Tag Archives: Snoop Dogg

I Guess This Is Growing Up


by Matt Weiner

Not to go Don Draper over a movie with an extended gag involving a dog and a condom, but Bromates isn’t a buddy comedy… It’s science fiction, letting us travel back to the early 2000s. This is a heady time, where men need a romantic contrivance to show emotion, women are cardboard cutouts and all manner of sin will be forgiven once you put on a shirt with buttons and confess to having “grown up.”

The ties to the past are strong, if not deep, with Bromates writer and director Court Crandall serving as one of the writers for Old School. And Bromates offers a superficial nod to that kind of throwback comedy, only with an even more threadbare setup.

Solar panel salesman Sid (Josh Brener) gets talked into moving in with his close friend Jonesie (Lil Rel Howery, one of the few bright spots in the movie) after both men are dumped by their girlfriends. Sid, consummate nice guy and eco-do-gooder, discovers his influencer girlfriend has been cheating on him with their next-door neighbor. And Jonesie is too immature, although for some reason the story codes “immature” as “hiring a sex worker while his girlfriend is out of the apartment.” (The nerve of that harpy to break up over a peccadillo.)

It’s important to stop here to point out that this is, without exaggeration, the extent of character development we get for the rest of the film. Jonesie concocts a plan to help Sid get over his breakup, there’s an impromptu trip to Texas that takes up a good chunk of the story but seems to exist solely to set up a Snoop Dogg cameo (which at least makes some sense, as he produced the film), and the rest of the time is devoted to Sid’s workplace drama. Also, somewhere along the way, Sid falls in love with a woman who is onscreen for maybe 5 total minutes.

Bromates is less a fleshed-out movie and more a series of bits, tossed out at a pace that feels desperate rather than zany. It’s a pattern that repeats itself so often that it goes from disorienting to discouraging. Nothing gets developed, nothing gets heightened. Ostensibly, this is a movie by people who understand this kind of comedy, but Crandall shows no interest in establishing an internal logic even by the low standards of the tropes the film leans on.

It’s not all bad. There’s an end credits bit that’s funnier and more pointed than what made it into the main movie. Plus the runtime is barely an hour and a half, so you don’t have to wait too long to get there.

Daughter of Darkness

The Addams Family 2

by George Wolf

Two years ago, The Addams Family returned to their cartoon roots with an animated feature that leaned heavily on little Wednesday Addams for its few sparks of macabre fun.

Despite turning to a more convoluted plot line, AF2 doesn’t do much to improve the family reputation.

Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz) is still the standout here, putting the creepy and kooky in the 3rd grade science fair. She’s denied a prize thanks to a new “everybody wins” school policy, but her brilliance catches the eye of shady scientist Cyrus Strange (Bill Hader).

Worried she’s being dumbed down by the idiots around her, Wednesday rebuffs cheer up attempts from Dad Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and Mom Morticia (Charlize Theron) when a pushy lawyer (Wallace Shawn) comes knocking with a bombshell.

His clients believe Wednesday may actually be their daughter and are requesting a DNA test. What else can Mom and Dad do except pack Wednesday, Pugsley (Javon “Wanna” Walton, stepping in for the now deeper voiced Finn Wolfhard), Fester (Nick Kroll) and Lurch (Conrad Vernon, who again co-directs with Greg Tiernan and newcomer Laura Brousseau) into the haunted camper for that fallback device for hastily-connected hi jinx, the road trip!

It’s a three week trek to (where else?) Death Valley and back, stopping in Miami, San Antonio, and the Grand Canyon long enough to catch up with more family (Snoop Dogg’s Cousin It) and try out some mildly amusing gags.

Only a precious few – like the guy who keeps trying to propose to his girlfriend and “Thing” trying to stay awake while driving – actually land, and it’s up to Moretz and her perfect deadpan (“I’ve been social distancing since birth”) to remind us of what makes this family dynamic.

The script from Dan Hernandez and Benji Samit veers off into wild Dr. Moreau territory, adding even more baggage to a film that would have been wise to pack lighter. Inspired soundtrack choices (from Gordon Lightfoot to Motorhead) give way to forced pop and hip-hop, and the film’s attempt at an “own who you are” message seems half-hearted at best.

But what’s really lost is the inherent fun The Addams Family brings to wherever they are. When the world goes light, they go dark. That’s a fun and funny idea ready to be exploited.

Once again, Wednesday’s just waiting for the rest of the gang to get back to the family business.

More Spooky, Less Ooky

The Addams Family

by Hope Madden

Has anything ever embraced the outcast narrative with as much macabre panache as Charles Addams’s single-panel cartoons, The Addams Family?

Their pride in themselves and obliviousness to the reaction of those around them continue to offer opportunity to pick at society’s weakness for sameness. Rooting a story of individuality versus conformity with the two pre-adolescent characters (Addams children Wednesday and Pugsley) makes good sense.

This should totally have worked.

The voice talent ensemble is a thing of envy: Charlize Theron, Oscar Isaac, Chloe Grace Moretz, Bette Midler, Allison Janney, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Elsie Fisher, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara and Snoop Dogg. That’s two Oscars, three nominations and one Snoop.

The standouts here are Janney and Moretz, each the funhouse mirror opposite image of the other. Janney’s zealous believer in conformity, Margaux Needler, is a home improvement guru with a reality TV show and a motto: “Why be yourself when you can be like everyone else?”

Moretz delightfully counters that energy with an entirely deadpan Wednesday. Moretz’s every line is delivered with the emotion of a month old corpse. She’s perfect.

Wednesday chooses public middle school, Pugsley (Wolfhard) preps for a family ritual of manhood, Margaux plots to rid her perfect neighborhood of that eyesore mansion on the hill in time for her TV show’s big season finale. The collision of those three stories bogs and slogs, though, each of the subplots championing individuality.

Which is fine. And that’s what this film is. It’s fine.

Kroll gets a funny bit about where his Fester is and is not allowed to travel. Lurch is reading Little Women. Thing has a foot fetish—that bit’s kind of priceless, actually. But on the whole, the film just kind of lays there. Like a cadaver, but not in a good way.

Co-directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon (who also lends his voice) proved they could envision a highly irreverent cartoon with 2016’s Sausage Party, but have trouble finding solid ground between fornicating lunch meats and Thomas the Tank Engine (Tiernan’s claim to fame).

Co-writer Pamela Pettler (writing here with The Christmas Chronicles’ Matt Lieberman) offers a resume more in line with the concept: The Corpse Bride, Monster House, 9. Yes, she has her goth bona fides. But she struggles to give the story any bite.

The Addams Family is unlikely to charm longstanding fans and will likely bore young moviegoers. It might entertain a slim swath of tweens, but this family deserves better than that.