Welcome to the Jungle (AKA The Rundown): a bounty hunter (“retrieval expert”) is pulled out of retirement for one last job, but gets draggedinto a treasure hunt in the amazon. OMG WTF Arnie one-line Cameo – within the first 90 seconds!?!?!? So this film’s got a half-decent cast: Christopher Walken (obviously totally broke) , Sean William-Scott (Stiffler forever), and Dwayne (Always The Rock) Johnson – when he was a potentially decent action hero. The story’s fairly average, the script has some great jokes (but plenty of stinkers too), and it has the biggest ‘fall down a hill’ since Hot Rod. The film bounces along, never really knowing whether to be funny or serious – but remains fairly entertaining for the duration. The best bits that perked it up are the action scenes – there’s a few sweet fights, some clever wire-work, and other frenetic/lively moments like the boulder dash – if there’s a star to be found in this one, it’s probably the fight coordinator, Andy Cheng. Welcome to the Jungle is equally enjoyable and predictable – although at least you know what you’re getting!
American Reunion: the original gang head back to Great East Falls for their ‘Class of 99’ high school reunion, but will they be up to their same old antics? In a nutshell, it’s pretty obvious that the cast have struggled to shake off the image from the first few films (which were such a phenomenon at the time) and are only looking to make a bit of good cash again. In my books, Sean William Scott (Stifler) is the only one that’s done well – but even he’s still typecast! Being honest – although they’re all flatter than stamps – it is good to see everyone back on the screen again, and it’s even better when the smaller characters keep popping up: Shermanator, MILF guys, Nadia, Stiffler’s Mum, Jim’s dad etc etc. As before, the soundtrack is very punchy and pop-rock filled (with a nice encore from one of the original tunes), but has some of the most uninspired literal lyrics to match the scenes that I’ve ever seen. The story’s a bit of a mess; it feels like a bunch of random / funny scenes that loosely fit the tired ‘shaky friendship’ story arc. It’s all a bit business as usual, from the gratuitous boob / bum shots, slow motion scenes of hot babes being hot babes and plenty alcohol-fueled regrettable & misunderstood scenarios. I won’t lie, I laughed, lots so on a comedic level it’s better than expected, but overall it feels much safer than the original three. American Reunion is familiar territory (dick and poop gags), that will land well as a nostalgia piece for people like me that grew up on the first films; however, younger viewers will see this as a pretty weak effort, especially in the wake of films like Superbad, Pineapple Express, et al.
Alternative sticker, will be in the DVD extras
Goon: a bar bouncer joins a misfit Ice Hockey team as their tactical muscle (a goon) and helps them struggle through the play-offs. Humour is about the only thing that carries this film; it’s crammed with classic jock/locker-room insults. Sean William Scott somewhat over cooks the stupid angle, making Doug the Thug look a bit more Forrest the Gump at times. The ragtag team are a great bunch of characters though – the juvenile eastern Europeans and Richard Clarkin as the divorcee in particular are great to watch. The insult-centric jokes won’t be for everyone, but with ‘Superbad’ and ‘Pineapple Express’ plastered over the poster/trailer you should know what to expect – a swear x-rated comedy. Full of sports movie underdog clichés and sports-comedy clichés (like the inappropriate announcer) it adds absolutely nothing new to the genre, and when you think about it, nobody – not the director, not the fans, not even the cinema audience – even cares if the Highlanders win the cup at the end, it’s all about the brawling! Like Win Win it’s an indie-feeling sports flick centered around a normal guy; but this focuses more on the humour than developing a decent story. Baseketball, on ice, on drugs. Goon is funny beyond expectations if you like these sort of films, and enjoyable to watch, even if it’s a predictable sports story.
Role Models: good old-fashioned comedy about a couple of guys forced to do community service. I call it old-fashioned because it doesn’t rely on gross-outs or shock scenes, instead it just picks things like live action role play, energy drinks & relationships and shows us funny sides of them. The casting’s epically safe but works: Sean William Scott is still playing ‘Stiffler‘, Paul Rudd is Paul Rudd, Mintz-Plasse is a nerdier Version of Fogel and so forth. Jane Lynch’s non-sensical (no B.S.) councilor is fun to watch and no doubt sealed her role in Glee. Not much else to report back on this; it’s good & simple film, well told, with some underpinning messages about fatherhood, decent gags and no fancy trickery. The KISS ending is sweet, and although the final scenes are a bit cheesy, you wouldn’t have it any other way.