Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Shuriken and Pleats Review


It’s time to look at a recent manga from the creator of Vampire Knight. One glance at the cover and you’ll likely recognize her style. I definitely was not a fan of Vampire Knight and the sequel also hasn’t been too good so I can’t say that my hopes for this title were too high. Still, I figured it would be better since there were no vampires and I was right. After all, no vampires is always a win in my book and this title was no exception. It’s not great and the main romance is pretty dicey, but for 2 volumes it did a reasonable amount to make the characters decent.

The manga introduces us to Mikage who is a ninja protecting Mr. Rod from the various assasins who wish to have him taken out of the picture. The reason for this is that he has a grain of sorts that will end world hunger or something. The specifics aren’t all that important as Rod would much rather talk to Mikage about how she should be living a normal life. She does not want to do this though as it would be against the ninja code and additionally she would rather be by his side. Well, one day he is murdered and in his final will he had put for Mikage to live a normal life as his last wish. She heads to a school, but gets mixed up in the same case from another angle with a guy named Mahito who wants to continue Rod’s work. Can Mikage now get some closure on this whole thing?

Mikage may not have wanted to leave the ninja biz, but it’s probably good that she did. The organization definitely seemed dangerous in how seriously it took itself. Her father basically said that the ninja are expendable and has a very old time look on things. Mikage’s mother is a lot more reasonable but also very oblivious as she somehow doesn’t notice the whole ninja business. I don’t get how she wouldn’t realize what is going on, but her role is extremely small so I suppose by living in another state/country she is just kept out of the loop the whole time.

Mikage’s a solid heroine who means well and does her best to fulfill her role as a bodyguard. Her skills are quite sharp as she seems to be among the top 3 ninja across the organization. She is always ready for action and while she may be oblivious to day to day activities like being a school girl, she has definitely mastered her craft. I’d say there are some similarities with Yuki from Vampire Knight, but Mikage’s a more pro-active lead. She’s always doing something and is pretty heroic as she does jump in to help others even when she is off the clock.

There isn’t much of a supporting cast to bounce off of her though. Again, it’s only 2 volumes so I guess there isn’t much you can do about that, but the cast still feels really small. First you’ve got Mr. Rod who is shown to be a nice father type figure in Mikage’s life. He wants her to be happy and just seems like a noble spirit. He gets bumped off right away, but they were building him up to be pretty good. He’s decent for a while, but I have to give him a firm thumbs down by the end. It’s because of the romance plot but more about that later on. Then you have Mahito and he has the same issues as Rod. He seems nice enough but the romance part, while less dicey doesn’t really help his case much. I do prefer him to Rod though as he at least tries to fight and support Mikage. He takes a lot of Ls, but better to try and fail than not to try at all right?

Then you’ve got Suzuki who is a kid from school. Had this been a longer series I would have expected him to actually be one of the villains or something, but he turns out to literally just be a classmate who is bullied all the time. He likes Mikage, but surprisingly the manga doesn’t really bother with this romance. Suzuki is literally too bright for Mikage to look at so they don’t hang around much. I think he’s mainly around as a good segway to introducing the school and so Mikage will at least have someone to talk to. Finally we have Ichinosuke who is a skilled ninja who works for the side branch of the main family. He’s pretty skilled in his own right although he definitely can’t beat Mikage in a fight. The guy’s a decent villain, but he’s not the one calling the shots so for the most part he is just being manipulated. You won’t rise up to the top that way.

The manga isn’t really about the action, but we do get some good scenes during its run. The final fight against the main villain is pretty good and the manga did establish this guy as a solid threat. In general the art is pretty good. I think the artist did a better job of making sure that all of the characters don’t look too similar unlike good ole Vampire Knight where a bunch of people seemed to be identical half the time. I don’t think there were any characters here that I would mix up which is definitely solid.

Now for the romance. Well, this was definitely not going to end well from the start. Mikage likes Rod who has got to be at least double her age if not older. There’s no way to turn that into a solid romance. At least making it one sided isn’t the end of the world, but Rod’s answer isn’t as definitive as a no as I would have liked. I wanted a closed and shut “never” response from him. Then you’ve got Mahito and Suzuki who are vying for Mikage’s affections with no results. It’s a Shojo manga so at least the romance is handled more traditionally than a Shonen and nothing actually happens, but it’s definitely a plot that I would have cut out personally.


Overall, Shuriken and Pleats is a manga with one of those titles that I don’t totally get. Maybe Pleats is the kind of uniform that Mikage uses. Yeah, I could have googled the term, but I didn’t so I’ll leave it to guesswork for now. It’s a fun enough title to check out and 2 volumes isn’t going to cost you a whole lot of time anyway. There’s not a whole lot here to offer you beyond a good time though. It’s definitely not a game changing Shojo manga, but I do like the premise and it definitely doesn’t drag on. The ending may have fallen completely flat for me, but up til then it was a solid experience and I’d lightly recommend checking it out. At the end of the day it didn’t make any of the big mistakes like fanservice or animal violence so there’s no reason to give it a thumbs down. I don’t read a whole lot of one shots/mini series so it’s always good to add another one to the roster. Maybe the author can make a sequel to this one someday. There’s a lot of fun themes that could be expanded on here like Mikage just hanging out at school or rival ninja groups coming in for fights.

Overall 6/10

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Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

It’s A Bikini World Review


It’s time to look at another beach movie. These don’t tend to be all that good so I don’t think you’ll be surprised to hear that this one didn’t exactly hit it out of the park. Interesting the main plot is something that I’ve already seen twice recently so that didn’t really help matters either. I suppose it’s the kind of plot that all of the writers want to take a shot at during their careers, but you really don’t need to give it a try. Having the movie take place on the beach doesn’t help much either.

The film starts off with the characters hanging out on the beach as per usual. They’re surfing and all until a new girl arrives on the beach for a visit. Her name is Delilah and Mike decides that he wants to hang with her. She won’t give him the time of day though because he is generally not a great guy and is always going from one girl to the next. He’s currently with 5-6 different girls as it is. Mike won’t take no for an answer though and decides to pretend that he’s a kid named Herbert who happens to be Mike’s nerdy brother. In this form he gets along with Delilah, but things get complicated when Delilah decides to try and compete with Mike in a lot of big competitions. Can Mike manage to be in two places at once and also keep the deception up? It’ll be difficult, but the main thing is that we’ll be rooting against him.

That’s the tough part with these beach movies. How can the film work when you’re actively rooting against the main character? Mike is everything that’s wrong with the beach movies. He’s always going from girl to girl and has no sense of loyalty about him. Even by the end he starts a big montage about how he’s free once his secret is out and it seems like he’ll be going back to his old roots. Hopefully Delilah doesn’t actually fall for this and gets out as soon as possible. It’s just a bad idea to hang out with Mike for very long.

As for Delilah, she’s a nice character but you kind of know how her plot will end from the start which is a bit of a damper. Really Delilah should be able to stay by her lonesome without having to get a partner and it’d be nice if she could actually beat Mike. Unfortunately that never happens and Mike just keeps on winning throughout the film. It does make sense since a few days of training won’t be able to stop years of it, but you end up feeling bad for Delilah. Nobody seems all that sympathetic either since everyone else likes Mike. It is his home field court so that makes sense I suppose.

Then you’ve got Woody who is the exaggerated comic relief character. He’s basically around to keep getting Mike in trouble. The guy can’t pick up a hint, but at the same time I wonder why Mike would even be remotely surprised because he’s surely been living with this for years by now right? He’s got to know what kind of guy Woody is and I think he didn’t plan things out right. Meanwhile Woody’s friend doesn’t like that he keeps having her cook the meals and pay the bill, but the way their plot ends is pretty bad. Woody’s just not the kind of guy you want to have around and while his silly type of humor can be decent, in this case it ended up falling flat.

As per usual the film also loses a bunch of points due to the poor writing, bad romance, and fanservice throughout the film. As far as beach movies go it isn’t nearly as bad in the last area as some others, but I ultimately still gotta give it a thumbs down here. There’s not a whole lot of substance to the film so it can’t really hold its own for very long at all. The film could and should have ended way sooner than it did.

One such instance of this is seen in the final challenge exhibition. There are like 15 rounds and it’s the characters doing everything from driving to hitchhiking to swimming. There’s no rhyme or reason to the sports though and winning each individual segment doesn’t even seem to matter. It should at least give you a head start to the next event or something, but that didn’t seem to be the case. I don’t think the film thought that part through and probably should have done something else for the climax.

The subplot of the photographer and the editor helping in the event also didn’t really matter at all. They don’t impact the plot one way or the other and were likely just here to set up the final race. The grownups in these films are rarely all that good but I guess that’s not saying much since the whole cast is pretty suspect in general. What the film needs is a bunch of other supporting characters in a New York subplot far away from the Beach. Something to distract you from what’s actually happening.

Overall, It’s a Bikini World basically checks all of the boxes for a beach movie and that’s not a good thing in this case. There’s nothing particularly compelling about this movie nor is there any reason to actually stick around. It’s just a movie that feels very long and will remind you why people don’t go to the beach very often anymore. I’ve gone once, but opted not to go into the water because of that virus going around lately. Sometimes it’s best to just play it safe and dodge the risks much like you’ll want to dodge this film. I guarantee that you’ll have a better time with just about any other title.

Overall 2/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Allegiant Review


All right, it’s time to finish off this trilogy. Divergent has had a good start, but all good YA movie titles must end at some point and now this one is over. The true finale was cancelled though so it ended a little sooner than expected, but that’s all right. Unfortunately it does end on a bit of a whimper compared to the first two. There are a lot of good moments here so it’s still not a bad movie, but it really does feel like this arc is a bit of a re-tread in a lot of ways. You’ll start to see how futile the main characters’ rebellion is.

Tris and Four have finally stopped Jeanine and brought the world to a more peaceful place. That was the plan at least, but the new leader Evelyn already seems to be as corrupt as Jeanine. She has shut down the borders so everyone is locked in the tower once more and has decided to execute all of the people who were under Jeanine’s regime. Tris decides that she has had enough waiting and along with Four, Caleb, Peter, and Christina they break through the border to the outside world. This world promises to be a utopia, but is it really so perfect?

This is the kind of plot that can be quite frustrating most of the time. For starters, Tris and Four have already been through quite a lot. Whether or not you think the romance has been handled well, you’d expect them to have complete confidence in each other by now. Unfortunately the villains are able to create a bit of a rift between them and sucker Tris throughout the movie. Usually in these situations I would say that both characters deserve 50$ of the blame, but in this case I have to say that it is all Tris. Tris has been shown to be a very smart character in the past two films and doesn’t just believe what she hears.

Instead she falls for every trick in this book. She comes across as very naïve and nearly costs Four his life by walking away with the villain. She doesn’t even seem to consider that he is actually right and we do the whole “No time to talk” part where if she just stopped to listen then the whole thing would be over. This is definitely Tris’ weakest film. Now, even if she had listened to Four there is no guarantee that she could have done a whole lot to stop the villains of course, but at least she would have been in a position to do something. By ignoring all of the issues it just gets worse for everyone else.

Meanwhile, this is Four’s best film yet though. Throughout the series he has been portrayed as one of the best fighters in the series and this one doubles down on that. He takes out a whole plane full of armed guards and tends to beat up everyone who gets in his way. He just leaves a wave of destruction in his wake and it’s pretty satisfying. He figures out the truth about the place very quickly. In part it’s because he didn’t trust them from the beginning, but that is the right outset. Look, you’ve grown up in a dystopian future where everyone’s been lying to you from the start. Why would you go somewhere else and assume that it would be better? I’m sure Four was hoping the place would be great, but he didn’t just suddenly take them all at their word. That was the right call here.

Meanwhile, this is Caleb’s film to try and make a big comeback. He looked really bad in the last film to the point of being borderline irredeemable. In this one he knows that he owes Tris his life several times over and is doing his best to atone. It’s clear right now that he does regret his actions so he looks a lot better here, but I’m still not a fan of the character. Even now he gets a little too absorbed in the data part of what’s going on and loses sight of what’s important. He does come through when it counts though so you do have to give him some credit.

Then you’ve got Peter. He’s been super manipulative throughout the films and has been a fun villain. I don’t think it’s likely that you will like the character, but I do enjoy him as an obstacle for the heroes. He’s consistent with how overconfident and arrogant he is. No matter which side he is helping you can bet that Peter will be doing his best to tick everyone off and play them against each other. You can’t even say that his role here is all that unexpected since he has made it clear in the past that you can’t trust him. It’s a shame that we aren’t getting the next film because they’re definitely setting up for a really big fight between him and Four. As it stands Four would crush him if it’s a fair fight so Peter will have to come up with a plan. Peter’s a jerk, but that’s a trait that works really well for a villain.

Then you’ve got David who is the main villain here. The film kind of toys with the idea of him being an old man who just doesn’t know what is going on, but never really goes for that because almost immediately they make him look shady. The problem is that you can’t really take him all that seriously as a villain because he’s just an old guy who can’t really fight. He has the country in his pocket so he is tough to stop, but that’s about it. As a result his final scene is more humorous than threatening. I dare you not to crack a grin as the film ends because it is definitely going for a very ominous moment that will keep you up at night getting ready for the sequel, but it’s hard to take seriously.

That being said, the heroes really should have no chance in a 4th film if you ask me. What can they possibly do? The heroes are outnumbered by an insane amount and are also outgunned. They have basic guns, but the villains have high tech robots that can do just about anything and even come complete with barriers. Still, having a cliffhanger is better than not having one so even if I couldn’t take David seriously, I do like that the film made the attempt.

Then we have Evelyn and her civil war plot. She may protest quite a lot, but at the end of the day she basically is Jeanine 2.0. She may have different views, but she goes about them in the exact same way so you can’t really say that there are a bunch of differences between them. I do think she is a more interesting villain than Jeanine though and she is pretty serious about her goals. Evelyn does get manipulated a little easier than Jeanine though so if I were comparing the villains in terms of who is better at the role, Jeanine is definitely more successful.

Evelyn somehow manages to blow her lead against the Allegiant so badly that they outnumber her at the end and are about to claim victory. That’s pretty crazy since she should have easily been able to win even without using the gas at her disposal. I feel like it was just an excuse to quickly throw in why the gas was necessary, but it didn’t add up. Maybe something was cut out from the book here.

Going back to why this film was weaker than the others, I really think it’s all about how Tris was handled. She’s one of the highlights of the series and I felt like her character took a few steps back. Right when David started not allowing Four to accompany her she should have known that something was up. She also should have protested and just not met up with David in that case. There are many way she could have handled this better. I’m also not sure about her just sitting back and not even speaking out against the trials near the beginning. Inaction is never a good thing.

Also, as I mentioned it’s like we’re back to square one. The heroes beat one dictator, but now they’re up against another and are outnumbered again. They’re going to be the rebellion yet again only with double the trouble this time. They can handle this plot reasonably I’m sure, but not much would probably happen until the next film. The pacing here is good, but it all just feels futile because you never feel like they’re going to come out on top here. There’s not much they can do as just a city against the rest of the world. Even the random jello scene (Completely unnecessary) at the beginning shows how they could have easily choked all of the heroes right there and it’d be game over. Their tech just doesn’t play fair.

As always the fight scenes are definitely top notch though. Pretty much any scene with Four in it is a great moment. The airplane fight where he uses all of the enemy weapons against themselves is particularly brilliant. Those guys definitely didn’t have a chance. Surprisingly I’d say that the little drones didn’t really make for more enjoyable fight scenes likely due to the fact that the barriers are extremely overpowered against ordinary guys with guns.

Overall, Allegiant continues to build the world and does introduce a lot of new elements into the mix. Unfortunately, they don’t always feel necessary and this is a story that really feels like it wrapped up pretty nicely in the last film. I’m not really sure we needed another civil war to bring the factions back. Of course it is realistic because people never want to ditch the old ways. It probably should have picked one plot (Outside world or civil war) and stuck to that though, have the other plot pick up afterwards. It may not have been the big finale we may have hoped for, but at the same time this trilogy was considerably better than I was expecting so that was good.

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Insurgent Review


Time to jump into the sequel to Divergent! As you likely read in my last review, the series is off to a good start so the question is really whether or not the sequel could manage to keep up the momentum. Well, I can safely say that it did. It continues to harness the same level of energy and makes for a pretty fast paced sequel. I do feel like the third film is going to be the one that has a hard time keeping up since this film basically ends the main plot. The third film would be starting a whole new arc and since it’s the last film there isn’t a whole lot of time to finish it.

The second film picks up pretty much right after the first one ended. Jeanine isn’t happy about how things have turned out so she has just made it plain and clear that she is taking over the world. She does so under the guise of justice though so people are pretty cool with it. The only faction that didn’t like her has been wiped out anyway so they don’t care much. Four and Tris are still on the run and decide that they need to meet up with the rest of Dauntless to regroup. Along the way they’ll have to deal with faction-less gangs as well as get past other factions and a peace group to reach their goal. Once they make it they’ll have to then decide how to handle this situation. Do they start a civil war and take Jeanine down or just flee the country and risk seeing what is hidden beyond the borders? I don’t think I mentioned it in my last review, but in Divergent the world is surrounded by a lot of large walls. Supposedly there is nothing beyond those walls except for deserts, but most of the characters don’t believe this.

The film starts up with the characters hiding among a group of peaceful people who don’t want to take a side in the current situation. That’s rarely a choice in these things though so they are just prolonging the inevitable. The heroes can’t stay long though since Peter picks a fight and Tris nearly murders him. It does help them see Peter’s true colors though and the heroes fight their way out and onto a train. This leads to another action scene where they are forced to take on the whole crew. Both of them do a good job of holding their own here. Tris and Four take down a significant amount of enemies, but ultimately are not on the winning side here since they are simply too outnumbered. They would have been in a better spot if Tris’ brother Caleb had actually been helping more, but he was too scared to act. It’s a solid action scene though and definitely gets the film off on the right note. That’s already quite a few fight scenes and the film had only barely started.

Caleb never quite recovers though. I didn’t like him in the first film and he is significantly worse here. Being afraid of the villains isn’t a bad thing, but when you’re so afraid that you’re willing to let them murder your family that’s when things have gone too far. He should definitely be pretty ashamed after that and then he makes all of the wrong calls as the film goes on. By the end of it you just can’t like this character. He quickly sinks to being one of the worst characters in the movie.

Meanwhile Peter gets a bigger role here and he continues trying to be as unlikable as possible too. He antagonizes Tris quite a bit, but since she is such a quality character she shuts that down real quick. Not only does she completely overwhelm him in combat, but she scares him enough where you know he won’t try picking another fair fight with her again. An extra second and he would have been down for the count. Peter comes across as fairly petty though since most of his latter scenes seem to be direct retaliation against her. He never seemed like a trust worthy ally though so it’s not like this is surprising.

If you think about it there are probably more antagonists than heroes in this film. You’ve also got Eric who returns again and is still the villain who appears the most. While he isn’t the best fighter compared to the others, he usually has some kind of advantage to help him. The mind control serums and knock out gas still work as well as ever and he’s always got a gun. His fight with Four goes as you would expect though and was handled really well. It definitely made Four look good. Jeanine is still a solid villain, but she does appear to have lost a lot of her intelligence here. She’s very obvious about how she doesn’t care for her lackeys and that’s not a good idea when you put one of them in charge of your entire security system. At least pretend to be looking out for that guy or just destroy him otherwise. That felt like the beginning of the end for her.

Four and Tris are pretty consistent with their first appearance. Four still makes it clear that he’s here to protect Tris first and save the world second. I’m glad that he doesn’t hesitate in heading over to save Tris and just leaves the compound. He has the right priorities there. While I’m definitely still not with the romance now that it’s already a thing it’s naturally less forced than in the first film. It’s more or less just how things are so it’s not really a matter of questioning its inclusion now. Tris goes for the classic action star haircut here which seems to happen to most protagonists at some point or other. I’ll definitely miss the more Metroid esque look, but it’s not like it changes her personality. She’s still just as tough as always. Just as she was ruthless in combat during the first film she definitely doesn’t hesitate here and continues to be one of the better heroines. She definitely goes through a lot here since her allies keep dying left and right. That’s why it’s tough being the toughest person in the room since its inevitable that you’ll see some allies get taken down along the way.

Christina gets less of a role here than in the first film. She spends a lot of it being fairly upset, but ultimately handles it well. It’s hard to blame her since being directly lied to is never any fun, but at the end of the day she still helped out when necessary and didn’t try to get revenge on Tris or anything like that. I don’t think you could ask for a better reaction to her situation. Four’s parents show up and his Dad is still pretty bad. He’s the kind of character who absolutely can’t be redeemed at this point and I think the film knows it. He half heartedly attempts to bridge the gap to no success. The Mom in comparison doesn’t seem nearly as guilty. Of course leaving Four wasn’t the right call and she should have found a way to take him, but at least she wasn’t actively being a villain. The film is definitely hinting that she is a dangerous character though so it’ll be interesting to see what she does in the third movie.

All of the strengths from the first film carry over to this one. The writing is pretty solid and the core characters are good. We get a lot of nice action scenes which definitely hold up and the pacing is solid. The film doesn’t drag on and it avoids making any big mistakes. It does have more emotional moments than the first film which do slow the film down to an extent, but I don’t think it’s overplayed. You do feel bad for the random dude who shows up to talk to Tris when she’s down though since you know that he’s dead right away. This is the kind of film where you just know that the no names are doomed as soon as they start to talk. Any divergent who isn’t Four or Tris is also typically doomed since none of them are all that smart. If you notice that everyone is acting evil and mind controlled you should probably pretend to be under the spell too instead of wandering around looking confused. One of the kids also doesn’t look good since she disobeys orders, but as she’s a kid you can’t be quite as harsh I suppose.

The dream sequences for the trials are still pretty fun. We get quite a few of them and Tris gets to show her determination each time. Even when there’s one simulation that is obviously not the real world the film handles it pretty well so people who are new to the genre could potentially fall for it. Tris also gets random nightmares throughout the film. These aren’t quite as interesting visually or even in context, but it does show up the events are messing Tris up. In such a hopeless world I imagine that most of the characters are pretty messed up by now. The best of the training sequences is definitely Tris trying to save her mother from a burning building. It depicts her determination pretty well and I still remember seeing that part in a trailer which is what made the series look interesting in the first place.

Of course the best sequence in the movie is also in the dream world. You can call it the final test/sequence, but basically Tris has to fight herself in the simulation. The effects here are awesome and it’s like a fight out of Man of Steel. You can feel the intensity behind every hit and by the end of the match you are definitely fully on board with that being the definitive scene. I’d like to have more fights like that, but realistically it isn’t likely. I’m just glad they were able to put in such a cool fight.

Overall, Insurgent continues to keep the series on track. Again, I do think the third film may have a tough time since I feel like the upcoming plot wouldn’t be as interesting, but there are countless ways the movie can go from here so I suppose I can’t really say that with any confidence. I’ll go into the next movie with an open mind ready to see what they’ve got in store. While you could probably watch this film and understand everything without the first it’s definitely the kind of trilogy where you are meant to watch it in order. More so than most of the other trilogies these 2 films at least feel like one big story that you’ll want to watch almost back to back for the maximum experience.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Divergent Review


I remember seeing the trailer to the second film in this series many years ago. It was a pretty solid one and definitely gave the series a more interesting vibe to me than the competitors like Hunger Games. Still, now that I’ve finally seen it, does the movie live up to the hype? I do think it’s a pretty fun movie, but nothing particularly special. There’s enough here to keep you marching towards the sequel.

The film introduces us to a world where people are divided into sub categories based on a test result and then their own choice via blood oath. There are a handful of titles in the world, but the one that looks the most enjoyable to the main character Tris is the battle faction Dauntless. She undergoes the test, but the result gets glitched out and she is told to keep this a secret. Tris doesn’t like the way this is going, but it does mean that she can effectively choose whatever faction she wants. She naturally chooses Dauntless and after a harsh initiation barely manages to get in. She finds out that she is what they call a “Divergent” who is smarter and more emotional than the average human. Unfortunately the government doesn’t seem to like divergents so she will have to keep this under wraps. It’s a lot of pressure but she’ll just have to keep this in mind as she also struggles to stay in Dauntless as the commander decides to keep on weeding out the lowest ranking members.

It’s a pretty interesting future setup. Naturally you’ll have a lot of questions about how humanity arrived at this point, but the past doesn’t have to be explained all that much as you can just take this at face value. Of course you can probably anticipate some of the upcoming twists relating to the world structure as a result. In general I like the world that’s built here. It’s a lot more interesting than both Maze Runner and the Hunger Games since we actually have some future tech here and you can tell that we’re still in the future. I think it defeats the purpose of a future setting to have everything look really old so Divergent doesn’t fall into this trap.

It’s also got a reasonable cast. I like Tris wayyyyyyyy more than Katniss or that guy from Maze Runner. A point in her favor is that she is quick to adapt to what’s going on rather than panicking. In her first moments as Dauntless she is told to jump off a building, jump off a train, climb a tower, and do all kinds of crazy stuff. She just gets it all done without complaint. Now this doesn’t mean that Tris is completely fearless, she admits as much during the film, but she always puts on a brave face which is important. You have to act the part if you want to eventually live it out. Tris calls several characters’ bluffs and steps up to protect her friends when they’re about to get diced. She’s just a great lead and does a good job of carrying the film.

As for the main guy, Four is fairly good. He’s a solid fighter and doesn’t approve of Eric’s harsh methods of teaching the recruits. However, he doesn’t do anything to stop Eric so I can’t give him all that much credit yet. He likes Tris so he coaches her and helps the lead out, but he doesn’t do that for anyone else. Towards the end of the film he gets better at doing his own thing though. One thing that may be a bit overdone is how many times he grabs Tris to turn her around when she’s trying to leave. It’s borderline becoming a running gag by the end of the film and it even carries into the next installment. I guess he really needs eye contact when talking to her. Four’s definitely fairly gruff and mean to everyone who isn’t Tris but he’s still solid overall.

The other characters start to get a little dicey. You’ve got Eric who’s the commander of the Dauntless. He’s obviously corrupt from the start and is happy to murder his fellow comrades. In this grim world where everyone’s mean and thinks about themselves you’d think that someone would have rebelled by now. The guy has quite a lot of control and seems to be pretty much untouchable. Then you’ve got Al who’s pretty nervous the whole film and cracks by the end. He’s definitely a terrible character. Tris’ brother is pretty annoying as well as he is quick to ditch Tris and everyone else for his new job. The guy has a very inflated ego and is brainwashed with ease.

Christina is a good ally at least. She goes out of her way to help make Tris feel welcome in the beginning. She does make some dicey decisions to antagonize Eric and Four without a plan though. It’s played off like she doesn’t know better, but by that point I feel like she should. Then you’ve got the antagonistic Peter. It’s actually pretty hard to get a bead on the guy since sometimes he’ll seem like a friend who just goes a little too far with his jokes while in other scenes he seems downright villainous. He does add some personality to the cast though and is a good addition. Finally you’ve got leader of the government, Jeanine. She makes sure that everyone stays in their lane and definitely has big plans. She’s fairly generic, but handled pretty well. It’s nothing that you haven’t seen well, but the writers did handle her character with care so it’s not like she’s just going through the motions.

I definitely have to give the film a thumbs up for the writing. I’m not going to say that it was exceptional, but it did take shots at something that a lot of films let slide. Lets go back and imagine this scenario. You’ve just been selected to join the meanest, most corrupt squad in the land. You’ve just seen as Four and Eric have yelled, bullied, and beat up anyone who dares challenge them. Are you going to continue to antagonize them? Well, a lot of the characters would say yes to that. In their defense, you usually get away with making sarcastic remarks in most other films. Even the mean characters will just shoot you a glare for doing that. Not so in this film. One character remarks later on in the film that the guns look pretty weak so naturally Eric shoots her to prove that it wasn’t. Another one asks Eric if she can give up even after he told them numerous times not to give up or bad things would happen. He ends up throwing her over a cliff. Another guy says he won’t go pick up his dagger so Eric uses him as live dagger throwing practice.

It feels like these characters just never learn. They come across as extremely slow on the uptake. It’s handled pretty realistically with the consequences for this though as naturally the villains won’t let it slide. A lot of the film is fairly dark and mean spirited like this as being in Dauntless is definitely portrayed as being a life threatening situation. Still, the film never goes too far with it so it doesn’t actually hurt the film.

One weakness the movie does have is the inevitable romance between Tris and Four though. It really is just there to fill in all the usual tropes, but it all happens very fast and there’s no real reason for it. Four basically did save Tris’ life multiple times so it’s not unreasonable that she would fall for him, but at the same time with the stakes so high it’s not really the right time or place for it. It also eats up valuable time that could be used for other aspects of the movie. Most of the movie is well paced, but it gets a little rushed by the ending. I actually thought the film was going to end before the raid on the enemy base, but the movie actually managed to squeeze it in.

So we’re introduced to a whole new group of characters who are part of a resistance and they want to break into the villain stronghold. You would expect that this would be a very long sequence of planning and such, but the heroes basically just walk right in. To put this in perspective, they even get the main villain at gun point. If they shoot her then the whole trilogy is basically over in an instant. For reasons that elude me they decide to spare her. Sure, it’s the hero move, but that isn’t really one of their top priorities most of the time and they’re trying to win a war right? Well, that catches up to them in the sequel. It’s a fun climax that actually is pretty hype, but it all just happens so fast.

While we don’t see them much, Tris’ parents were decent. The dad didn’t get to do a whole lot, but the Mom had some pivotal moments and definitely made a difference. She also reminded Tris to stay strong and the heroine did good when confronted with one of her old allies. You can’t just knock out mind control so easily so she made the right call in ending the fight in a single shot. Naturally going for a non fatal wound would be ideal, but it is definitely tough to aim like that in close quarters. The fight scenes throughout the movie are really solid. The hand to hand is on point and even the blaster battles look good and aren’t dragged out.

Overall, Divergent is a pretty fun film. It’s actually surprising how solid it is, I wasn’t expecting it to be all that good. You may have to suspend some disbelief for how dangerously the Dauntless like to live though. They let Tris ride down a roller coaster where there are at least half a dozen spots where you can die if you don’t move at just the right moment. I feel like a lot of trainees would have died in those spots and there’s really no reason to do such things. There shouldn’t be many people left alive in that faction if they continue like this. Still, it’s a solid way to start the series and it’s just a lot more exciting than you would expect at first. It actually lives up to the thriller genre and at this point it’s looking like the series to beat as far as the YA movies based on books go. I’ll have a review up for the sequel soon.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Postman Always Rings Twice Review


It’s time to look at a film where the whole concept is about being the rebound guy. As you can guess that means the romance was doomed from the start. Since this is mainly a romance film that did put this one in a tough spot from the start and it never quite recovered. I was just waiting for the Postman to show up and shock everyone to the core, but it never happens. Turns out that it isn’t one of those literal titles, but it really should have been to be honest.

The film starts off with the district attorney giving Frank a ride. Frank’s been in a tough spot lately and that’s due in part to the fact that he is a free spirit. He loves just going wherever the wind takes him and living life on the edge. Well, he’s finally found a job at a burger joint, but immediately warns the owner, Nick, that he may not stay long. His plans change when Nick’s wife Cora shows up and Frank immediately decides that they should be together. Despite Cora’s half hearted rejections Frank forces the issue and they decide that Nick has to be murdered. Can they really pull off such a feat?

With a plot like this there is nobody to root for. Of course, you would expect to be rooting for Nick but the film goes out of its way to make him hard to root for. He doesn’t pay Cora any attention and is way older than her so that was never going to work out anyway. He’s oblivious to the point where he basically pushes them together and at the end of the day sees Cora as more of a helper than an equal. He doesn’t even consult her when making his big decision at the end of the film. He also gets drunk and in general just doesn’t seem like a good person.

Of course, two wrongs don’t make a right. Frank knows that Cora is married from the start. It’s not as if they were hanging out for a long time before he figured this out, it was made clear as day to him immediately. He pressed on anyway and then cheats on her later on in the film anyway. It’s no surprise though because that’s just the kind of guy he is. Frank does everything half heartedly and never becomes a decent person. By the end of the film he basically goes insane.

Meanwhile Cora is shown to be very manipulative. There are large portions of the film where it doesn’t seem like she actually cares about Frank and is just using him to get to her own goals. It’s pretty easy for her to manipulate him so it’s not like it takes a lot of effort. She’ll go from being overly friendly to him to giving Frank the cold shoulder. None of the characters handle the various situations well but her main failing is that she wants to stay in the burger choice even if that’s where all of the cops will connect the dots. She had a lot of opportunities to simply leave, but never took them. That was simply too big of a mistake to come back from.

Then you’ve got Arthur who helps plead their case in one of the court sessions. He’s actually pretty good even if the guy seems pretty shady. He may not be helping out for the right reasons, but the guy definitely does have talent. He added a little intrigue to the situation. Then you’ve got the D.A., Kyle. He’s definitely not sympathetic to their cause, nor should he be. Even by the end of the film he whips out another trump card and you can see why he has such a strong reputation in the film. He always gets his man.

Of course the film couldn’t help but throw a cat into the mix for no real reason. The scene just comes out of nowhere and he doesn’t live through the scene. I suppose the film was just desperate to lose another star but with the lackluster plot it’s not like the film needed any help. The writing in general is decent, but with none of the characters being particularly intelligent some scenes can seem like bad writing as well. The film also drags on quite a bit. On one hand it is impressive just how far the plot changes from the beginning, but on the other hand it starts to outlive its welcome by the end. It’s around 30 minutes longer than it needs to be, especially since the plot is fairly basic.

I suppose the ending will be happy or sad depending on who you’re rooting for. Considering that the main characters are openly cheating I’d say that the D.A. and the long arm of the law is probably who you’d be rooting for. If you look at the ending with that lens then it does change things quite a bit. On a minor note, at least the burgers did look pretty good. I could definitely use one right about now and if we had more scenes of the characters preparing food for their restaurant perhaps it could have distracted from the weak story. Almost all of the film takes place at their restaurant after all and yet the scenes with real food are scarce and far apart.

Overall, The Postman Always Rings Twice is definitely a film that I’ve got to give a thumbs down. How can you like a film where the main character is so petty? He’s basically a crook the whole time and is super ungrateful considering that Nick was giving him a place to live and a decent salary. Also, even before Frank’s romance was starting he seemed like a rude person. When Cora dropped her lipstick he made her come to him to pick it up rather than just giving it to her. It’s the kind of petty power play that you would expect from someone like Frank. The ending is also completely his fault since he was the one at command. He should have realized that he didn’t have the skills to multi task.

Overall 4/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Lover Come Back Review


It’s time to look at a film that basically takes all of its ideas from another one without managing to do any of the areas better than the original. It’s not a bad movie, but there is little reason to watch it so long as the other one exists. I suppose if you just want a second chance to experience this kind of story then that makes sense.

The film starts off with Carol trying to snag a deal for her insurance company. Unfortunately, she is stopped by Jerry, a top ranking member of a different firm who has typically had a lot of luck in taking down clients. He uses whatever methods it takes to secure these guys whether it’s through parties or champagne. Carol decides to report him, but there really isn’t much that she can do since everyone is on his side. She realizes that the only way to stop him is to steal his latest advertising client who has created something called VIP. She finds this “Dr. Taylor” and tells him that she’ll do whatever it takes to keep him from Jerry. Little does she know that she found the wrong Taylor and is actually talking with Jerry. Jerry decides that he’ll have some fun dating her as he hides the truth.

The whole romance is built off of a deception so of course it isn’t particularly good. Now the question is how does this differ from the last version right? Well, I think Carol comes off as even more desperate in this version. She’s basically going with Taylor in part to spite Jerry and gets manipulated rather easily. I think it’s fair to say that she legitimately liked him as well, but she’s definitely way too desperate. It also doesn’t help the film’s ending either. It’s almost a little crazy how sudden the last batch of scenes are. We get some time jumps and a lot of changes in the status quo but at the end of the day Carol is in a pretty tough spot. There isn’t really a lot that she can do in her position. I think the film should have had the two characters come to some kind of agreement before the kid coming into the picture. Otherwise it’s more like she didn’t have a whole lot of options here. The ending was very weak.

Back to Carol, I think her character would have been better if she could have at least had some moments where she was winning against Jerry. The film goes out of its way to put her in sticky situations the whole time. Even when she calls the board against Jerry he manages to sneak in a win by bribing the witness. Of course the bulk of the plot is built around how desperate she is to win, but making the rivalry slightly more balanced would have helped I’d say. There’s a lot of ways you can do it while still keeping within the comedy framework.

So I wouldn’t give Carol a thumbs up here, but of course the same will be said for Jerry. He’s a fun character who definitely wins all of his debates with Carol, but at the end of the day he definitely isn’t a good person. He made that clear with how he tricked Carol. His tactics for getting clients wasn’t even all that bad but there isn’t really an excuse for the rest of the film. He was willing to go all the way with his tricks. I also dare say that he is a lot less remorseful than the guy from the last film. This one is still willing to win even by the end of the film and only ended up backing down because he wasn’t prepared for the drunk candy. Otherwise he would have run off into the sunset.

Fortunately we do have Peter around to help the film out. He may not be quite as tough and calculating as his previous version, but he’s pretty good. I did like how he took the reigns when he went back to the company for a day. His plan may have backfired but it was the attempt that counts. Peter may not be great at standing up for himself, but he was fine with handling things honorably. He is even the one who told Jerry to apologize even though that ultimately didn’t happen. His humor just works well for each of his scenes and he also reminds us on the importance of having a bodyguard.

There’s also Dr. Taylor, but his screen time is pretty brief since he is being impersonated for most of the film. He is a pretty good scientist though and does keep up his end of the bargain. The heroes gave him complete freedom to do whatever he wants so that’s on them. The guy tried to keep his distance from humanity and it’s hard to blame him. They probably didn’t understand his genius or he would have been employed as a top researcher by now.

The film did a good job of reusing almost all of its backgrounds from older movies as well. They were definitely pretty efficient with the budget which is always good. There’s one part of the film where Jerry and Peter go on a trip and the film does a good job of actually changing their character designs. Jerry even grows a beard and sort of looks like a totally different actor. I wonder if they actually waited a few days to film those scenes or if the hair was fake. It certainly looked real enough to me.

Overall, This is definitely a fun romance film for the most part, but the weak ending really does hurt it as well as the romance itself being pretty questionable. The pacing is good and the writing is solid, but the film just could have used a bit more charm. If you haven’t seen any films with this kind of plot before then it’s a good way to start off. Otherwise I’d sooner recommend watching a different Doris Day feature. I’d say that the cast of characters in most of the other films are a little stronger. Peter really has to hold the whole film up on his own and that’s pretty difficult. Now her marathon is over and I’ll be going back to other movies. It was a good run though.

Overall 5/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Move Over, Darling Review


It’s time to look at a fairly old romance comedy. This film shows why you shouldn’t be so quick to move on from your first bond. The phrase is “Til Death do us part” after all so you’d expect not to move on to someone else so easily. This is a pretty fun film, but definitely one where the guy ultimately gets off a bit easy. Fortunately we had the Judge to keep everyone on the straight and narrow.

The film starts with Nick and his wife Ellen being in a plane crash. Nick manages to survive and then meets up with a lady named Bianca. He decides to marry her, but the problem is that Ellen isn’t legally dead yet. Nick runs to court to expedite the process and once the judgment is made he quickly marries Bianca. The timing was rough though as Ellen has finally washed up ashore and it turns out that she was alive. The navy found her on a deserted island after these 5 years and she’s ready to get back to her family. Of course it turns out to be a pretty rude awakening when she finds out that Nick has re-married. She tells him to quickly end things with Bianca but he is unsure if that’s what he really wants to do.

So, they just married and are in some kind of elope phase where you can still cancel the marriage or something. That helps simplify things, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from Nick’s perspective. He does a pretty terrible job of trying to break up with Bianca. You can tell that he’s being half hearted about it, but that makes sense since he liked her enough to re-marry in the first place right? He seems to want to be able to keep his marriage to both of them, but of course that is completely out of the question. He also sets a bit of a double standard with this as he is unable to make a decision, but then gets super jealous when he finds out that Ellen was with another guy on the island. He cops out of every decision and doesn’t make a move until there is no escape at the end. Nick’s just not a great character.

Meanwhile Bianca is pretty reasonable. If anything she is the one trying to make this relationship work while Nick is running around. You’ll feel bad for her since she is pretty innocent in this whole affair. As far as she knows Ellen is dead, but the film does try to make you root against her by the end. It’s clear that she’s not an amazing person or anything like that, but at the same time she’s definitely way more sympathetic than Nick.

Meanwhile Ellen’s a solid protagonist. She does her best to force Nick into doing the right thing, but at the end of the day he still has to make the decision. She puts as much pressure as she can and the only possible “mistake” she may have made is in not mentioning Stephen. At the same time, I don’t think there was any need to tell him or at least not until this situation was over. It would have just complicated matters and you just know that he wouldn’t have taken it well at all. He never takes these things well.

Meanwhile I feel like the Stephen plot in general was completely unnecessary. I think it’s only here to do the whole “Nick wasn’t the only one keeping secrets” thing so both characters are at part to blame. This doesn’t work though because we find out that Stephen was just chasing her around the whole time while on the island. the plot doesn’t really add up though as Ellen shouldn’t be so content with Stephen in that case. Maybe things actually did happen although I don’t think it’s likely. This plot just had no place in this film and it feels really forced.

The best parts of the film are definitely when the characters head to court. The judge really steals the show here and commands a lot of respect in the court room. People definitely aren’t going to be messing with this guy. He definitely doesn’t know much about law and seems to have cheated his way to the top, but I suppose it worked out. He still comes to the right verdicts and has a sense of humor as well. I’d have been happy to have had even more court scenes. They were definitely the best part of the film and is a solid example of humor done right.

In general the writing is pretty solid in the film. I still say that Nick got off way too easy though. I was totally on Ellen’s side here and Nick really should have done a better job of not moving on from her so quickly. How I see it, 5 years is way too soon to move on to the next person if you seriously had a good marriage. If you move on sooner then how much did you really love your original partner? If it’s easy to find a replacement then that’s a serious problem. If the film was played more seriously that could have gotten dicey, but as a part comedy plot it works a lot better.

Overall, Move Over, Darling is a fun film. At the end of the day it’s definitely a quality watch and the good aspects definitely outweigh the bad. It may not have the most satisfying ending and the characters stretch out the story way more than it should have been, but the journey to the ending is fun. If you’re in the mood for a light hearted rom-com then this is the title for you. The good part about a dual genre film like this one is that even when the romance is pretty poor as we saw in this movie, the comedy can then keep it afloat. These retro films always had a really nice sense of humor so it’s usually a winning strategy. We’re nearing the end of the Doris Day marathon but it’s been a fun stretch of titles. The next one I’ll be reviewing is basically a remake of another Doris film I saw recently which is interesting.

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Please Don’t Eat the Daisies Review


It’s time to look at a classic rom/dram/com title. It’s a pretty decent film and I have to give the main guy some extra credit here since he didn’t fall for the usual tricks. He’s definitely still not a great character as he makes some other iffy moves, but all in all the whole story was handled a lot more realistically than I would have otherwise expected. It also gives you some more insight into the mind of the critics.

So the film starts out with Lawrence being promoted to one of the big 8. He’s at a level where a review can make or break a show. Lawrence swears to use this power responsibly and to be an honest critic like he always was. Unfortunately the power does start to get to him and he enjoys ruining people’s careers for a good laugh. So long as he keeps getting his pay check he’s happy to put everyone out of business. His wife Kate suggests that he is losing himself and decides that it’s the perfect time to get a mansion in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately this just serves to widen the gap between them as Lawrence is slowly being turned to the dark side. Can Kate help him turn back into the noble man he once was or is he already too far gone?

The whole critic angle is pretty accurate except I’d usually say that it’s in the opposite side of the spectrum. You’re most likely going to get candid opinions from critics who are just starting out or aren’t at a super high level. The more influence and connections you get, the more likely you’ll have people influencing your reviews. After all, if you’re invited to a private screening or given an expenses paid trip to watch a title it’s definitely going to play on your mind. Do you give the film more leeway or attack it even more to try and cover your bias? While reviewers getting paid off is mainly a meme, the psychological attacks are usually pretty real. Most reviewers won’t even realize what is happening until it’s too late. Of course, nobody’s particularly exempt from that, but that’s why I never buy into reviews anyway. I mostly just like reading the ones that poke a lot of fun at the title or are just super negative. A hobby of mine is reading reviews that tear into things I like, but I digress.

Lawrence was on the escalator down from the start only he doesn’t even try to put up any resistance. I do agree with him giving Alfred’s play a negative review since at the time it was his obvious opinion. Did he have to use such extreme hyperbole in tearing the play down? No, but if that’s his writing style then it makes sense to keep going as normal. From there on out he just gets worse and worse to the point where he stops caring about the average joe. He gets quite obsessive by the end. So, even once Lawrence has had his character arc by the end he just isn’t a very likable character. Keep in mind that he didn’t even attend the play at the last second and I expected him to do so. So, I had no real sympathy for him.

I will give him credit for not being seduced by the actress Deborah though. In almost every kind of scenario like what happened in this film the guy would have cracked and he would have just been forgiven from it by the end. That didn’t happen here. Lawrence turned her down every time so I was glad he kept some morals even if he stopped being a hero. Cheating definitely would have really made his character too far gone. Meanwhile Deborah’s not a great antagonist. It’s good to see her taking a lot of Ls here, but ultimately her character arc wasn’t really needed for the experience.

Meanwhile Kate is the main heroine and she is a good character although she is way too naive. She knows from the start that Alfred is really upset at Lawrence and is actively trying to sabotage him. Why would she trust anything that he says from that point on? Just accepting his manuscript at face value didn’t really make any sense and they’re awful chummy all things considered. Fortunately the other people in the town had a backup plan ready, but all told she shouldn’t have fallen for the trick. It’s hard to get around that, but otherwise she is a good character. She’s definitely a lot more noble and down to earth than Lawrence. She doesn’t hang onto a mountain of pride the way that he does and ultimately she does her best to fit into the community and make sure that everyone comes out of this as a winner.

As for Alfred, he’s definitely a pretty spiteful guy. It’s why the film’s a bit tragic since he was right the whole time. He’s definitely a villain in the film who ultimately doesn’t get the last laugh though. If anything Lawrence is always one step ahead even when Alfred’s plans do go well. Hopefully after this he doesn’t stay as the god-father of the kids though because I’d say that he betrayed Lawrence one too many times. After a while you just gotta cut the guy out entirely. Who knows what else he may do to get back at the main characters.

The writing in the film is pretty good and the pacing is solid. Naturally I can’t say that the romance was all that great though. Kate and Lawrence both kept waiting for the other person to apologize and for the most part I was always on Kate’s side. I’m glad that she wouldn’t always run to him since it should be 50/50. The romance isn’t terrible though so it’s not like it holds the film back. The kids are a bit annoying though. The less said about them the better because they don’t serve any kind of purpose in the film. They just do their best to annoy the main characters and get in the way the whole time. They’re pretty young of course, but this is why I always say that kids can’t hold their own film as main characters or supporting characters. They just don’t really know how to interact on the same level as the others.

Overall, I’d recommend checking this film out if you want to see an old school romance about how power corrupts. It’ll remind you not to take reviews too seriously as they may have an agenda and how even if you go way up the corporate food chain you should never forget the civilians you used to be with. Stature never makes you a bigger person, it just inflates your ego if you don’t watch out. Lawrence didn’t keep himself grounded and it almost caught up to him. If not for Kate he likely would have been swallowed up entirely. Just watch out for the cab driver in the movie, he may ultimately be the one to change the theater landscape!

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Pillow Talk Review


It’s time to look at a film filled with lots and lots of trolling. The plot here is very similar to You’ve Got Mail and I dare say that the latter was probably heavily inspired by this one. While I would give that one the overall edge this one does handle the trolling a bit better. The main guy really leads the heroine on the whole time and does a better job of sabotaging himself. Still, the film has its weak points.

The film starts off with Jan trying to make a call but realizing that the line is being used. This has been going on for weeks now and she has had enough. The problem is that she shares a party line with a guy by the name of Brad who is a big flirt. He’s always calling various ladies at all times in the day and with how party lines work that means she can’t make a call. The party line is synchronized so effectively it is always one line and when the other picks up the phone they can immediately hear everything. They don’t even live in the same building so this is a pretty far reaching party line. Jan tries to get a solo line and to get rid of Brad from hers but it doesn’t work as he pulls the moves on the inspector. She finally decides to make an agreement that they can only use the phone on their respective half n hour. With that done she ends up meeting a nice Texan who is visiting the country and falls for him. Her maid advises Jan to make a move so she prepares to do so.

Little does Jan know that Brad has the upper hand at the moment. That’s because his best friend Jonathan likes Jan and lets enough details slip where Brad is able to figure out who she is while at a bar. He decides to play the ultimate prank by pretending to be a Texan tourist and going out with her for a while. The whole time he keeps up the Brad persona as well and likes to troll Jan a lot over the phone. Such a deception can only last for so long so Brad has to hope that Jan doesn’t take it too harshly or he’ll be in the dog house.

How much you like Brad will definitely depend on how seriously you take the trolling. After all even if it is for laughs he is completely lying to Jan so the romance isn’t 100% genuine. He’s also had a ton of girls previously so you probably doubt his sincerity as well. The good part is that his disguise does force him to play the role of a gentleman for most of his scenes. Then of course there is the fact that he completely betrayed his friend by trying to hook up with Jan so quickly. Definitely no respect for his friend there. So, I’d say that Brad is definitely a fun character, he has a lot of charisma and can definitely hold his own scenes. He’s just not a likable guy though and ultimately you aren’t really rooting for his romance to succeed.

As for Jan’s character, she is good but definitely talks a tougher game than her overall character can keep up with. The main problem for her is that she does seem a bit desperate to get a boyfriend and basically proves Brad right the whole time. The whole plot wouldn’t have worked otherwise after all. Whether it is to spite Brad or he was right all along and she just wants a happier life it does make her do some questionable stuff. One such scene is when she basically tells Brad (in his alter ego of course) that he is simply too nice which is not very flattering. While you do understand the concept, that’s just not something you do. You definitely don’t want someone who isn’t so respectful and while there was a montage so it had been a while, it’s hard to say how long they were hanging out. Dating doesn’t immediately have to jump to the next base so with Jan trying to rush things she came across as even more desperate. Plus she had just had that experience with her client’s son so I figure the last thing she would want is another guy being pushy like that. It’s mostly just he fact that Brad was manipulating her the whole time but she definitely did make it easy for him. She does get her revenge in the end though.

Surprisingly, Jonathan is definitely quite solid. He has definitely had a troubled history as Jonathan has had several failed marriages but he thinks that Jan is the right girl for him. He tried to win her over with fancy gifts and when that doesn’t work he takes a more conventional approach. Still, no dice either way as she is categorically uninterested but Jonathan at least takes this in stride. He is unrelenting in now much he asks her out but he never goes overboard. He pleads his case in a very respectful way. The only iffy scene was when he told Jan that they should test out a kiss to see if there was any magic which was pretty iffy. That’s definitely a dicey scene for both parties involved though as that’s not one of those things you test so freely.

While the millionaire is a pretty trusting guy he also knows when to get serious. The scene of him walking up to Brad and basically laying down the terms was intense. You’d think that he was packing a gun with how serious he was and Jonathan also seemed like he was ready to fight. I like his confidence and he definitely didn’t back down. Ultimately he’s a good “nice guy” character who was ultimately doomed from the start.

Low key one solid scene was definitely when Jonathan and Jan went into a diner. At that point she was getting hysterical so he tried to snap her out of it with a slap. While that seems to have been more acceptable back in the day as you would always slap someone to get them out of a trance the diner patrons weren’t having any of that. They quickly got into action and took him down which is the appropriate public response when you see someone being attacked. Those guys definitely did a good job there and it’s always nice when the background characters are solid as well.

One annoying scene is definitely when Jan has to be driven home by the kid of a client. He turns out to be a bad Apple and assaults her several times before forcing her to dance with him. The whole sequence of events is quite iffy. Jan definitely shouldn’t have entertained the idea of giving him a dance and she definitely should have let the mother know or at least the cops to arrest him. It’s the kind of situation that definitely shouldn’t have gone quite as well for the kid as it did. He basically gets away scot free when that should have been a game over moment for him.

While the film is primarily a romance/comedy that doesn’t mean that it necessarily handles both genres all that well. In this case the romance is a little hard to buy. Now, the film does establish early on that Jan is pretty desperate to land a guy and Brad is always messing around with a different lady so the initial meetup isn’t hard to believe. It’s the ending that starts to get a little tricky once she has found out the deception. The whole ending gets pretty exaggerated as she officially accepts his job for interior decorating and then messes it up which costs Brad a fortune. Getting the house completely redone is no small cost. He naturally gets upset and carries her all around town which I suppose impressed her so they get together. That’s not going to bring back Brad’s apartment or give him a refund since it’s an official job though so now I guess he is going to have to live with it.

The final scenes don’t have any rhyme or reason to them. They just happen and the whole time you are really just left confused. How did Brad get it into his head that the two of them were going to get married? He mentions this quite a bit during the ending, but by this point in time they weren’t even on speaking terms. Ultimately he seems to definitely be a little too overconfident and so the fact that it all works out in the end is a bit suspect.

A solid aspect of the film is definitely the writing. While I ultimately preferred You’ve Hot Mail, I do think this one handled the trolling a bit better. Brad did a great job of playing against himself and ultimately making his counterpart look that much better. There are also various gags in the film that are well placed such as a throwaway line/scene that becomes important later on or a running gag that has the payoff as its ending. These are good ways of making sure that the subplots have a point which is always important.

Overall, This is a fun film but it is definitely at its best when it’s focusing more on the comedy and not on the romance. The strong writing and quick pacing make for a lot of good jokes and the film is also good at making a small joke early on and having it get returned by the end. There are a lot of quick payoff moments like that. The film definitely gets dragged down a star by the iffy moment with the student and in general the romance isn’t strong enough to get it any higher, but if you’re looking for a fun retro film then this one should fit the bill.

Overall 6/10