Sunday, 30 October 2016

Halloween Retro Review: Shaun Of The Dead (2004)

Shaun of the Dead
2004
Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran, Penelope Wilton, Bill Nighly, David Walliams
Genre: Horror Comedy
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $30 million 

Plot: Shaun is a 30-something loser with a dull, easy existence. When he's not working at the electronics store, he lives with his slovenly best friend, Ed in a small flat on the outskirts of London. The only unpredictable element in his life is his girlfriend, Liz who wishes desperately for Shaun to grow up and be a man. When the town is inexplicably overrun by zombies, Shaun must rise to the occasion & protect both Liz and his mother. 






'Proof That Us Brits Can Do Horror As Well As Americans'

I was intrigued somewhat by Shaun of the Dead for 2 reasons: 1) it is a mixture of 2 genres, one I am not a die-hard fan of: Horror and the other that I enjoy watching and thus, is my favourite genre of film: being the comedy. and 2) it is the first real attempt of a horror film with a hint of comedy for good measure, made in the UK. And so my preconceptions into going into this film were it was going to be very heavy and strong on the horror aspect and very light with the comedic aspect. That alone, and being squeamish at times with really gory movies, meant that it would be too much for me to stomach. 

But alas, thankfully that was not the case with Shaun of the Dead

A lot of people have different reasons for avoiding horror movies: the most I could tolerate are things like Scream, but that is not to say I thoroughly dislike them because I find the movies to be crap. From a genre perspective. my reasons for not being a fan of horror is completely different to me not being a complete fan of romantic comedies. I don't enjoy most of them because they are gag-inducing, mawkish. Yet with horror, it's more to do with the scaring people aspect, and I avoiding watching movies that are really, really scary. 

With the Shaun of The Dead, both Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have managed to achieve something that is not only surreal, out of the ordinary and imaginative, but they have produced a horror-comedy fusion film that is not only consistently amusing, inventive, original and at times, gruesome, but one that can be easily enjoyed by pretty much anyone or everyone, especially those like myself who are scared witless by horror films in general. 

It's cleverness is never meant to make fools and idiots out of the audience, and yet its simpleness never takes away from its creative approach. 

Our main hero is in the form of a so-called loser named Shaun, who eventually becomes a hero at the end of the film, with the help of his mates who succeed and survive against all the odds against the ever descending zombies. 

On first viewing, the plot is extremely complicated to understand but once you watch the film, you don't really think much of it, and when that happens, that isn't detrimental, nor have an effect on one's viewing experience. There are some good moments like the characters taking out the zombies using various objects and such and the amusing dream sequences. 

Comparing Shaun of the Dead to something like Scary Movie is like David verses Goliath: Scary Movie is arguably one of the most overrated movie franchises, ever that resorts to cheap parody for laughs, such as a loser guy who farts in his own underpants. Unlike Scary Movie, this film has a plausible plot and story that it successfully sticks with and addresses at the end of the film, whilst at the same time delivering the well-written gags and humour. The humour may be quintessentially British, but even speaking as a Brit, anyone can enjoy this film and its humour and understand it: it's more so cheeky than sarcastic and dead-pan and is deeply rooted in aspects of British life and our cultural norms, as one would say. 

The film also shows the survivors and main protagonist characters still trying to get on with their daily lives and have a bit of nice, friendly banter with each other - just because you are chased by zombies doesn't mean you can't stop talking about what was on TV last night. But also to work together as a team and to take out the zombies, one by one. I also think it was a good idea for them to battle the zombies by using objects as weapons such as snooker cues and gardening spades, rather than with knives, swords and guns. 

Regarding the gore aspect, it's not overly or excessively gory and bloody and just right for me to tolerate and bare in small and equal doses. Whereas the performances are brilliant: Simon Pegg in particular was great as is his compatriot, Nick Frost - both of whom would later team up for the follow-up, Hot Fuzz

Shaun of the Dead plays out like an extended episode of a sitcom that also plays out as a semi-serious survival horror; yet watching this reminds of 2015's British/American offering, Spy: that film has that British type of humour in a Hollywood produced spy comedy movie. This effort doesn't really feel like a typical and conventional horror film, and this makes it accessible for people like myself. One user described Shaun of the Dead as a romantic comedy masquerading as a horror film. I'd say it is a screwball-ish clever comedy that masquerades as a horror film, that has honesty and is earnest in its own right, but is also not a film that is unintentionally laughable. Shaun of the Dead's success was so huge that 5 years later, a U.S offering titled Zombieland came out, which virtually has the same premise but with different characters, set in the South West of America. 






Final Verdict:

Around 90% of horror films follow the same conventions and tropes and formula, so much so its predictability level is high, but here with Shaun of the Dead it gives that tried and tested formula a different spin that is such a warm welcome to the genre. Funny and amusing, whimsical yet witty, this is a horror comedy with a difference where its approach is unlike anything you have seen before.

It manages to be credible, believable and ridiculous but not too OTT at the same time: for all the seriousness and gory scenes there is humour that helps alleviate it, and this humour is not of the cheap kind as featured in Scary Movie. The comedy doesn't resort to going down the farcical, easy route and whilst the film is unintentionally laughable, Shaun Of The Dead's entertainment aspect and plot in tackling the zombie theme doesn't descend into utter daftness. 

Shaun of the Dead is the most unlikeliest of horror movies you will ever see (even if Zombieland did come out years after - yet 'Shaun' was the first and foremost), but give it a chance and you will realise its earnest & light-hearted approach will make you see Horror films in a slightly different light that is good. And one that will appeal to people who are usually squeamish at the sight of overly excessive amounts of gore.  

Worth checking out. 



Overall:







Saturday, 29 October 2016

Retro Review: Galaxy Quest (1999)

Galaxy Quest
1999
Cast: Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell, Daryl Mitchell, Enrico Colantoni, Justin Long
Genre: Science Fiction Comedy
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $90 million

Plot: The stars of a 1970s sci-fi television show - now scraping a living through re-runs and sci-fi conventions - are beamed aboard an alien spacecraft. Believing the cast's heroic on-screen dramas are historical documents of real-life adventures, the band of aliens turn to the ailing celebrities for help in their quest to overcome the oppressive regime in their solar system 




'Star Trek Parody That Boldly Goes Far & Beyond'

Much like with its sister Sci-fi offering, Star Wars in the 1980s, the decade of the 1990s saw the Star Trek franchise becoming less prominent. And yet it took a parody movie to help reignite interest and invigorate the franchise; despite the film not being part of the official Star Trek canon itself.  

DreamWorks's Galaxy Quest has a plot that is reminiscent of that of !Three Amigos!; in the fish-out-of-water sense where a group of washed- up actors end up in a strait-laced land & go on to shake things up. In this film, they find themselves mistaken as fictional characters of a particular medium in another universe, along with the science fiction space parody setting - akin to Spaceballs with Star Wars - but with a play on Star Trek, instead of Star Wars in Galaxy Quest. Spaceballs was the 1980s comical parody of science fiction movies, and Galaxy Quest is the 1990s equivalent but of which relies much more on wit, sarcasm, casual celebration & occasional ribbing of Star Trek's qualities over slapstick farce and the mocking of Star Wars properties and silliness of Mel Brooks's 1987 offering. Whereas Spaceballs is a mickey take on Star Wars itself and pokes fun at the actual franchise, Galaxy Quest is more of a celebration of Star Trek's strengths, rather than its fallacies and weaknesses. 

The film sees a motley crew led by Jason (Tim Allen): a one-time star of a cancelled Science Fiction TV series, titled Galaxy Quest and Captain Kirk inspired - captain who signs autographs at fan convention shows. His fellow cast members don't take to him too well because they think he is full of himself and is too much of an attention-seeker. When some secluded aliens known as Themians led by Commander Mathazar mistakenly believe the episodes from the TV show and historical documents to be real and genuine, they kidnap Jason and co. and they are forced to recall the lessons of the past and group together to aid in the aliens quest & save their civilisation from destruction against the evil nemesis named Saris - for real. As Captain, Jason has to not only rally around his crew members but to also win back their respect.

I thought the casting was impressive: Tim Allen doesn't try to mimic Captain Kirk but plays it as Tim Allen trying to be a captain of a spaceship; Sigourney Weaver's character, Gwen on the TV show is the stereo-typically Blonde bimbo, but in real life is intelligent and is the heart of the crew and acts as the supportive member of the group. Not only does she have a great look, she succeeds in conveying a character that is far apart from Ellen Ripley of the Aliens franchise as she could be, yet still manages to be as resourceful and reliable. One of the amusing scenes involving her is when Gwen repeats what Jason says to the computer; Sam Rockwell plays Guy: the unnamed minor cast member and lives off the fame of Galaxy Quest; being a fan of the series he is so aware of the cliches on the show. Viewers of 90s' sitcoms Veronica's Closet and Just Shoot Me will recognise Darryl Mitchell as Tommy and Enrico Colantoni as alien, Mathazor. Tommy's scream is a delight. But the scene-stealer and favourite for me is the late Alan Rickman as a sardonic and dour-faced actor, Alex, who is fed-up of being typecasted and pretty much resents his role with apathy. His dead-pan humour and charm makes him stand out amongst the rest of the team. 

Saris is the film's antagonist and is one of the most striking and interesting looking villains, particularly for a sci-fi film. Everything about it, design-wise is great. Some may argue he is more of a stock villain and isn't anything we haven't seen before in a sci-fi villain, but his whole presence is pretty formidable & actually, he comes across as a very convincing nemesis; that & his actual visual appearance and look also sealed the deal for me with Galaxy Quest

The visual effects, handled by Industrial Light and Magic, are excellent and the score is great.

The idea and direction of the film are really clever and imaginative that worked so well on many levels on screen. I think what the film does really well in is the humour and tone never crosses the line and the comedy is played straight and the humour comes from the situations the characters find themselves in. This is a smarter, and some would say sarcastic take on Sci-fi movies or be it Star Trek; many of the jokes, references and punchlines will make sense if you are a die-hard Trekkie enthusiast. 

When it comes to the parodying of events and ideas of their respective franchises, where Galaxy Quest excels in that Spaceballs doesn't really tap into, is the delivery of the comedy is very inventive and one that sometimes you need to think about it, before you get the joke. It is also a more action and special effects driven movie by comparison. Yet Mel Brooks Spaceballs was excellent for the jokes that hit you over the head; alas, for me it had more of the funnier punchlines, whereas Galaxy Quest has more of the wittier ones. Galaxy Quest also has more emotional depth: hence, there is an underlying issue whether or not they choose to play their character parts for real. The scene where Jason reveals to Mathazar that they are only actors and not who they think they are is in a way a poignant moment.

Sci-fi comedies are very few and far between, but this effort of 1999 truly encapsulates the sheer essence of the franchise in more ways than one. Galaxy Quest could have potentially turned out to be a stinker amongst the Scary Movie franchise (& arguably the Police Academy equivalent of Spoofs when it comes to box office millions with the film losing steam through endless sequels produced) and Disaster movie. Though thankfully, it remains to be just one movie and one that firmly sits nicely alongside Spaceballs and deserves to be mentioned along the same lines as that film.

Having said all that, both movies do a first-rate, stellar job at poking fun at already established franchises, without intentionally humiliating them and insulting the fan-bases of those franchises. In essence, Spaceballs and Galaxy Quest are the trifectas of bona-fide sci-fi comedy. 




Final Verdict:

A homage that captures the spirit of the Star Trek movies, Galaxy Quest is more about Star Trek as a source of inspiration and as a fantasy, as opposed to it being actual fact or canon or Sci-Fi entity that is casually mocked. The sci-fi part in Galaxy Quest acts more of a backdrop and helps further the main protagonist characters objective, as opposed to a standalone actual setting of the movie itself. 


Galaxy Quest isn't ''hahaha'' funny but it's definitely amusing, entertaining, action-packed, witty and most of all, fun. 
It's not necessary to be a fan of Star Trek to be able to get into this film, although like I mentioned the jokes and references tend to make much more sense if you are one. 

With a great cast, top draw performances, a witty script and great characters, Galaxy Quest becomes a pleasant and marvellous parody and surprise that will delight sci-fi fans and Star Trek loyalists aplenty. 


Overall:

Friday, 28 October 2016

Retro Review: Spaceballs (1987)

Spaceballs
1987
Cast: Bill Pullman, John Candy, Rick Moranis, Mel Brooks, Joan Rivers, John Hurt, Daphne Zuniga
Genre: Science Fiction Parody 
U.S Box Office Gross: over $38 million

Plot: In a distant galaxy, planet Spaceball has depleted its air supply, leaving its citizens reliant on a product called ''Perri-Air''. In desperation, Spaceball's leader president Skroob orders the evil Dark Helmet to kidnap Princess Vespa of oxygen rich, Druidia and hold her hostage in exchange for air. But help arrives for the Princess in the form of renegade space pilot, Lone Starr and his half- man, half-dog partner, Barf 






'Probably The Best (& Gold Standard) Sci-Fi Spoof Movie, Ever'

I am not a huge Star Wars fan, but I did enjoy episodes IV, V The Empire Strikes Back & VI Return of the Jedi, as well as last year's Star Wars: The Force Awakens. & yet if I had to choose between the two, I'd opt for Star Wars over Star Trek because I like the characters more and as it's more futuristic with the robots and such. 10 years after the original Star Wars was unleashed onto audiences by George Lucas, comic Mel Brooks famed for Spaghetti Western spoof, Blazing Saddles turned his attentions to spoofing another movie genre or be it more specifically movie franchise in Star Wars with Spaceballs

Critically mauled at the time of its release in 1987, it has since gone on to become a cult movie, thanks to reruns on cable TV and good video and DVD sales.  

The humour in Spaceballs is supposedly much more grounded in silliness, rather than laugh out loud funny hysterics and clearly ridicules and mocks characters like Star Wars' Chewbacca, who in this film is a half man and half dog played by the late John Candy named Barf. Mel Brooks appears in a supporting role as Yogurt - who is a mickey take on Yoda and as another character in the film, as is Lord Dark Helmet whose massive helmet is bigger than tiny Rick Moranis's head (!), gangster Pizza The Hutt, whose name is an obvious play on Jabba The Hut (and who looks extremely grotesque and disgusting - and yet it was hilarious too) and a female C3P0 android with a fake wig resembling Joan Rivers, and of whom is coincidentally enough voiced by Joan Rivers herself. Sadly, both she and John Candy are no longer with us; but during the 1980s, they were 2 relatively well-known faces on the comedy circuit and for Candy comedy movie world. Bill Pullman follows up his comedic turn in Ruthless People the year before by playing dual roles as his character, Lonestarr. He is a mesh of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. I laughed when there was a character named Colonel Sanders after the KFC guy in this film - though it would have been even funnier had he looked like him!

Rick Moranis is absolute gold as the bumbling antagonist, Lord Dark Helmet - the so-called clumsier version of Darth Vader: he was much, much funnier in this film than he was in Ghostbusters and in the not very good Club Paradise. Thanks to Mel Brooks, he made that character to be still evil and side-splitting at the same time and with that also, Moranis gave a much more substantial performance. He was also a bit of a dork and would foul-up numerous times. 

Like all comedy movies, this isn't supposed to be a deep and profound movie, but rather one that is highly entertaining, amusing and fun where you can sit back and enjoy it. Spaceballs works and the reason why it struck a chord with audiences is because the film picked the right movie to spoof from. & what better movie for that than Star Wars, which is one of the biggest and most successful movie franchises of all-time. It has references, scenes, themes and elements from it that in turn would make for great comedy. Had Mel Brooks chose a more obscure film or movie genre to base a comedy around, then the characters and the movie's thematic nods and references (more so than Spaceballs's humour and jokes) wouldn't resonate well with audiences. Spaceballs is more of a parody and spoof, rather than a satire. Speaking of the humour and jokes, they are terrific and put a smile on your face. 

With funny and witty scenes especially the Spaceballs merchandising segment and lines with Lord Dark Helmet going: ''yogurt, yogurt, I hate yogurt!'' referring to the character, Yogurt and concludes with the funny punchline, ''even with Strawberries!'', and parodying other movies such as Alien with the alien popping out of John Hurt's stomach and bursting into song, Star Trek and Planet of the Apes, Spaceballs is a comedy relying on old school jokes and gags, without being too vulgar (although there is some mild language that is inappropriate for children). The clash between Lord Dark Helmet and Lone Starr, Lord Dark Helmet flying and sent crashing and his helmet is all bent and out of shape are some of the highlights from Spaceballs that have aged very well and still hold up. The special effects are very good too, in fact, they are so impressive the effects crew really made it look as authentic and close to the actual Star Wars movies themselves. & for that, that is one of the many good signs to come out of this great Star Wars parody comedy.








Final Verdict:


Spaceballs is classic old school '80s comedy and a comedy spoof that knows how to do parodies right, due to the genius of Mel Brooks. His take on Star Wars is amusing, farcical and dumbed down silly and in a good way that is ingeniously crafted as such that will appeal to fans of the franchise and non-fans alike, who enjoy comedy movies. 


Yes, it helps if you enjoy Star Wars or science fiction movies in general and if you don't, you still might find something to revel in Spaceballs. Amusing and at times witty dialogue, puns and one-liners, funny and light-hearted scenes and slapstick, great performances by the cast and humour and gags that people can easily take a shine to, this is by far Mel Brooks finest comedy achievement since Blazing Saddles. That, and it is probably the definitive and best sci-fi comedy spoof, with Galaxy Quest coming in second for me. 


Spaceballs is a Sci-fi parody comedy, whose humour and cult status will live on in memory. 



Overall:





Thursday, 27 October 2016

Movie Review: The Call (2013)

The Call 
2013 
Cast: Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin, Morris Chestnut, Michael Ecklund, Michael Imperioli 
Genre: Crime Thriller
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $68 million

Plot: Veteran 911 operator Jordan Turner (Halle Berry) takes a life-altering call from a teenage girl, Casey (Abigail Breslin) who has been kidnapped & thrown into a truck of a madman's car. But with the clock ticking, Jordan soon realises she must confront the killer from her past to put an end to a serial killer's haunting rampage 





'Solid Phone Booth- Meets- 911- Emergency- Operator Effort'

Yet another so-called Hollywood movie trashed by so-called professional movie critics. Sigh, yes it's formulaic, yes it's kind of predictable, but thanks to the twists and the performances by Halle Berry and Michael Ecklund, who plays the creepy and obnoxious villain, these are what holds this film together and prevent it from falling apart completely. Strangely, The Call is produced by American Wrestling organisation, WWE via WWE studios

Halle Berry plays a 911 operator/dispatcher named Jordan Turner at a call centre in Los Angeles, who answers to thousands of emergency calls every day, but whose world is rocked when a distressed call from a young girl who is abducted by a murderer, leads to tragedy. Afterwards, she relieves her position and takes on a more hands-off approach. 6 months later, she receives another call from a young woman, Casey played by Little Miss Sunshine's Abigail Breslin, who turns out is abducted by the same man who murdered that other girl & of whom fits the description on the computer's database. Jordan now faces a race against time to find out who he is, where he is and to go to lengths and beyond to save Casey, as well as to capture this guy. Even if by means of doing it all by herself. 

There hasn't really been a movie that is told from the perspective of an emergency call centre: there have been many cop movies, but never have there been films that are centred around what happens on the other end of the emergency services. One may argue some of the things that happen in The Call are exaggerated or wouldn't happen in real life, but this is a movie based on a fictional story and with fictional stories, you can take any idea and do what you want with it. That, and as you sit through it, you often wonder ''why didn't s/he do X, Y or Z''. Yet this one is a pretty good effort. 

After seeing this movie, it makes me appreciate and understand how strenuous, tense and emotionally stressful it can be as a 911 or 999 operator, being on the receiving end of the call, - yet not being able to see his/hers face and have that one-to-one interaction. It's tough knowing that that other person has placed their faith in you....and that one wrong move or decision can prove costly. 

The film is well-constructed and despite its predictability level the pacing of it is good and is somewhat like 1994's Speed with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. That and the movie itself isn't too long. It has enough twists and turns to make it watchable, sustainable and compelling all the way through towards the end. The third act of the film I rather enjoyed a great deal; however, the ending was a bit of a cop-out and very weak, given the kidnapper had put Casey, Jordan and that other girl through hell - and so I felt he deserved an even bigger punishment. As a result, it does bring the movie down slightly. I think though that had this film been rated 18 or was even more violent and darker, it would make for an even better movie - and perhaps it would have ended better too. 

Also, a lot has been said about Halle Berry's performance, but I thought she was terrific as Jordan and this is, therefore, one of her best performances in my opinion. 

It's got that nervy-yet adrenaline pumping feel to it that really sets your pulse racing, and the film takes you on this roller-coaster ride of emotions and it makes you feel as if you are part of this team of Jordan, the L.A cops and the L.A emergency's call operator's services. That you become emotionally attached to them and are with them, every step of the way in nailing this maniac. 




Final Verdict:

Halle Berry sells her performance and proves she can carry a movie as a leading actress, backed up by an interesting narrative and story-line. She really hasn't had a role like this before, and probably won't get one like this again. I know people rave about how great she was in Monster's Ball, but I loved her performance as Jordan and as that character, she goes all out to save that girl's life.  Michael Eckland was good too as the baddie. 

But for the cop-out third act ending, The Call is a really good, solid thriller that is part -Phone Booth set in an emergency call centre that knows what it wants to do as a movie, and where it wants to go, direction wise. I just wished it had that killer- no pun intended- last third of the film: had that been the case, it would have been even more satisfying, as well as better.

Ignore the professional reviews and watch this movie and judge for yourself. 

Formulaic, predictable with a lacklustre ending, - yet if you can accept everything else and enjoy the rest of the movie but the resolution of it, like I did, then The Call is definitely one worth seeing. 



Overall:




Wednesday, 26 October 2016

8 Of My Favourite Nike Sneaker Lines

Since their inception in 1971, Nike of Beaverton, Oregon has been producing a wide range of footwear in every category, catering to every person - from professional sports athletes and fitness luvvies to casuals and the general public. I'm a Nike fan and have been buying and wearing Nike trainers since the late 1990s when I got my first pair, after 1 or 2 stints with Adidas and Reebok and I haven't looked back. 

No matter what your opinions are on Nike, in terms of design, innovation and style and appeal, or whatever, many people, or be it Nike fans really appreciate the efforts and attempts that they make. That, and they have had a cultural and significant impact in hip hop, as well as popular and Black culture.

So without further ado, these are eight of my personal favourite sneaker/trainer types from one of the - or be it the biggest sports clothing brand in the world. 





Nike: A Visual History of Sneakers by illustrator Stephen Cheetham 



Air Zoom Strong - Training shoe that features a sock-like fit and Zoom air cushioning for comfort. I like its sleek look and it has a great design 
















above: Air Zoom Strong (women's) 


Air Max/Air Max Thea - The Air Max line uses a large air cushioning unit at the heel of the shoe, which is visible from the side of the mid-sole in most models. Is one of the most popular sellers and iconic sneaker brands for Nike.




























above: Air Max 90 and Air Max Thea


Cortez - Was the first track and field shoe created back in 1972 designed by company co-founder, Bill Bowerman. Has a simpler outer design and a streak across the lower portion of the outer sole. My personal favourite Nike sneaker. 





Cortez Ultra Moire Medial















Cortez Nylon Gorge Green

Lunarglide - I have a pair of these currently; they are very light and comfortable and come in a range of nice colours and cool designs. Ideal if you are into running or jogging, or you do a lot of walking 







Lunarglide 7 

















Lunarglide 8 - Mens

Chukka - Great for casual wear in general; again I love the outline for these boots. It's almost like a trainer and a high top boot combined into one















Nike Free Flyknit Chukka Midnight Fog


Roshe - another type of casual sneaker, it's renowned for its simplistic yet minimalist design. Kind of reminds me of a fusion between the Cortez and the Flyknit. The Roshe One was designed by Dylan Raasch, who wanted to come up with something that was versatile and could be worn, with or without socks.















Roshe One NM Breeze (White/Black)


Pre Montreal Racer - a sneaker design and go-to running shoe, whilst giving off a lifestyle vibe to it. Looks very much it was influenced from the 1970s and Nike's then- design at the time.
























(above: Pre Montreal Racer Vintage in White)



Juvenate - streamlined, flexible, taking elements from Nike Roshe Run and creating an even slicker and sleeker style













Juvenate Olive, men's & Juvenate Fleece, women's 

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Retro Review: Deuce Bigalow Male Gigolo (1999)

Deuce Bigalow Male Gigolo 
1999
Cast: Rob Schneider, William Forsythe, Eddie Griffin, Amy Poehler
Genre: Sex Comedy/Slapstick 
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $92 million 

Plot: Deuce Bigalow is a less than attractive, down- on- his- luck aquarium cleaner. One day, he wrecks the house of a gigolo and needs quick money to repair it. The only way he can make it is to become a gigolo himself, taking on an unusual mix of female clients. He encounters a couple of problems, though: he falls in love with one of his unusual clients & a sleazy police officer is hot on his trail








'Low-Brow Sex Farce Masquerading As A Chick-Flick'

The only other time I saw Rob Schneider in a movie was when he was playing Cedric, the Plaza Hotel Bellhop in 1992's comedy caper sequel, Home Alone 2. But that was a long, long time ago. 

Here, Rob Schneider plays the self-titled character, Deuce Bigalow - no relation to real-life movie director Katherine Bigelow (hence, the 'E' in her name instead of an 'A'): a pool cleaner turned Lothario, in this tale of love, lust and trust. 

It is a comedy movie with a romantic comedy subplot where the lovable loser is dragged on his feet by going through one crazy scenario after another before he falls in love. There is one problem with that, though: Schneider's goofy persona is not enough to carry off this film. I don't know whether this was inspired by 1980's American Gigolo, or it was just something Adam Sandler wanted to make a comedy out of, based on that concept. 

This film amuses me sometimes, but also it is utterly daft and stupid at the same time as well. 

By all means, there is a lot of silliness, toilet and slapstick humour (the farting in the public toilet) and it's raunchy and crude at times. The Tourettes girl and the blind girl, whilst it was supposed to be amusing, I can understand why some people may find those characters offensive, as it generally mocks their conditions. It can also be interpreted as being mean-spirited and tasteless as well, and I don't blame people for thinking that way. When the guy calls the extremely tall woman ''a huge b****'', I wasn't laughing. It didn't make me laugh. That was supposed to be a joke, but the way he said it wasn't funny. 

The humour is a bit touch- and- go: the part where the other gigolo shoots a spear at Deuce and the fat Black drag woman comes in to save him - only for the spear to strike his/her belly and when she pulls it out, there's a roast chicken (!) at the end of it, which she then eats, was amusing in my eyes. But apart from that and save for a few other tidbits, I was like 'meh'. 

But by scratching underneath the surface, interestingly also it sort of has something to say about being in love and insecurities and prostitution in general and specifically with this film, male prostitution. That there is a difference between being in love and falling in love: and here as a prostitute, one can be in love, but falling in love with the other person? It can be complicated, but also it is a risk worth taking, as exemplified in movies Pretty Woman and Leaving Las Vegas. Yet that humanist message gets completely lost in the film as it operates more as a farce comedy, - and as such is overwhelmed by sight gags mocking disability, obesity and Tourette's syndrome and throwing in some flatulence jokes. As far as the love story aspect goes, when the film dives into this territory, it becomes overly sappy and sentimental that is on the verge of teeth- rotting.  

The characters he meets, they are so larger than life: as well as the big Black drag woman, we have the woman with Tourettes (played by SNL comedienne & actress Amy Poehler), a very, very tall woman and a blind woman. I must say Kate, the girl of whom Deuce falls in love with, who has a prosthetic leg, could have been a lot better. I just wasn't convinced by the actress who plays her. I'm not saying she should be completely flat out gorgeous and hot looking, but she looks like a plain Jane and that character was boring actually.  

Also, The Matrix -esque style sequence just didn't cut it for me. Come the end of the film, I just really didn't care much for it: despite the messages about falling in love and being a prostitute has its pros and cons, Deuce Bigelow is a really daft movie with jokes that can become easily repetitive and that once you've seen them all, they wear thin, extremely quickly. The gags are cheap, even more low-grade than per usual as it resorts to juvenile fart gags. The repetition of the word 'man whore' bored me after the third time it was uttered. I was also surprised that for a sex comedy, there was a meticulous lack of sex scenes in this film - yet plenty of scenes of Rob Schneider going shirtless. 

After this movie and the sequel which bombed, one can understand why his career didn't take off like with Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey and many other comedians-turn-actors, who've made that successful transition from TV and stand-up comedy to feature film comedy. 








Final Verdict:

This is a no-brainer, non-PC and low-brow farce of a comedy whilst masquerading as a type of romantic comedy chick- flick, and some or be it a lot of people may not be a fan of overdone comedy. Therefore, if you are not into this type of humour or films like this, then you will not enjoy Deuce Bigelow.

Compared to other low- brow farce slapstick comedies I've watched, I prefer those movies to this one. I enjoy watching them: some examples being Naked Gun, Fathers' Day and Tommy Boy, but what sets those films apart from this one is that the humour and gags are never mean-spirited, tasteless, nor comes across as being so. Deuce Bigelow, however, is mostly crude-based humour. 

It just didn't have more of the comedy that wasn't reliant on the mean-spiritedness and gags; that and the jokes become wearisome, and you have a comedy that should have been a whole lot better & enjoyable in all apartments.  


*score last updated: 12 June, 2017*


Overall:






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