Saturday, February 4, 2017

Just Married

Year 9, Day 35 - 2/4/17 - Movie #2,535

BEFORE: Ashton Kutcher carries over from "What Happens in Vegas", and this is sort of why I had to watch that film yesterday...  I mean, nobody put a gun to my head and made me watch it, but when I started putting the schedule together for February and I saw what I had and what didn't connect to anything, I realized that adding a few key romance-based films would allow me to bring everything together.  I follow my gut, even if I'm not always aware of it - like I had no idea when I recorded those 4 Debbie Reynolds films that I'd have a way to work them in this year, honestly I was going to save them for December or next February, but working them in was not only possible, it made my chain stronger, after a little effort.  

Here's the TCM schedule for Sunday, February 5:
7:15 AM Cain and Mabel (1936)
8:45 AM Calamity Jane (1953)
10:30 AM Camelot (1967)
1:45 PM Camille (1937)
3:45 PM Captain Blood (1935)
6:00 PM Captains Courageous (1937)
8:00 PM Casablanca (1942)
10:00 PM Chariots of Fire (1981)
12:15 AM Citizen Kane (1941)
2:30 AM Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)
5:00 AM Comrade X (1940) 

I'm considering adding "Camelot" to the list - I've never seen that one, and it could pair well with something like "Kiss Me, Kate", or perhaps "Knights of the Round Table" which will air in a week or so.  Among the other films, I've seen "Captain Blood", "Casablanca", "Chariots of Fire", "Citizen Kane" and "Coal Miner's Daughter" so if I record "Camelot" I'll have seen 6 out of these 11, which brings me back up close to 50%, 26 seen out of 51.  

THE PLOT: A young newlywed couple honeymoon in Europe, where obstacles challenge their ability to sustain the marriage.

AFTER: It's basically the same formula I've seen all week - people in relationships being horrible to each other, with physical comedy thrown in, just in case people aren't entertained by the relationship stuff.  Probably some studio executives think this formula works because the love/relationship stuff is there to entertain the women in the audience, and the pratfalls and mishaps are there to entertain the men.  Ha, ha, funny people fall down!  Now funny people punch each other!  Me want more popcorn!

I mean, we've all had good vacations and bad vacations, right?  A couple's honeymoon is supposed to be something special, everything's supposed to go right - but it doesn't always work out that way.  And some simple people might believe that if a honeymoon goes wrong, then symbolically the relationship is going the same way.  (I can tell you stories about my first wife throwing up on the first night of our honeymoon, after eating some bad seafood.  Looking back on it years later, the situation had another level of meaning...). But these people also believe that the person at the wedding who catches the bouquet is going to be the next one to be married.

This is about more than just the honeymoon, because it turns out that both Sarah and Tom have secrets that they haven't shared with each other.  Hers is about her ex-boyfriend, and when the ex shows up in Europe and stays at the same hotel, it forces the issue.  Then they're REALLY not enjoying their honeymoon - they might have survived a few vacation mishaps like a tiny rental car and confusion over the electrical outlets in Europe if the ex-boyfriend hadn't shown up.  Worse, Tom spends time in the "Caffe Americaine" to watch a baseball game, and another American woman comes on to him.  He resists temptation, but Sarah gets the wrong idea - so they actively fight all the way back home.  

Can they patch things up after the honeymoon (which is all shown in flashback, by the way, quite unnecessarily...) and resist her family's attempts to keep them apart?  Well, it's a standard Hollywood rom-com, so what do YOU think?  I just question whether it was a good idea to crib so many gags directly from "National Lampoon's European Vacation".  

Also starring Brittany Murphy (last seen in "Don't Say a Word"), Christian Kane (last seen in "Edtv"), David Moscow (last seen in "The Promotion"), David Rasche (last seen in "Hard Time: Hostage Hotel"), Veronica Cartwright (last seen in "The Invasion"), Monet Mazur, Thad Luckinbill, David Agranov, Taran Killam (last seen in "Ted 2"), Raymond J. Barry (last seen in "Little Children"), Valeria Andrews, Laurent Alexandre, with a cameo from George Gaynes (last seen in "Altered States").

RATING: 4 out of 10 gondolas

Friday, February 3, 2017

What Happens in Vegas

Year 9, Day 34 - 2/3/17 - Movie #2,534

BEFORE: Before I get to TCM's programming for tomorrow, I have to announce some changes in my own schedule.  After all, we're three days into February, so that means it's time to tear apart my plans for the second half of the month and then try to put them back together again, only better.  Here's my dilemma - I just got four films with Debbie Reynolds off of TCM, and they're all about romance and relationships, so could there be a way to work them in?  Well, to find out I started focusing in on February 13, where I was going to have to rely on the first of THREE indirect links for the month.  I was going to watch "The Bachelor" on Valentine's Day, but I had indirect links on both sides of that film - that's usually a sign that the film doesn't "belong" in the chain, despite being on topic.

So I found a new link out of my Feb. 13 film, and it's obscure - but it rescues an "unlinkable" film, moving an animated fairy-tale (fairy tales count as romances, right?) up from the bottom of the list, and that film HAPPENS to share an actor with one of the Debbie Reynolds films - that's a sign, right?  And another one of the Debbie Reynolds films has Frank Sinatra in it, and I was already going to watch four other films with Sinatra this year - so bingo, Debbie's pencilled in for four films right after Feb. 14.  A little shuffling of the Dean Martin films and I've got myself a new plan for February's chain, which is now going to push the Fred Astaire fims well into March - and I've got a tentative plan that, with two additions, lasts until March 23 AND links back up to the film I was going to use as an outro to the romance chain anyway.  Previously I was going to depend on an indirect "Star Wars" co-star link between Alec Guinness and Harrison Ford, and now I don't have to do that. 

So, to sum up - instead of a chain with three indirect links that took me to March 6, I now have a chain with ONE indirect link that takes me to March 23, that seems much better.  And I worked in a chain with Debbie Reynolds, and another one in March with 5 Michael Caine films - plus I rescued another film from linking limbo, and I only had to jettison one film to next February, where it could link up with "Bridget Jones' Baby", for all I know - so that's a win all around.  And best of all, most of the Fred Astaire chain got moved into March, and I was unsure which of those films are about dancing and romance, and which are just about dancing. (I wasn't looking forward to watching two Astaire films a night, just to make everything fit into a 28-day month, anyway...)  There's definitely precedence for extending the romance chain past February, which I've done before with the Cary Grant chain, and the films directed by Woody Allen.  So now I stop fretting about the schedule until, oh, let's say the first week of March.  

Now, here's TCM's "31 Days of Oscar" schedule for Saturday 2/4:
6:15 AM Boom Town (1940)
8:15 AM Boomerang (1947)
9:45 AM Born To Dance (1936)
11:30 AM Bound For Glory (1976)
2:00 PM The Boy Friend (1971) 
4:30 PM Boys Town (1938)
6:15 PM The Brave One (1956)
8:00 PM Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
10:00 PM Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
11:30 PM Bullitt (1968)
1:30 AM Cabaret (1972)
3:45 AM Cabin in the Sky (1943)
5:30 AM Caged (1950)

As much as I hate this alphabetical organizational format, I can see the logic in it - they clearly wanted to put a popular film like "Breakfast at Tiffany's" right in prime time, and then I realize how much of the early morning and daytime program is filler by comparison - but this does make for some strange bedfellows - I can't imagine "Bullitt" and "Cabaret" back-to-back entertaining the same audience.

(Now, me, I'd put "Boomerang" before "Boom Town" because the letter "E" comes before the letter "T", but that's just me.  TCM is favoring the system where you count the blank space as a letter, and you finish all the titles with "Boom" followed by a space before you extend the word.  This may be the preferred standard for alphabetizing, but I disagree with this when I sort MY movies.  Yet I do give them credit for ignoring A, AN, and THE at the beginning of titles, which the IMDB seems incapable of doing.  Can you believe they file "The Birds" under "T"?  What a joke.)  

I've seen "Breakfast at Tiffany's", of course, and also the three films following it, but that's all.  I probably SHOULD record "Bound For Glory", with Keith Carradine, because I just got "Nashville" next week, but I just can't bring myself to care about Woody Guthrie's life story.  Another 4 seen out of these 13 means my record now drops to 20 seen out of 45.  I hope to do better in the days ahead. 

Cameron Diaz carries over from "The Sweetest Thing".  I could have dropped in "In Her Shoes" here, but I don't think that has as much focus on romance, it seems to mainly be a film about two sisters, and I may need that film for linking later this year, with two other Toni Collette films on the watchlist.  

THE PLOT: A man and a woman are compelled, for legal reasons, to live life as a couple for a limited period of time. At stake is a large amount of money. 

AFTER: No channel is currently running this film, and I needed it for linking purposes, which will become clear tomorrow.  So I checked iTunes, which isn't even renting it, but is SELLING it for $14.99.  Sorry, that's more than I was willing to pay - but it was available for rental from Amazon for $3.99 - that seemed more reasonable.  OK, so I rented it, only to find that my new computer won't PLAY movies from Amazon, because I don't have some stupid Silverlight plug-in for my browser.  (Which, of course, they don't TELL you until you rent the movie...GRRRRR!)  Good thing I still have the old computer plugged in, I haven't made the swap yet - so the old computer's still good for something - playing movies rented from Amazon.  I'm going to have to get the new computer up to speed really fast, before the next gap in the schedule.  

But finally, mission accomplished, the film got watched, and it's not as bad as I thought it would be.  At first it just looked like a continuation of everything bad about this week's films, with people being horrible to each other - they even pull some of the same pranks, like when Jack put some substance in Joy's morning smoothie, and I'm not even quite sure what it was, because it made her really jacked up and energetic for her morning meeting, and that seemed to be counter-productive - so the gag just plain didn't work.

But let's back up for a second - the film takes place in Las Vegas, obvi, and it seems like the two things that movies know about Vegas are this: 1) people can win (or lose) a lot of money there, and 2) people can get married quickly there, or drunk married.  So two things predictably happen in this film - two people get drunk married, then they win a lot of money.  But even though this situation relies on stereotypes about the city, it leads to a complex legal situation - whose quarter was it?  Who put the coin in the machine?  (NITPICK POINT: Do the slot machines even USE quarters anymore, isn't it all dollar bills and credit slips now?)  And is the jackpot automatically community property, and if so, how should it be divided?   

This brings the couple in front of my favorite character in the film, the judge (presumably a NYC judge, so NITPICK POINT #2, does he even have jurisdiction over how the money won in Vegas gets split?  But let's table that for the moment...)  This divorce judge, much like me, is fed up with these damn millennials and their internets and their macchiatos and their "gimme it, I WANT it" selfish attitudes, so he sentences them to 6 months of being married to each other, forcing them to try and work it out.  If either one fails to attend counseling or behaves in a counter-productive way during that time, the other one will get the money. 

I know, it's an outlandish premise, but what do we expect from a Hollywood romantic comedy?  Do you think for a second that a screenwriter would do a little research or consult a legal expert while writing a pitch - that sounds like actual work, after all.  So Joy has to move in with Jack, and this leads to the pranking and bad behavior I mentioned before - each trying to get the other to give up, or cheat on their "spouse" or miss a counseling session so they can have the whole jackpot after the divorce - minus legal fees, of course.    

But then in true Hollywood fashion, they find a way to meet in the middle and turn the whole crazy bus around.  She's trying to move forward in her company, and Jack turns out to be a big hit at the company retreat.  He's been fired from the family furniture business, but after Joy stands up to his father, Jack learns the value of sticking with a project and seeing it through.  So while you might expect familiarity to breed contempt, and of course it does for a while, spending time together and focusing on something, even something imaginary, turns out to be just what these two people need in their previously shallow lives.   

Unfortunately, to get there the film has to use some really worn-out stereotypes, like "Women spend a lot of time in the bathroom" and "Men forget to put the toilet seat down".  "Women are tough in the boardroom, because they have to be" and "Men are lazy slackers, because they can be."  Ho hum, haven't we seen all this before?  It's just this shy of "Women are bitches" and "Men are dirty dogs", isn't it?  I'm only forgiving it here because eventually, they learn to be better roommates, and eventually better people - so unlike the films from earlier in the week, there is some character growth.

But NITPICK POINT #3, the film can't decide if Jack's friend Hater (horrible character name, BTW...) is a good lawyer or an incompetent one.  He's incompetent when the script requires him to be, but has good legal advice when it's needed.  So come on, pick a lane here.

I'd like to think that marriage is more than an adult staring contest, where the last one who "blinks" (cheats or otherwise loses interest) gets everything and the other person gets nothing.  Relationships in real life are rarely this simple.  Probably.  And I'm with the judge on this one - in this fast-paced, download-the-next-update, like-me-on-instagram-no-wait-snapchat world, you millennials have no idea, like NONE, about how to have an adult relationship.  I sentence you all to watching a month of Hollywood rom-coms along with me. 

A word about the couple's apartment - not the interior shots, which I'm sure were filmed on a soundstage somewhere.  (Even though it's quite messy, space-wise it's one of those imaginary New York City apartments, complete with pinball machine and full dining area...)  The exterior shots of their building are very familiar to me, I know exactly where that building is, in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge - and I could tell the building from the sign for the ground floor restaurant, Pete's Downtown.  I got engaged in 1999 AND married in 2001 in that restaurant (2nd time for both...) but I haven't been there in a while - turns out Pete's closed down in 2011.  I hope they made a bundle for appearing in this film, maybe that kept them in business another three years.  

Also starring Ashton Kutcher (last seen in "Jobs"), Rob Corddry (last seen in "Hot Tub Time Machine 2"), Lake Bell (last seen in "In a World..."), Jason Sudeikis (last seen in "Sleeping With Other People"), Treat Williams (last seen in "Hollywood Ending"), Dennis Farina (last seen in "Another Stakeout"), Zach Galifianakis (last seen in "Muppets Most Wanted"), Dennis Miller (last seen in "Disclosure"), Queen Latifah (last seen in "22 Jump Street"), Krysten Ritter (last seen in "Big Eyes"), Deirdre O'Connell (last seen in "St. Vincent"), Michelle Krusiec, with cameos from Andrew Daly, Billy Eichner (also last seen in "Sleeping With Other People")

RATING:  5 out of 10 nut-punches

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Sweetest Thing

Year 9, Day 33 - 2/2/17 - Movie #2,533

BEFORE: Day 4 of the romance chain (no, I'm not counting "Dirty Grandpa", I refuse...) and once I hit a Cameron Diaz film, I just know the linking's going to work out for a while.  I'm solid with linking now right up to February 13.  There might be a bump or two in the road between then and the end of February, but I'll work it out.  I should also check to see if the 4 Debbie Reynolds films I just got could possibly be worked in, because they were all romance-based, I think, and they'd be a fair bit more appropriate than some of the Fred Astaire films that are just about dancing.  But I'm betting that all of those old Astaire films have some romance in them, because just about all of those old black and white films do.  I guess we'll see.  Cameron Diaz carries over from "The Other Woman".

And here's your TCM schedule for tomorrow, February 3.
7:45 AM Ben-Hur (1959)
11:30 AM The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
2:30 PM The Big Country (1958)
5:30 PM The Big Sky (1952)
8:00 PM The Birds (1963)
10:30 PM Blazing Saddles (1974)
12:15 AM Blow-Up (1966)
2:15 AM Blues in the Night (1941)
4:15 AM Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

A couple classics I've already seen - "Ben-Hur", "Blazing Saddles" and "Bonnie and Clyde", you just can't go wrong with any of those - plus last year I watched "The Best Years of Our Lives", along with "The Birds", I've seen 5 out of this 9 - bringing me up to 16 seen out of 32 - I'm right at 50%.

THE PLOT: A woman is forced to educate herself on the etiquette of wooing the opposite sex when she finally meets Mr. Right.

AFTER: There's got to be a romance film out there that can really help people understand the ins and outs of relationships - but this for sure isn't it.

Because once again, it's all about selfish, self-indulgent people searching for love - the fact that so many screenwriters and directors focus on this only goes to prove to me that most of them don't even understand it.  Relationships are supposed to be about giving and sacrifice, and yet they're usually portrayed in movies as searches and quests, which just doesn't make sense.  The basic premise seems to be "Love is beautiful and kind and generous - so I WANT THAT!"  See the problem?  The enterprise is doomed from the start if it begins with people who are only in it for what they can get out of it.

Hollywood fallacy that once you find the right partner, everything's beautiful and wonderful and you'll be happy forever - life's gonna be great and easy.  But no, in reality, this is when the real work begins.  Think about it like a job hunt - you scan the classifieds, go on interviews, plead your case, and eventually you get hired, but that's not the end of the road, you still have to show up 5 days a week from now until whenever and you have to work hard, or else you'll lose your job.  So the movie fantasy of what happens after you find your soul mate or partner just doesn't work, because it usually only shows the start of the process, which is, in the long run, the easy part.

There's a book on "The Rules" - the Ten Commandments of Love - which the characters refer to here.  This is probably a reference to that instructional guide that was making the rounds a few years back, because some people apparently need practical advice on how many days to wait after a first date before calling someone, and stuff like that.  But the movie's not really clear on whether a book like this constitutes good advice or bad advice.  Some of the same characters who downplay the book's importance later come to fall back on it when they need its help - so apparently it's good advice when you need it, but it's OK to ignore it when you don't.

Other things that the screenwriter and director clearly don't understand - the mechanics of oral sex, how glory holes work, and the vagaries of bathroom plumbing.  But why should that stop anyone from including those things in a film?  Why bother taking the time to do five minutes of research when you can just go ahead and just make things work the way you need them do, for the sake of a gag?  We need a character to get poked in the eye with a dick, or we need these characters to get soaking wet, so let's just take a shortcut and make those things happen.  Worst of all, we need to make a situation where a woman gets a dick stuck in her mouth - which I don't think could happen, regardless of whatever piercing that man happens to have.  This is just plain old junk science based on urban legends.

(You can also see this in the early "interview" scenes in the film - a man on an exercise bike is being interviewed, and when he gets distracted, he gets propelled forward and flies off the bike.  The physics just aren't there to make that happen, because sitting on a stationery bike creates NO forward momentum.  But I guess you just can't let reality get in the way of somebody falling down, because that's just SUCH an important gag...)

The main story involves meeting a guy at a bar and having a not-terrible conversation, and making the mental leap from "Hey, I can talk to this guy" to "He's 100% the perfect man, so let's get in the car and crash a wedding where we know he's going to be, because destiny."  This is a terrible plan, because the two women set out on a 3-hour car trip without knowing exactly where they're going, how they're going to get into this wedding ceremony, or even what they're going to wear.  So even though it should come as no surprise that the trip doesn't go exceedingly well, the main character has the nerve to be disappointed when it doesn't.  Can I just re-state that I hate the personality of every character in this film?  Nobody plans to fail, but often people fail to plan.

NITPICK POINT: So apparently you can go on a 3-hour road trip, have difficulties along the way, not know exactly where you're going AND have a 2-hour stopover to try on many different outfits that you're not going to buy, and still make it to the wedding on time.  By rights, they should have arrived at the wedding to find that they were three hours late, and the whole ceremony was over.

Also starring Christina Applegate (last seen in "Vacation"), Selma Blair (last seen in "Can't Hardly Wait"), Thomas Jane (last seen in "Vice"), Jason Bateman (last seen in "Bad Words"), Parker Posey (last seen in "The Anniversary Party"), Frank Grillo (last seen in "Captain America: Civil War"), Eddie McClintock, Georgia Engel (last seen in "Grown Ups 2"), Lillian Adams, James Mangold, Johnny Messner, with cameos from Jonathan Schaech (last seen in "The Prince"), Charlie Dell.

RATING: 3 out of 10 dress-shop mannequins

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Other Woman (2014)

Year 9, Day 32 - 2/1/17 - Movie #2,532

BEFORE: Finally, February is here - we're only really about 1/3 of the way through winter, though, if you think about it.  But at least when we hit February 1, we can start thinking about things like Valentine's Day and Super Bowl Sunday, or both, and there are things to celebrate - plus we can start counting the days until spring-like weather returns.

It's also the start of Turner Classic Movies' "31 Days of Oscar" programming, in advance of the Academy Awards ceremony (on February 26 this year) - and I was probably a little hard on TCM's method of organization for their 2017 films when I mentioned it a few weeks ago.  They're showing films alphabetically this year, which you have to admit does show an appalling lack of creativity, when they've been so inventive in the past.  But this blog simply wouldn't be possible without TCM, they're my main source for the classics, so I should cut them some slack.  Besides, I'm doing something similar in my process of replacing my old audio cassettes from the 1980's and 90's by buying either digital files (or used CDs if the albums I want to replace are not available on iTunes).  I started with 10cc and Aerosmith a couple months ago and I worked my way through Boston, Bowie, David Byrne, etc.  This month I hit the letter "C" and I've been re-listening to The Cars, Cheap Trick, Joe Cocker and now Elvis Costello.  It feels great to re-discover this old music and finally be able to listen to it on my phone - so I guess I'm a damn hypocrite.

But sometimes I feel like an analog person in this new digital world - I can't always get into the spirit of digital music, streaming movies and downloadable comic books.  Because, silly me, sometimes I like owning things, collecting them, holding them.  Am I a greedy consumer or just nostalgic for a simpler time, when you could walk into a record store or a comic shop, browse and select items, pay for them, and go home and enjoy your new finds, then add them to your collection of things.  Now, in some cases I'll admit I have too many things already, and I really shouldn't buy more, but I appreciate the real-ness, this tactile sensation of holding something, admiring the cover art, opening the front page or removing the shrink-wrap and digging in.  My wife wonders why I spend so much time after ripping the songs from a CD to find the album artwork on-line and dragging that into the iTunes application - it's so I can see the cover art (it's small, but it's THERE) pop up on my phone, it's the last vestige of an almost-forgotten time.

So. here's today's and tomorrow's schedule for TCM's Oscar programming - I can at least use this to track how far I've come in the last 9 years, and determine how much further I have to go.  But I do have to call TCM out - when they said there would be "a different letter every day", that's just impossible, because there are 31 days to program, and only 26 letters, the last time I checked.  So their slogan is inaccurate.  

TCM Schedule - Wednesday, February 1
6:00 AM Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940
8:00 AM Adam's Rib (1949)
10:00 AM The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944)
12:15 PM The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
2:00 PM After the Thin Man (1936)
4:00 PM Agatha (1979)
6:00 PM Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)
8:00 PM All About Eve (1950)
10:30 PM An American in Paris (1951)
12:30 AM Annie Hall (1977)
2:15 AM Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
5:30 AM The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

Thursday, February 2
7:30 AM Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)
9:30 AM Auntie Mame (1958)
12:00 PM Baby Doll (1956)
2:00 PM The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)
4:00 PM Bachelor Mother (1939)
6:00 PM The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
8:00 PM The Band Wagon (1953)
10:00 PM The Barefoot Contessa (1954)
12:15 AM Barry Lyndon (1975)
3:30 AM The Battle of Algiers (1966)
5:45 AM Battleground (1949)

For today, Day 1, I've seen 8 of the 12 films, which is pretty good - I haven't seen "Adventures of Mark Twain", "Agatha", "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" or "The Asphalt Jungle".  For Day 2, I've only seen two films, "The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer" and "Barry Lyndon", but I'm going to record "The Band Wagon", because I'm tackling Fred Astaire films later this month.  So I'm going to count my score so far as 11 out of 23.

Now, for the continuation of my own February chain, Leslie Mann carries over from "How to Be Single".  But didn't I already watch a film called "The Other Woman"? Yep, I did, there was a film with the same title released in 2009 that starred Natalie Portman.  But that film seems to have changed its name, according to the IMDB it's not called "Love and Other Impossible Pursuits", which by comparison is a terrible title.  I understand that every studio wants to avoid confusion in the marketplace, but it's very possible for two films to have the same title.  Besides, the film that had the title first should get to keep it, right?

THE PLOT: After discovering her boyfriend is married, Carly soon meets the wife he's been betraying. And when yet another love affair is discovered, all three women team up to plot revenge on the three-timing S.O.B.

AFTER: It's funny, I just watched Dakota Johnson in last night's film, and tonight her father, Don Johnson, makes an appearance.  Just a coincidence -

The first time I was aware of this film, my boss had seen it and written a blog post about it, which I had to type up, and he took the time to discuss the subliminal advertising used on the poster.  He'd convinced himself that the way Cameron Diaz was holding her hands in front of her made it look like there was a hole in her skirt, and everyone could see her shaved genitalia.  Only that's not even a thing, nobody wears a skirt with a hole in it, so why would anyone think that?  I had to break it to him that he was probably the only person who saw that in the poster image, and what did that say about him?

You're probably aware of the Bechdel Test, to pass this test a film has to feature a minimum of two women, and they have to have a conversation with each other that is not about men.  This film fails that test utterly and completely, as the ONLY thing that the women characters can talk about is men - or, rather, MAN, since they're all married to or sleeping with the same man.  And for the purposes of this film, a man sleeping with two or more women at the same time is just the WORST.  I mean, worse than Hitler, worse than Pol Pot or Saddam Hussein, how dare this man hurt every woman everywhere, symbolically at least, just by playing around.  He definitely deserves to die.

OK, I'm exaggerating, but only slightly - because this sin of adultery is bad, but it's also quite common, right?  I mean, ladies, men only are able to let you down because you come in to the relationship with impossible standards, you know what I mean?  No man could possibly live up to them, so they're all doomed to fail - so why even try to remain faithful?  Because failing to stay faithful is the WORST sin possible, and this man now deserves every bit of suffering that comes his way, which includes, but is not limited to, physical harm, loss of hair, tricking him into thinking he has an STD, secretly giving him estrogen so he'll grow breasts, and slipping him a super-laxative so he'll poop himself in public.  God, I wish I were kidding here.

Does the punishment even fit the crime?  I mean, OK, so he stole ideas, he got rich, and he got laid, like a lot.  Does that mean he deserves physical torture and financial ruin?  What if the gender roles were reversed, what then?  In that case, the empowerment of women and revenge against men would suddenly take on a different feeling, wouldn't it?  Would a man have the right to physically abuse a woman who cheated on him?  Of course not, so it shouldn't be considered OK in this case, either.  If these women really wanted to get back at him, they should have just had a bunch of hot lesbian sex with each other, filmed it and sent him the video, torturing him by letting him see something he could no longer enjoy.  But hey, call me crazy.  The closest this film came to that was having Leslie Mann's character drunkenly kiss Cameron Diaz's character, but then it never went any further.  What a shame.

My point is that women are not portrayed well here - the cheated-on wife becomes a basket case because she has no rational way to deal with the situation at first.  And we're supposed to believe that she's some kind of business genius, and her husband has been stealing her ideas and making millions from them?  Sure, because every business genius is also an insecure lunatic and an emotional wreck.  And the second girlfriend is just plain dumb as a post - so how is that flattering?

NITPICK POINT: When the wife and girlfriend team up to follow the husband and catch him with the other girlfriend, they do so from the wife's brother's beach house, which seems like WAY too much of a coincidence, unless the brother suddenly bought that house in the exact right spot to make that happen.  What gives?  I realize that the Hamptons may be a small, insular community, but if you think about this, it means that when the husband was looking for somewhere discreet to take his girlfriend, he chose a beachfront location right next to where his brother-in-law lives.  That's either ballsy or stupid, but I'm going with stupid, because it probably just means that a screenwriter got lazy.   I mean, there are a LOT of beaches. 

Also starring Cameron Diaz (last seen in "The Counsellor"), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (last seen in "Oblivion"), Don Johnson (last seen in Django Unchained"), Kate Upton (last seen in "Tower Heist"), Taylor Kinney (last seen in "Zero Dark Thirty"), Nicki Minaj (last heard in "Ice Age: Continental Drift"), Victor Cruz, David Thornton.

RATING: 3 out of 10 off-shore accounts