Guilt Trip, Identity Thief And The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

On the flight home, I watched three comedy films; Guilt Trip, Identity Thief, and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. Now, I probably wasn’t in the greatest mood for watching comedy (leaving the love of your life doesn’t really promote happy feelings, and if it does, well maybe you should rethink the relationship), but I can confidently say that even if I was a better mindset, I wouldn’t have found any of these films particularly funny. Because, well, they weren’t.

Fortunately I was already ready for a non-laughable outcome beforehand, as none of the previews I’d seen prior to turning them on my personal little television had built up any expectation.  I knew I wasn’t looking at the new Anchorman, or The World’s End. They looked okay, but that was about it. I never really believed they were going to blow my mind, which was a good thing, as it meant there was no chance of being disappointed (Bad Teacher was actually rather enjoyable thanks to this phenomenon; Man Of Steel, however, wasn’t).

As a result, they were easy films to watch. So I watched them. And then reviewed them. However, I have kept the reviews rather short, mostly because I don’t believe that any of them deserve anything more than a couple hundred words.

Also, I’ve forgotten a lot of the details by now, and I think my opening paragraphs have already explored what I’m about to say. There are only so many ways you can say ‘it was a bit rubbish’. But I’ll still give it a go. Starting with…

Guilt Trip

The first film in the title, and the first film I switched on. Why? Well, I like Seth Rogen, so anything with him in immediately appeals to me. He’s a likeable guy, and I don’t recall him being in anything horrifically bad in the past (oh wait, Funny People. Still, I don’t blame him for that…Adam Sandler just does that to you), so Guilt Trip can’t be that offensive, can it?

Well…yes. I have never seen a Barbra Streisand film before, and now I know why. She’s sodding annoying. And not in a good way. Not in a way that makes you laugh, like say, Melissa McCarthy. She is just one of those people I can’t be bothered with. As soon as I heard her accent, I was ready to switch off (she is the first voice you hear too…clearly a warning for what was about to come). Why didn’t I? Well, I saw Yvonne Strahovski’s name in the credits. And I love Yvonne Strahovski (google her and you’ll get it, though you have to hear her beautiful accent first to truly understand). Immediately I was interested. I’m only familiar with her in Mass Effect (2 and 3) so actually seeing her in a film was exciting. Even if it was Guilt Trip.

Unfortunately, she only makes a brief appearance. Unlike Streisand, who is in practically every scene. Somehow, I feel they got those two roles mixed up. Sure, it would have been strange having Strahovski as Rogen’s mother (I think she’s younger), but I believe it would have been preferable to seeing Streisand’s face for over 90 minutes. They could have made it work.

What else can I say about Guilt Trip? Um, the plot is okay but not good enough, there are a few good jokes but not enough to keep it going, and the chemistry between Streisand and Rogen deserved a better storyline. Oh, and there was nowhere enough screen time for Yvonne Strahovski. Not that I’m obsessed or anything.

4.5/10 (the .5 is for…well, I’m sure you can figure it out).

Identity Thief

Probably the best of the three films, but that isn’t really saying much. Jason Bateman is the man who loses his identity to Melissa McCarthy, who uses her unlimited funds to, well, buy anything she wants. He leaves his family to track her down and bring her in before he loses everything, and she inevitably disagrees with his proposition to hand herself in. It’s all very straightforward. If you are looking for a well developed plot, you are best off looking elsewhere.

Much like Guilt Trip, Identity Thief relies heavily on Bateman And McCarthy. And to their credit, they do their best to keep the comedy going. They have no support from the writing or cast, however, so there was a certain amount of futility in their efforts. Still, I did enjoy it so I’m not going to criticize it too much.  And there was no Barbra Streisand, so that was a plus.

5/10.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Old fashioned magician (Steve Carrell) and his partner (Steve Buscemi) try to regain their fame and fortune from the hands of Jim Carrey (whose character is called Steve…great idea guys!), who is stealing the Las Vegas crowds with his ridiculous and outrageous stunts. To do this, they must put refresh their act, put aside their differences, and, most importantly, remember what it was that lead them into magic in the first place…

Now, TIBW (I’m not spelling it out again) could have been good. It really could have. It has a good cast, and it is an interesting premise. Had they got the right blend of comedy and storytelling, TIBW could have amazed us. Or at least me.

But it didn’t, as you have probably guessed. The jokes were just goofy, but not in a clever way (I think even kids wouldn’t be impressed), the characters weren’t likeable, and the story was disappointingly safe. I don’t remember laughing once, but I do remember checking my watch to see if it was nearly over. This might sound harsh (mostly because it is), but TIBW was not only the worst film I watched on the flight, it was the worst film I’ve watched all year. I’m going to give it the lowest score so far on the blog, and I don’t even feel bad about it. That’s how poor it was.

3.5/10. There wasn’t even Yvonne Strahovski there to cheer me up (though I’ll give some credit to Carrey for his performance; despite the awfulness of the film, this could be his career revival).

 

 

…And that’s it.  No real surprises, I don’t think (except for my scathing score for Burt Wonderstone). Maybe a small bit of me hoped that I would be surprised by a real hilarious film, but I wasn’t expecting it. I only watched them to double-check my assumption was right. And because, though I wasn’t in the mood for comedies, I was even less inclined to watch any other genre. Like I said, I wasn’t very happy at the time. But, they kept me entertained (well, I wasn’t bored) so I’m glad I watched them. I think.

 

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