Tag Archives: Brooklyn Decker

Movie Review: Stretch (2014)

Stretch-Poster

Usually, when a Hollywood film with a list stars ends up having its release delayed, before being pushed to a VOD debut, it means the movie probably stinks. In the case of Stretch, however, it says a lot more about the stupidity and conservative nature of Hollywood more than anything else. Stretch is undeniably weird, wacky, and all over the place, but it is also one of the most original and gut-bustingly hilarious oddball comedy in years.

Patrick Wilson stars as a down-and-out limo driver nicknamed Stretch, who came to Hollywood years ago with dreams of making it big some day. Instead of becoming a star, he’s dumped by his gorgeous gal (Brooklyn Decker) and develops a dangerous gambling habit that has him owing a sizable chunk of money to some very dangerous people. To make ends meet, he works for a limousine service that caters to Hollywood stars and wannabes, taking over the client list of a former driver, Karl (Ed Helms), who blew his brains out because the job made him so depressed.

Stretch’s luck appears to make a turn for the better when he runs into Karos (Chris Pine), a mysterious billionaire who offers to give him a very generous tip for being an extra accommodating driver. And so begins a wild night of mayhem that will involve gangsters, police, hookers, exes, bad acting, brilliant acting, reality TV stars and smartphone hook-up apps.

Stretch is a crazy romp, and I mean that in the best of ways. There’s a sharp satirical edge throughout, taking stabs and bites at Hollywood along the way, and the jokes and one-liners are fast and furious. The pace of the entire film is frantic, as Stretch keeps getting bounced from place to place and bumping into memorable and bizarre characters.

Writer and director Joe Carnahan, who has credits like The Grey, Smokin’ Aces and The A-Team on his resume, does a fine job of making Stretch a finely tuned mess where as audiences we are just happy to go along for the ride.

Patrick Wilson is legendary in this, and Chris Pine is as funny as I have ever seen him. Other supporting cast members such as Jessica Alba, Brooklyn Decker, James Badge Dale and Ed Helms all Play their parts with the requisite amount of fun. The highlights for me, however, would have to be the extended cameos from David Hasselhoff and Ray Liotta playing spoof versions of themselves, as well as Kevin Bigley playing ex-reality TV star Faux Hawk.

The film does get wrapped up a little too neatly and resorts to more conventional Hollywood tactics down the stretch, no pun intended. Notwithstanding its flaws, however, Stretch is an undeniably brilliant farce and one of the most hilarious and energetic popcorn movies I have seen in quite some time.

4.5 stars out of 5

Movie Review: Battleship (2012)

Gambit and John Carter is now a naval officer battling aliens!

Rising superstar Taylor Kitsch leads an all star cast in Battleship, a sci-fi blockbuster I, admittedly, thought was going to be pure trash when I saw the teaser trailer ages ago. I mean, come on, are we so short on ideas these days that movies now have to be based on board games? Anyway, Kitsch plays Alex Hopper, a bit of a loser who, we are told repeatedly, is a guy high on talent but short on discipline — until he is forced to join the navy by his decorated older brother Stone Hopper (Alexander Skarsgard, the really tall vampire from True Blood). Meanwhile, he has managed to score Andy Roddick’s wife (Brooklyn Decker) as a girlfriend, but the relationship is opposed by her father, the always awesome Liam Neeson, who also happens to be the brothers’ superior.

Whatever. This is essentially a rather pointless backdrop for the real story — the sending of a satellite signal to an earth-like planet far far away, and eventually receiving an unfriendly response in the form of Transformer-like water fighter jets and nasty aliens in metal body suits. Let the battleship games begin! (And yes, they do to some extent replicate the “blind bombing” of the board game)

Look, despite how badly that sounded, Battleship turned out to be a pretty decent piece of popcorn entertainment that harks back to the fun-filled action blockbusters of the late 90s, such as Con Air, Face Off and Armageddon. Like those films, Battleship takes itself “half-seriously” — complete with huge explosions, tough guys pretending to be cool, cheesy dialogue, tongue-in-cheek jokes and groups of people walking towards the camera in slow motion while rock music blares in the background. If you can accept the film for what it is, let go of your brain and just go with the flow, you might end up enjoying the film as much as I did.

Battleship combines white knuckle naval battle action with supreme special effects, making it a great movie to watch on the big screen. All that running and flying around occasionally gets a little muddled with the quick cuts, but for the most part director Peter Berg (The Kingdom, Hancock) does an admirable job of keeping the film afloat.

Taylor Kitsch is solid as the confused hero forced to realise his full potential, providing a mix of leading man charm and self-deprecating humour. He’s already been in two blockbusters in 2012 and is set to appear in Oliver Stone’s crime-thriller Savages later this year. The rest do their best with the cookie cutter characters they have been given, with special mention going out to Rihanna for not sticking out like a sore thumb in her debut acting role. She plays an action-based character who doesn’t say a whole lot (definitely a good thing) but she delivers a performance that matches well with the rest of the cast.

At the end of the day, Battleship is unlikely to be remembered as a great, or even good movie, but as far as fun, visual-effects driven action blockbusters go, it’s definitely one of the better ones.

3.75 stars out of 5

Movie Review: Just Go With It (2011)

It seems like it was so long ago that I was an Adam Sandler fan.  I loved his crazy, stupid movies.  No matter what anyone says about them, they were (for the most part) hilarious and unique in that Sandler-esque kind of way.

These days, frankly, Sandler’s movies suck.  They’ve become predictable, formulaic, and not very funny.  I feel like he is undergoing some kind of mid-life crisis, for some reason always trying to make his films have a proper storyline and some kind of message about life.  That’s not his forte.

And so it was with reservations that I went to see Just Go With It, a ‘romantic comedy’ about a plastic surgeon who pretends he is married to lure chicks, kind of like that episode of Seinfeld where George gave it a go.  And just like George in that episode, the scheme backfires when he meets the woman of his dreams (Andy Roddick’s SI model wife Brooklyn Decker), and must now continue to pretend he is temporarily ‘married’ by getting his assistant (Jennifer Aniston) to act as his wife.

You don’t need me to tell you where this movie heads and how it ends up.

As I mentioned above, Sandler doesn’t make good movies anymore (his best efforts these days are, I would say, ‘average’ at best).  Jennifer Aniston almost never makes watchable movies.  Throw the two together and it’s a disaster waiting to happen.

Fortunately for them, there were a few good moments in Just Go With It, but none of them involved Sandler or Aniston.  The real stars of the film were Bailee Madison (who plays Aniston’s quirky daughter) and Nick Swardson (who is more hit and miss but has some good moments as Sandler’s cousin).  And Brooklyn Decker was surprisingly adequate as the fake love interest, demonstrating not only that she can act but also that she possesses decent comedic timing.  There’s also a supporting role with Nicole Kidman that I didn’t know about, but she wasn’t as funny as she could or should have been.

But ultimately, Just Go With It is probably exactly what you’d expect it to be — two big stars, an initially interesting premise, a predictable plot and a few good jokes, but far too many bad ones.  Potentially worthy as a DVD rental on a rainy night if you are in the right mood, but otherwise don’t waste your money.

2.25 stars out of 5