Comedy Double Bill: <i>Jeff, Who Lives at Home</I> and <I>Casa de mi Padre</i>

If you're in the mood for a few good laughs before the serious-as-a-heart-attack dystopian action movie The Hunger Games drops next Friday, 21 Jump Street is your best option. But if the idea of a remake of an old '80s TV series -- even one that features the young year's strangest and strongest comedy duo, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum -- makes you reflexively cringe, there are two other options this weekend: a pair of smaller comedies with some big-name talent involved. Jason Segel, Ed Helms and Susan Sarandon headline the purposefully meandering stoner flick Jeff, Who Lives at Home, while Will Ferrell ventures south of the border for the telenovela spoof Casa de mi Padre. Buyer beware, though: neither movie is as consistently amusing or as pleasantly satisfying as Jump Street. We know -- we're surprised too.

Happy Anniversary: National Lampoon’s Vacation

by Ethan Alter May 20, 2013 6:00 am
Happy Anniversary: <i>National Lampoon’s Vacation</i>

When the 30th anniversary Blu-ray edition of National Lampoon's Vacation (which hits shelves tomorrow) crossed my desk, two thoughts went through my head. 1) "I haven't seen this in ages!" and 2) "30th anniversary? Man, I am old." To my surprise, though, the movie itself doesn't feel as ancient as I did in that moment or as many comedies from that era do today. (Seen Meatballs lately? Yikes.) In fact, period fashions, music cues and surprising amounts of casual nudity aside, Vacation is fairly timeless in its comedy. The Griswold clan's ill-fated road trip to Walley World still makes us laugh in large part because the characters' personalities and the madcap situations they become ensnared in remain relatable and funny to viewers past and present.

The Lorax: Who’ll Speak for the Trees?

by Ethan Alter March 2, 2012 6:00 am
<i>The Lorax</i>: Who’ll Speak for the Trees?

In the interest of lending some Seussian-style optimism to this discussion of The Lorax, Hollywood's latest attempt to translate the good doctor's groundbreaking work to the big screen, here are some things that the new animated adaptation of his 1971 environmental parable is better than:

Five Things to Know About The Hangover Part III

by Ethan Alter May 23, 2013 9:00 am
Five Things to Know About <i>The Hangover Part III</i>

Much like an actual hangover, the Hangover franchise has lingered around multiplexes long after the pleasant buzz of the original hit has passed. The Hangover Part III, then, is the cinematic equivalent of the two aspirin and/or special cocktail of Tabasco sauce, raw eggs, peanut butter and whatever the hell else is in the fridge that you knock back in order to rid yourself of that queasy feeling that accompanies the morning after a long night of binge drinking. The only difference is that those miracle cures generally improve your mood, whereas this movie will likely leave you more nauseous. In the interests of AA-inspired group sharing, if you're planning to spend Memorial Day weekend in the company of the Wolf Pack, here are five things you should know:

<I>The Hangover</I>: What Happens in Vegas Will Be So Funny You’ll Spit Out Your Soda

I was lucky enough to see The Hangover the other night, and while sometimes getting to see screenings in advance feels a lot like work, this one was actually a pleasure. It was quite the welcome change of pace after my recent outings included Terminator: Salvation, Fighting and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.

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