Summary:The film tells the story of four lifelong friends who travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Music Festival, where sisterhoods are rekindled and wild sides are rediscovered.
Cast and Characters. So, I’m only going to mainly talk about the main four women with the inclusion of two male characters because they’re the more important male characters. All the leading women have their own issues, sometimes things are obvious and sometimes it’s learned as it goes along.
Regina Hall as Ryan. She is an author, she and her husband have a brand together that inspires other people. Ryan is a business woman, she’s classy in her attire, in the way she presents herself and it seems like she is the most level-headed out of the group. She keeps her feelings to herself and bottled up, she has a tendency to judge people a bit to hard, and she definitely has her fears, denials and pain. Without spoiling her arc in the film, I really liked her and I identified with her a lot in some of the things she does, mostly with her feelings, and I was like wow, really close to home BUT I thought that Regina Hall did a really good job. I never really considered her that great of an actress but this is definitely some of her better work in that I didn’t think she was trying to hard. It felt natural to me. If I had to label her she is the “classy/sensible” one.
Queen Latifah as Sasha. She was a journalism major in school, she started off as a serious journalist but she let that go to become a tabloid writer (with a website online). There is a rift between her and Ryan and she has her own personal struggles that she keeps to herself. She was a bit of a fashionista but you can’t help but to wonder just how low she would possibly go to do her job. You’re just not too sure with her. I don’t think she has much change to go through in the film, I mean she does end a bit differently than she does in the beginning but she also seems consistent in who she is throughout (along with Dina). Queen is always great, her comedy is great as always, the dramatic parts she handles well, I love Queen.
Jada Pinkett Smith as Lisa. Lisa is definitely the “mom” of the group, she dealt with love and divorce and the only one of the four with kids. She is very much involved with her kids and is very… uptight which is apparently not what she used to be. Everyone has hope that this trip will loosen her up while also enjoying time with a man lol. She is very against this but she does begin to loosen up and her storyline is connected a lot with Kofi Siriboe, which there is a great scene with some grapefruits lol. Lisa also tries to be the mediator between the group, especially between Sasha and Ryan. She has a nice little arc as well.
Tiffany Haddish as Dina. Dina is the funniest of the group, she also seems like the youngest one (that might also have to do with the fact that the actress is younger than the rest as well). She is the wildest, she is willing to do things, to try new things and does not care about it in the least. Dina is also the loyal one while also being the freak. A lot of the laughs come from her, a lot of ridiculous things that happen is because of her and her facial expressions. There were a few times where she annoyed me in her jokes, or humor but that’s the friend she is and it was endearing a lot of the times. I’ve never seen Tiffany Haddish in anything, especially seriously, and I thought she was good in her role. Her comedic timing was really good for a lot of her jokes and reactions to things.
Mike Colter as Stuart. LUKE CAGE! He is Ryan’s husband, I think he played some sport, but his role of course is with her while also being part of their brand due to her book “You Can Have It All”. He is smooth, charismatic and good-looking *swoons*. His purpose is served. Mike Colter does it well.
Lorenz Tate as Julian. He is an immortal because he looks the SAME! If anything, he looks sooo better now but he looks the same. Julian is a musician, he shows up throughout the film and helps the ladies out in a jam, he seemed to have a thing in the past with Ryan. Julian is very likable which I think Lorenz Tate helps the most with that. Julian is likable period but Tate really makes him lovable due to his boyish looks and approach. He’s great. *swoons* Love him.
The Humor. The film is hilarious. My audience in the screening was definitely great but it’s very funny. There is a lot of different types of humor, a lot can be reactionary for the characters which makes the moment hilarious. Dina is the source for a lot of laughs, and Lisa’s situations are funny. There is a great scene with some dangerous alcohol that is one of the best comedic scenes in the film, has a lot of “The Hangover” feels to it. It is very sexual, which you don’t always see in films with women, at least not like this, which also makes it great because we have a group of black women doling out this kind of humor.
The Fashion/The Location. The clothes these ladies wear are beautiful! Dina wears some awesome clothes with great colors, kind of eccentric! Ryan of course has the more classy type of clothing which I loooooved, Sasha had this funky style and Lisa has the motherly style that the others change by giving her clothes to wear lol. The film is set in New Orleans during The Essence Festival which allows for great set pieces in the town, on the road, with the music. Colors, music, outrageous stuff in the backgrounds. It was a great place to set the film.
There was a great reference to an older film when they go into this club. I won’t spoil it but I loved it.
The Sisterhood. This film banks on these four women having chemistry with each other, while allowing the audience to believe their friendship. If they didn’t work, then it would be impossible to believe that they were friends since college, but Hall, Queen, Pinkett-Smith and Haddish makes it believable. The way they talk and treat each other feels like a real friendship, especially a friendship that was long but strained by time and distance. It was realistic. The emotional and dramatic moments between them were fantastic and each woman sold their role in their group of friends. When they fought it didn’t feel like acting, it felt like there was actual history there. Plus, there is nothing like seeing black women bask in something that highlights and celebrates them in the Essence Festival, and each other. Their friendship being boosted by the Essence Festival was so beautiful that I think any black woman (especially with her girls) will feel happy to see this.
The Story. So the story is pretty basic in that Ryan is going to the Festival to be a keynote speaker and she uses this experience to bring her friends back together after about five years of being apart. Even though the story is cliché in that a group of friends come together, have fun and stuff is revealed that causes rifts etc. the way it’s handled in the film, doesn’t feel stale. I think a lot of that has to do with the actresses and not necessarily the script itself.
Cliche. Like I said, the story is pretty basic which prevents the story from being a major highlight of the film. It’s important but the characters are what drives it forward instead of the story just happening around them. But the idea of them not seeing each other in years, getting together due to some reason (Ryan’s speech), funny things happen that possibly bring them closer only for them to be pushed apart etc. it’s all very cliché movie storylines.
Crude/Humor. Humor is very subjective and I think it’s important to note that the humor in this film doesn’t hold back, and it’s very raunchy and crude and that might be too much for some people. It’s not really a problem for me but it’s something that I recognize for those who weren’t expecting it. It can be a little much. There are also times where it doesn’t always hit. It’s not a lot of times but there are times.
Overall, I really liked Girl’s Trip and I had to wonder if I liked it because of the audience I had in my screening or if I actually really liked it (since I liked it) and after deliberation, I decided I did really like. I think the cast was great in their roles, especially the four core ladies, their friendship was believable, they were honest to each other, to the audience and to themselves. They felt like real friends. I think the film would have failed on being another raunchy summer comedy if it wasn’t for Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Tiffany Haddish’s rapport with each other and their likability. Each lady is actual very likable. The sisterhood is the core of this film, it’s the humor, the emotion/drama and main reason to see the film. They are great. The drama is also good, and handled very well, it felt real and not like a film in a movie. It’s very funny, the comedic timing of the characters, especially Tiffany Haddish (which makes her a standout) is very good and when it hits, it hits very strong. On the other hand, I can imagine some people not being able to handle the humor, I know that it doesn’t always hit and sometimes it’s more uncomfortable than funny. The story is also cliche which is saved by the actresses and their chemistry together.
Rating: 4.39 out of 5 stars.
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Summary: Lifeguard Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) and a brash new recruit (Zac Efron) uncover a criminal plot that threatens the future of the bay.
Baywatch premieres May 25, 2017.
Cast and Characters.
Dwayne Johnson as Mitch Buchannon. He is the leader of his group of Lifeguards. He’s larger than life (as Johnson often is), he’s funny, he cares for his team and he’s a bit of rebellious guy. He protects his Bay at all costs. Mitch gets a bit overzealous when it comes to finding out the truth of the dangers going on in the bay, he doesn’t really think of the consequences because in his mind, his long term goal is to protect the Bay, he doesn’t care what trouble he might get into just to figure something out now. He’s a bit tough love, especially when it comes to his relationship with Efron’s character, he’s a hard mentor but he does it because he cares. I love Dwayne Johnson, I think he’s a good actor and a fun action star. This movie allows him to combine his physical strength and his ability to be really funny. Some of the things he says are ridiculous but they work because of how he delivers them.
Zac Efron as Matt Brody. He starts off as a major tool. He joins the team as it would be a good PR opportunity and he thinks it just is given to him due to him being a famous Olympic medalist. However, his reputation is crap due to his drunken antics. He thinks he owns the place, he flirts and shows off but he learns that it’s not that easy and he continues to make stupid decisions. But as the film goes on, we do see a change. I like Zac Efron for the most part, I think he has good comedic timing, I’ve never really found him attractive but his eyes are soooo pretty. He had great father/son chemistry with Dwayne Johnson and he was good in this role of a dumb, “hot”, guy who in the beginning is rude and kind of mean until he learns his lesson as the film goes on.
Alexandra Daddario as Summer Quinn. She starts off as a surfer but joins the lifeguard team, she’s a pretty tough girl and witty, she’s able to banter with Brody. She’s meant to be his love interest and while they give her a bit more to do than the others, she’s still kind of just there.
Priyanka Chopra as Victoria Leeds. She’s the new owner of the Huntley club on the Bay. She wears some of the best clothes the entire film and so beautiful! But she is a trip. All I will.
Kelly Rohrbach as C.J Parker. She is already a Lifeguard, apparently has some daddy issues due a line in the beginning but she’s also just there. She’s helpful in some ways but she’s also there to be a love interest and to look good in her clothes. She’s cute and likable though so that’s a plus.
Ilfenesh Hadera as Stephanie Holden. The wiki says she was Mitch’s love interest… where? lol there may have been looks and there was one kiss as a distraction BUT nothing outside of that happened to make me think there was actual interest. If there’s a sequel, they should do better at highlighting her. I liked her from what we saw, but she had such a small part but that she was background. Ilfaensh Hadera looked great and she was likable.
Jon Bass as Ronnie Greenbaum. We first meet him and he’s a tech guy, a bit awkward and goofy but really endearing. He wants to be a Lifeguard for personal reasons but also because he has a major crush on C.J. I think he was one of the better side characters in the beginning but then he too gets pushed to the side a bit for Mitch and Brody and their action antics. He’s funny, he has a great funny scene in the beginning with a chair…cringey but funny.
The Humor. It’s funny, especially in the beginning. Johnson immediately doesn’t like Brody and he continues this one joke throughout the film and it didn’t get old to me, but for some it might. Also, Ronnie was really funny in that endearing kind of way. Hannibal Burress is in this film and outside of not always knowing what he said, he’s really funny. There are great scenes between the team and the Bay’s Police Officer… there was a lot of moments I liked and thought were funny. The Morgue Scene.
The Cinematography/ The Direction. So the film looks really good. Because they’re on the beach, the colors are so bright, especially the reds and blues, the OCEAN and people’s eyes, wow. Also, the direction is great. There are scenes where characters are being lifeguards and jumping into the water and they put it in slow motion, so we can truly see their form of jumping from the rocks/boats/whatever into the water. It was really cool. When you’re going to save someone it’s so fast, which when we see that part it is, because that’s how it goes, but the getting there, they make sure we see it and I liked that. There was a lot of slow motion but it wasn’t gratuitous.
The Music. To be honest, it could be really annoying BUT because we’re on the beach and this is an action/comedy it fits and it’s fun. They’re mostly recognizable songs to the point where you may bounce a little in your seat and a good thing is that most of the time they’re playing at a party, so it has a reason.
Entertainment. If you want fun! You will get it, if this is your idea of a fun time in a movie. It’s funny, it looks really good, the characters are likable and you might leave smiling, unless you just didn’t like it.
The Supporting Cast. Don’t get me wrong, they’re all good, I like them all BUT they definitely are second fiddle to Johnson and Efron which is kind of sad because the Lifeguard team are interesting and I think way more interesting then some of the banter between Johnson and Efron. I wanted to see more with Stephanie, or see what Ronnie and C.J were getting into. Summer was around more due to her obvious upcoming connection with Brody but still. I think it was a missed opportunity.
The Villain. I don’t want to spoil who it is but at first it seemed pretty straight forward but then they were involved in many other things like drugs but they got upset when someone called them a “dealer”, which you can argue they were upset because of the term but still. Also, they were hamming it up and not in a good way. I think they are very good and I like them otherwise, but here, it was so cringey. I think there were a few scenes where I enjoyed seeing them but most of the time, I mostly scrunched up my face watching them.
The Story. So the story has a few things going on, it’s an action movie with all of the stunts they do, the jetski chases, the fighting scenes, and of course all of the lifeguard stuff (though there really isn’t a lot of that), then there is sort of romance between Brody and Summer and two other people (who I think we should have spent more time with). Basically, Mitch and his team are recruiting new lifeguards, Brody joins thinking because he used to be an Olympic medalist that he’s on the team, Mitch puts him through but ya know, he’s “the best” so… but they learn that someone is peddling big drugs in the Bay, so they stretch their lifeguard duties, not to mention, you have a bit of romance going on in two storylines, you have some “buddy cop” stuff going on with Mitch and Brody where he’s trying to teach him how to be better… it’s a lot and it kind of makes it unfocused. It doesn’t know what it wants to be.
The Humor. While some of it is good, a lot of does not hit the marks it wants too. Some of it gets a bit old, or annoying. Also, I think it teeters the line between trying to be a hard comedic rated R film and not wanting to cross that line. It should have just went all the way, similar to what 21 Jump Street did, but it seemed a bit too afraid to do it most times, but at other random times, it did like the scene in the morgue. Other times, it didn’t work.
Unfocused. This movie wanted to be a lot of different things. It wanted to be an action movie, a romantic comedy, a buddy comedy, a mentor/student type story. There’s a lot and while it sort of hits all of those points, it doesn’t mesh well together, at least not all the time.
Overall, I had a fun time watching Baywatch. It’s a nice film to watch with your friends, it’ll probably get some laughs, depending on what tickles your funny bone. The chemistry between Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron is good and they’re obviously the leads of the film as the other characters get sidelined. The look of the film is really nice and the direction is cool, especially with some of the action shots and the actual lifeguard parts. The humor is good for the most part and all of the characters are likable. But it does suffer from being an unfocused film from trying to be too many things at once, the story is cliche and gets a bit dumb, the supporting characters are likable but they are just there, filler pieces. If you are looking for a fun time, then this will be it.
Rating: 2.7 out of 5 stars.
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I honestly had low expectations for this film, I mean it didn’t look all that good. Comedy films like this can go either way, so thank goodness I saw a free screening. Below are my thoughts.
Summary: A dad forms a bitter rivalry with his daughter’s young rich boyfriend.
Cast and Characters. This film has a variety of characters and all of them are likable people. I think.
James Franco as Laird Mayhew. This character is a trip but he’s not a jerk like the trailers portray. At least not to me. His character is an honest dude, he tells it like it is, he uses a lot of profanity but he’s pretty entertaining. I think you can tell he loves Stephanie and he really wants to impress her family, but he doesn’t really know how to do that with people who aren’t “free spirits”. It’s pretty funny the way he tries to impress them but does it wrong. This character is perfect for James Franco, he’s weird and his character is weird. There’s something about Franco that makes him likable but at the same time come off as a total douche, even if it’s unintentional which is what Laird was. Sometimes he came off as naive douche but it wasn’t on purpose. By the end of the film, he grows up a bit even though he keeps certain qualities that keep him a current and kind of unique character. Plus, that big goofy smile of his is great for this character.
Bryan Cranston as Ned Fleming. Bryan Cranston is a great actor, his comedic timing is fantastic and I think he’s great in this fatherly role in which he’s worried about his daughter and a bit overprotective. He doesn’t know about Laird in the beginning, and because he is very close to his daughter, he does make the attempt but after seeing who Laird is, the type of life he lives and he’s so annoyed by him and so worried about her. His overprotectiveness takes over. Similar to Steve Martin in Father of the Bride but a bit more “closed minded” than George. Cranston is really good here, probably the best actor in the film, I love how funny he is even if it’s not an obvious funny moment. I like his chemistry with his wife and his daughter and even his moments with Laird. His facial expressions, that was more funny than the obvious funny parts.
Megan Mullally as Barb Fleming. She is hilarious. She is most notable for her role in Will & Grace but she is very different from that role. Just like her husband, she’s a bit on the conservative side but seems to be a bit more accepting of things compared to him (as mothers in films most times are). She also loosens up a bit before Ned does. Megan is so funny, so charming in this role, she was probably my favorite character in the movie. Her expressions, the little comments she would make after a moment, were usually funnier than the funny moment.
Zoey Deutch as Stephanie Fleming. Ned and Barb’s daughter, she doesn’t tell her parents she’s dating Laird as she thought it’d be best for them to just meet him as he’s a unique person. She has hopes that them coming to visit her while she’s away at school would be a better way for them to get to know him. There are a few secrets she has to tell her parents, but she wants to find the right time, as she wants them to see she’s an adult and can make her own decisions. Her love for her family is evident, her love for Laird is also evident, but she also is very much wanting to be her own person. I think Zoey Deutch is cute, I liked her here and I liked her relationships with her family, her chemistry with everyone and just like the rest of her family, she’s likable and you want to root for her, for everything to go her way because she’s great.
Other characters. You have Keegan Michael Key as Gustav and Griffin Gluck as Scott Fleming. Keegan is funny in this role, he’s not always funny personally, but he is definitely enjoyable in this role. His random moments of tackling Laird… those were funny, or the fact that he was a voice of reason in the silly moments, those were great. Griffin Gluck is Step’s younger brother and he starts off like his parents, smart and wanting to run the business they own but as he spends time with Laird, he becomes a bit more bold. It was cute.
The story. It’s not original, but it’s cute. Considering the fact that it’s the parents meeting their daughter’s weird boyfriend, this could have gone in many different ways and I think this way is fine. It does have a nice little heart at the center of the madness, it’s all about family and love.
Stephanie Fleming. I liked her but it’s more of the fact that her character is kind of left in the background. I recognized what they were doing with her inclusion but at the same time, everyone else’s reactions to things are considered so much more important than hers are. While I understand her character, she isn’t given much to do other than complain about how her father doesn’t like her boyfriend etc. It was unfortunate.
The Humor. Obviously with comedy, it depends on the person. In my theater, laughter filled the room quite often, but I didn’t laugh at everything and neither did my friend. Some of the “gross” stuff, I Didn’t laugh at while others did etc. So this really depends on the person but to me, it was funny but not as funny as it was made out to be. Some of the humor is really juvenile or just like shock humor more than actually being funny.
Rivalry? I don’t think there was really any sort of rivarly. There could have been, probably should have been but not really. It was more along the lines of Father of the Bride instead of Monster In Law. The trailers make it seem like there is going to be some type of thing between the Cranston and Franco and while there is it’s not like… the focus to be honest.
The ending. I don’t think it was a bad ending, I think it was more or less… “overly sweet” in the way it was handled. A nice little bow was put on it and I just thought it kind of wrapped up quickly… maybe that’s just me? lol
Overall, I enjoyed Why Him? It was cute, it was funny and I think if you like this type of humor (like most of the people in the theater) you will love it. It’s a sweet film at it’s core, and while the story isn’t necessarily new it’s still nice to see. Plus, it’s a Christmas film. It won’t become a classic like Father of the Bride but it’s fun to watch with your friends.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.
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Side note: At the screening, there was this lady, the ENTIRE time tapping her feet behind me and my friend’s head. Like seriously tapping. She would stop in like 30 second intervals and then pick up. THE ENTIRE MOVIE! It drove me freaking crazy. If you’re going to do stuff like that, then you need to sit on the floor so you’re not annoying the people in front of you. GAH!