Showing posts with label Jason Segel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jason Segel. Show all posts

Monday, 18 February 2013

This is 40

This is 40 is being described as the sort of sequel to 2007’s Knocked Up in that the central characters first appeared in that movie. Besides that there is little to connect the stories of the two films although the early mid life crisis that Debbie (Leslie Mann) and Pete (Paul Rudd) found themselves entering five years ago are now fully formed. Debbie and Paul are a married couple on the cusp of their fortieth birthdays. Their two children (played by Mann’s and Writer/Director Judd Apatow’s real children Maude and Iris) are finding it difficult to get along and both parents are in turn having problems with their own fathers. In the background is a financial noose which threatens to envelop their necks at any time.

I believe that This is 40 contains some of Judd Apatow’s best writing to date. This might not sound like much of a compliment considering his writing credits have included You Don’t Mess with the Zohan and Funny People but in amongst the poorer stuff, Apatow has written some very good comedy. This is 40 is not only very funny but also sweet and contains a lot of realistic relationship talk, arguments and situations.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Despicable Me

This will be just a very quick review and I’ll be honest from the start, I didn’t give the movie my full attention. After no interest or excitement from the first half an hour I did something I never do and let the film continue in the background while I caught up on reading some of my favourite blogs. As a result there is a good chance that I missed things in Despicable Me. The film centres on an evil super villain called Gru (Steve Carell) who adopts three young girls in order to help him steal the Moon and win the approval of his mother.

I found there was little to laugh at during the film and I wasn’t able to engage with the story. I’d heard that the little minions were good fun and have since been given their own spin off but they did nothing for me. There was little inventiveness in the story despite the inventions of the various villains. The voice acting was fine and the animation was good although I didn’t like its style. Overall Despicable Me wasn’t a film I enjoyed but don’t feel qualified to give it a rating out of 10 as I didn’t pay enough attention to it. I wish I hadn’t started watching it because it was a waste of 90 minutes. 

Knocked Up

After young up and coming TV reporter Allison Scott (Katherine Heigl) gets promoted she heads out to celebrate with her sister Debbie (Leslie Mann). She ends up having a drunken one night stand with an unemployed, pot smoking; man child called Ben (Seth Rogan) and a few weeks later discovers that she is pregnant. Knocked Up follows the nine months of pregnancy and the difficulties faced by unprepared soon to be parents Ben and Allison and married couple Debbie and Pete (Paul Rudd).

I saw Knocked Up on a transatlantic flight a few years ago and remembered enjoying it but remembered little of it. With a sort of sequel This is 40 released this month I thought I’d go back and give the film a second watch. For me it is average in terms of laughs for a Judd Apatow produced film but considering his films can be very hit and miss this is one of the most entertaining and also sweetest.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Produced by go to comedy guy Judd Apatow and written by lead actor Jason Segel, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a comedy that I was never in much of a rush to see. I vaguely remember it being around in 2008 but it didn’t entice me to the cinema. I’ve since become more familiar with Segel’s films and when someone at work offered to lend me the DVD I thought why not? I’m glad I did borrow it as it’s a remarkable romantic comedy that completely surprised me with its extremely funny script, well drawn characters and endearing storyline.  

Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) is a fairly successful TV Composer who is in a five year relationship with the actress Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). One day and almost out of the blue Sarah tells Peter that she is ending their relationship and leaves him. Depressed and heartbroken Peter decides to go away for a few days and heads to Hawaii where, yup, you’ve guessed it, Sarah is also staying with her new rock star boyfriend Aldous Snow (Russell Brand). Feeling even more depressed than he was back in L.A, Peter attempts to at least try and forget Sarah and is helped by the hotel staff which includes the attractive concierge Rachel (Mila Kunis).

Monday, 2 July 2012

The Five Year Engagement

"You ate the old doughnut"

Tom (Jason Segel) is a sous chef at a top end San Francisco restaurant but is forced to move to the mid west when his fiancĂ©e Violet (Emily Blunt) gets a post graduate position at the University of Michigan. This occurs shortly after the couple’s engagement and they decide to put their wedding on hold for a couple of years until they return to the West Coast. Their relationship is strained though when Tom fails to fit in or find a satisfying job while Violet’s career takes off and leaves Tom alone to ponder the career he left in San Francisco.

As soon as the film opens you are able to chart its plot pretty much to a tee but the journey to the finale is both funny and intelligent. The film is helped in no small way by two delightful characters played by two very watchable actors, Blunt and Segel. They appear to have great chemistry and Blunt in particular comes out of her shell and puts her comedic chops to great use.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Jeff, Who Lives at Home

Jeff (Jason Segel) is a thirty year old man with a puncheon for the film Signs and lives in his mother Sharon’s (Susan Sarandon) basement. His older brother Pat (Ed Helms) still lives close by with his wife Linda (Judy Greer). He and Linda are in the midst of serious marital problems. One day while she is at work, Sharon asks Jeff to go to the shop to pick up some wood glue. Convinced that the name Kevin is some sort of sign he ill advisedly follows various Kevins’ around the city bumping into his brother along the way.

To me the film was like a cross between a Wes Anderson film and The Office. It has the odd, quirky indie charm of an Anderson picture but the awkward humour and filming style of The Office. Unfortunately it was neither as good as any Wes Anderson film I’ve seen nor The Office. At times it was quite funny but these moments were usually fleeting and there weren’t many of them. The story was reasonably interesting and the film had a sweet ending but it just didn’t mesh together. The whole ‘the Universe will show me the way’ nonsense was really annoying and although the ending was very sweet, it was obvious and annoyed me.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

The Muppets

The Muppets is a reboot of the classic puppet show that has been on a twelve year hiatus from the big screen. The story follows brothers Gary (Jason Segal) and Walter (a Muppet born character) to Los Angeles where they are meant to be celebrating Gary’s ten year anniversary with Mary (Amy Adams). While in town they take in a tour of the old Muppets studios, only to find that the evil Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) is planning to tear it down and drill for oil. In order to save the studio and the Muppets themselves, Walter must persuade Kermit to get the gang back together…

I have to be honest and admit that I have never seen a Muppets movie before but due to how much they have penetrated modern culture, I was able to name over half of them on sight. Despite never seeing a Muppet movie, I am a big fan of puppetry and love Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. The puppetry in the film was incredible. There was so much emotion in their faces, more than Orlando Bloom for instance and it is a feat of direction that the film makers managed to have so many puppets on screen at one time.

The first third of the film was amongst the funniest I have seen in the cinema. I had a constant smile on my face as gag followed gag at a frenetic pace. Had it continued for the entire film I’d be putting it up with This is Spinal Tap as one of my favourite comedies. The number of jokes and laughs inevitably decreases as the film progresses in order to focus more on the plot but there are still more laughs to be had than in even the funniest of films I’ve seen recently. The screening I was in had a real mixture of young children, teenagers and adults and all were laughing, often at the same time and sometimes on their own, but everyone seemed to be enjoying what was on screen.

The film’s songs were excellent and so obviously the work of Flight of the Concords Bret McKenzie. Each one had a Concords ring to it and was funny and catchy. There were also some pretty good cameos in the film, and Jack Black. I’d expected a little more from the cameos having heard about the massive stars the Muppet Show used to attract but most were funny. The main human cast was ok. Amy Adams was her usual fluttery, singing self and although Jason Segal wasn’t great, he has written a very funny film so I’ll let him off. The stars of the show though were of course The Muppets. Kermit and Miss Piggy are at the centre of the story but it is Animal who gets the most laughs and each main character is given at least a couple of chances to shine for a few seconds.

My one complaint with the film is the shameless advertisement for the film Cars. On no less than three occasions we saw a billboard for the film. They might as well have just had Kermit say “You know what guys? We should go and see Cars when we’re finished” and be done with it. I expect this came down from somewhere in Disney rather than from James Bobin but it was disappointing so see so often. I hate to see targeted or semi-subliminal advertising, especially when it is aimed at children.

The Muppets will have created a whole new audience for the fuzzy puppets and I expect we’ll see much more from them in the next few years. The film is a very accomplished comedy that is not afraid to reference itself or even break the forth wall and overall is incredibly enjoyable, funny and sweet.