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Lemon La Vida Loca (2012)
Promising start, mediocre after that
I absolutely love Leigh Francis. "Keith Lemon" may someday rank up there with Dame Edna for alter egos more famous than the comedians who invented them. If you haven't seen "Celebrity Juice", you've missed out on life: absolutely hilarious. Then came "Lemon Aid" this year. Not so good, but not that bad. Then I heard of this new series and wondered if Leigh - or Keith - was stretching himself too thin.
On second thought, it seemed a brilliant idea: the oddity of Celebrity Juice is that it is a game show ('panel show' in the UK) with everything real except the raunchy, flamboyantly heterosexual - i.e., sexist - host, Keith Lemon. This way, "Keith" can do and say anything - things Leigh Francis would be crucified for. Brilliant set-up. So, we wonder, what WOULD Keith Lemon be like in real life? Actually, it's a clever premise.
The first episode was very good and I had high hopes for the rest of the series. Second episode okay. Third, which I saw last night, pretty bad. The plot lines which will continue (according to the 'next episode' trailer) make me groan, especially the personal trainer and Keith's girlfriend subplot. The over-the-top silliness which is the world of Keith Lemon is devolving into mediocre melodrama with a few silly bits thrown in. Too bad.
Well, at least Celebrity Juice is still going strong. "Keith" may want to stick to that.
Four Lions (2010)
Could have been very, very good but fatal flaws
It's an odd film in that we get caught up in it's fast-paced, very funny plot line, with its engaging characters, but it all leads to an unacceptable conclusion; rather like a new delicious cocktail with an awful aftertaste.
I think the writers tried to save the film in the end - Omar and Waj realizing what they are doing is just wrong - but they still have Omar blow up a chemist's and kill innocent people, as if he were doing an "honorable" thing after the death of Waj. And it is this casualness with taking innocent lives which leaves such a bad aftertaste for the viewer (of what is supposed to be a comedy). It's just unacceptable. Especially in the character of Omar's beautiful wife: she seems to think that killing innocents is not only perfectly okay, she instills this in her young child. The writers are actually trying to portray the wife as a sympathetic, likable character. No, I don't think so.
Aside from this casualness with murder, we have every single police officer portrayed as an incompetent idiot, which is, no doubt, a gimmick to shield the filmmakers from anti-Islam bias ("see, we made the cops look like idiots too!"). Other gimmicky aspects include the rocket launcher "mistake" (did anyone watching this film NOT know that they were going to aim the launcher the wrong way?) and the entire sequence of the police raid of the wrong house - a complete, utter rip-off of 'Silence of the Lambs'.
This could have been really good - without these flaws. The Barry character is great and the others are very good. The humor is excellent. However, it's pretty much impossible to make the terrorist murder of innocent people a funny subject. It shouldn't even be tried.