December 28, 2012 |
Parental Guidance is an engaging comedy that bridges multiple generation gaps, making it that rare movie that grandparents, their kids, and their kids can enjoy. Directed with more warmth than art by Andy Fickman, the film is just endearing enough to forgive it its contrivances. Artie and Diane (Billy Crystal and Bette Midler) are a Fresno, Calif., couple whose nest has been empty since Alice (Marisa Tomei), their only child, left for college. She is now married to Phil (Tom Everett Scott)
December 17, 2012 |
NBC must have confidence in its new First Family farce, 1600 Penn . The network is using what should be a highly trafficked spot after the final Monday performance show of The Voice to give this sitcom a sneak preview. Of course, NBC also used the Olympics to launch Animal Practice, and we know how that turned out. The concept of 1600 Penn is easy to grasp: It's Tommy Boy set in the White House. Josh Gad gets the Chris Farley role as the hefty, disaster-prone scion whose giddy enthusiasm always gets the better of him. (Gad even seems to have inherited Farley's three-sizes-too-small wardrobe.)
December 10, 2012 |
"Money doesn't make you happy. "But it sure buys you a better class of misery. " That joke, and thousands more, came from the mouths of top-drawer comics. But they were hatched in the overactive, irrepressibly silly, charmingly warped, and unfailingly funny mind of Sol Weinstein. A once-destitute Jersey boy who honed his gift for gags while banging out obituaries at the Trentonian, he rode a wave of laughs all the way to Hollywood. From the late 1950s into the '80s, he spun shtick for such legendary comedians as Joe E. Lewis and Bob Hope; wrote for The Love Boat , The Jeffersons , Three's Company , and Maude ; composed a signature song for Bobby Darin; and fathered James Bonds' Yiddish alter ego, Israel Bond, filling four popular books with the exploits of Agent Oy-Oy-7.
December 8, 2012 |
NEW YORK - Gov. Christie jousted and joked with Comedy Central's Jon Stewart in a 25-minute interview Thursday night on The Daily Show that was one of the most engaging and probing television interviews for which the Republican governor has ever sat. Stewart devoted two of his show's three segments to Christie - an honor usually reserved for major figures such as presidents. And while part of the interview was funny, rehashing Christie's Jersey-tough-guy shtick, Stewart spent much of the time seizing on a more serious point: a perceived dearth in Republican empathy.
December 7, 2012 |
ANYONE WHO HAS sold a house knows that there can be a lag between the time of sale and the time you hold its profits in your hands. For Richard Butler, it's been six years. Now that the Daily News has intervened, he's hoping to get his cash by Christmas. But he's not holding his breath. He's been here before. The nonsense began in July 2010, when Butler received a letter stamped "urgent. " Despite its atrocious grammar, it brought exciting news from a man calling himself J.L. Jones.
November 27, 2012 |
One of the more provocative offerings of 2012's Philly Fringe festival was a raucous comedy with a dastardly premise: the elimination of two of the region's busiest actors. In Jeff Coon and Ben Dibble Must Die , local thespians Greg Nix and Michael Doherty, after countless auditions rendered futile by the mega-talents of Mssrs. Coon and Dibble, hire assassin Alex Bechtel to take down the title twosome. But the plot fails, and Nix and Doherty confront their nemeses with resignation.
October 26, 2012 |
"FUN SIZE" is a 90-minute theatrical release from Nickelodeon Productions that, if anything, should have aired as a half-hour Nickelodeon special. Instead, here it comes into multiplexes five days before Oct. 31 to try to steal some box-office cash from bored teens or parents who would rather take their kids to a crummy Halloween comedy than spend the weekend carving jack-o'-lanterns. Moms, dads, do what you have to do. But know this: Submerging one's hands in gooshy pumpkin guts is a pleasure compared with sitting through this often crass romp about a teenage girl (Victoria Justice)
October 26, 2012 |
Like most concept art, The Exit Interview is better concept than art. Written by William Missouri Downs and directed by Seth Rozin, the play is a sometimes entertaining, sometimes tedious satire about God and the world. Or about faith and atheism. Or about science and theology. Or about the commercialization of art, the crassness of contemporary news media, the fecklessness of academia, the objectification of women, the horrors of gun violence or, alternatively, the horrors of oboe obsession, or . . . . Well, you get the idea: too much.
October 24, 2012 |
ELLEN DeGENERES was hailed as a trailblazer Monday night as she received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center, in Washington. The show will be broadcast Oct. 30 on PBS stations. When DeGeneres first heard that she was receiving the same honor that Bill Cosby , Tina Fey and Will Ferrell won in recent years, she joked, "It really makes me wonder . . . why didn't I get this sooner?" More than just 'Avatar' Deep-sea explorer James Cameron has come up from beneath the sea. The director of "Aliens," "Terminator 2," "Titanic" and "Avatar," has picked up movie rights to The Informationist , a novel by Taylor Stevens , whose main female character has been compared with Lisbeth Salander, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
October 5, 2012 |
In the it-came-from-Sundance comedy "The Oranges," an affair tears apart two knit-together New Jersey families. The affair is certainly scandalous. Some might also find it utterly preposterous. I sure did, and as a result, felt the movie labored under credibility problems beyond the reach of its top-notch cast. Hugh Laurie and Catherine Keener are David and Paige Walling, long-marrieds in a powerful (though unexplained) lull - he's been spending a lot of nights on the couch lately.