Our mission at Matt’s Movies is to provide the busy family with viewing recommendations so as to limit the amount of time spent endlessly scrolling through Netflix and arguing about what to watch. Now the problem is how am I going to find the time watch any of the “For The Parents” category movies for reviewing purposes? I have a backlog of four or five kids’ movie entries but you know how it goes when you’ve got a two-year old…it’s more Pixar than rom-coms these days. But having said that I have two great movies for you today, one for the whole family and one for mom and dad to watch after the kids are in bed.
For the kids:
Dr. Seuss adaptations have been a mixed bag to this point. People loved Jim Carey’s turn as The Grinch (personally, I thought it was horrifying and will only accept the original animated version) but found Mike Myers Cat in the Hat lacking. It’s always difficult to translate a childhood favorite from book to screen faithfully while taking into account that you can’t release a major studio movie with big stars that wraps up in the amount of time it would take to read the children’s story out loud. The Lorax does this through adding a few musical numbers. While that may never be my favorite part of a film, my two-year old loves the songs and when he’s happy, everybody’s happy. Don’t let the fact that Taylor Swift and Zac Efrom play big parts dissuade you from watching this. The real stars are Ed Helms and Danny Devito. Devito’s turn as the title character is hilarious. His unmistakable growl is perfect for the eternally grumpy but goodhearted forest monster. It is a bit ironic that a children’s story about the perils of consumerism would have so much merchandise available for purchase but, hey what are you gonna do?
For the Parents:
Netflix only. This one is strictly for adults, and not even all adults. If you are offended by coarse language, then this is not the film for you. It’s likely the trailer alone will be offensive to some so click at your own risk. While it may be foul-mouthed, it isn’t shallow. It deals with the fragility of human life and the importance of connecting with your fellow man. The protagonist is a caregiver played by Paul Rudd whose life is in disarray because of an unknown event that has caused him to lose his wife and his job. He takes a job caring for a difficult teenager, played by Craig Roberts (22 Jump Street, Neighbors) who has an aggressive form of muscular dystrophy. The boy is smart. He uses his intellect to belittle the people that his long-suffering mother have hired to help him. Rudd surprises him by giving as good as he gets. He can verbally spar with the kid without pity. That may make some viewers uncomfortable. His illness is treated with seriousness but then again there are jokes made that might offend some. While he is bound to his wheelchair by his disease, he’s housebound by his fear of new experiences. Rudd convinces the boys mother to let him take a road trip to see the worlds deepest pit, a fitting destination for a couple of depressed characters. Along the way they run into Selena Gomez who gives a surprisingly good performance as a hitchhiker that also has no time for pity, and who is also foul-mouthed. They make an odd trio of broken people who get what they need from each other even it’s not exactly what they want. My wife and I greatly enjoyed this movie. If you can’t abide bad words then wait til next week. I’ll try to get you a more mainstream movie.