Jack Reacher must uncover the truth behind a major government conspiracy in order to clear his name. On the run as a fugitive from the law, Reacher uncovers a potential secret from his past that could change his life forever.
Two hard-partying brothers place an online ad to find the perfect dates for their sister's Hawaiian wedding. Hoping for a wild getaway, the boys instead find themselves out-hustled by an uncontrollable duo.
Two corrupt cops set out to blackmail and frame every criminal unfortunate enough to cross their path. Events, however, are complicated by the arrival of someone who appears to be even more dangerous than they are.
John Michael McDonagh
Even before director Greg Mottola came aboard the project, screenwriter Michael LeSieur had successfully pitched the story to producers Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald. "I think Walter responded to the contrast between the suburban couple, living this boring life, and this fantastic, sophisticated, well-traveled couple that is moving into a neighborhood to which they don't seem to belong," said LeSieur. "The wife is suspicious of the new neighbors, but the husband is thrilled to have these exciting people living nearby. It's a rich premise." See more »
The I.D. badges for MBI staff keep changing on a couple of people (Zac mostly) from being back to front (white plain) to being the correct way around in alternate shots. Also when Zac is in his car and stops in front of Jon Hamm the badge is upside down as it has been caught in his seat belt, in alternate shots it is back down again. See more »
Greetings again from the darkness. Dozens of movies through the years make up the Spy Action-Comedy segment. Most of these lean heavily on either action (Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Red, Knight and Day) or comedy (Austin Powers, Get Smart, Date Night). The latest entry from director Greg Mottola and writer Michael LeSieur offers a more balanced approach while being somewhat grounded in familiar suburbia. Perfect casting certainly helps.
Comedies are the toughest genre to review because the only thing that matters does it cause you to laugh? depends on the sense of humor of each viewer and even their frame of mind while watching. So what I can report is that the full theatre at my screening was filled with enthusiastic laughter multiple times, along with a pretty steady stream of chuckles and giggling. This will undoubtedly vary from the accounts of uppity film critics who will discount the basic plot and obvious laughs (which is the whole point).
A James Bond-type opening credit sequence sets the tone as we abruptly shift to watching Jeff and Karen Gaffney (Zach Galifianakias, Isla Fisher) sending off their two sons to summer camp before returning home to their idealistic cul-de-sac suburban home. Things pick up when the new neighbors, Tim and Natalie Jones, arrive a seemingly perfect couple played by Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot. They are the type of couple who are beautiful to look at, stylishly dressed, and even show up with a blown-glass sculpture as a gift for their new neighbors.
Of course, this perfect couple is really married spies seeking information from the military weapons contractor where Jeff works as a Human Resources associate. It's Karen who senses something is off about the perfect couple, which leads to her stalking Natalie all the way to a dressing room where she is comically intimidated by Wonder Woman in black lingerie. On a side note, Ms. Fisher does have a later sequence where she proves to be anything but a homely housewife, despite how that dressing room scene is presented.
The men head off for some male bonding at a highly unusual specialty restaurant, leading to one of the more manic sequences in the movie. The four leads are all excellent, but it's Gal Gadot who is the real surprise and her scenes with Ms. Fisher are the film's best. Both are allowed to shine, while the men are a bit more one dimensional. Galifianakias is the all-trusting good guy just happy to have some excitement in his life, while Hamm is the super cool spy (who wishes he wasn't). Both men seem to enjoy the chance to make friends, while the women are a bit more focused on tasks at hand.
Director Mottola is known for his films Adventureland and Superbad, and writer LeSieur is best known for Me, You and Dupree. The impressive thing about this latest is that the comedy mostly derives from character and situational interactions, and the expected steady stream of punchlines never materializes. There is even some insight into marriages that have become a bit too predictable, and the challenges of making new friends when all available energy is devoted to parenting and making ends meet.
In addition to the four leads, there are some funny moments for Maribeth Monroe, Matt Walsh and Kevin Dunn. The brilliant Patton Oswalt is cast as the self-nicknamed villain, and is responsible for one of the film's biggest laughs.
Of course, this is not subtle or high-brow humor, and the story line is predictable throughout. The laughs stem from the contrast of a subdued, comfy suburban life versus the sophisticated, over-accomplished jet-setting couple laughs clearly enhanced by the talented leads. So while this seems like the kind of movie I would usually ignore, perhaps it arrives at a time when laughing is simply preferable to the daily grind of an embarrassing and humiliating Presidential race. So go ahead and give laughter a chance it works even better than a stress ball.
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