December 15, 2017

Psych: The Movie [TV Movie] (2017)

James Roday, Dulé Hill, Maggie Lawson, et al

In the hellscape that has been 2017, this movie has been the one thing I've had to look forward to. I literally put its release date on my calendar to make sure I didn't miss it. In retrospect, I may have put too much pressure on it. It is a TV movie, after all.

Let me back up. Psych is one of my all-time favorite shows. It's clever, it's funny, and most of all, it's always surprising. You never know what obscure 80's reference they're going to use or how off track Shawn and Gus will get with their argument. It's wild, slightly slapstick, and completely unlike any other show I've watched. The day it was cancelled was a day of mourning in my house.

Movies, of course, are much trickier than single episodes. They have to tell a coherent story while also addressing the growth of the characters that happened in the gap between the show's end and the movie's start. So I can appreciate all the tricky pieces the creators had to balance.

But this movie didn't feel entirely fresh. It felt like they wanted to squeeze in so many nods to old episodes and guest characters that it lost the silly, carefree feeling of the show. Instead, it was a carefully choreographed dance down memory lane that was satisfying in a way, but didn't seem to add to the story in any meaningful way. Things happened, sure, but they were secondary to the little winks to the past crammed throughout the two hours. It certainly wasn't the most compelling story they've told.

I'm sad because it feels like I've lost my show for a second time. And while part of me is holding out for a sequel, I don't want my characters to limp out on the tail end of a six movie deal like The West Wing did to all of us in Seasons 6 and 7. Then again, maybe if there are more movies planned, they won't feel so much pressure to keep reliving the highlights and can create newer content.

Final word: Not a total Psych-out, but certainly wasn't enough to salvage the year. 

December 7, 2017

A Bad Moms Christmas (2017)

Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, et al

There's a segment from The Daily Show I think about a lot. Correspondent Michelle Wolf was talking about the wild popularity of the then-newly released Wonder Woman movie and she said: "You know when we'll feel like women are equal at the box office? When we get to make a bad superhero movie and then immediately make another bad one. Men get chance after chance to make crappy superhero movies. No one left Batman v Superman saying, 'well I guess we're done making man movies.' "

Basically what I'm saying is, I sort of hope there's a Bad Moms 3. Not because this movie was good. It wasn't. But that's not surprising. I just think in a crowded landscape of terrible comedies, women should have their shot at making them too. We like brainless movies too.

Okay, but seriously, I get that the studio was cashing in on the success of the first one. And it was legit worth seeing! (Read my review of it here) But what made the first one funny was the unexpected quality of it. This one felt more like The Hangover 2. But guess who got a third installment anyway?

The movie's main problem was it just tried too hard. Wayyyyyy too hard. The premise--mother/daughter tensions erupting at Christmas--is a good one. It's something most women can relate to and find humor in, even if the situations in the movie are grossly exaggerated (much like the first). And the additions of Christine Baranski, Susan Sarandon, and Cheryl Hines bring a level of acting not normally seen in terrible comedies. I know a lot of terrible comedies exist--they just don't usually have SO MANY quality actors in them. 

So the acting is on point. Everyone executes their role the way they should. It's just, you know, the writing. Like having Baranski and Kunis (who look nothing alike, btw) repeat the phrase "dicking around" back and forth twelve times. Or making a child repeat "oh my fucking God" at inappropriate times. It was trying SO HARD to be funny it was painful to watch at times.

At the end of the day, it delivers pretty much what you expect it to. No one is seeing this movie with the Oscars in mind. It's just a shame I've been reduced to thinking I guess I'd rather have seen this than Daddy's Home 2.

Final word: I don't blame them for making this movie, only myself for having spent my one night out on it.