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dir Jake Kasdan
scr Kate Angelo, Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller
prd Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch
with Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Rob Corddry, Rob Lowe, Ellie Kemper, Nancy Lenehan, Harrison Holzer, Giselle Eisenberg, Sebastian Hedges Thomas, Kumail Nanjiani, Nat Faxon, Jack Black
release US 18.Jul.14, UK 3.Sep.14
14/US Columbia 1h34
Let's make a movie: Diaz and Segel
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
There's a clever idea at the centre of this adult-oriented comedy, but the filmmakers repeatedly undermine it with simplistic slapstick and corny moralising. In the end, the movie takes the safest route imaginable, opting for "family values" cuteness instead of something honest or resonant. At least it's occasionally silly enough to raise a smile.
After a courtship that consists mainly of having lots of sex in unusual places, Annie and Jay (Diaz and Segel) find marriage and parenthood much less exciting. Annie's blog has won a publishing deal, which they celebrate by leaving the kids with her parents so they have a rare night on their own. To spice things up they decide to film themselves on their iPad, which inadvertently syncs to the iPads they've given to family, friends and clients. Frantically, they set out to get them back.
First of all: who gives iPads to everyone they know, especially without understanding how the Cloud works? This is just one idiotic element in a premise that naggingly refuses to hold water. So the entertainment comes from watching Diaz and Segel play every moment for all it's worth, including jokes that aren't funny. Despite the continual rude humour, there isn't a single sexy moment in the movie, which is more interested in piling on cutely corny gross-out moments and schmaltzy sentiment than actually addressing its central ideas.
This is about a couple that still thinks about sex but struggles to make it happen because other things demand their attention, so their relationship is in crisis. But the script feels so compromised that it simply abandons this idea, relying on the smart, witty cast. Indeed, Diaz and Segel are engaging, as are young Eisenberg and Thomas as their precocious kids. The lively supporting cast adds plenty of spice, although no one gets to cut loose.
This is a surprisingly simplistic depiction of marriage and sex. Several gags hit their marks, but most scenes are eerily unfunny, repeatedly building jokes without payoffs. And the most annoying thing is that the film seems to suggest that the secret to a strong marriage is sex, rather than love, romance or commitment. But it does make one important point: maybe we shouldn't worry so much about what other people think.
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© 2014 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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