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5 reviews in total 
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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
30 minutes of laughs in 2 hours of celluloid., 16 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To be honest, despite the appalling title (but at least it does exactly what is says on the tin), this movie is not a bad way to waste a couple of hours if there's nothing on TV. The premise is harmless enough (well, by modern standards), the performances reasonable and and writing marginally funny (though at points is bordering on offensive).

The main problem with this film is it is painfully mediocre in every way. It lacks the biting edge of There's Something About Mary, similarly the ability to push humour to the very edge of acceptability which saved potential disasters like Scary Movie is also absent. Considering the subject matter, this film just wasn't, well, extreme enough in any sense of the word.

While it's nice to see Catherine Keener on screen, this is a far cry from her genius turn as Maxine in Being John Malkovich. Her character is painfully sweet and nice, even when she is supposed to be losing it, and as a result she is likable and forgettable, just like Steve Carell, who seems acting's equivalent of mashed potato - filling and pleasant but ultimately bland.

Potential mines of comedic gold, such as Andy taking his girlfriend's daughter to a family planning clinic, veer away from potential jokes so as not to cause offence. We are supposed to accept that a girl pleasuring herself with a shower head is the height of kinkiness- this may have been so twenty years ago but now we can't see what the fuss is about. The only thing provocative about this film is its title.

We are confronted by scene after scene which could be axed with no scarring to the remainder of the film - conversations between Andy's co-workers which are not only irrelevant to the plot, but also completely unfunny and not even interesting, and as for the transvestite prostitute - talk about inexplicable!

That said, there are laughs to be had - usually to be found in the supporting characters who are unfortunately sidelined once they begin to distract from Andy's dull journey on his quest to lose his cherry. Andy's nymphomaniac iron-lady boss, his unbelievably bitter co-worker and his 'freaky' pot-smoking friend are all good for a giggle or two, but, like the rest of the film, lack enough oomph to pull the screenplay from its mediocrity.

The finale is also a complete farce - as if the screenwriters ran out of ideas and at 3am after smoking a lot of pot and wanting to head out for waffles came up with this claggy and utterly unnecessary denouement. I could have sat on a keyboard and produced a better close to this film.

See this movie if you find There's Something About Mary too offensive, and have two hours to spare. Otherwise, there are many better comedies out there.

16 out of 30 people found the following review useful:
A dreadful, cynical look at why working class people really are hopeless, darling., 8 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of the most depressing, cynical and downright prejudiced films it has ever been my misfortune to sit through. While the intentions of Amma Asante to depict a true-to-life gritty slice of working class Welsh life may have been admirable, the clumsy way she goes about executing her project made me doubt her own belief in her work. While appalling racism and poverty may indeed be an element of modern urban Wales (and indeed the rest of the world), I was utterly unmoved by the apparent ubiquitousness of these horrendous beliefs within almost EVERY character in this messy pseudo-drama. My own experiences with people in similar (and worse) situations made me angry at the short-sightedness of this thoroughly middle class generalising.

While I am positive I was supposed to sympathise with the reprehensible lead character, I found her negligence as a mother, her cruelty and manipulation of her family and friends, and her hateful nature utterly disgusting, and cheered when her baby was taken from her, as she clearly was no kind of mother. I KNOW this kind of thing happens in real life, but in real life people SMILE, people GET ON WITH IT, people try to MAKE THE BEST OF THEIR SITUATIONS. I cannot sympathise if a baby is taken away from a mother that allows her to scorch her arms with candles, and happily abandons her child in order to have sex on a whim.

The message I felt this film delivered, was that poverty was a situation in which nobody could be human. The middle classes (represented by Brenda Blethyn) are celebrated as if they have some sort of enlightened outlook, completely non-racist and unprejudiced in their suburban Utopia. I think many people would agree this is a distance from the truth.

Violent, gratuitous, unbelievable, unpleasant and an insult to working class life, this film works only to cement the vastly misguided belief that the working classes and people on benefits constitute some kind of inhuman subculture. I would never deny that their are grains of fact which surface in this movie, but its refusal to acknowledge that those at the bottom might have something worth living for (other than making the life of a child an utterly miserable one) is something I cannot accept.

All good points in this film (the occasionally inspiring cinematography, and a smattering of interesting performances), were swept aside by the avalanche of pessimism which Asante obviously feels audiences need. Ken Loach and Mike Leigh get it right. Take Raining Stones, remove all humour, humanity and respect for others, and you'll approach the dross of A Way of Life.

A few wrinkles, but still the best Potter yet, 15 December 2005

I'll throw up my hands and confess I HAVE NEVER, EVER READ A HARRY POTTER. This placed me at an immediate disadvantage when watching this movie (though I have watched all the previous instalments with a cool, but interested eye). Nevertheless, along I went, and found myself thrilled, chilled and, er, spilled for the duration. Although the oddly speeded-up pace of the opening (the Quidditch World Cup hardly gets five minutes more than sufficient to impress an audience with awe-inspiring CG) jarred me a little, once the film had settled down and found its pace I was spellbound. The darkness is really closing in at Hogwarts, and finally a Potter movie has stopped patronising and started actually trying to be a film for adults as well as tots (who will be snivelling at the sight of the hideous, evil Voldemort, made even more sinister by Ralph Fiennes' superb turn).

Twee child-friendly magic-for-laughs such as inflating a bothersome relative has been largely dispensed with, and a strong element of horror and fear crept needlingly into the formerly cosy warmth of Hogwarts. Now the youngsters are growing up, finding love, finding out why life can be cruel, and having to confront the darker side of witchcraft and wizardry. The direction is generally strong and assertive, and the spirit of the previous films lingers with the addition of a lot more spice and excitement.

Not that this film is perfect by any means. Aside from continuity errors and a choppy edit for the first 20 minutes, many wonderful characters have been swept aside by the need to cram so much into such a short space of time. Snape has faded, Draco Malfoy all but disappeared and even Hagrid doesn't get much of a look in. I am reliably informed by my Potter mad friends that much key plot has been axed for the sake of time. So what does get the focus?

Unfortunately as this saga unfurls, more and more time is being spent following Harry in his struggles with the past and present. This is the most emotionally charged chapter in the Potter movies thus far, and Harry's journey would be difficult for any young actor to pull off. A stronger actor than Radcliffe would, however, be better able to handle the challenge of acting with CG and SFX, and would be unfazed by the (sometimes Oscar-winning) pros around him (particularly after three movies playing the same character). Radcliffe, however, shows here more starkly than in any previous Potter, that his range is disappointingly limited. Emma Watson and Rupert Grint are trying hard, and often succeeding, at convincingly playing the confused teenage friends, but Daniel Radcliffe's characterisation of the teen wizard is still painfully self-conscious. Potter is growing up, and Radcliffe is in serious danger of being outgrown by his own character.

Radcliffe aside (and he's young, and has much potential), the cast is wonderful, stellar and delivering buckets of charisma on every level, and finally a British helmer has risen to take the reins of what is, after all, a quintessentially British tale. I hope that the Potters will continue to gather momentum, and this has certainly been the best so far.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Unpretentious, fast-paced fun, 30 November 2005

OK, the script is pretty dire. But this move gives all that it promised - thrills, spills and gore, without the usual poncing around with things like plot or character which tends to undo films with more high-minded aims (28 Days Later springs to mind). It looks great, sounds cool and is wonderfully camp, a tongue in cheek homage to computer gaming fluff. You can't watch a zombie movie in seriousness - the genre was created as a way to satirically represent modern society, not to be judged alongside Merchant Ivory or Federico Fellini. If you loved the games and their cheesiness, watch this film. Don't listen to the critics - trust me, it's a lot of fun!

A treasure from a time when good writing was key to a good film., 30 November 2005

This film is without a doubt the best Mel Brooks ever created. The chemistry between Mostel and Wilder has never been recaptured in film. For most people, "Springtime for Hitler" is the greatest scene. For me, it is Max and Leo's visit to Roger De Bris' apartment (the most non-stop laughs of any movie scene). Zero Mostel is a comic genius, and with Mel Brooks' wonderful script manages to extract every possible nuance of humour and fun from his lines. People may call The Producers dated - but Max and Leo follow the same marketing strategy which allows Uve Boll to be so successful today. An insightful, slick and above all hilarious film, which in my view deserves far more recognition than it gets.