CHICAGO – If you can remember the 1990s outside of childhood, you are in the glow of middle age, so congratulations. The Brown Paper Box Co. theater ensemble takes us back to those thrilling days of yesteryear with “Spike Heels,” a relationship comedy centering on the co-mingling antics of two couples, with a slight nod toward George Bernard Shaw and the play “Pygmalion” (or its musical counterpart, “My Fair Lady”).
CHICAGO – Unfortunately you can’t judge “The Book Of Life” by its cover. The movie draws on the fertile imagery of the Mexican “Day Of The Dead” to create its own animated world. The animation is excellent and the wooden characters seem to spring to life – but those performances are as wooden as a board.
Comedy sequels are SO rarely worthwhile. Most good comedy is dependent on being fresh, new, and unpredictable – words not commonly uses to describe sequels. For every “Wayne’s World 2,” there are a dozen films of the caliber of “Ghostbusters 2,” “Arthur 2,” and “Caddyshack II” – movies that are so bad that they almost diminish the legacy of their predecessors.
CHICAGO – The comedy juggernaut of Adam McKay and Will Ferrell is about to descend on the holiday movie season with “Anchorman 2,” the sequel to the popular first film. McKay is the behind-the-scenes partner with Ferrell, producing hilarious favorites like “Talladega Nights,” and co-founding the “Funny or Die” website.
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CHICAGO – Will “Mad TV” get a cultural comeback? Once positioned as the first show that could really compete with “Saturday Night Live,” it never quite fulfilled its potential but I think it’s the kind of thing that audiences could find and respect in the future. It’s too bad that none of the “Mad” players became huge stars — movie fame helped propel the respect for those early days of “SNL” — but there were some undeniably talented players here and the show holds up better than you might expect. There’s a part of me that wishes it was still on, especially during this truly horrendous season of “SNL.” Lorne Michaels could use some competition.
CHICAGO – Now this is getting interesting. NBC has officially renewed three comedies — “Parks & Recreation,” “The Office,” and the very on-the-bubble “Up All Night.” Rumors of “Parks” only getting a 13-episode commitment have proven to be true but there has been no official confirmation that this means that the fifth season will be the program’s last.
CHICAGO- NBC has ordered full seasons for two of their new sitcoms: “Whitney” and “Up All Night.” “Whitney” has only aired two episodes and “Up All Night” has only aired three, but apparently the numbers and critical appeal was enough for NBC to give each show a shot at a full year.
CHICAGO – NBC’s “Up All Night,” debuting tonight, September 14th, 2011 at 9pm CST (before moving two hours earlier next week into its normal timeslot) is a very-promising new comedy largely due to the immense talent of its trio of stars and the relatable simplicity of its structure. As more and more people wait to have kids, how do the nights of wine tastings and social events transition to diaper-changing and bottle-warming?
CHICAGO – I SO wanted “Hall Pass” to be good. Not only do we need the men who made “There’s Something About Mary” and “Kingpin” back in prime form but the timing of their return seems perfect — who better to ride the wave of R-rated comedies inspired by the success of “The Hangover”? Sadly, “Hall Pass” is a hit-and-miss affair that falls too often on the wrong side of that comedy corridor. It’s a reasonable rental on a rainy night but not the return to form fans of the Farrelly brother’s greats were hoping for.
CHICAGO – The Farrelly Brothers’ “Hall Pass” is a near-miss for the directors of “There’s Something About Mary” and “Dumb & Dumber” that features enough laughs to remember when the boys were in their prime but ultimately doesn’t come enough together to get them back to it.