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Archives for : Romantic Comedy

Top 10 Best Films of 2020

10. Soul

“Soul” follows, Joe (Jamie Foxx), a music teacher who has lost his passion for music and sense of purpose. But when he is transported into another realm to help someone find their spark, he discovers a new appreciation for life.  The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for this movie. Whether you have a dream you haven’t accomplished yet, or you feel as though your life hasn’t amounted to anything; take a second to reflect on all the good you already have. Your health, your family, your friends; our life is not as bad as we sometimes make it out to be. And remember to appreciate all the little things, even if it’s as small as a good slice of pizza.

9. Words on Bathroom Walls

“Words on Bathroom Walls” follows Adam(Charlie Plummer), a passionate cook who appears to be a typical teenage boy until an incident in his High School reveals he has schizophrenia. He is expelled, and forced to finish out his senior year at a Catholic High school. It’s there he meets, Maya (Taylor Russell). Their relationship in the film is tender and sweet, but the beauty of “Words on Bathroom Walls” is getting to see perspective on a mental illness that isn’t shown often, especially through a romance. This is something else that deserves representation and understanding. And though the film centers around Adam and Maya, the relationship between Adam and his mom is just as powerful. Her tenacity shows us a mother’s love is unconditional.

8. Let Him Go

After the death of their son, Margaret and George Blackledge (Diane Lane and Kevin Costner) have held on to the light in their life, their grandson, Jimmy. But when their daughter-in-law (Kayli Carter) remarries to an abusive man, Donnie Weboy (Will Brittain), he takes both her and Jimmy away to his family’s secluded home in North Dakota.  Margaret and George leave their ranch in Montana, and go on a mission to save what’s left of their family. Some may not find this movie special, but it transported me back to the theaters with how well it was shot and the incredible performances. You can’t help but feel for this couple, and want them to do whatever is necessary to get their grandson back.

7. On the Rocks

Bill Murray plays, Felix, a playboy art dealer who, long ago, walked out on his wife and children for the first of many women. He’s selfish and self-centered, yet you can’t help but love the guy. When he hears his daughter, Laura (Rashida Jones), is concerned about her husband’s many work trips, he assumes the worse and encourages her to look into the matter with him.  This film is such an easy and humorous watch. This is in big part due to the natural chemistry between Murray and Jones. Felix is trying to make up for lost time by taking this unfortunate circumstance as an opportunity to spend quality time with his daughter, who he genuinely cares for. “On the Rocks” highlights a sweet, yet unconventional father/daughter relationship, while also shedding a light on marriages that could use a little refresher.

6. Irresistible

I know politics is a touchy subject, but the beauty of “Irresistible” is that it really doesn’t try to sway you on either side. They focus more about how ridiculous a campaign can get and how much it costs. It’s not about conservatives versus liberals. Instead, the film makes you question the two party system. The all-star cast which includes Steve Carrell, Rose Byrne, Chris Cooper, and MacKenzie Davis all give top-notch, hilarious performances. The banter between Carrell and Byrne alone makes this film such a delight. “Irresistible” is the insightful, laugh-out-loud comedy we needed during this election year. Putting into perspective what is truly important in any leadership role. 

5. The Kid Detective

To all my fellow “Harriet the Spy” lovers, this movie is what I imagine happened to the male version of Harriet. Abe Applebaum (Adam Brody) was a once celebrated kid detective. Even adults used his services. But after he fails to solve the mystery of a kidnapping of a young girl/friend, he is no longer the same quality detective. Fast forward to his 30’s, he’s a washed up drunk, taking any minor case he can get to make end’s meat. That is until he is presented with his first murder case. I know a lot of you probably haven’t heard of this film, but it’s a really fun watch. Brody carries the movie with his wit and charm, but the story is just as engaging. “The Kid Detective” is truly the hidden gem of 2020.

4. Onward

I’m surprised by how high I have this film on my list, but since January I can’t get this movie or the ending out of my head. It’s one I get emotional just thinking about. On the day of Ian Lightfoot’s (Tom Holland) 16th birthday, he and his older brother (Chris Pratt) are given a gift from their late father. Turns out it’s a spell that will bring their dad back to life for 24 hours,  giving Ian a chance to finally meet his father. But the spell doesn’t go exactly as planned. At first glance, this seems like a possibly boring, one disaster after another road trip that will end predictably. It’s safe to say that’s not the case. Although this is a film about a son seeking a relationship with his father, it also recognizes those in our lives who unexpectedly became a father figure and shaped us into the person we are today.

3. Palm Springs

Not since “Groundhog Day” has any film with the similar formula been worth raving about (Except for maybe “Happy Death Day”). That is until “Palm Springs”. It manages to put a refreshing spin on the romantic comedy genre and time loop narrative. Nyles (Andy Samberg) and Sarah (Cristin Milioti) are two wedding guests reliving the same day. Samberg and Milioti are a dynamic duo with amazing chemistry. The film is heavier than you might expect. Nyles and Sarah are stuck together without even death as an escape. A romance grows, and soon they are partners in crime making the most of their care-free new existence; even if it comes with a rapid loss of meaning. “Palm Springs” is funny, sweet, and has a surprising little twist. 

2. Uncle Frank

If I could give anyone the Oscar right now, it would be Paul Bettany for his powerful and gut-wrenching performance in this film. I really hope this movie doesn’t go under the radar during award season, because it deserves recognition for its performances alone. Set in 1973, the film follows a teenager named Beth (Sophia Lillis) who leaves her rural Southern home to study at a New York University where her beloved Uncle Frank (Bettany) teaches. While there she discovers Frank is gay, and has been living with his long time partner, Wally (Peter Macdissi) – a secret he’s been keeping from his family for years. After the passing of his father, the three of them take a road trip home to North Carolina, and Frank is forced to face the worries and trauma he’s been running from. This film is my biggest tear-jerker of the year. I’m talking ugly crying. Watching Bettany play a character who has to hide his true self from his family in fear of how they might react is heartbreaking, and sadly, still relevant. “Uncle Frank” is a film everyone should watch.

1. Promising Young Woman

If you’ve heard me talk about this film, it should come as no surprise that it would make the top of my list. The movie has romance, comedy, mystery, revenge, and an all-star cast. “Promising Young Woman” features Carey Mulligan as Cassie, a med-school dropout who seeks revenge on a traumatizing past event. Not since “Hard Candy” have I enjoyed such an enticing revenge story. Mulligan is at her best, showing such complex emotions. She varies from cold-hearted to heartbreaking. This is a cautionary tale that would serve well in high school and college classrooms. Especially geared towards men who don’t seem to understand what consensual sexual activity means. The film goes beyond the actions of the men responsible for the sexual assaults. It also highlights those who turn a blind eye, and even the parties responsible for defending the guilty. “Promising Young Woman” is funny, dark, unforgettable, and for me, it’s the best film of the year.

The Best of the Rest:

11. Black Box

12. Shithouse

13. A Secret Love

14. Yes God Yes

15. The Trial of the Chicago 7

16. The Mauritanian

17. Da 5 Bloods

18. Freaky

19. Another Round

20. The Broken Hearts Gallery

Top 5 Worst Films of 2020

5. The Rhythm Section – I except more from Jude Law and Blake Lively at this point in their careers.

4. Underwater- A Knockoff underwater version of “Alien”. But bad, so bad.

3. The Sunlit Night- Terrible movie with the most forced and awkward sex scene.

2. The Prom – Had no idea James Corden was a bad actor until this film. Honestly, I couldn’t pay attention anything else.

1. The Witches (2020) – I almost forgot this movie happened. I’d like to keep it that way.

Trevor’s Top 10

10. Yes God Yes
9. Sonic the Hedgehog
8. Freaky
7. The Mauritanian
6. Palm Springs
5. The Old Guard
4. The Kid Detective
3. Promising Young Woman
2. Irresistible
1. Uncle Frank

Movie Review: “Holidate” is the Holiday Cheer we Need this Year

Netflix has so graciously brought back the romantic comedy genre with a slew of rom-coms to choose from their library. Just in time for the holiday season, they have treated us with another delightful romance with the new film, “Holidate”.

It’s Christmas Day and Sloane (Emma Roberts) is, once again, being hounded by her family to meet someone and settle down before she gets “too old”; and becomes like her aunt Susan (Kristin Chenoweth). Instead of listening to her mom, she is inspired by her aunt’s holidate. Susan brings a different man to each holiday event, allowing her to avoid feeling lonely while having no emotional attachment.

After a horrible Christmas, Sloane runs into, Jackson (Luke Bracey), another lonely single looking to date with out the commitment. They soon pledge to be each others’ platonic plus ones for every holiday in the year ahead. The film is as predictable as it sounds and is self-aware of that, pointing out that in every rom-com the two leads don’t have real obstacles. And in the “Holidate”, it’s pretty clear that there is no real issue besides the default “scared of commitment”.

What “Holidate” does offer is two strong romantic leads with great chemistry and hilarious banter. Emma Roberts shows off her comedic chops and Bracey might actually give Chris Hemsworth a run for his money. We all, at some point in time, have felt lonely during the holidays, and a holidate is a fun concept to see played out. It’s entertaining to see these how these two celebrate each occasion together. Who knew there were so many holidays?!

There are some messages you can take away from the film, like don’t let the of fear of getting hurt stand in the way of a potential love. But, you shouldn’t go into this film expecting anything deep. This is more of a raunchy, well-made Hallmark Christmas special. It’s a lighthearted escape that reminds us of how we use to celebrate the holidays before tragic times.

Rating: 4/5

“Holidate” is available on Netflix October 28, 2020.

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Movie Review: “Come Play”

This week I review “Come Play”, based on the 2017 short film. The story follows Oliver (Azhy Robertson), a young boy who feels isolated from everyone. He seeks comfort in his cellphone and tablet, and it is there that he mysteriously comes across Larry – a disturbing creature who wants to be his friend.

Watch my full review, followed by previews of “Holidate” and “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” in the video below.

“Come Play” opens in theaters October 30, 2020,

“Holidate” is available on Netflix October 28, 2020.

“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” is available on Amazon Prime October 23, 2020.

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Movie Review: “The Lost Husband” Sparks a Glimmer of Light

All is not lost in the new romantic comedy, starring Leslie Bibb and Josh Duhamel.

Based on the novel by Katherine Center, “The Lost Husband” follows Libby (Bibb), an attractive young woman, who has lost her husband in a tragic car accident. Libby and her two children (Callie Hope Haverda & Roxton Garcia) have been living with her difficult mother (Sharon Lawrence); but when they wear out their welcome, they pack up and head to her aunt Jean’s (Nora Dunn) house.

Jean lives in central Texas on a goat farm with no TV, no Wi-Fi, and no dishwasher. However, she does have an espresso maker! In order to make herself useful, Libby is forced to help out around the house and farm. Luckily, she has the conveniently handsome and single ranch hand, James (Duhamel), to guide her through the process of things.

The relationship between Libby and James is about as predictable as you would imagine. It begins with a dislike for each other. James thinks she’s too much of a city girl and can’t possibly get her hands dirty, and Libby thinks James is a jerk. Well, good thing opposites do attract. The transition from hate to love goes quick. Besides a few bickers here and there, the film doesn’t try to fight off the pair’s instant chemistry for too long. Both Bibb and Duhamel do a great job with their roles and are a fun and charming couple to watch.

The film identifies itself as a “romantic comedy”. Though it is a big element to the story, “The Lost Husband” centers more around Libby’s growth and healing over her husband’s death and mother’s mistreatment. This is not a bad thing, and it’s refreshing that the movie went this route instead of trying to make a Nicholas Sparks knock-off.

The entire cast does a solid job and there’s even a little “Popular”(1999 TV Series) reunion between Bibb and her former co-star Carly Pope that will be nice for fans of the show to see.

There’s just no high risk conflict in this movie. Little issues pop up like a child being bullied, an annoying new friend, and even a “shocking” secret. However, these issues are either resolved quickly, glossed over, or feel very anti-climactic. We never earn our resolution.

You can easily sit back, relax, and watch this mildly dramatic story unfold. Which may be exactly what we all need right now. I point out these flaws of the film not to deter you away, but to better prepare you going in. At no point will you question where the story is headed, but you can still enjoy this smooth ride.

“The Lost Husband” is a heart-warming drama about love and the family/people in our lives who truly bring us up when we’re down.

Rating: 3/5

“The Lost Husband is available to rent On Demand April 10.

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Interview: Jaime Camil & Sandra Echeverría talk “My Boyfriend’s Meds”

Jaime Camil and Sandra Echeverria star in the hilarious new comedy “My Boyfriend’s Meds” (LAS PÍLDORAS DE MI NOVIO). Jess (Echeverria) is a talented marketing executive for an upscale tequila company who is super picky when it comes to dating. She finds something wrong with everyone. That is until she meets Hank (Camil), a charming and handsome mattress store owner. She is convinced she’s finally found Mr. Right and invites Hank on a very important work retreat on a remote island. Only problem, Hank hasn’t told Jess about all of his medical issues. This could be an easy secret to hide for a little while, but when he forgets all his medications his symptoms begin show.

I sat down with Jaime Camil and Sandra Echeverria to discuss presenting the “best” version of yourself at the start of your relationship, the music that calms them, what type of drink they are, what they use to think were dating deal breakers and much more. This was a conversation I did not want to end.

Listen to the full interview below and be sure to watch “My Boyfriend’s Meds” when it opens in theaters nationwide February 21st.

Sandra Echeverria (left), Susan Stephens (middle), Jaime Camil (right)
Interview: Jaime Camil and Sandra Echeverria talk “My Boyfriend’s Meds”

Movie Review: “A Simple Wedding” is a Joyous Occasion

Growing up, I watched so many rom-coms and admired actresses like Meg Ryan, Molly Ringwald, Sandra Bullock, and so many other women playing characters looking for love. To an extent I could relate to them and their awkward/quirky personalities, but I never really saw myself. It might be part of the reason why I never thought I’d get that kind of romance in my life (I was wrong).

In these last couple of years, Hollywood has revived romantic comedies by bringing other cultures to light (i.e. Crazy, Rich, Asians & The Big Sick). Even Netflix has stepped it up with To The Boys I Loved Before and Always Be My Maybe. And just by watching these films with ethnic leads, I have felt slightly more represented. Because, as an Iranian-American, this is as close as it’s going to get. Luckily, that’s not true.

Director/writer, Sara Zandieh brings us, A Simple Wedding. The film follows Nousha (Tara Grammy), a thirty-something woman trying to avoid the pressures of marriage by her traditional Persian family. After purposely sabotaging her latest engagement, she unexpectedly locks eyes with a bisexual, artist named Alex (Christopher O’Shea) while at her friend’s protest. Their connection is instant. And after a passionate first date, the two become inseparable and eventually move in together.

However, Nousha’s family has no idea Alex exists. That is until they see him half-naked during a facetime chat. This leaves them no choice but to have Alex finally meet Nousha’s mom (Shohreh Aghdashloo), dad (Houshang Touzie), and grandma (Jaleh Modjallel). They are less than thrilled that he’s not a Persian doctor, and even more bothered by the fact that they are living together; and they can’t have their daughter living in sin. Within minutes of their first meeting, Nousha’s family has somehow gotten the couple engaged, and are planning a quick and “simple” wedding. An already complicated situation becomes more complicated when Alex’s family comes into the picture, and the two cultures collide.

The creators of My Big Fat Greek Wedding bring us a similar formula, but different ingredients. There’s insight into the Persian culture/wedding traditions, and a fair amount of focus on both set of parents. This time producer, Rita Wilson is in front of the screen as Alex’s divorced mom who can’t stand being around her ex (Peter McKenzie) and his hubby (James Eckhouse). Yet, she does like spending time around Nousha’s uncle, Saman (Maz Jobrani).

All the family members do a wonderful job portraying loving, yet at times hilariously selfish parents. O’Shea effortlessly plays a true, free spirit who loves whole-heartedly; not seeing race or religion. But at its core, the film thrives on Grammy’s endearing performance. She doesn’t play a woman who seeks love and feels lonely. She’s smart, independent, has great friends, and a good job. She’s not this loser girl that finally got a guy to notice her. She just finally noticed the guy, and wants to continue the relationship without any expectations.

I know I’m gushing quite a bit about this film, and I am sure I’m being bias given the subject matter. With the news lately, it’s nice to see Persians presented in a more positive perspective. But I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Everyone deserves to be represented, no matter your race, orientation, size, etc. And no matter who you are, you can relate to the message this film offers about how love requires “sacrifice, understanding, and forgiveness.”

This movie has its flaws, but it’s sincere. And if you still enjoy the simple romantic comedies we used to indulge in back in the 80’s & 90’s, then allow yourself to enjoy A Simple Wedding. It’s a sweet date night flick, and an all-around fun time.

Rating: 4/5

A Simple Wedding opens in theaters and On Demand (Including Amazon and iTunes) February 14, 2020.

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Movie Review: “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” is a Musical Delight

Image result for mamma mia 2 poster

The whole Mamma Mia gang is back! But this time we’re looking back to see how it all started.

Ten years ago the first “Mamma Mia!” introduced us to Donna (Meryl Streep) and her daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried). At the time, Sophie was engaged to her then fiancée Sky (Dominic Cooper), and wanted to know her father was so that he could attend the wedding. Given that there were three possible candidates, she invited all three of her mother’s past lovers, Sam, Harry, and Bill (Pierce Brosnon, Colin Firth, and Stellan Skarsgard) to her wedding. After meeting the three men, they fall in love with Sophie and they all commit to being her father.

Now in “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” Sophie is pregnant and this sparks a stroll down memory lane. Flashbacks allow us to see when her mother met her fathers, and how it eventually led to her birth. Right after college, young Donna (Lily James) decides to take a European trip. Along the way she runs into a much younger Harry (Hugh Skinner), Bill (Josh Dylan), and Sam (Jeremy Irvine). All three newcomers do a fantastic job and leave lasting impressions.

But it’s Lily James who steals the show with her striking beauty and incredible voice. Who knew this girl could sing!? James’ energy and charisma leaps off the screen. However, she’s not the only one with popping vocals. Amanda Seyfried continues to sing with voice of a Disney Princess, and her on screen Grandma played by the one and only, Cher, brings down the whole house with her powerful vocals.

The only thing more stunning than the music was the setting in Greece. The crystal blue waters and landscape is eye candy to even someone who doesn’t care about what else is going on.

“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” is a film that moves quickly. Since we are given brief moments in about a song length capacity with each man Donna meets, the film never lags. Although, I would not have minded seeing a longer storyline between young Donna and Sam. James’ and Irvine’s romantic chemistry makes us realize why the two characters immediately fall for each other again in the first film.

Though the plot is corny and the random bursts into song can be cheesy at times, it just doesn’t matter. Take “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” for what it is; and that’s a fun, toe-tapping musical that everyone can enjoy.

Rating: 3.5/5

“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” opens in theaters July 20.

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Interview: Greg Berlanti, Nick Robinson and Alexandra Shipp talk “Love, Simon”

There’s a reason why “Love, Simon” is getting so much love.  The film is a charming coming-of-age story that everyone can relate to.  It’s one of my favorite movies of the year and I was thrilled to get a chance to sit down with director Greg Berlanti, and stars, Nick Robinson and Alexandra Shipp.  We discussed the pros/cons of social media, best romantic spots, what kind of characters they’d like to see represented in big studio movies and more!

“Love, Simon” is playing in theaters everywhere.

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Interview: Kumail Nanjiani talks “The Big Sick”

Boy meets girl, they fall in love, and then girl is put into a medically-induced coma? This isn’t your typical love story, but trust us, it’s a good one! “The Big Sick” is being hailed as the best romantic comedy of the decade. I sat down with co-writer and star, Kumail Nanjiani, to talk about the film.  The film is based on the true story of how Kumail and his wife ended up together.

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“The Big Sick” opens nationwide July 14!

Movie Review: “Aloha” is an Unsatisfying Trip to Hawaii

It’s hard to believe that the man who brought us Say Anything and Jerry McGuire could have made such a disappointing flop. Director Cameron Crowe may not be on any winning streak with his previous films, but they still always managed to convey some kind of genuine emotion that left the audience somewhat satisfied. However, in his recent passion project, Crowe misses the mark completely. Aloha never quite finds its direction and is layered with a mess of undeveloped subplots.

In Aloha, Bradley Cooper stars as Brian Gilcrest, a jaded military contractor who was wounded and shamed by an incident in Afghanistan. When he is given a second chance to redeem himself, he must return to Hawaii and face a past love (Rachel McAdams) and a potential new one (Emma Stone).

Gilcrest is assigned to be looked after by air force pilot, Allison Ng (Stone). The two butt heads for about 10 seconds before they realize their immediate attraction towards each other. Their bickering soon turns into a fest of them giving each other googley eyes. All the while, Gilcrest has reconnected with his ex-lover, Tracy Woodside (McAdams), who is now married with two children.  One of whom strikes an uncanny resemblance to him. Hmmm, interesting? Tracy is married to the non-speaking, John “Woody” Woodside (John Krasinski). His lack of communication is used as a running joke throughout the film, but eventually wears thin as it gradually goes from funny to absurd.

With the quick set up of this love triangle, you would think we’d been introduced to the film’s central focus. But you’d be wrong. Sadly, there is no central focus. This story takes you in so many different directions, that by the second half of the movie you just don’t care what it’s about anymore.

Aloha’s crutch might have to do with its crowded all-star cast. Alongside Cooper, Stone, McAdams, and Krasinski; the film does its best to try and make Alec Baldwin, Bill Murray, and Danny McBride relevant to the story. The movie would have probably worked better if we got to see four people discovering themselves through an appropriate amount of development, but instead it is ruined by unnecessary characters involved in a ridiculous and forced subplot: Gilcrest’s expertise is required for a controversial rocket-launching headed by an eccentric billionaire, Carson Welch (Murray) and General Dixon (Baldwin) of the U.S. government.  Who cares?  Exactly!

Honestly, I would have much rather delved into what seemed like a gut-wrenched relationship between Tracy and Woody. Why doesn’t Woody talk? How are they going to fix their problems? It might have led to similar topics we’ve seen before, but there were a lot of layers within the Woodside family that I would have liked to peel.

There is a silver lining to this wreck of a movie.  What starts out sloppy and confusing does eventually conclude well and ties all loose ends. It’s just unfortunate that any resolution to the plot feels underwhelming, as the audience is never allowed to truly anticipate a climax.

Though Aloha features a strong cast and entertaining soundtrack that blends well with the beautifully captured scenery of Hawaii, the film can’t recover from the disorienting first act and the struggle to find its identity.

Rating: 2.5/5

Aloha opens in theaters May 29.

“Aloha” Official Trailer HD