There's nothing like getting trapped on a boat to deal with decades of Daddy and Abandonment issues. That's exactly what's going down in the new Netflix movie "Like Father."
Kristen Bell stars as Rachel, a high level ad exec glued to her phone who gets left at the aisle after taking a call during the ceremony. Apparently that's a no-no. Who knew? Kelsey Grammar stars as her estranged dad, who sneeks into the wedding hoping to use the joy of the big day to start a reconcilliation. They eventually meet up and do some daddy-daughter bonding over shots, as you do. The movie makes a liberal expansion of cruiseship boarding rules and hte next thing you know, Rachel's taking her honeymoon cruise not with her husband but with her dad.
Yeah, it's a stretch. But it's all to get them stuck on a ship together in the middle of the Caribbean with only the clothes on their back.
Like Father then sets sail on a somewhat shallow tale of self-absorbed bitterness, recriminations, and, ultimately, forgiveness. Helping the journey along are their dinner tablemates, noticeably cast to include multiple ages, races, and sexual orientations (clearly the algorithm was consulted by the writers). Along the way the gang bonds together and helps nudge Rachel and dad together, all while enjoying all the things mega cruiseships have to offer including drinks, surfing, drinks, excursion guides supplied with weed, and drinks. So from that perspective we wholly approve of the movie.
But if you haven't guessed by now, this movie is a string of cliches strung together in a very cliched manor. The characters are all flawed yet all likeable. The uncomfortable situation is common and the result predictable.
And the last act is extraneous and unnessecary. It all takes place off the ship, with two of the tablemates helping Dad move because Rachel, despite her revelation on the ship that she needs to step up and be more 'present,' can't be bothered to make it. Of course, eventually she realizes the man she needs in her life isn't the guy she was set to marry or her cruiseship hookup (played by Seth Rogen). It's her dad. Family is important. Career should be just a means to an end. You know the drill. But this whole part takes 30 minutes to play out. It's as if they needed to pad out the script to make it qualify for a movie instead of a one-off special.
And that's sad, because the movie has an important, if well-tread, point to make. We would rather have seen them bond over on-board surfing and another round of cocktails on the ship.
This movie is a nice distraction, something nice to enjoy with family to reinforce how much you appreciate each other, or inspire you to get over yourself and work on strained relationships. Perfect for a rainy day, but don't waste a good summer day or night staying in to watch.
Amy Schumer's new movie, I Feel Pretty, isn't a trainwreck, and that's good and bad. It's not a trainwreck as in being terrible, unfunny, and impossible to watch. But it's also not nearly as good, funny, and a joy to watch as her hit movie Trainwreck. The movie has a message, and gets its point across. But it's an almost movie. It almost hits you over the head with the message, but not quite (which is good!). It almost makes you laugh hard, but not quite (which is bad). It's almost a trainwreck. And it's almost a Trainwreck.
In I Feel Pretty, Amy plays Renee, a girl with self-esteem issues that weigh down her self-confidence to the point where she wishes she could be demoted from her web job at a cosmetics company and become the receptionist at their headquarters. Then, in a plot twist brazenly lifted from the movie Big, she concusses herself at Soulcycle to the point that she sees herself as a beautiful woman which in turn has her brimming with self-confidence.
Of course, she still looks the same to the rest of the world, but she meets all her goals because she believes in herself. The message is clear. The comedy is intermitent.
Let's Get Physical
Amy embraces physical comedy in a way she never has before. From working it at a bikini contest, to picking her nose outside her boyfriend's apartment, to a second accident at Soulcycle (honestly, this movie does Soulcycle no favors), she literally throws herself into her work. The bikini contest, a club she never thought she would join and ends up embracing her, hits home. The Soulcycle bits and subsequent fallout in the locker room feel contrived. Necessary to the plot, but contrived nonetheless.
Physical comedy is best when it surprises a viewer. The stunts in this movie don't quite reach that threshold.
Amy Schumer's all about embracing herself as-is. She did a bit in a Netflix special about how she hates being called "brave" for posing in revealing clothes. So I Feel Pretty is a very natural fit for Amy. We know she's had body issues because we've all had body issues. I Feel Pretty looks to take the phrase "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and make sure that you are the one beholding. Of course this follows the predictable progression of how she loses everything that made her awesome to begin with (ditching her friends, ignoring older, less hip & cool guests at work). And the ending brings it all full circle. But through it all, we genuinely like Renee. Her character never gets ugly and stays relateable.
This movie could have been a boo hoo pity party for Renee and friends, while villainizing the "beautiful people." But it's inclusive in its insecurities. The model at the gym gets dumped. The beautiful and ditzy-voiced cosmetic executive went to Wharton School of Business but isn't taken seriously. Everyone has issues, and Amy generously lets Renee be judgemental of them to get the point acros.
I'm Every Woman
Yet despite all its flaws of predictability and comedic-ish stunts, this movie still resonates. I Feel Pretty is about confiedence. It's about being true. It's about treating Vogue like a monthly work of fiction.
Young women are loving this movie. Women under 25 are giving it an A CinemaScore while women under 18 give it an A+. They powered it to a strong opening weekend of $16 million dollars, beating expectations.
Someone is finally speaking directly to them. Finally there is a movie that looks at an average person with an average body and average skills who sees themselves reflected back from the screen. Renee's problems are their problems. Renee's insecurities are their insecurities. Renee is Everywoman.