Monday, May 2, 2016


Year 8, Day 123 - 5/2/16 - Movie #2,323

BEFORE: So we went out to dinner last Friday, to a diner that occasionally has these "Chef Specials", and I ordered the lasagna, and the menu said that it came with salad.  But since it was an entrée, the waitress asked me "soup or salad?" and I knew that I was supposed to get salad with the lasagna, but I was also a little surprised that she would ask me this question, because I thought the salad was a given, and didn't realize they were offering soup as an alternative.  I told the waitress that I wanted the salad, meaning the one that was scheduled to come with my dinner, but I'd also like to get the soup, too, figuring this was just an add-on for a couple of bucks.  So I got my soup, I got my salad, and then when the lasagna came, there was more salad on the plate.  

So, what happened was, the waitress misunderstood the menu, didn't realize salad came with the lasagna, then offered me an appetizer salad also (or choice of soup).  If she had realized this was going to lead to two salads, she may have offered me just the soup, for no extra charge.  And if I had realized she didn't know the menu, and that we were talking about two different salads, then I would definitely have gone with the soup and had one salad later with the lasagna.  My wife misunderstood my order also, and we argued a bit over it, but the bottom line is that I got two salads, and I seemed to be the only one who knew that the dish came with salad on the side, therefore I never should have been asked the question "soup or salad?" in the first place.  Because no one ever in the history of dining has eaten a salad and then said, "Hey, you know what I could go for right now?  Another salad!"  The whole notion of that is just plain ridiculous. 

When the waitress saw that I didn't eat any of the second salad - because, why would I? - she didn't charge us for the soup, which was the exact right thing to do.  If she hadn't mistakenly offered me an appetizer salad, and somehow got the idea it was OK to serve someone two salads, then the soup would have been part of the price for the meal.  Case closed.  

Both Tina Fey AND Amy Poehler carry over from "Man of the Year", where they played themselves.  (good gig!)

THE PLOT:  Two sisters decide to throw one last house party before their parents sell their family home.

AFTER:  My wife doesn't usually watch these movies with me, but I do occasionally tell her what I've watched, and she had an insight the other day when I described "Snowpiercer", and how it was a commentary on class struggle in the future.  She pointed out the similarity to "Elysium", despite having seen neither film, and she was spot-on.  In the same way, throwing a party is a quite common plotline for a film, and it makes this film feel very, very generic - essentially, it's just a female version of "Grown-Ups", which also starred many ex-SNL performers like Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and David Spade.  OK, so it's a trend, anything that's popular can be remade with women in place of men, and that's how "The Hangover" begat "Bridesmaids", and why we've got a "Ghostbusters" remake coming out with a female cast. 

This starts out OK as a character study, the fact that one sister is a responsible nurse who's divorced and the other is a single parent with no job or place to live, and a more lengthy sexual history.  The two come to terms with who they are by reading their high-school diaries, realizing that much of who we are as adults gets formed back then.  So besides being a plot device, the "last blast" party is a chance for the responsible sister to finally cut loose, and the irresponsible one to finally act like a grown-up.  I think it would have been nice if the story played out that way, but the plans go awry, the house gets trashed, and they find that you can't really change who you are, deep down.

It's worth noting that the house is SOLD when the party begins, so the house does not even belong to their parents at this point.  The sisters might be there to clean out their old bedrooms, but legally, they're trespassing.  OK, maybe the new owners haven't closed the deal, but the deal is in progress, to even think about throwing a party that could get out of hand is an extremely bad idea.   Either way, the IMDB tagline is wrong, it says they decide to throw a party BEFORE their parents sell the house, but it's not before, it's after. 

Maybe that's what makes the ending feel so tacked-on.  You can't make up for years of being irresponsible with just two weeks of hard work and home repairs.  That would be like counter-acting years of bad eating behavior with a couple of veggie burgers and a quick jog around the block.  But no, it seems like everything works out for the best in the end, every character ends up in a better place - and the problem with THAT is, it seems to justify throwing the party, which as I stated, they had zero right to do.   And therefore it justifies bad behavior, and not learning how to have fun in an adult way.  There are plenty of people past the age of 40 who are out there having fun, going out to dinner, going to the movies, playing sports - and most of them seem to be OK with the idea of outgrowing drinking games and party drugs.  It's too bad screenwriters can't think of anything else for them to aspire to.

I didn't even understand why their parties were called "Ellis Island" parties.  I racked my brain trying to find some connection between getting drunk and processing immigrants, with no success.  Was it because everyone was welcome at the party, just as everyone is welcomed to America?  No, that can't be right.  Were they throwing a party for the huddled masses, yearning to breathe free?  Nope.  Turns out their last name was Ellis, I just figured that out from the cast list on IMDB.  It might have been nice to mention their last name early in the film, so that joke would have made sense. 

Also starring Maya Rudolph (last seen in "Inherent Vice"), Ike Barinholtz (last seen in "Neighbors"), James Brolin (last seen in "Catch Me If You Can"), Dianne Wiest (last seen in "The Big Year"), John Cena (last seen in "Trainwreck"), John Leguizamo (last seen in "The Counselor"), Bobby Moynihan (last seen in "Delivery Man"), Madison Davenport (last seen in "Noah"), Greta Lee, Rachel Dratch (last seen in "Down With Love"), Samantha Bee, Matt Oberg, Santino Fontana, Britt Lower, with cameos from Kate McKinnon, Jon Glaser, Chris Parnell (last heard in "Turbo"), Paula Pell, John Lutz, Heather Matarazzo (last seen in "54").

RATING: 4 out of 10 expensive, fragile clocks (gee, I hope nothing happens to them...)

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