Tag Archives: Gillian Jacobs

Cinema Dispatch: Life of the Party

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Life of the Party and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Ben Falcone

This isn’t the most object thing to say as a film critic, but there really are times where the success of a movie or the people behind it makes me hate the end product just a little bit more.  Adam Sandler’s entire career is based around this, and absolute dreck like Fist Fight and Daddy’s Home 2 are bad enough that their success only intensifies what I found lacking in them; especially with Daddy’s Home 2 which was so bad AND so successful that it pretty much poisoned the first film for me which I thought wasn’t THAT bad and somewhat enjoyable.  I bring this up because I get the feeling that many people feel that way about Melissa MicCarthy and her movies, and yet I’ve never had anything but praise for her as a performer.  Okay, I wasn’t a fan of Bridesmaids and I still haven’t seen Identity Thief or Tammy, but her track record has been pretty strong as far as I’m concerned and even her low end efforts like The Boss are still better than plenty other comedies that don’t seem to attract as much ire; not to mention the absolute shit storm that blew up over that AMAZING Ghostbusters movie!  Now she’s back to “ruin” yet another one of your treasured eighties films as this movie seems to be an update on Old School starring Rodney Dangerfield, and I hope the next film she does has her working on a golf course or traveling back in time to meet her parents in high school; just to see how far she can piss off “passionate” fanboys who can’t stand to see their original films (THAT AREN’T GOING ANYWHERE!!) being updated for a new audience!  Does this latest effort manage to do for college frat humor what the new Ghostbusters did for comedian driven adventure films, or is this a disappointingly low effort outing from one of the most talented comedians of our time?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Deanna Miles (Melissa McCarthy) dropping off her daughter Maddie (Molly Gordon) for her final year of college which SHOULD be a celebratory day… but it all goes to hell when her jerk of a husband Dan (Matt Walsh) informs her on the ride home that he’s divorcing her, he’s already seeing someone, and he’s gonna sell the house.  Well that stinks!  What the heck is she gonna do to support herself now that her husband is gone and she hasn’t worked in years; not to mention that she never finished college which closes her off from most job opportunities!  Wait a minute… COLLEGE!  THAT’S IT!!  She’ll enroll in the same college as her daughter to finish up that final year and get her degree in… Archeology!  Because the market is bursting at the seams for someone with THOSE qualifications I guess!  Oh, that’s not important!  The important thing is that Maddie’s mom is gonna be at the same place as her and will be SUPER embarrassing!  Well actually, Maddie’s sisters as the Sorority (Gillian Jacobs, Adria Arjona, and Jessie Ennis) take to her rather quickly and she soon becomes the talk of campus; even getting invited to parties and hooking up with sexy stud Jack (Luke Benward)!  Oh, and I guess she’s got to attend her archeology classes taught by Chris Parnell, but forget that!  It’s time to put the MOM back in MOMentous College Experiences as she teaches the youngsters about being responsible adults and they in turn teach her how to cut loose!  Will Deanna manage to pass her final classes to get that degree, or will the pitfalls of college life distract her from reaching her dreams?  Will Maddie gain a newfound respect for her mother now that they’re spending so much time together, and what will the divorce do to her relationship with her as well as her dad?  Will Melissa McCarthy retain her title as one of the most bankable stars in the country, even when she’s doing a cheap college film!?

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“Take a shot every time I cross a hundred million at the box office!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Don’t Think Twice

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Don’t Think Twice and all the images you see in this review are owned by The Film Arcade

Directed by Mike Birbiglia

I always like to see comedians (especially of the Stand Up variety) take a chance behind the camera, especially considering how many really great works that transition has produced.  Bobcat Goldthwaite’s been making angry and brilliant films since the nineties with people only noticing in the past decade or so how great thy are, and Louis CK made such an impact with his television series that it’s become the template for comedian focused shows since then (*cough* Real Rob, Maron, Lopez *cough*).  Now it’s time for Mike Birbiglia to take another stab at it, and while I didn’t see his first film Sleepwalk with Me, I’ve heard very good things about it and can only hope he’s improved since.  Does this insight into the world of improv comedy turn out to be the sleeper hit of the year, or is it destined be yet another victim of the Sophomore Slump?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follow the six members of a New York City improv group known as The Commune; some of whom have been there since it began in the late nineties, others came later, and some are rather fresh to the scene.  Miles (Mike Birbiglia) is the presumptive leader of the group as he has seniority and also teaches an improv class where a lot of the members came from, including Jack and Samantha (Keegan-Michael Key and Gillian Jacobs) who seem to be the rising stars of the group.  You’ve also got the other old timer Bill (Chris Gethard), the rich girl who wants to be taken seriously Lindsay (Tami Sagher) and the one who’s TOTALLY writing a novel and will finish it eventually Allison (Kate Micucci) to round out the crew.  Everything seems to be going fine and they’ve built up their own little life around the show they do a couple of times a week at this small theater, but then life as to throw a curve ball and things change once they find out the theater is shutting down.  Not only that, Jack and Samantha managed to secure auditions for NOT SNL (Weekend Live) which puts even further strain on their friendship; especially with Miles who tried out years ago but couldn’t make the cut.  Will these comedians be able to survive the changes that are being thrust upon them?  Can Jack and Samantha make that transition to the big leagues without burning out or losing their friends in the process?  Why can’t they ALL be winners!?

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“Anyone thought of some good material today?”     “meh.”

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