Cinema Dispatch: Happiest Season

Happiest Season and all the images you see in this review are owned by Hulu

Directed by Clea DuVall

It’s been a while since I’ve sat down and watched a new movie, hasn’t it?  Okay, at THIS point it’s not exactly a new movie as it’s been out for over a week now, but it’s been harder to keep up with what’s coming out and which films are worth seeking which is a far cry from the very structured way I used to do them when they came out in theaters, but we ten months into this nightmare and we all need to find new ways to work with the new normal.  In any case, I heard murmurings about this about a week before it came out which is usually a good sign to check it out, and the premise at least looked like it had SOMETHING worth talking about to separate it from all the other Christmas movies that come out each year.  Now that I’ve finally seen it, does it live up to the modicum of hype it built for itself, or did Hulu trick me into watching something that otherwise should have been on the Hallmark channel sandwiched between A Shoe Addict’s Christmas and Fir Crazy?  Let’s find out!!

Abbey Holland (Kristen Stewart) is in a wonderful relationship with her girlfriend Harper Caldwell (Mackenzie Davis) and after spending the better part of a year together she thinks she’s ready to ask her to marry her!  Fate has other ideas in mind however as it’s Christmas time and on a whim Harper asks her to join her family for Christmas which SEEMS innocuous enough… but just as they’re about to pull into the drive way Harper tells Abbey that her family has NO IDEA she’s a lesbian and that they have to pretend to just be friends.  Seems like a red flag big enough to see from space, but Harper assures her that she’ll tell her parents AFTER Christmas and so Abbey begrudgingly goes along with it.  From there it’s what you’d expect as the family members each have their own eccentricities and barely concealed hatreds for one another which Abbey just sits back and enjoys, but keeping this secret proves to be harder than it looks; especially when Harper’s mom (Mary Steenburgen) tries to set her up with an old boyfriend (Jake McDorman), and her dad (Victor Garber) is a politician which means they are under a microscope whenever they leave the house.  Fortunately there’s a ray of light in this town in the form of Riley (Aubrey Plaza) who was Harper’s first girlfriend and seems to know what Abbey is going through, and if all else fails Abbey’s got a Gay Best FriendTM back home named John (Dan Levy) who’s watching her pets and is always ready to dispense sassy advise when needed!  Can Abbey survive being in this awkward situation, and will her relationship with Harper fall apart in the process?  What is it about her family that has made Harper so paranoid about them finding out she’s a lesbian, and can any of justify what she’s having her girlfriend go through?  Then again, if it’s THIS easy to fool her parents, maybe this is just a warm up to some big heist or something!

“We’re friends!”     “JUST friends!”     “Which is obvious!”     “And a very normal thing to say!”     …     “I think they’re buying it!”
Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Happiest Season”

Cinema Dispatch: Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

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Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox

Directed by Jake Szymanski

We all love Zac Efron, right?  Sure there was a point where everyone inexplicably hated him the same way that everyone hated DiCaprio after Titanic, but the guy is just bursting with charisma when he’s not merely bursting out of his clothes.  Still, he’s hit a bit of a rut recently where he’s either in an awful movie or he’s in a decent enough movie but isn’t asked to stretch very far, and I fear this might continue for a while considering how badly his sincere low budget drama We Are Your Friends ended up being received by everyone other than me.  This one looks to be a continuation of that trend where he’s playing yet another dumb guy with a stupidly hot bod, though maybe they can manage to do something interesting with that character rather than just regurgitate jokes we’ve seen him do for the last five years?  Yeah, I don’t have much hope either, but you never know!  Let’s find out!!

The movie is all about Mike and Dave (Zac Efron and Adam Devine); two brothers who may as well be spin-off characters from the Neighbors movies as both are in total broski mode as they are PROBABLY in their thirties by now (their age isn’t specified) yet are still trying to live life like they’re college douche bags.  They’re liquor salesmen but as far as I can tell they only have one client who buys their whiskey out of pity, and their apartment looks like the jock-pocalypse took place, what with the empty pizza boxes and indoor basketball hoop.  Their bubble is about to burst though, at least somewhat, they are confronted by their parents and younger sister Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard) who’s wedding is coming up and all of them, including the fiancé Eric (Sam Richardson), want them to shape up and act like adults rather than party animals.  How exactly do they expect these two knuckleheads to pull this off?  By getting dates of course!  Through a whole bunch of convoluted means, they end up meeting Alice and Tatiana (Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza), who are pretending to be nice and stable girls so they can bum a free vacation off of these two as the wedding will take place in Hawaii; a destination I’m sure was chosen for its natural beauty and rich culture and wasn’t an excuse for the actors to take a vacation (a well-known Hollywood scam known as An Adam Sandler Movie).  Of course, the bad girls can’t keep up the act for long which only leads to Mike and Dave getting all riled up and chaos eventually ensues!  Can everyone manage to keep their shit together, at least until after the two get married?  Will these four people thrown together through luck and manipulation manage to find… true love?  Why would the supposedly reasonable people ever think that this plan would work out?

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“We managed to find two people who wanted to go to Hawaii for free!”     “And we’ve only known them for a couple of days!”     “This was an AWESOME idea!”     “Pound it bro!”

Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates”