Brittany Runs a Marathon
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
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The Man. The Myth. The Polo Sweater. Cult-declared Apple founder Steve Jobs was barely laid to rest before Hollywood initiated the transfer of his life to the silver screen. Sacrilege or not, he won't be turning too askew in his grave. Half a rotation possibly, but it could have been far worse. The depiction of the digital pioneer is, for the most part, serviceable and interesting.
Jobs is played by Ashton "Dude, Where's My Car?" Kutcher, which beforehand felt like a somewhat laughable choice. Something has transpired since his stoner days though. He has grown, even inhabits the role quite well, despite a strange, remarkably forced adoption of Jobs' peculiar walking style. Kutcher is moreover a striking look-a-like.
The worm in the apple is not the acting, but the shallowness in the portrayal. The film reflects many facets of its titular figure - the passion, the egomania, the dictatorial tendencies - but rather gives the impression of a list being checked off than an inspired study of a complex visionary soul. The college years are diddled away. The family subjects barely paid a thought. At the same time it wants to be moving, but achieves a mere so-so effect with its violin-playing over-sentimentality.
The upside, which makes it worthwhile, is the entertainment value in the journey. From circuit board-tinkering in the parents' garage to board meetings in fancy offices. Personally, I've never owned an Apple product. Neither iPhone or iMac. But it doesn't really matter here. Steve Jobs, the man and creative trailblazer, doesn't evoke any less fascination.
Just a shame I can't put any dots over the i's in "innovation icon".
The Twilight hysteria is exhausted. The Harry Potter films have run their course. But as always there are fresh teen fantasies to milk, and this time they have taken a gamble on Cassandra Clare's best-selling book series The Mortal Instruments. At least the suits in Hollywood seem confident in their investment - a sequel, you see, is already in pre-production.
The tale employs traditional gifted-youth-fights-against-dark forces-intrigue. We meet Clary, a seemingly ordinary teenager, whose mother is mysteriously abducted. This in turn is followed by a series of revelations; such as Clary being the descendant of a bloodline of Shadowhunters (whose prime quest is to rid the world of demons) and that her hometown New York shrouds a dark, hidden dimension, riddled with monsters, vampires, werewolves and other grotesques.
Obligatory is of course a love triangle between Clary, her best friend Simon and a Shadowhunter named Jace. In part eerie and mildly suspenseful, as we vigilantly descend into deep, gothic catacombs. In part reminiscent of a music video, like a scene in a dreamy little greenhouse where affections are unleashed between Clary and Jace. Conveniently enough in synchronization with the water sprinklers going off. Mood-setting? More like "Ugh, shame pillow this way, please!".
Beautiful young people pose as if for a record cover. Decent acting, which is more or less zenith for how good it can get in a cast where the most famous names read Lena Headey and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
Passable entertainment, admittedly, but so dreadfully vain and plagiarizing that it's a challenge to discern something memorable from beneath its layers of pastiche. In that event better suited for the TV format, where these "Buffy"-oozing banalities by rights belong.
Sandler is back in the sandbox. As are his playfellows from the original (save for one Rob Schneider) on top of a myriad of familiar faces of variable celebrity status. Steve Buscemi, Salma Hayek, comedy music group The Lonely Island (to mention a few). Moreover, to cover the teen demographic: Twilight-star Taylor Lautner. And nope, he can't act in this movie either.
Again you get the impression that the pleasure is largely the the ensemble's. Another easy paycheck. Another opportunity to regress to early childhood with the best buds. But what about the rest of us? We who came to be entertained and for something resembling a story?
That the latter can fit on a thumbnail, I can live with. Something about parenthood, generation encounters and dealing with demons of the past. All in accordance with the regular Sandler template, which in reality is just filler between the true motif of the film: farts, burps and Family Guy-esque slapstick. Aimless and without any higher ambition.
A dumb film doesn't necessarily have to be a bad film though. Just look at the Jackass trilogy, a spiritual relative in the context. Not for all tastes perhaps, but there were at least laughs to collect and a creativity in the stupidity. So even here, although calling Grown Ups 2 creative is like sprinkling glitter in the toilet bowl.
Maybe it's because I got carried away by the young, infectiously guffawing audience. Or possibly was it the 80's nostalgia and all the semi-amusing celebrity references. But this wasn't quite as insufferable as I had first imagined.
Neither the best nor worst I've seen by Sandler and the gang, and if you're into the special brand of humor, I'm sure you'll get something gratifying out of this one as well. And vice versa.