This week’s new releases are How to Train Your Dragon 2, Jersey Boys, Let’s Be Cops, and Tammy.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2
Running Time: 102 mins.
OFRB Rating: PG (frightening scenes)
Starring: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Gerard Butler, Cate Blanchett, Craig Ferguson, Djimon Hounsou, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, and Kit Harrington
Verdict: As much as the first How to Train Your Dragon was just a refurbished E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, it was still entertaining, with a game voice cast and a wonderful score. How to Train Your Dragon 2’s cast and score are the same as the first time around, which is good. But almost everything else about the movie is the same, too, which becomes problematic after the initial thrill of seeing how the child characters have grown wears off. Blanchett is a nice addition to the cast, but everything else just feels like you’re watching the first movie again, which begs the question: why bother doing a sequel at all? (3½ stars / 5)
Running Time: 134 mins.
OFRB Rating: 14A (coarse language)
Starring: John Lloyd Young, Vincent Piazza, Michael Lomenda, Erich Bergen, and Christopher Walken
Verdict: While Jersey Boys struggles to come to life as the behind-the-scenes story of the rise and fall and rise of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons (having each of the four singers taking turns breaking the fourth wall is a wonderful device), it dazzles the screen whenever it breaks into one of the band’s dozens of hits. Moreover, director Clint Eastwood struggles to find the right tone for the movie. You get the feeling he was enjoying watching the filming so much he forgot to give any direction, leaving the movie to amble about for too many pointless scenes that are filmed quite flatly. As a musical biography, it’s simply okay, but it’s one hell of a catchy jukebox musical. (3½ stars / 5)
LET’S BE COPS
Running Time: 104 mins.
OFRB Rating: 14A (coarse language, violence)
Starring: Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans, Jr., James D’Arcy, Nin Dobrev, Rob Riggle, Andy Garcia, and Jon Lajoie
Verdict: As funny as Johnson and Wayans, Jr. normally are, Let’s Be Cops is so full of homophobia, racism, and misogyny, they’re unable to squeeze the slightest humour from the terrible script. What may be even worse is that the premise has no long-term yield, leading to random scenes that have nothing to do with anything except not being funny. You could at least turn it into a drinking game of guessing what cliché scene will come next, but then you won’t even make it to the preposterously stupid climax. Don’t even waste your time. (0 stars / 5)
Running Time: 97 mins.
OFRB Rating: 14A (coarse language)
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Mark Duplass, Gary Cole, Kathy Bates, Allison Janney, Toni Collette, Dan Aykroyd, Nat Faxon, and Sandra Oh
Verdict: Indecision and identity crises permeate Tammy, a movie that doesn’t know what it wants to. A road trip starring an idiotic woman (McCarthy) and her wild grandmother (Sarandon), you can never tell whether you’re supposed to feel bad for Tammy and her sad life or if you’re supposed to laugh at how pathetic and uncoordinated she is. Plus, the movie seems to get bored halfway through and jarringly turns into a stagnant dramedy for seemingly no reason. Tammy may be the only movie with a protagonist cradling a dying loved one and crying real tears, just 60 minutes after showing her giving mouth-to-mouth to a deer in the middle of the road. (2½ stars / 5)