Entries Tagged 'Comedy' ↓

muriel’s wedding

A blaringly ugly politician wannabe narcissist who has mantraized life for his children, “You’re lazy, stupid, USELESS,” introduces us to Muriel Heslop. Plain, plump and cowed to near nothingness, Muriel lives in a safe world of fantasy and ABBA music, believing that marriage alone will restore her lost dignity. We follow Muriel as she pursues the magical event, a fascinating adventure of living on fabrications and wedding gown shopping. Despair and hilarity are woven masterfully together for all of this movie’s compelling characters, and the truth wins out for most. We all part sadder but wiser. [australia, 1997] ~ reviewed by nancy brown

friends with money

Four friends, three with money, one without struggle with relationships and fulfillment in modern-day L.A. The ease and chemistry of this phenomenal cast (Jennifer Aniston, Joan Cusack, Catherine Keener, Frances McDormand) makes the movie feel like your best (and worst) girlfriends riffing on a Saturday afternoon. The film focuses on Jennifer Aniston’s character, a loser who smokes a lot of pot to make it through her days as a housecleaner. The others both condescend and try to help, while ignoring their own issues. [us, 2006]

being julia

In Being Juila, Annette Bening, like her character aging 1930′s theatre star Julia Lambert, is a clever, witty, beautiful tour de force. Not content with quietly approaching the “age where there are no good roles for women” Julia creates her own: randy lover, adoring and concerned mother, and thoughtful mentor, without ever relinquishing the role of super star. This sparkling film gallops along like a 1930′s jalopy, and Bening (who gloriously looks her age) is a delight to watch from beginning to end. [UK/US, 2004]

funny girl

We follow Fanny Brice from teenage chorus girl wannabe in pre-depression Vaudeville to the top of the 1930′s show biz heap, the Ziegfeld Follies. A mother’s love shepherds the ugly duckling girl prodigy past the jeers and digs of the neighborhood coffee klatch to give young Fanny the drive and chutzpah to elbow her way into the theatre and onto the stage. Omar Sharif plays her worldly gambler husband, Nicky Arnstein. Sometimes charming, sometimes schlocky musical numbers, the kind you’ll have stuck in your head for days! A young, young Barbara Streisand is fun to watch. [usa, 1968 ] ~ reviewed by nancy brown

desk set

It’s 1957 and the patriarchy is in full thrust at the swank Manhattan offices of the Federal Broadcasting Corporation. Information wonk, classy dame and all around dynamo Bunny Watson (Katharine Hepburn) runs the Reference Department like a Swiss watch, only more fun. At FBC, all of the indignities suffered by women in the 1950s workplace are played out for us; today’s sexual harassment laws are shattered, but the girls triumph in the end by employing that timeless gem of truth that empowers still: don’t make yourself too available. A visual feast for retro lovers. Great fun. [usa, 1957] ~ reviewed by nancy brown

fly away home

A fun and inspiring coming of age story about a 14-year-old girl who flies a skein of geese south for the winter. The girl, grief-stricken by her mother’s death and sent to live with her preoccupied inventor dad on his farm, comes to terms with her loss by nurturing a family of baby geese who imprint on her. Directed by Carroll Ballard, the movie has a fresh outdoor adventure flavour, and espouses valuable lessons for girls about independence, following your heart, and healing. [canada, 1996]

chutney popcorn

This low-budget comedy tackles big issues such as infertility, surrogacy, and alternative family forms with mixed success. Depth and character development are given short shrift in favor of quirky details. Still, Nisha Ganatra’s first feature has an appealing artistic flair (the lead lesbian surrogate a henna artist and photographer), some clever dialogue, several unique peripheral characters, and enough funny scenes to make it an interesting sliver of modern urban life. And you have to love that title. [us, 2000]

freaky friday

In Jodie Foster’s earlier career she was a child star at Disney. As an unprecocious and slightly gawky tomboy, Jodie’s appeal was as “everygirl.” In this flick she’s a teenager who trades bodies with her mother for a day, and each tries to carry on as usual. Problem is, mom’s a Brady-style 70′s housewife and daughter is a football playing wisegirl. Hilarity ensues, but of course, each learns a valuable lesson. If you saw the original in 1976, maybe it’s time to watch it with your daughter. (Or if you refuse to grow up, just rent it yourself.)[us, 1976]

the slums of beverly hills

14-year old Vivian just wants a normal middle-class family. One that doesn’t “move” in the middle of the night without paying rent. One that doesn’t consider breakfast at Sizzler to be a big meal out. One where her father doesn’t support her and her brothers with handouts from a wealthy uncle. In this sharp, funny, and breast-obsessed story Vivian survives puberty with help from her well-meaning but bumbling father, marijuana-dealing neighbour, and certifiable cousin. [us, 1998]

ever after

Make no mistake, this is not your grandmother’s fairy tale: this damsel is not in distress. In this update of Cinderella, Drew Barrymore rescues the prince, fights for the downtrodden, espouses socialism, befriends Leonardo Da Vinci, swordfights the villian, and finds true love. Recommended for those in need of a good fairytale makeover. [us, 1998]