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Review: Movie 43

Movie_43_PosterStar power is no match for tasteless, offensive and unfunny comedy.

The “Movie 43” wraparound features Dennis Quaid as a lunatic with an abysmal script who forces Greg Kinnear’s movie producer to buy the piece at gunpoint. Coincidence? Probably not, as almost each and every sketch of this comedy anthology is so silly, nauseating and degrading it seems like the only plausible way the producers could manage to recruit so much top-notch talent.

Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet make it through better than most. Jackman will likely never live down having a pair of testicles dangle from his neck for the sake of this movie, but between the giggle-worthy visual and the duo’s charm, “The Catch” is easily “Movie 43’s” finest few minutes. Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber’s “Homeschooled” is another portion that at least respects its leads, but breaks down entirely when the scenario drivels on and right into a strange and unsatisfying conclusion.

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Review: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

I love chocolate cake. When I eat too much chocolate cake, I feel sick and don’t love it much anymore. I like visually stimulating imagery in movies. When I see too much visually stimulating imagery, in 3D nonetheless, I feel sick and don’t love it much anymore. Hopefully Michael Bay doesn’t love chocolate cake as much as he loves tracking shots and dizzying robot battles or he’d have a morbidly obese problem on his hands.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon suggests that Apollo 11 really flew to the moon to investigate a mysterious spacecraft crash. Turns out, that spacecraft is from Cybertron and carries an Autobot technology with the power to save their race. However, years later, the government has neatly tucked away this little bit of info, and Optimus Prime, Bumblee and the other Autobots are committed to living on earth, assisting the US military.

Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is a recent college graduate trying to secure his first post-school job, but unfortunately, his Ivy League diploma and medal from the president don’t bear as much weight as he hopes. On the bright side, Sam had no trouble replacing Mikaela (Megan Fox) with yet another woman way out of his league, Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley). She’s got a high-paying position working for Dylan (Patrick Dempsey), a car-collecting hotshot, who’s generous enough to give Carly a paycheck that supports both her and Sam. Believing this is no life for a former hero, Sam is desperate for the day he can jump back into the action with the Autobots and, thanks to a piece of that Cybertron spacecraft surfacing in Chernobyl, he’ll get that chance soon enough.

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Interview: The Cast And Filmmakers Of Life As We Know It

Taking the plunge and deciding to have a child is life changing enough; imagine having no plans for kids and all of a sudden having a little one running around the house. That’s what happens to Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel in Life as We Know It. They play Holly and Eric, two people who only tolerate each other for the sake of their mutual best friends and their beautiful baby girl, Sophie. When tragedy strikes and their friends pass away, Sophie is left in Holly and Eric’s care. Now not only do they have to put their differences aside and shack up together, but the former rivals have to completely rearrange their lives for Sophie, too.

Clearly Life as We Know It isn’t a straightforward comedy. It comes packed with hilarious poop-filled moments, but there’s also an underlying sadness due to the event that brings Holly, Eric and Sophie together and director Greg Berlanti knows it. He and his producers, Paul Brooks and Barry Josephson, as well as the writers, Ian Deitchman and Kristin Rusk Robinson, were all well aware of the challenge the mix of genre would pose when it came to getting a studio’s green light. Clearly their dedication and passion for the story paid off because come October 8th, Life as We Know It will hit theaters nationwide.

To promote the project the gang all came out for a press conference to talk about everything from working with the Clagett triplets playing Sophie to handling the film’s atypical romantic comedy nature down to the parallel between this story and Heigl’s real life experience adopting a child. Even with some very serious topics circulating the panel, laughs were abound from beginning to end. Check it all out in the interview below.

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Review: Life As We Know It

Another romantic comedy starring Katherine Heigl; should you prepare for more of the same? Yes, but surprisingly, in this case, more of the same isn’t all that bad. Someone must have told Heigl she’s been trying way too hard because in Life as We Know It, she dials it down a notch returning to the undeniably natural actress we grew to love in Knocked Up. Pair her up with the considerably charismatic Josh Duhamel and a cooing baby, and you’ve got a guaranteed crowd pleaser all the way through.

You know the saying, “opposites attract?” Well, that’s far from the case with Holly and Messer (Heigl and Duhamel). Holly is the orderly owner of a small café while Messer’s a wild and free-spirited sports television broadcast technician. Back in 2007, their best friends, Alison and Peter (Christina Hendricks and Hayes MacArthur), took the aforementioned saying to heart and set the two up on a date. The night was a disaster to say the least, but thanks to their mutual friends, it was impossible for Holly and Messer to avoid one another, especially when their buddies had a baby girl and named the duo the godparents.

Tragedy strikes just after baby Sophie’s first birthday when her parents pass away in a car accident. Now, not only do Holly and Messer have to manage a hefty dose of grief, but Sophie as well, because Alison and Peter designate Holly and Messer Sophie’s new parents in their will. Dumbfounded, but compelled, they opt to put their differences aside as best they can and bunk down in their late pals’ house for Sophie’s sake. However, as hard as they try and as much as they love Sophie, the fact that this was never the life they envisioned for themselves makes the situation even more complicated.

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Review: Ramona And Beezus

People of all ages talk about Beverly Cleary’s Beezus and Ramona books fondly, but that still doesn’t classify the series as one for all ages. The stories are for children, and adults just remember them tenderly and enjoy sharing them with their kids; that doesn’t mean the book-to-film adaptation needs to directly appeal to older crowds as well. If only the filmmakers would have ditched such a deliberate attempt at making Ramona and Beezus adult-friendly, perhaps the film would have been as successful as the source material.

Ramona and Beezus is a mash up of Cleary’s beloved books about a little girl and her big sister. The series begins with the character at age four, but the film stars Joey King as a 9-year-old Ramona Quimby with her sister Beezus (Selena Gomez) a teen in high school. They love each other, but Beezus often admits sometimes she just can’t stand her troublemaker of a little sister. Most kids Ramona’s age create their fair share of problems, but Ramona’s wild imagination gets way out of hand a little too often.

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Review: When In Rome

When a movie’s tagline is “Did you ever wish for the impossible?” you know you’re in trouble. Screenwriters David Diamond and David Weissman should have cut back on the wishing and directed their time and energy towards putting together a funnier script. The duo takes a hopeful premise and drags it down with a colossal amount of cliché gags and uncomfortably awkward moments.

Beth is 100% committed to her job as an art curator leaving zero time to have a guy in her life, which is evident in the film’s opening scene. While hosting a party at an art exhibit, it’s erroneously announced that Beth is engaged. Making the situation even more humiliating, the person who’s actually engaged is Beth’s ex. But don’t worry Beth, this event has absolutely no bearing upon the rest of the film and is ultimately insignificant.

The real story kicks in when her little sister informs her she’s getting married in Rome. A mix of jealously, work-related pressure and champagne leads to a wedding packed with mishaps. Luckily Beth meets the just as unfortunate Nick (Josh Duhamel), a guy who makes Beth second-guess her all-work-no-boyfriend policy. More champagne eventually lands Beth in the fountain of love committing a serious no-no, taking other people’s coins. Not only is it illegal to be prancing in the fountain, but by taking the coins, she puts their owners under a magical spell making them madly in love with her.

Once Beth returns to New York City, the problems begin, both for Beth and the audience. We’re introduced to four coin tossers, all of which are amusing at first, but quickly become annoyingly intolerable. Will Arnett is Antonio, an Italian painter and the least humorous of the bunch. There are a few cute moments between Danny Devito’s sausage king and Beth, and Dax Shepard earns a few giggles as a super vain model. A number of Lance (Jon Heder) the gothic magician moments are funny, but that character is so discomforting to watch it’s almost impossible to laugh. Heder’s saving grace is his reunion with Napoleon Dynamite co-star Efren Ramirez. Come to think of it, Ramirez may be the funniest of the supporting characters.

This is a romantic comedy, so of course our lead must have exponentially more unappealing best friends. Lead sidekick duties fall to Bobby Moynihan and Kate Micucci neither of which has one remotely funny moment. They’re completely thrown under the bus at Bell’s and Duhamel’s expense. At least their sacrifice is worth it; When in Rome’s sole positive sources are the stars. Both Bell and Duhamel have an uncanny ability to be appealing on screen no matter what ridiculous absurdity they’re engaged in.

On the whole, When in Rome is a subpar attempt at a romantic comedy. Every cheap gag is hackneyed and blush-worthy rather than deserving of a laugh. On the other hand, it does hold your attention from beginning to end. Between the magnetism of Bell and Duhamel and the mesmerizing scenic shot of Rome and New York, When in Rome is a pleasantly tolerable hour and a half. That being said, even a minute more would have been a serious problem.

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