REVIEW: SPY

CAST

Melissa McCarthy (Ghostbusters)
Jude Law (A.I.)
Rose Byrne (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Jason Staham (Fast & Furious 7)
Miranda Hart (Miranda)
Jessica Chaffin (The Heat)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Will Yun Lee (The Wolverine)
Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man)
Peter Serafinowicz (Shaun of The Dead)
Ben Falcone (Tammy)
50 Cent (Southpaw)
Paul Feig (Sabrina: TTW)
Richard Brake (3 From Hell)

Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is a desk-bound CIA analyst guiding her partner Agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law) on a mission to Varna from a CIA office in the Washington, D.C. area. Fine kills Tihomir Boyanov after he sneezes without first finding a suitcase nuke whose location is known only to Boyanov. Meanwhile, the agency learns that Boyanov’s daughter Rayna (Rose Byrne) might know the location of her father’s device, so they send Fine to infiltrate her home. However, Rayna shoots Fine dead while Susan watches online. Rayna knows the identities of all the agency’s top agents, including Fine and Rick Ford (Jason Statham). Susan, who is unknown to Rayna, volunteers to become a field agent, and her boss, Elaine Crocker (Allison Janney), agrees. Ford quits in disgust over Susan being chosen for the assignment.
Susan is sent to Paris to spy on Sergio De Luca (Bobby Cannavale). Later that night, Ford appears in the hotel Susan is staying at and insists that she will ruin the mission due to being an inexperienced field agent. The next morning, Susan sees an assassin working for De Luca, and one of his contacts, exchanging Ford’s bag for one with a bomb inside it. Susan warns Ford, then catches up to the assassin, but he is killed when they fight. Susan follows De Luca to Rome, where she meets her contact Aldo (Peter Serafinowicz), a suave Italian informant who makes inappropriate advances towards her. Susan meets Rayna in a casino, prevents Rayna’s assassination, and becomes part of her inner circle. When they fly in her private plane to Budapest, the steward kills the bodyguard and pilots and tries to kill Rayna, but Susan subdues him and lands the plane in Budapest.
Rayna believes Susan to be a CIA spy, but Susan convinces Rayna that her father hired her to be Rayna’s bodyguard. In Budapest, the two encounter Susan’s best friend Nancy B. Artingstall (Miranda Hart), who is sent by Crocker to provide back-up. After being shot at in the street, Susan orders Nancy to get Rayna to safety while she pursues the shooter’s vehicle. The shooter turns out to be CIA double agent Karen Walker (Morena Baccarin), who sold Rayna the names of the agents. As she is about to shoot Susan, Walker is killed by an unknown sniper. Later that night, Susan and Nancy accompany Rayna to a party. The contact is De Luca’s associate, Lia (Nargis Fakhri). Nancy creates a diversion so Susan can fight Lia, who is a skilled assassin. Just as Susan is about to arrest Lia, she is fatally stabbed in the chest by an unknown assailant, who turns out to be Bradley Fine. Susan is captured and is told that Fine faked his death so he could become Rayna’s lover.
Jason Statham and Melissa McCarthy in Spy (2015)
After Susan is imprisoned with Aldo in a bunker, Fine appears and reveals to Susan that the real reason he faked his death was to gain intelligence on the device’s location, which could only happen if he gained Rayna’s trust. Fine also reveals that he was the one who assassinated Karen. Susan and Aldo escape after subduing two bodyguards. Eventually, Susan accompanies Rayna and Fine at De Luca’s mansion while posing as a double agent. Chechen terrorist Solsa Dudaev (Richard Brake) and his men arrive to purchase the device for a suitcase full of diamonds. Rayna then reveals the location of the device. However, De Luca, now in possession of the device and doubting that Dudaev can safely smuggle it into the United States, kills him and his men and keeps the diamonds. De Luca intends to sell the device to someone who can transport it to New York City within a week. As De Luca is about to kill Rayna, Ford appears and distracts him, allowing Susan to save Rayna’s life again.
Melissa McCarthy and Nargis Fakhri in Spy (2015)
De Luca escapes with the device and diamonds on his helicopter, with Susan and Ford clinging to the landing gear. Ford loses his grip, causing him to falls into the lake ocean, leaving Susan to confront De Luca in the helicopter alone. After Nancy and Aldo arrive in a helicopter and help Susan kill De Luca, Crocker shows up to recover the device. Rayna is arrested, but it is implied that she has come to like Susan as a friend. After Aldo reveals to Susan that his real name is Albert and he is an MI6 agent, he invites her to dinner should they ever cross paths in London, which Susan accepts. Susan declines a similar offer from Fine and instead opts for a girls’ night out with Nancy. The next morning, Susan is shown screaming after waking up amidst empty champagne bottles, realizing that she has slept with Ford.
I thought Spy would be just another parody of the James Bond-type of movies, cheap and cringy. But I was wrong! This is a highly entertaining and intelligent film. The leading lady Melissa McCarthy excels in this clever action-comedy galore. The ensemble of actors, the script, director’s work all makes for a great film.

REVIEW: LIFE OF THE PARTY

CAST

Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly)
Molly Gordon (Animal Kingdom)
Gillian Jacobs (Revenge For Jolly)
Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids)
Jessie Ennis (Hits)
Adria Arjona (Pacific Rim: Uprising)
Matt Walsh (Due Date)
Julie Bowen (Modern Family)
Debby Ryan (Insatiable)
Stephen Root (Red State)
Jacki Weaver (The Voices)
Luke Benward (Dear John)
Jimmy O. Yang (Crazy Rich Asians)
Chris Parnell (21 Jump Street)
Heidi Gardner (Otherhood)
Yani Smone (Young & Married)
Ben Falcone (Tammy)
Nat Faxon (Sex Tape)
Sarah Baker (The Campaign)

Melissa McCarthy, Molly Gordon, Gillian Jacobs, Jessie Ennis, and Adria Arjona in Life of the Party (2018)After dropping off their daughter Maddie (Molly Gordon) to her senior year at Decatur University in Atlanta, Dan tells Deanna (Melissa McCarthy) that he wants a divorce because he has fallen in love with another woman, a realtor Marcie (Julie Bowen), and he also wants to sell their house under his name. Heartbroken, Deanna visits her parents Mike (Stephen Root) and Sandy (Jacki Weaver) to tell them what happened, but Mike is frustrated because Dan made Deanna drop out of her college because she was pregnant, as well as his overbearing ways during their marriage. Deanna goes to see Maddie in her dorm to tell the news about her divorce and her plans to study again at the university to earn a degree in Archaeology. Maddie initially has doubts about her plan but she ultimately accepts it. Maddie introduces Deanna to her friends – Amanda (Adria Arjona), neurotic Debbie (Jessie Ennis), and Helen (Gillian Jacobs). Deanna later meets her agoraphobic and chronically depressed roommate Leonor (Heidi Gardner).Melissa McCarthy in Life of the Party (2018)On the first day of school, she meets demeaning girls, Jennifer (Debby Ryan) and her friend Trina (Yani Simone), who mocks Deanna’s age. Deanna later signed the divorce papers, with her best friend Christine, in front of Dan and Marcie. At night, Maddie and her friends take Deanna to the party, where she meets a boy named Jack (Luke Benward), who later falls in love with her and, the next day, they have sex inside the library. In another night, they attend an 80’s-themed party where Deanna has a dance-off with Jennifer, resulting in earning the respect of her schoolmates. Deanna later has stage fright during her oral presentation and she faints.Melissa McCarthy in Life of the Party (2018)While Deanna hanging out for the dinner with Christine, her husband, and their couple friends, Dan and Marcie unexpectedly show up, who declare that they are getting married. Jack turns out to be Marcie’s son and knowing about Deanna sleeping with Jack, Marcie walks out in disgust. On the night of Dan and Marcie’s wedding, Deanna and her friends get high from chocolate bark laced with weed, and they head to the reception, where they start wrecking the wedding hall. Dan, Marcie, and Maddie find them and Marcie tells Deanna she is cut off financially from Dan. Deanna is filled with shame, if only because of how Maddie saw her.Melissa McCarthy and Debby Ryan in Life of the Party (2018)Deanna tries to make amends with Maddie, but she tells her that she is leaving college since she has no means of completing the rest of the year on her own. The girls then come up with a plan to throw a party to raise money to pay for Deanna’s tuition. Since everyone is at Christina Aguilera concert, Helen posts the message on her Twitter, claiming Aguilera will be at the party after her show. Christine shows up with her husband, as do Mike and Sandy. Mike offers to give Deanna a 401K check to pay her tuition, but Deanna refuses to take it. The party is not a success until Aguilera (who ends up being Leonor’s cousin) arrives and she puts on a show with Deanna and the girls to an excited crowd.Later on, Deanna is due to repeat her presentation in class. She is still nervous until Maddie, Helen, Amanda, Debbie, and all the sorority sisters show up to support her, and Deanna manages to give the presentation with ease. At the end of the year, Deanna and Maddie graduate together, with all their friends and family there to support them. Maddie encourages Deanna to throw her cap in the air. She does so, and it hits Dan in the face, knocking out an earring he was wearing while Marcie berates him for losing the expensive diamond stud.I’m shocked at this low score. I guess you’re either a fan of Melissa McCarthy or you’re not, and seeing that I am, I really enjoyed this film. It was constant laughs and one scene where I can’t remember laughing so hard for so long. The writing was cute and had a heartfelt story. The acting, directing and editing was all perfect. I really enjoyed this and am sure you will too.

REVIEW: CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME ?

Starring

Melissa McCarthy (Life of The Party)
Richard E. Grant (Logan)
Dolly Wells (I Capture the Castle)
Jane Curtin (3rd RockFrom The Sun)
Ben Falcone (Tammy)
Stephen Spinella (Lincoln)
Anna Deavere Smith (The Kingdom)
Christian Navarro (13 Reasons Why)
Marc Evan Jackson (The Good Place)
Lucy DeVito (Jumanji: The Next Level)

Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)In 1991, following the critical and commercial failure of her biography of Estée Lauder, author Lee Israel struggles with financial troubles, writer’s block and alcoholism. With her agent unable to secure her an advance for a new book, Israel is forced to sell her possessions to cover expenses, selling a personal letter she received from Katharine Hepburn to local book dealer Anna. While doing this, she re-starts an old friendship with Jack Hock, an openly gay drug dealer.Richard E. Grant and Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)While conducting research for a potential Fanny Brice biography, Israel discovers two letters written by Brice, one of which she takes and shows to Anna. Anna gives a low offer due to the letter’s bland content, prompting Israel to return home, add a postscript to the second letter, and bring it back to Anna, who takes the letter for $350. Israel then starts forging and selling further letters by deceased celebrities, incorporating intimate details in an attempt to command higher prices. Anna, who is a fan of Israel’s writing, tries to initiate a romantic relationship but is rebuffed.Richard E. Grant and Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)When one of Israel’s letters raises suspicion for its unguarded discussion of Noël Coward’s sexuality, her buyers start blacklisting her. Now unable to sell the forgeries, she has Jack sell the letters for her. She also begins to steal authentic letters from libraries and archives to sell, replacing them with forged duplicates. While Israel is out of town committing one such theft, her elderly cat dies under Jack’s care. She ends their friendship but continues their criminal partnership out of necessity.Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)Jack is caught by the FBI while attempting a sale and cooperates with them, resulting in Israel being served with a court summons. She retains a lawyer, who advises her to show contrition by getting a job, doing community service, and joining Alcoholics Anonymous. In court, Israel confesses she enjoyed creating the forged letters and does not regret her actions, but realizes her crimes were not worth it because the forgeries did not show her true self as a writer. She is sentenced to five years’ probation and six months’ house arrest.Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)Sometime later, Israel reconciles with Jack, who is now dying of AIDS, and asks his permission to write a memoir about their escapades, to which he agrees. While passing a bookstore, she sees a Dorothy Parker letter she forged on sale for $1900. Disgusted, she writes the store owner a sarcastic note in Parker’s voice. Upon receiving Israel’s note and realizing that the letter in the storefront window is a fake, the owner removes it from the window but changes his mind and decides to keep it on display.Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)The film’s postscript reads:

Lee forged and sold approximately 400 letters. Two of Lee’s forgeries were included in Noël Coward’s 2007 biography. They were removed by the second printing. Nora Ephron sent a cease and desist letter to Lee, demanding that she stop impersonating her on the phone. When summoned for jury duty later in life, Lee replied: “I am a convicted felon and thereby ineligible to serve. Who said crime doesn’t pay?” Jack Hock passed away on 10/19/94, having been lovingly looked after by members of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis Center. The New York Times called Lee Israel’s book: CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? : MEMOIRS OF A LITERARY FORGER a “sordid and pretty damned fabulous book.”Melissa McCarthy and Brandon Scott Jones in Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)Melissa McCarthy and Richard E Grant are both superb in their roles. McCarthy makes you believe the character was written just for her and Grant plays an excellent British eccentric, again a role that you almost feel no one else could have played. One of the best films of the year.

REVIEW: GARFIELD 2

Starring

Bill Murray (Ghostbusters)
Billy Connolly (Muppet Treasure Island)
Breckin Meyer (Road Trip)
Jennifer Love Hewitt (I Know What You Did Last Summer)
Ian Abercrombie (Army of Darkness)
Roger Rees (The Pink Panther)
Lucy Davis (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Jane Carr (Legends of Tomorrow)
Oliver Muirhead (The Social Network)
Tim Curry (Stephen King’s It)
Bob Hoskings (Hollywoodland)
Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-man)
Vinnie Jones (Arrow)
Jim Piddock (Epic Movie)
Greg Ellis (24)
Richard E. Grant (Logan)
Jane Leeves (Frasier)
Jane Horrocks (Corpse Bride)
Roscoe Lee Browne (Moon 44)
Ben Falcone (Tammy)
Vernee Watson (The Big Bang Theory)
Robin Atkin Downes (Babylon 5)

Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties (2006)Jon Arbuckle (played by Breckin Meyer) plans to propose to his girlfriend Dr. Liz Wilson (played by Jennifer Love Hewitt), who is going on a business trip to London. Jon follows her to the United Kingdom as a surprise; After escaping from the kennel, Garfield (voiced by Bill Murray) and Odie sneak into Jon’s luggage and join him on the trip. Garfield and Odie break out of the hotel room, then get lost.Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties (2006)Meanwhile, at Carlyle Castle in the British countryside, the late Lady Eleanor’s will is read. She leaves all of Carlyle Castle to Prince XII (voiced by Tim Curry), her beloved cat who looks just like Garfield. This upsets the Lady’s nephew, Lord Dargis (played by Billy Connolly), who will now only get the grand estate once Prince is out of the picture. Lord Dargis traps Prince in a picnic basket and throws him into the river. Garfield inadvertently switches places with Prince: Jon finds Prince climbing out of a drain and takes him to the hotel, while Prince’s butler Smithee finds Garfield in the street and takes him to Carlyle Castle.Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties (2006)In the grand estate Garfield now calls home, he receives the royal treatment, including a butler and a team of four-legged servants and followers. Garfield teaches his animal friends to make lasagna, while Prince learns to love it at Jon’s place. Lord Dargis sees Garfield and thinks Prince has come back – if the lawyers see Prince/Garfield they will not sign the estate over to Dargis, who secretly wants to destroy the barnyand and evict/kill the animals to build a country spa. Dargis makes many attempts to get rid of Garfield, one involving a violent but dim-witted Rottweiler, Rommel (voiced by Vinnie Jones).Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties (2006)Eventually Garfield and Prince meet each other for the first time (spoofing the Marx brothers’ mirror gag). Jon, with the help of Odie, discovers the mix-up and goes to the castle, which coincidentally Liz is visiting. Garfield and Prince mess with Dargis, whose plan is exposed, and are seen by the lawyers. Dargis threatens everyone if they don’t sign the papers to him, taking Liz hostage. Garfield, Prince, Odie and Jon save the day, Smithee alerts the authorities, and Dargis is arrested. Garfield, who had been trying to stop Jon from proposing to Liz, has a change of heart: He helps Jon in proposing, and she does accept.Jennifer Love Hewitt in Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties (2006)Great for a family film night. Billy Connolly is good in this, but Garfield, as he should be, is the star of the show! loved the ‘lasagna moment’ in the restaurant!
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25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY

Starring

Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses)
Olivia Munn (The Babymakers)
T. J. Miller (Deadpool)
Jennifer Aniston (Just Go With It)
Kate McKinnon (Ghostbusters)
Jillian Bell (Rough Night)
Courtney B. Vance (The Mummy)
Vanessa Bayer (Trainwreck)
Rob Corddry (Ballers)
Karan Soni (Deadpool)
Sam Richardson (Spy)
Randall Park (Bad Neighbours)
Abbey Lee (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Jamie Chung (The Gifted)
Da’Vine Joy Randolph (Empire)
Matt Walsh (Bad Santa)
Ben Falcone (Tammy)
Andrew Leeds (Bones)
Summer Fontana (The Originals)

Jason Bateman and Kate McKinnon in Office Christmas Party (2016)In December 2016, Josh Parker (Jason Bateman), Chief Technical Officer of Zenotek’s Chicago branch, meets with his lawyer, Ezra (Matt Walsh), to finalize his divorce in time for the holidays. Zenotek meanwhile has failed to meet its quarterly quota, and interim CEO Carol Vanstone (Jennifer Aniston) threatens to lay off 40 percent of the staff, cut bonuses, and cancel the annual Christmas party. Her brother, branch manager Clay (T. J. Miller), is desperate to keep his staff.Jennifer Aniston in Office Christmas Party (2016)Carol harbors resentment toward Clay, whom she believed was her father’s favorite, and threatens to shut down the branch. Josh and Clay, along with Josh’s head of tech, Tracey Hughes (Olivia Munn), propose partnering with financial giant Walter Davis (Courtney B. Vance), whom they are having lunch with later that day, and Carol gives them the chance to win his business. Walter is pleased with the pitch, but concerned with another recent branch closure at Zenotek, and feels the company is more about the budget than their people. Clay invites him to their Christmas party in hopes of showing him that their company is in good standing. Before leaving town, Carol offers Josh a position at her New York headquarters, confident her brother will fail.T.J. Miller in Office Christmas Party (2016)Clay funds an exorbitant Christmas party, much to the chagrin of Mary (Kate McKinnon), the head of Human Resources. Joel (Sam Richardson) takes DJ duty, but the party struggles to pick up even with Tracey inviting Chicago Bulls player Jimmy Butler as a friend. Though initially reluctant, Walter is inadvertently doused with cocaine when it is accidentally fed into a snow machine and succumbs to his free-spirited nature. Throughout the party, various employees cut loose: Nate (Karan Soni) tries to impress two of his staff, Tim and Drew (Andrew Leeds and Oliver Cooper), by hiring an escort named Savannah (Abbey Lee) to pretend to be his girlfriend, though Nate is found out when she gives a handjob to a fellow employee; Clay’s assistant and single-mom Allison (Vanessa Bayer) attempts to hook up with new hire Fred (Randall Park) but stops when he reveals he has a mother-child fetish; and customer service supervisor Jeremy (Rob Corddry) cuts loose on the dance floor with Mary, whom he previously despised. Josh and Tracey get stuck on the roof and nearly kiss before Jeremy interrupts them. Back on the dance floor, Clay wins over Walter’s business, and Clay promises everyone they’ll keep their jobs and receive their bonuses. The party gradually grows more and more chaotic as employees begin partaking in orgies, damaging company property, and doing drugs.T.J. Miller in Office Christmas Party (2016)Carol’s flight is cancelled due to weather, and she rushes back to the office when she hears about the party from her Uber driver (Fortune Feimster), who took people to the party. Though Carol is initially impressed with receiving Walter’s business, Walter injures himself attempting to swing off a balcony after a conversation with Clay, and is later discovered to have been fired from his firm, nullifying any contract and thus no longer bringing in any new money to Zenotek. Carol decides then and there to shut down the branch. To add insult to injury, she reminds Josh about the job offer aloud to everyone, especially Clay. Even though Josh says he didn’t accept it, the surrounding employees angrily ignore and shun him. Tracey reveals that she was given the same offer but explicitly rejected it where Josh kept it open. Feeling betrayed about what he heard from Carol, Clay rushes off with Savannah’s emotionally unstable pimp, Trina (Jillian Bell), to party elsewhere, though Trina is more interested in robbing Clay of his wealth that he is actually keeping on his person. Josh, Tracey, Mary, and Carol race off to save Clay.Jason Bateman and Olivia Munn in Office Christmas Party (2016)Many of the other employees learn about the termination Carol announced earlier. Believing that everyone is to lose their jobs, they throw out and destroy all the company equipment and burn everything in sight, forcing security guard Carla (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) to put down the unruly, now destructive and rebellious party. Clay ends up racing Trina’s car towards an opening drawbridge, attempting to jump the gap, a feat he’d earlier mentioned to Josh. Josh drives Mary’s minivan alongside him, and tries to convince Clay not to jump, but he is still angered and heartbroken from Carol offering Josh the job, as much as remembering her insults. Believing he’s worthless, he still decides to jump, regardless of whether he makes it and lives or dies. After everyone, including Trina, fails to convince Clay to pull over, Josh threatens to jump the gap with him, and Clay reluctantly allows it. Not willing to die, Carol forcefully moves the steering wheel from Josh, causing the car to swerve into Clay’s car, crashing both vehicles. Clay’s car hits an internet hub, disconnecting the entire city.Jason Bateman and T.J. Miller in Office Christmas Party (2016)Trina and Savannah are arrested for their crimes, while Clay is taken to the hospital. In the wake of the internet blackout, Tracey realizes how to run a new innovation she’d been working on for several years that combines internet WiFi with wired connections through the city’s power grid, which had previously failed due to her inability to take the real-world interference of the existing internet signals into account. They race back to the destroyed office to set up her tech, and when it works, internet is restored to Chicago. This new innovation saves the jobs of the entire team, with Clay apologizing for how his father treated Carol. Walter, who is in the same hospital as Clay, agrees to join the team. Josh and Tracey kiss amidst the ruins of their office. Jeremy opens up to Mary, and Nate and Allison agree to go on a date. The whole group meets Carol and Clay as he’s released from the hospital, and they all go out for breakfast, driving recklessly on the way.Jason Bateman and T.J. Miller in Office Christmas Party (2016)Good for a laugh, plus for pointing out how stupid companies (and individuals) have gotten in their aversion to Christmas celebrations.

REVIEW: NEW GIRL – SEASON 4

 

Starring

Zooey Deschanel (Bridge to Terabithia)
Jake Johnson (Jurrasic World)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Lamorne Morris (Game Night)
Hannah Simone (Oldboy)
Damon Wayans Jr. (Let’s Be Cops)

Jessica Biel and Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (2011)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jessica Biel (Next)
Reid Scott (The Big C)
Hina Abdullah (Margaret)
Ciara Hanna (Power Rangers Megaforce)
Chasty Ballesteros (The Internship)
Kaitlin Olson (Finding Dory)
Michaela Watkins (Wanderlust)
Rob Reiner (ED:TV)
Alan Ritchson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Julian Morris (Pretty Little Liars)
Erinn Hayes (The Watch)
Curtis Armstrong (American Dad)
Angela Kinsey (The Office)
Brian Posehn (The Big Bang Theory)
Cleo King (Mike & Molly)
Michael Stahl-David (Cloverfield)
Alexandra Daddario (Texas Chainsaw)
Amber Stevens West (22 Jump Street)
Lisa Bonet (Angel Heart)
Greta Lee (Money Monster)
Rebecca Reid (I Live With Models)
Billy Eichner (The Angry Birds Movie)
Barry Bostwick (Spy Hard)
Nasim Pedrad (Scream Queens)
Medalion Rahimi (The Catch)
Zoe Lister-Jones (Band Aid)
Sarah Burns (Life As We Know It)
Ben Falcone (Tammy)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween)
Justin Long (Jeepers Creepers)
Meaghan Rath (Being Human)
Josh Gad (Frozen)
Jimmy O. Yang (Fantasy Island)
Nora Dunn (Bones)
Kiersey Clemons (Dope)
Artemis Pebdani (Son of Zorn)
Jack McBrayer (30 Rock)

Max Greenfield, Damon Wayans Jr., Hannah Simone, Lamorne Morris, and Jake Johnson in New Girl (2011)Romantic relationships remain the primary concerns of Jess, her four dude roommates, and her best friend Cece (Hannah Simone). In season three, Jess and her cute slacker roomie Nick (Jake Johnson) made good on the will-they-or-won’t-they? dynamic teased in the previous seasons and are already peaceably broken up at this point. (The episode “Goldmine” nicely addresses the difficulty of getting people not to bail on dates with each of them after learning that they live in the same apartment as their ex.) At work, Jess has made it up the ranks from schoolteacher to vice principal, which is all well and good until she gets a crush on a new British teacher (Pretty Little Liars’ Julian Morris) with the saucy name Ryan Geauxinue (pronounced “Goes-In-You”); unfortunately for Jess, administrator-teacher couplings are a no-no, so she tries to ignore the hunk. (That doesn’t happen.) Nick finds Kai (Greta Lee), a lady who likes to lay about the apartment as much as himself; rookie cop Winston (Lamorne Morris) “investigates” her behavior for his roommate and decides she must be homeless. (She’s not.)Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (2011)The show’s other key couple, former-model-turned-inept-bartender Cece (Hannah Simone) and metrosexual would-be player Schmidt (Max Greenfield), continue their pas de deux; Schmidt starts off the season overwhelmingly obsessed with Cece while she just wants to move on. As the season continues, Schmidt cools it a bit and finds a way to be Cece’s friend… which, of course, just makes her remember why she liked him in the first place. Unfortunately, by this point, Schmidt has started up with manipulative, career-driven city councilwoman Fawn Moscato (Zoe Lister-Jones). Fawn’s power excites Schmidty, but is this duo built to last?Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (2011)Wayans was a “recurring” cast member in season 3, but he’s a full-fledged co-star in season four. His presence in the show — besides demonstrating that non-“niche” sitcom ensembles can have more than one black dude in them — is wonderfully layered with jock-y braggadocio, hidden tenderness, and amiable goofiness. Coach also reacts to relationship strife in the most entertaining ways possible, whether it’s emotionally breaking down as he tries to describe fertilization in a health class he’s teaching or attracting a bar full of ladies to grind up against him to the strains of Alannah Myles’s “Black Velvet.”Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (2011)That just leaves Winston, who occasionally takes a break from studying for his police exam and from being in love with his cat to try to woo a human lady. I have to admit that Winston’s decision to become a cop just keeps reminding me of the later seasons of That ’70s Show, where Kelso’s decision to join the police academy also felt fairly arbitrary and strange. This is addressed in a subplot in the episode “Par 5,” which was actually co-written by Lamorne Morris, in which the character feels forced to hide his profession when he starts dating a woman who actively protests the LAPD. This episode tries to add a little nuance and depth to Winston’s choice to be a policeman.Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (2011)For a show with so many semi-arrested characters, gaining maturity and finding worthwhile career paths are unsurprisingly also an ongoing component of the show. Jess and Winston, of course, seem like they’re right where they want to be career-wise with the vice principal and police gigs respectively. Nick continues to flounder professionally, but eventually teams up with Schmidt to start their own entrepreneurial concern, and while their first concept — a suit made out of sweatsuit material — is a dud, the show seems optimistic about them finding fulfillment in working together. Cece finally goes to college, with some financial help from Coach and Winston, who consider it an investment that they expect to see repaid. When they find out Cece uses the opportunity to take somewhat esoteric liberal arts courses, the fellas are duly perturbed.Zooey Deschanel and Julian Morris in New Girl (2011)Once again, the show opens its doors to a number of excellent guest stars, including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Kaitlin Olson as Jess’s former classmate and potential stepmom (Rob Reiner and Jamie Lee Curtis return as Jess’s divorced parents), Jessica Biel as a romantic rival for Jess, Billy Eichner as a stressed-out, catty airport employee on Christmas, Childrens Hospital’s Erinn Hayes as a promiscuous school nurse, Lisa Bonet as the touchy-feely leader of a teachers conference, Nora Dunn as Schmidt’s overbearing mother, and on and on. Justin Long. Josh Gad. Michaela Watkins. Barry Bostwick. Sarah Burns. Kurt Braunohler. Regis Philbin. Funny people! The ensemble cast truly shines in this newest season of New Girl. Some episodes come in a little below expectations, but overall the season offers some interesting developments for the characters and oodles of great jokes. If you like the show, keep liking the show.

REVIEW: NEW GIRL – SEASON 3

Starring

Zooey Deschanel (Bridge to Terabithia)
Jake Johnson (Jurrasic World)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Lamorne Morris (Game Night)
Hannah Simone (Oldboy)

Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson in New Girl (2011)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Merritt Weaver (Signs)
Dreama Walker (Compliance)
Eva Amurri Martino (Saved)
Curtis Armstronng (American Dad)
Brenda Song (Dads)
Riki Lindhome (The Lego Batman Movie)
Jon Lovitz (Happiness)
Taye Diggs (Go)
Damon Wayans Jr. (Let’s Be Cops)
Jessica Chaffin (The HEat)
Brian Posehn (The Big Bang Theory)
Bob Gunton (Daredevil)
Gillian Vigman (The Hangover)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween)
Ben Falcone (Enough Said)
June Diane Raphael (Year One0
Josh Gad (Frozen)
Prince (Graffiti Bridge)
Adam Brody (Jennifer’s Body)
Mary Elizabeth Ellis (Santa Clarita Diet)
Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip)
Linda Cardellini (Scooby-Doo)
Alexandra Daddario (Baywatch)
Stevie Nelson (The Mad Ones)
Kerri Kenney (Wanderlust)
Rob Reiner (EDTV)

Zooey Deschanel, Mark Proksch, Angela Kinsey, and Dreama Walker in New Girl (2011)Coach’s return was a little unexpected, there was already a great ensemble, why mess with it? For those who don’t know, Coach was one of the original characters from the pilot. Wayans’s was already cast in Happy Endings, but with Happy Endings suffering in the ratings, it was expected to be cancelled, leaving Wayans’s free to find another role. It didn’t get cancelled, and New Girl even benefited with the addition of Winston. Eventually, Happy Endings was cancelled, and Coach comes back. Coach’s return to, guess what, coaching was inspired, and his slight change in focus really benefits both him and Schmidt, as well as the show as a whole. By the end of the season, it feels like Coach has always been there!Max Greenfield and Jake Johnson in New Girl (2011)Then there is Winston. It really is a testament to Lamorne Morris’s ability as an actor and comic that he has got so much out of character that doesn’t really have much to do. I think he’s one of the least developed characters, and with so much focus on Nick & Jess, the re-introduction of Coach and Schmidt’s all round issues, he’s left to fill out episode storylines without getting much development himself. The comic relief Winston provides is necessary to balance out the drama with the other characters, but it’s a shame so much of it is just short story arcs or lasts just a single episode. If there’s any area I’d like season 4 to develop, it’s Winston. There is just too much talent and comedy to ignore.Zooey Deschanel, Max Greenfield, Damon Wayans Jr., Lamorne Morris, and Jake Johnson in New Girl (2011)New Girl continues its solid track record, producing a classic relationship season without losing the fact it’s a comedy at heart. Well executed by all involved.