Archive for Vince Vaughn

FOUR CHRISTMASES :: COMEDY :: 029

Posted in Comedy, Drama, romance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 12/25/2009 by joycereview

It’s Christmas Eve… Santa’s probably airborne (he usually gets an early start) and come Christmas morning, everyone should have something in their stocking.  Now, if I were one of those “snippy” critics, I would reference here that those that worked on this movie shouldn’t expect Santa’s good graces.

Let me say from the start, that I have a fondness for Vince Vaughn.  Truth-be-told, I didn’t like him in the beginning; not because he was a bad actor or anything, but because he seemed like a bit of a wise-guy.  One of those guys that always had a witty come-back and who you’d wish would just be “normal” for once.  But he’s someone that has really grown on me, and has turned into someone I look forward to seeing time and time again.  If it weren’t for him, this movie would barely make a track!  Four Christmas barely comes across with 5.

Here’s the “bear” bones-

Brad (Vince Vaugn) and Kate (Reese Witherspoon) look to be the modern version of the perfect couple; lovingly self-centered, but getting all that they want from their relationship (for now).  Under the ruse of charity work, Brad and Kate escape the family obligations and the ensuing stress of the holidays by flying to Fiji; only to discover that the flight is cancelled due to heavy fog.  To make matters worse, a tv reporter and camera shows up and exposes their failed getaway.  Four Christmases in one day can be trying for anybody, but with Brad and Kate, the secrets, humiliations and the physical abuse might more than their relationship can handle.

When watching this movie, I kinda wished I had a lower I.Q. just for the fact that it would have boosted my enjoyment of it.  While it certainly had its fun moments (which was inevitably caused by Vaughn’s comic leadership), and gave us the split family dynamic rather than just the one, crazy household, it sank on the basis of character.

Comedy works best when the laughs are allowed to well up from within the material, the situation, and/or the nature of the character.  It isn’t a 10-year old child ,with his boney fist posed at your defenseless face, asking “What’s my name bitch?” that makes the scene funny- it’s the reaction of Vince Vaughn, who undoubtedly channels his emotions from the “near rape” scene from Wedding Crashers, and who’s pitched pleads of mercy are both hilarious and real.  If it weren’t for Vaughn’s brilliance, that scene would have been completely wasted on me.  The supporting cast, however, if not saved by or made funny by Vaughn, falls silent.  Reese Witherspoon did a decent job, even though her wrestle-mania in the “jump jump cage” was a immature and needy.

Screen legends Sissy Spacek, Bobby Duvall and Jon Voight provided a bit more (name) weight to the film, but only propped up it’s status to a movie like,  Meet the Fockers. One line from Duvall (who played Brad’s biological dad), was quite side-ripping though;

Boys, I don’t want to speak ill of your mother on Christmass, but she’s nothing but a common street whore.

I long for a Christmas movie that will take the place of my beloved National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, but I’ve yet to find it.  Vaughn could be my next Chevy, if only he had his Eddie… and Jon Favreau, you’re not him.  Owen Wilson is a terrific comedic partner but we’ll just have to see what the future holds.  For me, something like that would surely make my Christmas wish list!

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THE BREAK-UP :: COMEDY :: 001

Posted in Comedy with tags , , , on 09/11/2009 by joycereview

7bear

poster_thebreakup1The Break-Up scores high marks right from the start with the introduction of its two main stars, Gary (Vince Vaughn) and Brooke (Jennifer Aniston).  The setting is playful and flirtatious and the trap is set for the audience to fall in love with the main characters as they, likewise, fall in love with each other.  They meet at a Chicago Cubs game and Gary is very charming in his natural, Vince Vaughn-ish way… they move in together, we are shown pictures of their “high times” and the scene is set,… all this…in the opening credits.

One should suspend disbelief a little, perhaps, in that it is not likely that Brooke (who plays an art gallery curator) would go for the middle-class schmoe, Gary… but hey, it’s Rachel from Friends and that hilarious guy from Wedding Crashers! We’ll take a chance.

When the movie came out, I read the reviews and I remember a “you’ll love or hate it”-attitude, and surprisingly, many of the ratings were low.  Many had a problem the label of “Romantic Comedy” when it lacked those laugh-out-loud-moments.  But here’s my take on this; either a movie is situationally funny (ex. Meet the Fockers), stupidly funny (ex. Dumb and Dumber), repulsively funny (ex. Bruno), cleverly funny (ex. Juno) and most have a mixture.  As we learn from Jerry Seinfeld standup, Life, and our collectively-related experiences of it can be very funny.  The Break-Up, although not the best of “date movies,” does have a tremendous realism that starts the moment you press play.

Case and point…  your wife or girlfriend (I call them by these titles because you wouldn’t likely do this for any “woman”) asks you to help with the dishes after a very long day.  All you want to do is take a moment to “put your feet up” and maybe play a game of Xbox.  Well, she insists that you help her now.  She’s already made up her mind that if you were any kind of man, you’d help her.  She’s mad.  You, not wanting her to spend the night angry finally says, “Alright, I’ll do it.”  But, alas, she is still upset… even more than before because, number 1, you let it carry on for too long, and number 2, she feels that you should want to do the dishes.  And to use Gary’s own words, “Who wants to do the dishes.”

I don’t know if it’s just me, but once the squabbling began, I quickly felt myself picking sides.  My girlfriend will vouch for me (at least I think she will) that the realm of the female heart is not completely hidden from me… many issues I can see, but situationally, this movie is a gem for showing both sides and allowing you to see a part of yourself in the character(s).  Being able to identify with the situation and/or characters has much to do with the humor.  I can see, however, that from a woman’s perspective, this movie might make one a bit nervy and concerned, but on the other hand it may just teach them a little more about their partners.  Ladies, guys don’t care about a center-piece, and if they did, decorating it with lemons would be furtherest from their minds.

The Break-Up gets an easy 7 stars for the following: its charming comedy-through-realism; the convincing, emotional acting; and for the use of the game Pictionary being the medium for disaster.  Director Peyton Reed could have done more with this film, but I feel the greatest crime was not utilizing all the talent (i.e. Justin Long, Ann-Margret, Jason Bateman).

I look forward to reading your thoughts, comments and/or questions regarding this film.  Leave you comment below and for film critique suggestions, hit me up on Facebook.