Every Friday night, Movies.com sends cinephiles (and newlyweds) Sarah and Joe Piccirillo to see a film. Afterwards, they answer a few questions about it. Below is their discussion.
Synopsis: To save his job, milquetoast accounts manager Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman) attempts to lure the woman who stole his identity (Melissa McCarthy) back to Denver. Hijinks ensue.
What Drove You Nuts
Joe: This is our first movie review as a couple. Are you ready?
Sarah: I think we can handle it. What did you think?
Joe: After seeing Melissa McCarthy’s Oscar-nominated sink defecation in Bridesmaids, I was disappointed to watch her in a movie completely devoid of on-screen bowel movements. But I guess it’s smart not to repeat yourself.
Sarah: Maybe she wants to save it for a dramatic role.
Joe: Or a musical.
Sarah: Ha. There are two Melissa McCarthys in this movie. One has quick delivery and likeability. The other relies on gross-out humor and sexual aggression that are apparently only funny because of her size. The first actor I like; the second one drives me up a wall.
Joe: I didn’t laugh once. Why are we punished with scenes of her dancing suggestively or engaging in vigorous sex? The underlying premise is that it’s wrong for her to be sexy – her attempts at seduction, even femininity, are played for laughs. I find that sad, not funny.
Sarah: Agreed, and it affects the tone. She has an emotional breakthrough, gets a makeover, and softens up. Then, just as we start to connect with the character, she grosses it up again with sex jokes to Bateman’s wife. It’s not cool.
What Rang True?
Sarah: There’s a guy with two kids who quits his job on the spot to take a hypothetical position at a yet-to-exist company for an inflated salary offered to him in a parking garage? Yeah, I believe that guy would fall for an identity scam.
Joe: But his wife was so supportive. You never support my imaginary job offers. Anyway, I like that Bateman’s character remained consistent – he didn’t develop superhuman skills and he made realistic mistakes. He also kept his composure – he didn’t devolve into Ben Stiller-ish kvetching or histrionics. I liked that he wasn’t some anal-retentive nerd who needed to loosen up; he was a good man at the beginning and end of the film. It kept me invested as the movie veered into cartoonish territory.
Joe: I think it was during the scene in which a snake jumped into Jason Bateman’s pants that my cliché meter exploded. Let’s do a quick tally: while driving from Florida to Colorado, they were pursued by a bounty hunter and two murderers for hire. There were car chases, gunshots, a (snake-related) pantsing, and neck punching (which itself would not be cliché had the filmmakers elected to use it sparingly instead of as a running gag).
Sarah: I will say that in mismatched buddy movies, there’s usually a moment where the straight man admits that the zany wild card has taught him something. And there is a scene late in the film where Bateman's character tries to give credit to McCarthy. I like that she (correctly) pulls him back and makes it clear that she’s offered him nothing. It is the one moment where the movie actually avoids cliché.
What Did You Love?
Joe: Love is a strong word, but I thought they set up Bateman’s predicament pretty well: he’s hung out to dry by his new boss and the police. I felt so much frustration for him that when he (finally) swings a guitar into McCarthy’s face, I found myself unreasonably, almost alarmingly, happy.
Sarah: I LOVE watching Melissa McCarthy get physically assaulted. I don’t know what it is. I don’t mean that I found it funny -- I found it deeply SATISFYING. But I thought that Bateman and McCarthy actually had some decent chemistry.
Joe: Yeah, I liked them together. Whenever side characters appeared, the film came to a dead stop for me.
What Will You Be Thinking About Tomorrow?
Joe: How important the score is in leading the audience. Several times during the film, I thought I was watching something dramatic; yet, the score played upbeat Tom and Jerry music, which signaled to me that neck punching wasn’t life threatening; it was hilarious. I just needed to see it with the right music.
Sarah: Melissa McCarthy getting hit in the face with a guitar.
Joe: I love you.
Sarah: Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman are totally likeable; this movie is not. Don’t see it.
Joe: This time, the audience is the sink.
Sarah: You and that sink.
Joe: It’s too late for an annulment.