Comedy

Comedy

The Reception

Darien Sills-Evans in The Reception

    The Reception is a film that seems to be heading gloriously in one direction, only to actually be heading disastrously in another. It tells the surely thorny enough story of Jeannette, a rich French-American woman (Pamela Holden Stewart) and her African-American lover Martin (Wayne Lamont Sims), who live in bucolic splendour in upstate …

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Barnyard

Otis the cow in Barnyard

    Otis, the barnyard bull, has udders. Because, kids, that’s what bulls have, isn’t it? Voiced by Kevin James, and with a first name that is generally appended to a male, it’s clear that either Otis is a transgender animal or cowardice has taken hold somewhere at the design stage in the latest animal …

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Kids in America

The cast of Kids in America strike a pose

    How many America high school comedies have you seen? How many more do you want to see? Exactly my thoughts as I slid the DVD of Kids in America into the slot. But I was wrong and happy about it, because this is a smart and funny film, about smart and funny and intensely …

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The Spectacular Now

Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller in The Spectacular Now

    Feeling, looking, sounding like a very dark John Hughes film (Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller period), The Spectacular Now also has in Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley exactly the sort of actors Hughes might have cast – not the prettiest, but the most personable, the most “relatable” as we now say.   It’s Teller’s first …

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Two Night Stand

Analeigh Tipton and Miles Teller in Two Night Stand

      Two Night Stand takes the boy wins girl/boy loses girl formula, gives it a millennial spin and then lets its stars, Miles Teller and Analeigh Tipton charm the pants off us as they rip the pants off each other.   Genuinely fresh and cute, refreshingly forthright and even sexy – most sex …

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Sixty Six

Gregg Sulkin and Helena Bonham Carter in Sixty Six

    Bernie, a London Jewish boy who sees his barmitzvah as the very peak of his young life, suddenly realises it’s taking place on the same day as the 1966 football (soccer) World Cup final. Will anyone come, especially once the home team start morphing from total no-hopers to potential giant-killers? Helena Bonham Carter, Peter …

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Annie

Quvenzhané Wallis and a cute dog

    Annie is the “turn that frown upside down” musical seemingly custom-built for stagestruck kids. But in writer/director/songsmith Will Gluck’s updating, it breaks out of the greasepaint shuffle-step limbo it’s been consigned to and makes a bold dash for the spotlight. Gluck opens with a swerve, showing us a precocious and stagestruck young ginger Annie …

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The Interview

James Franco and Seth Rogen in The Interview

    Like an Inspector Clouseau party that’s forgotten to invite Peter Sellers, The Interview has a gigantic gaping hole where the comedy should be. Unsure if it’s a satire on modern entertainment or a Get Smart-style caper comedy set in the People’s Republic of North Korea, it squats uneasily between the two, leaving its game …

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The History Boys

Dominic Cooper (centre) in The History Boys

    Mr Chips meets Dead Poets Society in Nicholas Hytner’s adaptation of Alan Bennett’s play, and depending on how you approach it, it’s either a fairly satisfying or a slightly disappointing event. Personally, I was disappointed, but then maybe I’d expected more from a film which as a play had garnered such critical plaudits. …

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Happy Feet

Mumble the penguin leaps for joy in Happy Feet

    A CGI animation featuring penguins which comes along in the wake of March of the Penguins, so it’s probably pushing at an open door. And unlike a lot of animated films about animals, this one sets its stall out really quickly. Emperor penguins, it seems, all have a special song that they use …

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