Horrible Bosses 2

Warner Brothers

Rated R for pervasive profanity and crude sexuality

Principal Cast Reconvenes For Raunchy, Irreverent Sequel

Timing is everything, when it comes to comedy, and this sequel suffers from an acute case of terrible timing. First of all, with the Bill Cosby rape allegations figuring so prominently in the news nowadays, the last thing anybody wants to laugh at is a premise predicated upon secretly slipping a knockout pill into the drink of an unsuspecting victim.

Equally distasteful is the running joke revolving around a female trying to turn a homosexual man straight by seducing him, suggesting that all you need to alter a gay guy’s sexual preference is an attractive seductress in a skimpy outfit. The picture’s political-incorrectness even extends to ethnic jokes, such as a cringe-inducing scene where a man mocks his Asian housekeeper’s thick accent. Throw in unfunny skits about rape, pedophilia and the Ku Klux Klan, and you have a raunchy romp that repeatedly resorts to terribly tasteless fare simply for the sake of a cheap punch line.

Directed by Sean Anders (We’re The Millers), Horrible Bosses 2 features Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day reprising their lead roles as BFFs Nick, Kurt and Dale, respectively. Also returning are Jennifer Aniston as nymphomaniac Dr. Julia Harris, Jamie Foxx as feloniously-inclined Mother-[expletive] Jones, Kevin Spacey as conniving Dave Harken, and Lindsay Sloane as Dale’s wife, Stacy, while additions to the cast include Christoph Waltz, Chris Pine, Keegan-Michael Key and Jonathan Banks.

This go-round, the intrepid protagonists morph from disgruntled employees into hapless entrepreneurs with no clue about bringing their invention, the Shower Buddy, to market. Consequently, they soon find themselves ruined financially by a sleazy investor, Bert Hanson (Waltz), who rationalizes cheating them with, “I make new enemies every day. It’s called business.”

So, the three hatch a cockamamie plan to recoup their losses by kidnapping the creep’s son (Pine) for ransom. What they didn’t bank on, however, was the possibility that Bert couldn’t care less about freeing his ne’er-do-well offspring (a motif reminiscent of Ruthless People (1986), where Danny DeVito ignored a demand for cash being made by his wife Bette Midler’s abductors).

Horrible Bosses 2 does admittedly have its moments, like a quite captivating car chase during which our heroes drag an uprooted chain link fence onto the freeway while on the run from the authorities. It’s just too bad that most of the movie is devoted to such a misanthropic and misogynistic brand of humor.

 

Fair (1 star)

Running time: 108 minutes

 

 

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Lionsgate Films

Rated PG-13 for intense violence, disturbing images and mature themes

Uneventful Installment Serves As Setup For Franchise Finale

In recent years, movie studios have started splitting into two their adaptations of finales from young adult book series, most notably, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows and Twilight: Breaking Dawn. The money-making ploy is arguably little more than a transparent attempt to milk the last dollar out of a soon to expire franchise.

The Hunger Games is the latest such production to employ the cash-generating tactic, as it divides in half Mockingjay, the last opus in Suzanne Collins’ best-selling, sci-fi trilogy. Unfortunately, this uneventful installment basically treads water while functioning as a setup for the upcoming dramatic conclusion. Nevertheless, nothing in the power of these words could possibly affect the box-office returns of this review-proof episode.

Directed by Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), the movie again stars Jennifer Lawrence (as protagonist Katniss Everdeen) augmented by a support cast featuring Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, Liam Hemsworth as Gale, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, Jeffrey Wright as Beetee, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee.

At the point of departure, we find the country of Panem plunged into chaos and on the brink of revolution. Hunger Games victor Katniss reluctantly allows herself to be recruited by the leader of the rebellion, Alma Coin (Julianne Moore), to serve as the face of the struggle in propaganda videos designed to foment further insurrection.

However, besides Katniss’ frequently fretting about the mental state of her pal Peeta’s being caught in the clutches of Panem’s ruthless President, Coriolanus Snow (Donald Sutherland), not a lot transpires over the course of this anticlimactic adventure. Worse, we have to wait another whole year for the decisive denouement.

A lame excuse to fleece the legions of loyal Hunger Games fans in the target teen/tween demo.

 

 

Fair (1 star)

Running time: 123 minutes

 

 

OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules:

For movies opening November 28, 2014

 

The Imitation Game (PG-13 for sexual references, mature themes and smoking) Historical biopic about Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), the British cryptologist who helped the Allies defeat the Nazis by cracking the Enigma Code, only to be prosecuted and chemically castrated following World War II for being gay. With Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode and Mark Strong.

 

Penguins Of Madagascar (PG for mild action and rude humor) Fourth installment in the animated franchise finds the peripatetic quartet of penguin protagonists (Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Conrad Vernon and Christopher Knights) joining forces with an undercover, inter-species task force to apprehend a diabolical madman (John Malkovich) bent on world domination. Voice cast includes Benedict Cumberbatch, Dr. Ken Jeong and Peter Stormare.

 

Antarctica: A Year On Ice (PG for mild epithets and mature themes) Subzero documentary chronicling what life is like at a couple of ice stations located near the South Pole.

 

The Babadook (Unrated) Haunted house flick, set in Adelaide, Australia, about a grieving widow (Essie Davis) who comes to substantiate her young son’s (Noah Wiseman) complaints about a monster inhabiting their home. Cast includes Daniel Henshall, Tim Purcell and Cathy Adamek.

 

Before I Disappear (Unrated) Surrealistic saga, set in NYC, about a suicidal 20-something (Shawn Christensen) who finds new meaning in life by babysitting his prepubescent niece (Fatima Ptacek) for his long-estranged sister (Emmy Rossum). With Ron Perlman, Paul Wesley and Richard Schiff.

 

Escobar: Paradise Lost (Unrated) Romance thriller, set in Colombia in the summer of 1991, about a Canadian surfer dude (Josh Hutchinson) who is pressured to serve as a hit man after falling for the niece (Claudia Traisac) of drug cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar (Benicio del Toro). Support cast includes Anne Giradot, Carlos Bardem and Brady Corbet.

 

The Immortalists (Unrated) Fountain of Youth documentary chronicling the efforts of a couple of eccentric biologists desperate to live forever.

 

The Kingdom Of Dreams And Madness (Unrated) Reverential biopic revisiting the six-decade career of legendary Japanese filmmaker, artist, animator, illustrator, producer and scriptwriter Hayao Miyazaki. (In Japanese with subtitles)

 

Remote Area Medical (Unrated) Domestic doctors without borders documentary about the free healthcare offered uninsured Appalachians once a year at a pop-up clinic set up for three days at a NASCAR speedway in Bristol, Tennessee.

 

The Rule (Unrated) Inspirational documentary about the overachieving students at St. Benedict’s Prep, a Catholic school in Newark, New Jersey, whose mostly Latino and African-American graduates enjoy a nearly 100% college acceptance rate.

 

A Small Section Of The World (Unrated) Tale of female empowerment about a group of women who sparked a coffee-growing revolution in Costa Rica.

 

Touch The Wall (Unrated) “Bound for Greatness” biopic about Missy Franklin, the Olympic swimmer who won a quartet of gold medals at the 2012 games in London. Featuring appearances by Lara Lynn Joyce, Rowdy Gaines and Michael Phelps.

 

Women Who Flirt (Unrated) Romantic comedy, set in Shanghai, revolving around a college student (Zhou Xun) who relies on her womanly wiles to woo the classmate (Xiaoming Huang) she has a crush on when he returns from a trip to Taiwan with a new girlfriend (Sonia Sui) in tow. With Yi-Lin Hsieh. (In Cantonese with subtitles)

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