THE landscape tilted down as I peered out the airplane’s window. I was looking forward to a peaceful ride. The day was clear except for small clumps of clouds that looked like wadded up paper towels discarded across the sky. We were close to reaching our flying altitude when I heard a faint noise. It sounded like a sad pet uttered a whimper. There was a slight pause before a piercing wail filled the cabin. It was a baby I had not seen when we boarded. I thought after a minute the parent(s) would have done something like give the baby a bottle, a toy, a set of keys, something to distract the child. Maybe they did, I could not see though since they were sitting closer to the front. As I sat in my seat I stared up at the FASTEN SEATBELT sign, hoping it would turn off. With no sign of stopping if the parent(s) were not going to take the baby to the restroom, I would go to it to get away from the crying. Needless to say the flight was not pleasant. LIVING a full life means there will be celebrations as well as challenges. Let me include into that equation annoyances. I cannot imagine someone getting through life without ever becoming annoyed by something. Of course the question is what does one do when they become annoyed? Being stuck at a railroad crossing due to a long, slow moving freight train is annoying to me; however if there is no alternative route as an option, there is no point in me staying annoyed. It is out of my control, so I just turn the radio up louder and wait it out. It is funny, I found myself in a similar predicament while watching this family comedy film. Sure I could have walked out, but who then would have warned you? THE special occasion of Meemaw’s 90th birthday was the catalyst for the Heffley family hitting the road to be part of the celebrations. Unfortunately for Greg, played by Jason Drucker (Barely Lethal, Every Witch Way-TV), that meant he would not be able to go to the video gaming convention. Starring Alicia Silverstone (Clueless, Batman & Robin) as Susan Heffley, Tom Everett Scott (La La Land, Dead Man on Campus) as Frank Heffley and relative newcomer Charlie Wright as Rodrick Heffley; this latest installment of the franchise had new cast members. It did not make a difference to me but I understood some fans of the series were upset. After seeing this picture the change of actors was the least of this movie’s problems. Both the script and directing were poorly done; if you saw the trailer then you saw the best parts. I was uncomfortable with the story; I found it whiney and disrespectful. There was nothing funny taking place or let me say I did not find the pranks and embarrassing situations amusing. It seemed as if there was little thought put into the script. Besides not being funny, there was not one element of surprise; the set up and payoff could be seen a mile away, which is where I wished I had been from this film. Here is something interesting: I have never sat in a movie theater and seen so much foot traffic from the audience. Kids and parents were constantly walking in and out during the entire showing of this movie. If I wasn’t annoyed already, there was a parent sitting down in front who played with her cell phone for ½ the time.
1 ½ stars
Imagine you are at a party or nightclub and you strike up a conversation with someone. The two of you have been making an easy flow of chitchat but all of a sudden they say something that strikes you as being a bit odd. You are not sure how to react; should you chuckle, nod your head or ask them what they mean? The expression on their face does not help you; they still have that sliver of a smile. So you decide to let it pass and continue talking on. But then it happens again and you feel uncomfortable because what they said could be taken one of two ways. If you felt they meant the first option then it would be appropriate to snicker. However, the 2nd way would make them appear sexist; so, what do you do? You ask them and they say it was a joke; they were trying to be funny. There is nothing wrong with showing one’s humorous side, heaven knows I try to all the time; but if your target audience does not know your style of humor or your intentions, then the joke is lost on them. Well this is exactly how I felt watching this movie. I could not tell if this was supposed to be a satire or the director Peter Hyams (Timecop, End of Days) was really trying to make an action thriller. After all these years Peter re-teamed with Jean-Claude Van Damme (Double Impact, Bloodsport) who played Xander, an unmerciful drug dealer. Reaching the US-Canadian border to retrieve a drug shipment Xander came across forest ranger Henry, played by Tom Evertt Scott (Parental Guidance, That Thing You Do!), who was in the middle of a fight with ex-con Clay, played by Orlando Jones (Drumline, Evolution). How would Henry survive and do his job if he only had enemies around him? I am at a loss for words because I seriously did not get this film. Not one to question someone wanting to continue working, I would love to know why Jean-Claude felt this role was meant for him. He looked and acted like a sideshow clown from a traveling carnival. His body double was obvious in the fight scenes. Granted the fight scenes were not bad in this film, but I thought the acting was horrible. The script was not that much better. I wish I knew if this movie was supposed to be a joke because I would have written a different review. As it stands now I really have nothing good to say. There were several scenes that had blood and violence.
1 2/3 stars
My grandmother had no friends. It was her choice, since her only concern was her family. I cannot recall a time when my grandmother did not have some home baked sweet treat ready for us to eat. Knowing I would be stopping by her house for Halloween, with my two buckets (I was always paranoid a shopping bag would rip); she would have bags of candy and licorice made up to pass out to me and my friends. She never said a bad word about anyone; her harshest criticism was saying the word “feh” to something or someone she did not like. My grandmother had nothing in common with the grandparents in this comedy. In fact, I do not know of anyone who have grandparents similar to the two in this film. Billy Crystal (Analyze This, When Harry met Sally…) and Bette Midler (Beaches, The First Wives Club) played grandparents Artie and Diane Decker. When their daughter Alice, played by Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler, The Lincoln Lawyer), asked them to babysit their three grandchildren; Diane jumped at the chance while reluctant Artie had no choice but to agree. However when the two elders’ old school way of child rearing smacked up to Alice and her husband Phil’s, played by Tom Everett Scott (Because I Said So, Dead Man on Campus), new school methods; all discovered they could still learn a thing or two about each other. If you happened to see the trailer, you already saw the best parts of this abysmal movie. Besides every humorous moment being predictable, I thought the characters Billy and Bette played were more like two comedians on the comedy circuit tour through the Catskills or Florida (no offense to those who live in either place). Having two actors gifted in comedic timing, I only wished the story had some original ideas for Bette and Billy to mine through and surprise moviegoers. Instead the actors seemed as if they were mugging for the camera. On a positive note, this film was suitable for most of the family; no vulgar language or sexual innuendos, only a little bathroom humor. For a movie like this I would have waited for it to come out on DVD. If my grandmother were alive to watch this film she would have said feh.
1 3/4 stars