film Jason Sudeikis

Some Movies To See This Weekend, May 20, 2016

Friday, May 20, 2016 Rob Samuelson

Now this feels like summer. A bygone kind of summer, but the feeling remains. We don’t have a new superhero movie hitting theaters this weekend, but there is an animated picture with celebrity voices, a sequel to a crowd-pleasing comedy, and a witty action-comedy from the guy behind Lethal Weapon. Let’s see what this (hopefully pleasant) throwback to the summer of 1995 brings us at the movies this weekend.

The Angry Birds Movie
Director: Clay Kaytis, Fergal Reilly
Writer: Jon Vitti
Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage

There is an extended pee drinking joke in the trailer for this movie-fication of the popular Angry Birds smartphone games. That probably tells you all you need to know about what to expect from this movie. It doesn’t look pretty, but there might be hope.

Jason Sudeikis tends to elevate bad stuff to watchable comedy, and last year’s Sleeping with Other People showed he’s capable of something deeper than the smarm he’s known for. Whether that will be required in this remains to be seen -- I’m skeptical. But there’s a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer arc to Sudeikis’s character, Red, who was always picked on as a young bird and who has to save the day when the green pigs take over the birds’ town. That could make for a fulfilling emotional ride with some jokes peppered in.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Writers: Andrew J. Cohen, Brendan O’Brien, Nicholas Stoller, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Starring: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Chloe Grace Moretz

In something of a surprise for this sort of thing, the entire creative team of the first Neighbors movie from 2014 has returned for another go-round of generational divides leading to hijinks. They’ve added some extra writers, including one of the stars, but the same team is in place.

Instead of Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne’s married thirtysomethings butting heads with Zac Efron’s fraternity brothers, this time those old adversaries have a new enemy: a sorority led by Chloe Grace Moretz. Painted six-pack abs and general zaniness will be deployed on the sorority until they all learn to get along and have a party, most likely. The plot will not be the key thing here, because these are funny people who will determine whether the movie is worthwhile by bouncing off of each other with improvised zingers and visual gags. The first Neighbors has a strong reputation for a reason, so here’s hoping this one keeps the fun times going.

The Nice Guys
Director: Shane Black
Writers: Shane Black, Anthony Bagarozzi
Starring: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Kim Basinger

Here’s a doozy. The Nice Guys has been atop my most anticipated movies of 2016 list for quite a while. It’s co-writer-director Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3) doing the type of thing he wants to do, which is pairing up a couple of smart-mouthed tough-ish guys in a detective story like he did for his scripts for the Lethal Weapon series back in the day. Ryan Gosling gets to play a weaselly private detective in 1977 Los Angeles and Russell Crowe gets to be a mob heavy who teams up with Gosling to solve a missing persons case. That’s a very basic structure and probably doesn’t do the movie justice, but the attitude on display in the trailer is a sign of excellence. Shootouts and bad words happen with great frequency in it, and it’s all done with a Looney Tunes level of loopy irreverence. Combine that with the pedigree of everyone involved and bam, you have guaranteed Rob will be in the theater on opening day.

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