Covo on “The Guilt Trip”:
One star each for Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen for trying to get us through 95 minutes in this mother and son road trip dramedy. It’s light and has funny moments, but by the end of the film -- you’ll be glad it’s over. There just isn’t all that much to recommend in Joyce and Andy’s world.
The movie can even be described as somewhat optimistic, but it suffers from a lightweight script. It’s lukewarm – on the tepid side -- and just as it seems to start warming up, predictability gets in the way. What’s worse is it’s hard to decide if Joyce (Streisand) is really a nudgy mom or if Andy (Rogen) is a whiny, slightly spoiled son, which sort of destroys the movie’s premise.
There are a few scenes that made me laugh, and even a couple that brought a tear to my eye, but when you see all pieces all together, you might feel cheated.
The screenplay is the culprit here, I think, because the acting is great and the story is not all that bad, with a twist at the end that saved the day, at least for me. For this I have to blame Dan Fogelman, the writer, who either runs hot (think “Crazy Stupid Love”) or really cold (“Cars” and “Cars 2”). Either way, in spite of flashes of brilliance, the road trip turns into a mediocre series of unconnected events, like television episodes, that are loosely tied up at the end.
If there’s nothing at the metroplex you’d rather see, you may as well go for it – Streisand is always delightful on the big screen. But temper your expectations because this film is no blockbuster. Otherwise, you’d do just as well to see it on DVD for a lot less in the comfort of your living room. My guess is, if you opt for the latter, you won’t have to wait too long.
“The Guilt Trip” is rated PG-13 and runs for 95 minutes – released this week in theaters nationwide
Ayotte on “Jack Reacher”:
I’ll admit it … I thought this was going to be a movie for Tom Cruise to run around and stroke his ego as the human weapon that is Jack Reacher; however, it was a solid movie to watch.
The script won’t blow you out of the water because we’ve seen screenplays where someone has been falsely accused and they bring in the only man that can save him. In “Jack Reacher,” it was Jack Reacher—go figure.
What struck me as pleasant about the movie was the mystique behind his character. Lee Child, the author who created him, wrote a series of five books that chronicle adventures for the anti-hero. From what I could gather, the movie is different from any of the books but just as good.
In this film, Reacher is a loner with the resume of a war hero – a hero who doesn’t want to be found. But he gets drawn in by a potential killer. The way he’s talked about in the film for the first 30 minutes or so will keep you on the edge of your seat waiting for him to show up and kill some people, making Reacher somewhat reminiscent of a Steven Seagal in his heyday (who doesn’t love Seagal?)
He doesn’t need a gun or knife, just his fists and one by one the culprits fall. Reacher apparently always works solo, but there is a point at the end when he calls on Cash, and ex-Marine played by Robert Duvall.
Duvall was a great addition to the film and as for the rest of the cast, they delivered good performances. The cast isn’t blowyour-mind incredible but good enough nonetheless. Rosamund Pike plays opposite Cruise as the sassy lawyer who hires Reacher as her investigator, and the versatile Richard Jenkins rounds out the cast as her father.
Overall, “Jack Reacher” is a crowd-pleaser and plays it safe. It’s rated PG-13 and it’s a film the whole family can enjoy. I can’t justify giving this movie a higher rating because it’s basically like “Alex Cross,” but with Cruise instead of Tyler Perry.
Perry’s film got two stars, but Cruise proved himself and deserves the extra nod. In terms of action and fight scenes “Jack Reacher” is as good as any of the movies released earlier this year. This would be my first choice if you’re planning a trip to this weekend.
If it’s just for the adults, opt for the hilarious comedy “This is 40.” You’ll laugh your face off.