Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic the Hedgehog

By: Kevin Jordan

Fair enough.

My son was looking forward to seeing Sonic for weeks. I was not as enthusiastic, but such are the sacrifices a parent makes for his kid. Unlike him, my memory of Sonic goes all the way back to the original Sega Genesis game, not to mention I also remember many crappy movies based on games with practically no plot (I’m still scarred from Super Mario Bros). In other words, my expectations for this Sonic movie were somewhere between Super Mario Bros and a tax audit. Surprisingly, it was not a terrible movie. Mediocre at best. Bland, to be specific.

The film is basically what you would get if you let a C-minus student who had never played or seen a Sonic game make a movie out of it, telling him only “Sonic run fast.” My biggest issue with the film was Jim Carrey (as Dr. Robotnik) doing a reprisal of Fire Marshal Bill, but if Fire Marshal Bill was doing his impression of Ace Ventura. It’s not that he shouldn’t have been delivering an over-the-top cartoon villain, it’s that the context in which the character is introduced makes his character completely nonsensical. I know some people still get a kick out of vintage Jim Carrey, but he gave us a character who was ninety-five percent obnoxious with five percent occasional sprinkles of a fun character. But, I can at least say this movie didn’t scar me or my son. Speaking of which, here is what he had to say about this movie.

And away we go.

Tell me about Sonic the Hedgehog.

Umm…I liked it?

Are you asking me or telling me?

Telling.

What did you like about it?

I liked the beginning where the evil people, like the bad guy, and the rings, and also the power outage.

That’s a lot of things. Tell me more about the evil people. Who are the evil people?

They aren’t people, they’re robots. And the crazy mustache guy.

What did the robots look like and what did they do?

They’re little 3-D ovals with a red camera on the front that shoot lasers. I think. If I can remember.

How were they controlled by the crazy mustache guy?

The crazy mustache guy had this giant electric semi-truck that had secret buttons and holders and levers and he pushed those buttons to control them. He also had a tiny ship that had those controls.

What about his gloves? They seemed like gloves with controllers in them to me.

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I remember now. They were like the controls.

Who is the crazy mustache guy and what was he trying to do?

He was trying to capture Sonic so that maybe he could put Sonic in like big, big, bigbigbigbig trouble.

What do you mean by trouble?

Like, jail.

Jail?

Yeah. But he could just burst out of the jail.

Tell me again why was he trying to catch Sonic?

Because of the power outage.

Who wants a mustache ride? Literally no one.

You mentioned the power outage before. Tell me about the power outage.

It all began, like, um, where Sonic saw kids playing on a baseball field and after the game he spotted a bag full of equipment. He took the bag of equipment and went and played baseball and announced “batter up! Sonic.” And he just ran to the pitcher’s mound and ran to the plate and picked up the bat and hit the ball and ran to the outfield and didn’t catch the ball. Minutes later, he ran around and around the bases that created a lightning bolt and created the power outage.

You also mentioned rings. Tell me about the rings.

These rings are like magic rings. If you throw one up, it makes up a portal to another world and he went through a ring and ended up at Earth.

Oh. So Sonic is from a different world than Earth?

Sonic is from a world with an island that has a racetrack.

Why did Sonic leave his world?

Because hungry intruders were invading his home with his mom, the owl. And Sonic was running away with the owl and the hungry intruders shot the owl and they went down because the owl was flying. The owl said “you have to go to another dimension so you can be safe.” Sonic was like “no, I want to stay with you” and he had to go to Earth and spawned in the forest.

Was the evil guy from Sonic’s world?

No.

Where was he from?

Earth.

Did he have a name?

I don’t remember. He did. But I don’t remember. I have no idea.

Fair enough. Were the any other main characters?

Uh, yeah. The cop. I don’t remember his name.

Of course you don’t. Do you remember what Sonic called him?

OHHHHH. YEAHHHHHHH. Donut Lord! WOOOOO! *clapping*

You’re Mustache Guy? You’re Donut Lord?

Great name. So what was officer Donut Lord doing in the movie? What was his deal? Was he helping Sonic? Trying to catch Sonic?

At the beginning, he was starting to help him, then he was like “yeah, you’re super cool” at the end.

So they were friends?

Mmm-hmm. And donut lord’s family got everything out of his cave and moved it to the attic of their house.

Alright. What did you like about the movie?

I liked when they went to that party thing where Sonic froze everything except him.

Like Quicksilver in X-Men?

I don’t know what that is.

Fair enough. What didn’t you like about the movie?

I don’t know. I didn’t have any unliked parts.

If you could change something in the movie, what would you change?

The military people. They didn’t really care. I would change them trying to help the giant mustache guy.

Does the movie make you want to play a Sonic video game?

Yeah. Dad? Can I play it today?

Not tonight. Maybe this weekend. Anything else you want to say about the movie?

No. That’s everything.

Rating:

How much money should you ask for back when the movie is over?

Fifty cents back because it’s just that the military was not very sense-y about it. Heeeeheeeeheeeeheee.

Dumb and Dumber To

By: Kevin Jordan

Stupid is as stupid does.

DUMB & DUMBER TO Poster Art

The first thing I thought when I found out this movie was happening was “Who asked for this?”  I understand that it’s pretty rare when people do ask for a movie (Serenity comes to mind), but were there really people out there sending messages to Universal Pictures insisting the studio tell us what happened to Lloyd and Harry after they gave directions to the Swedish Bikini Team?  And if so, were those messages pranks or secretly hiding viruses or anthrax?  Because, I don’t want to meet the people who were serious about a sequel (or those other message senders, for that matter).  Besides – it’s been twenty years since the last movie; any fervor for a sequel would have died years ago anyway.

I’m sure the question you want answered is “how bad is this movie really?”  The answer to that question is “not nearly as bad as you thought it would be.”  Make no mistake; it’s a bad movie, but it has a couple of sporadic moments that keeps it from being completely putrid.

(Dumb SPOILERS ahead.)

Just as in real life for us, the film picks up twenty years later.  Lloyd (Jim Carrey) is in a mental hospital, having never gotten over Mary (Sampsonite) Swanson and Harry (Jeff Daniels) visits him once week to change Lloyd’s diaper.  Lloyd hasn’t spoken in twenty years and Harry informs him that he can no longer visit due to some personal business.  At this, Lloyd finally mumbles something and then bursts into mock-laughter, revealing that his condition was just a twenty year prank.  You see what the Farrelly brothers (writers and directors) did there?  Are you already cringing?  If you aren’t, the scene ends with Harry and two Latino gardeners trying to pull the catheter out of Lloyd’s penis; only succeeding in dragging him across the lawn.  Yes – this is going to be a long movie.

Once back at Harry’s apartment (which is shared with a guy cooking crystal meth – egads!), Harry reveals that he has kidney failure and needs a transplant.  Lloyd refuses to donate one of his, so they go to Harry’s parents’ house to ask them and also let the audience know that there are going to be a lot of unfunny race jokes.  You see, Harry was actually adopted by a Korean couple, but never made the connection.  Why aren’t you laughing?  This isn’t the end of the race jokes; there will be another gag about Chinese Canadians and one involving a black Englishwoman.  Hi-frickin-larious.

Anyway, the movie goes nostalgic on us (another running theme) and we end up meeting the legendary Fraida Felcher (Kathleen Turner) after Harry reads an old letter from her insinuating he’s the father of her daughter, Penny (Rachel Melvin).  Fraida reveals that Penny refused to write her back, so to kill two birds with one stone (or lots of birds with one cat – another nostalgic gag involving blind Billy from 4C), Harry and Lloyd agree to track down Penny for Fraida and also ask Penny to donate a kidney to Harry.  If this doesn’t sound amazing familiar, here’s Peter Farrelly said in January of 2013: “I love the script.  It’s exactly like the first one.”  Trust me; he’s not kidding.

As I’ve pointed out in the past and which has been demonstrated time and time again, comedy sequels never work because they always end up rehashing the jokes and plotlines (and yes, I’m shuddering at the upcoming Horrible Bosses 2 and Hot Tub Time Machine 2).  What was funny, original, and clever in the first film is redundant, tired, and redundant in the sequel.  Throughout Dumb and Dumber To, you get rehashes of Lloyd’s daydream date with Lloyd’s romantic interest (complete with ninjas and a semi-truck), a rich person trying to steal money (Laurie Holden), our two heroes riding with a guy who wants to kill them (Rob Riggle), a prank on said man that nearly kills said man, dead birds and a blind kid, Binaca, costumes for a big gathering, and a mysterious package that must be delivered to Lloyd’s romantic interest.  Ol’ Petey really wasn’t kidding.

Maybe I could have forgiven all that if the movie had actually been funny.  There were a couple of times when I giggled, though none of them had to do with our returning characters.  Riggle and Melvin provided a couple of good moments leading to those giggles, but the rest of the film was a slog of intense boredom.  Besides the rehashing of old jokes, the film doubles down on the dumb exhibited by Lloyd and Harry and not in a good way.  In the first film, their dumbness seemed accidental and innocent and made Harry and Lloyd endearing.  This time around, it felt forced and intended, making Harry and Lloyd annoying.  The flattest jokes come in the form of misused words and phrases, almost as if the Farrellys had purchased Bob and Tom’s “Joe Johnson’s Vocabulary Builder-Upper” and written every word into the script (Google it if you want an actual laugh).  I don’t remember them ever butchering the English language in the first film, so it made no sense here and there was certainly nothing funny about it.

If the recycled story and jokes weren’t enough, the lousiness of the movie is punctuated by none other than Carrey and Daniels themselves.  I wouldn’t say they turned in bad performances – though Daniels delivering his lines as if he was wearing a retainer was both bad and uncalled for – there just wasn’t any chemistry between them.  After twenty years, Carrey still hasn’t figured out that he isn’t the only person in a movie and Daniels appeared not to care at all that he was actually in a movie.  If there’s anything to be learned from this failure it’s that even twenty years isn’t enough time to convince one’s self that comedy sequels are a stupid idea.

Rating: I’d tell you to ask for all of your money back, but you aren’t dumb enough to hand it over for this film in the first place.  Right?  RIIIIIGHT?