Tag Archives: Evan Goldberg

Shell Shocked

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

by Hope Madden

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been done. A lot. There have been comics, the cartoon series, video games, movies, another animated series, two more movies, another animated series, that Michael Bay movie and its sequel, a fourth cartoon series, another movie and countless toys, plastic digital watches (the coolest!), lunchboxes, tee shirts and assorted whatnot.

So, why bother with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem?

Dude, it’s good.

Seth Rogan and Even Goldberg (together responsible for Superbad, Pineapple Express, This Is the End and Sausage Party) co-write with Jeff Rowe (The Mitchells vs. the Machines ­– a great movie, and also the only one of these appropriate for children). Their script delights in the silly, childish charm of the 80s series, updated to reflect a modern teenage mutant’s reality.

It’s a fun vibe that’s pulled through the animation and performances, thanks in part to Rowe, who co-directed Mitchells v Machines, again co-directing, this time with Kyler Spears.

A messy, anarchic animation style delivers on the promise of the outsider theme and especially impresses in 3D. Somehow simultaneously creepy, jubilant and cool, the look is like no other piece of animation to be seen on the big screen.

The voice talent delivers as well. Veterans include Jackie Chan as lonesome, overprotective Splinter and Ice Cube, pitch perfect as badass super villain Superfly. His posse boasts a star-studded voice cast: Rose Byrne, John Cena, Rogan, Paul Rudd, Maya Rudolph. All bring the goods, but Rudd and Byrne are the most fun.

The core four – Nicolas Cantu as Leonardo, Micah Abbey as Donatello, Shamon Brown Jr. as Michelangelo and Brady Noon as Raphael – provide infectious charm and mayhem. Ayo Edebiri, so funny in this summer’s Theater Camp, gives April a natural humor and awkward grace.

The best way to reinvent a beloved, nostalgic brand is to hire people who loved it in the first place. If they know comedy and animation, all the better. Rogan and Goldberg bring the sophomoric but undeniable wit they always do, and Lowe channels that into something inventive, giddy and family-friendly.

Adult Education

Good Boys

by George Wolf

So apparently kids today get names like Brixlee, Soren and Thor. That’s new.

And when puberty hits, they pretend they’re plenty world wise, are tempted by peer pressure and worry that missing the big kissing party would be the end of the world. That’s not so new.

With Superbad‘s Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg on board as producers, Good Boys takes that film’s trusty formula and backs it up a few years, scoring a fair amount of solid laughs but not quite as much of the heartfelt smarts.

Max (Jacob Tremblay), Lucas (Keith L. Williams) and yes, Thor (Brady Noon) are new sixth graders and best friends, the Bean Bag Boys for Life! “Because we have bean bags.” Duh.

They drop F-bombs, hope other kids think they’re cool, and will stop at nothing to make Soren’s (Izaac Wang) party where Max hopes to meet up with Brixlee (Millie Davis) and finally get the chance to puck up or shut up.

But the ‘tween universe sends plenty of obstacles to keep the boys from the bash, some of which include drugs, alcohol, anal beads, angry high school girls, cops, a very busy highway, and a frantic paint ball battle at a nasty frat house (which turns out be a pretty inspired bit).

There’s always some inherent humor in kids talking dirty and crossing paths with very adult things while misunderstanding most of them. Good Boys, to its credit, wants to be more, it’s just unsure about how to get there.

Writer Gene Stupnitsky (Bad Teacher, Year One), directing his first feature, is at a disadvantage from the start. Superbad and Booksmart (you should see it!) both benefited from a leaving-for-college premise, which is just more of a life change than leaving for middle school.

But those films also found a tender heart inside their core friendships that Good Boys can’t quite pin down. The boys are all adorable, and plenty of laughs – especially Tremblay’s hilariously deadpan line about a sex doll- do land flush.

By the final bell, though, it’s caught between caring about the boys and laughing at them, and so are we.

Dead Man’s Party



by George Wolf


You know what This Is the End made me think of? Dear, departed Father Art from my church.

Stay with me.

Father Art used to surprise the faithful by occasionally dropping Howard Stern’s name into the homily, citing Stern as someone who, underneath the raunch, had a positive message:  do what you’re supposed to do.

This Is The End also has a positive message, stressing selflessness as a key to salvation. Sure, this message is mixed with heapin’ helpings of sex, drugs and profanity, but it’s a combination that produces some pretty funny shit.

Your reaction will most likely depend on how much you enjoy the comedy stylings of Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg, seen at their peak in films such as Pineapple Express, Superbad and Knocked Up. Co-writing and directing This Is the End, they’ve expanded their 2007 short Jay and Seth Versus the Apocalypse into the funniest film of the year.

Seth is Rogan, and Jay is his buddy Jay Baruchel, who comes to LA hoping for a low-key visit. Instead, Rogan takes him to a rockin’ party at James Franco‘s place where, amid plenty of famous faces, the rapture begins.

As the final battle rages outside, Franco, Rogan and Baruchel are joined by Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson and Danny McBride for a star studded celebrity survivor sleepover!

Things get pretty crude (so much so that Rogan has said he expected an NC-17 rating instead of the R they received), but the result is far from dumb humor. Self-deprecation is always endearing, and the gang uses it well, lampooning their films, their images, and the self-absorbed nature of celebrity culture.

It’s a wild ride featuring great cameos (well done Channing Tatum and Michael Cera) and fine ensemble work from a bunch of funny guys who play themselves with undeniable comic chemistry and a sense of camaraderie that makes them fine company for the end of days.

Remember, they have a plan to be among the chosen, and you’ll most likely be laughing too hard to argue with it.