Mr. Woodcock

(dir. Craig Gillespie)

New Line Cinema

After an over-weight childhood of bullying and lack-lustre sporting achievement, John Farley (Seann William Scott) has made a name for himself as a self-help author - thanks to his best-seller about "Letting Go". On returning to his hometown to pick up an achievement award, he discovers to his horror that his widowed mother (Susan Sarandon) is dating the sadistic gym teacher (Billy Bob Thornton) responsible for much of his childhood horror. Much hilarity ensues.

Billy Bob Thornton continues to water down the comedy highs of Bad Santa and Bad News Bears with this pedestrian comedy. Unfortunately this seems like it's made up of out-takes from the already lame School For Scoundrels remake, with Thornton's bullying gym teacher Mr Woodcock sharing the unflinching nasty streak of Dr. P, with a script that shows none of the sympathy of Bad Santa.

Seann William Scott has never showed any promise beyond his cameo as the donkey wrangler in Old School - and his performance here does nothing to upgrade his status. Susan Sarandon, you should know better.

At 87 minutes you'd expect things to whizz by, but with a plot this thin it drags and drags before finishing ungracefully and being immediately erased from my memory.


16th Jun 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Harold And Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay

(dir. Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg)

New Line Cinema

More dumb stoner fun from Harold and Kumar. This time they're trying to bust out of Guantanamo after getting arrested mid-flight to Amsterdam when Harold's smokeless bong is mistaken for a bomb.

If you've seen the first one, you'll know what to expect: mid-to-low brow stoner jokes with enough room and wit for some sly social commentary. That it's a stoner film prepared to actually acknowledge the madness of Guantanamo Bay is all to its credit; obviously it's hardly the most in depth critique, but like their take on racism in the first one, it does make it a film with something to say (alongside all the pot-shots).

There's another great cameo from Neil Patrick Harris aka Doogie Howser, some more trippy nonsense and a realness to the H&K friendship - not bad for a film with a unicorn in it. It's a pretty mindless romp in some ways, ambling along from wacky adventure to wacky adventure, but that's also what makes this likable comedy work. 


24th Oct 2008 - Add Comment - Tweet

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