Review: The Secret Life Of Pets (2016)

image

This animation from the makers of Despicable Me has pep and visual humour to spare, even if the familiar plot isn’t quite up to scratch. Max (Louis C.K.), a faithful canine, is sidelined when his owner brings home an unkempt mutt (Eric Stonestreet). Their reckless attempts to one-up each other soon leave them lost on the streets of New York, hunted by viscious strays. Continue reading “Review: The Secret Life Of Pets (2016)”

Review: Man Up (2015)

11181944_1600156596908436_6215634603156208180_o_zpsh9dudcgr

The rom-com has had a rough time in recent years, but Man Up – toplined by the intensely charming Lake Bell – proves there’s fire in the old belly yet. Unlucky in love, Nancy (Bell) inadvertently steals a date with Jack (Simon Pegg) when she’s mistaken as his blind date. The two embark upon a wild day in London that brings out the best and worst in them. Continue reading “Review: Man Up (2015)”

Review: In A World… (2013)

In A World...

Known to few for her supporting turns in such rom-coms as It’s Complicated and No Strings Attached, actress Lake Bell takes a leap into the forefront with In A World. This superbly written treasure of a film, which premiered to wows from critics and audiences alike at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, delves into the unseen world of trailer voiceover artists and not only proves Bell’s worth as an actress, but also marks her arrival as a proficient writer and director. Continue reading “Review: In A World… (2013)”

Review: No Strings Attached (2011)

Veteren comedy director Ivan Reitman returns with No Strings Attached, a rom-com that asks the question of whether or not friends with benefits can still be best friends without letting their emotions overrule their unattached “relationship”.

Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher), after years of failed relationships, make a pact to use each other for sex. But when Adam starts seeing their relationship as something more, Emma instinctively wants to run the other way.

No Strings Attached – while it may be too long for its own good, is overly predictable and relies too heavily on crass humour – delivers feasibly well on all levels under the trained direction of Reitman and a competent script by Elizabeth Meriwether.

Ashton Kutcher, reprising the role he’s played in every other rom-com, is likeable and entertaining enough. Natalie Portman, in a role that is vastly different to her award-nominated performance in Black Swan, often feels uncomfortable in a genre that’s clearly not suited to her talents, but undeniably manages to deliver a relatively natural, appealing and sexy performance.

The supporting cast, including standout performances from Lake Bell and Greta Gerwig, notably aid the two leads, often stealing the film and creating an enjoyable diversion to the weak and predictable central storyline.

No Strings Attached is ultimately a fairly enjoyable rom-com that’s made watchable by an above-average script, credible direction and the best intentions of the entire cast.