience. If it was one of my relatives I could say something, but with this virtual stranger, I have to be careful not to start a family feud and later see it all posted on the internet. Hopefully my unresponsive face and silent stare is enough of a clue for them to keep quiet. It can make for an uncomfortable time; but when I am forced to sit with someone who is prejudicial, my silence has served me well in the past. No one in this comedy film was related to me but I still had to sit through it being uncomfortable and bored. After a horrible blind date Lauren and Jim, played by Drew Barrymore (Charlie’s Angels, Big Miracle) and Adam Sandler (Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy), accidentally found themselves at the same vacation destination, both with their families in tow. There would be no way they could avoid each other at the all inclusive African resort. It must have been time for Adam and his real family to take a vacation so this story was set in an exotic location. I enjoy all types of comedy but when you know what the punchline will be to every joke, it is not funny. The infantile script was filled with stereotypes and even used children simply as sight gags. I knew Terry Crews (The Single Moms Club, The Expendables franchise) as entertainer Nickens was supposed to be a parody, but I found his character annoying. Drew was the best part of this movie. It was clear to me that Adam plays the same character in every movie now; I find it pure laziness. If only he could have seen my blank face from the theater audience.
1 2/3 stars