REVIEW: JUST LIKE HEAVEN

CAST

Reese Witherspoon (This Means War)
Mark Ruffalo (Avengers Assemble)
Donal Logue (Gotham)
Dina Spybey-Waters (Freaky Friday)
Ben Shenkman (Pi)
Jon Heder (Blades of Glory)
Ivana Milicevic (Vanilla sky)
Rosalind Chao (Star Trek: DS9)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
Willie Garson (Stargate SG.1)

Just Like HeavenDr. Elizabeth Masterson (Reese Witherspoon) is a workaholic striving to get a permanent job at the hospital she’s working at in San Francisco. But on the day she gets the job, she’s in a horrid car accident. Meanwhile, David Abbott (Mark Ruffalo) is looking for a furnished apartment with a comfortable couch. He’s running out of options until a flier for a sub-lease flies across his path. It’s perfect, and David is excited about moving in.Until he sees Elizabeth in his apartment. She insists she lives there and he is the one trespassing. When she appears and disappears, David decides she’s a spirit and tries everything he can to get rid of her. When that doesn’t work, he agrees to help her find out who she is so she can get peace and leave him alone. The pieces begin falling into place, but by then, David and Elizabeth have grown beyond their initial dislike and enjoy each other’s company. Will the truth about Elizabeth be good news or bad news?MV5BMTIwNTQxNTY4M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNjY0NjE3._V1_I went into this movie expecting a light romantic comedy, and there are some very funny moments, especially at the beginning as David and Elizabeth must come to grips with each other. However, as the movie progressed, the story grew more serious.  The story itself is basically predictable. Several major plot points are obvious long before they happen. However, there was a twist or two that you wont see coming. And the movie has some themes worth thinking over after it ends.The movie is carried by the leads. Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo do a great job in their rolls. The movie really focuses on them, and the two have lots of screen time together. The chemistry builds over the course of the movie. I found this noteworthy because in most comedies it seems to either be there or not. I liked this because shows the changing relationship that Elizabeth and David have.The praise for the leads isn’t to detract from the supporting actors. Dina Spybey especially stands out as Elizabeth’s sister. However, Jon Heder of Napoleon Dynamite fame steals every scene he is in. His paranormal expert is hilarious. This movie is a pleasant way to spend a couple hours. Not terribly original, but it tries harder then many films out there today.

REVIEW: BLADES OF GLORY

 

CAST

Will Ferrell (Zoolander)
Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite)
Will Arnett (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Amy Poehler (Mean Girls)
Jenna Fischer (Slither)
William Fichtner (The Dark Knight)
Craig T. Nelson (The Incredibles)
Romany Malco (No Ordinary Family)
Nick Swardson (Bolt)
Luciana Carro (Falling Skies)
Andy Richter (Scary Movie 2)
Rob Corddry (Operation: Endgame)
Nick Jameson (Frozen)
Luke Wilson (That 70s Show)
Katharine Towne (Evolution)

Jon Heder in Blades of Glory (2007)

Professional figure skating is a subject so ripe for cinematic satire that it’s truly a wonder that ‘Blades of Glory’ is first big budget comedy to exploit it. The costumes, the music, the pageantry, the preening — as much as we may watch in awe as the enormously talented athletes create magic on the ice, it’s hard not to also stifle a giggle at the grandiose excess of it all.Will Ferrell and Jon Heder in Blades of Glory (2007)

Much the same way he did with formula one racing in “Talladega Nights” Will Ferrell lampoons the sport to great effect with ‘Blades of Glory.’ This fantastically silly, utterly preposterous comedy was the sleeper hit of early 2007, grossing over $100 million and for once delivering all the laughs its trailers promised.

Will Ferrell and Jon Heder in Blades of Glory (2007)

Ferrell stars as Chazz Michael Michaels, an uber-hetero world-class figure skating champion (and adult film star, but nevermind that). After a on-rink run-in with his rival, the angel-cheeked skating prodigy Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder, not straying too far from his classic ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ persona), both are stripped of their gold medals and permanently banned from men’s single competition. However, after a few desperate years stuck on the has-been, quasi-celebrity skating circuit, the two find a loophole that will allow them to qualify as the world’s first all-male pairs team. Here is where ‘Blades of Glory’ could have simply been another of those one-joke movies — nothing more than a series of cringe-inducing homophobic barbs about how funny men in tights are. But if ‘Blades of Glory’ isn’t exactly high-brow, Ferrell and Heder find just the right tone in satirizing not “gayness,” but instead the male discomfort with the sexual stereotypes of “effeminate” sports like figure skating. Ferrell in particular creates such a hyper-masculine alpha male in Chazz — one who’s overcompensating to a ridiculous degree, that it becomes truly inspired social commentary. ‘Blades of Glory’ is actually quite astute, even sublime, in skewering male anxieties.Will Ferrell and Jon Heder in Blades of Glory (2007)The film also doesn’t limit itself to obvious satire by having a field day with the highly-competitive nature of Olympic sports. Fulfilling the villain requirement are Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg, a brother-sister team of rival German skaters who will do anything to defeat Chazz and Jimmy. As played by Will Arnett and Amy Poehler (who also happen to be married off-screen), they’re like Boris and Natasha on ice, twirling their mustaches as they hatch a series of increasingly bizarre schemes. It all leads to an extended chase sequence, as Stranz chases Chazz over ice, through a crowded shopping mall and finally onto the rink in a madcap bit of lunacy that is one of the movie’s highlight sequences.MV5BMTU3NjYxNzc1NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTUyMjI0Nw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1494,1000_AL_If ‘Blades of Glory’ were only spandex and slapstick, however, it probably would have been nothing more than a second-rate “SNL” sketch that quickly wore out its welcome. But typical of Ferrell’s more recent penchant for humanistic comedy over sheer satire, he sets the tone for the rest of the film by plumbing some genuine (if completely ridiculous) pathos out of these larger-than-life characters. When Chazz is forced to endure a stint inside a giant furry animal costume in the kiddie spectacular “Grumlets on Ice” (a pitch-perfect parody of those awful Icecapades shows), he somehow manages to make it simultaneously sad, touching, and hilarious. Indeed, we will come to like all of the characters in ‘Blades of Glory,’ because however over-the-top they may be, there is a kernel of recognition to even their most outlandish behavior that rings true. Of course, ‘Blades of Glory’ is ultimately impervious to critical analysis, because it aims to be nothing more than just a very funny movie. It takes a sport that just cries out to be made fun of, hits the laugh bull’s-eye more than it misses.