Movie Dearest continues its look back at last year in film with some of the comedies of 2016.
…Pee-wee’s Big Holiday:
It’s taken over thirty years (?!) and several scandals, but we finally got back the Pee-wee Herman we know and love in this pseudo-sequel to the beloved classic Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. And as a bonus, this time the homoeroticism is front and center (hoyay!), with the plot revolving around the unconventional bromance between Pee-wee and hunky Magic Mike star Joe Manganiello as… Joe Manganiello; never before have you seen an actor commit so fully to spoofing himself. Silly, yes, but also strangely sweet. (7/10)
|And he sings too!|
…Hello, My Name is Doris:
MD fave Sally Field stars as Doris, a kooky mouse of an office drone who perks up when she meets a dreamy new co-worker (New Girl’s Max Greenfield). Field is endearingly relatable as a lonely heart yearning for love, even if it means Facebook-stalking him and causing his girlfriend to break up with him. That Field isn’t more a part of the award season conversation is a shame; she certainly makes Doris shine. (7/10)
|This is awesome on so many levels.|
The Coen Brothers’ stylish valentine to the days of Hollywood studio systems and Communist scares has a lot going for it, from its all-star cast (including George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum and Tilda Swinton as dueling twin gossip queens) to its period perfect sets and costumes. So why does it feel so flat? Yeah, it’s fun to decipher what real movie legends inspired the characters (such as Ralph Fiennes’ George Cukor-ish director), but they end up nothing more than that, shallow archetypes in a farce that isn’t as funny as it could be. (6/10)
…Love & Friendship:
Whit Stillman’s adaptation of one of Jane Austen’s lesser known works stars Kate Beckinsale as the deliciously vapid Lady Susan, a widow in search of a rich second husband to replenish her dwindling fortunes. Scandals in her wake, she single-mindedly strides through the proceedings, ultimately setting her sites on the wealthy yet dimwitted nobleman originally intended for her own daughter. While the performances are fun, the film comes up short; neither as naughty as it wants to be nor as witty as it thinks it is. (6/10)
|"Kiss Me", Kate|
Susan Sarandon plays Marnie, a recently widowed New Yorker who moves to Los Angeles to be closer to her daughter only to, well, look at the title. With her daughter fed up with her, Marnie turns to helping other people (including paying for a lesbian wedding) and even finds some unexpected romance with motorcycle daddy J.K. Simmons (Sam Elliott must have been busy). This type of film succeeds or fails based on the strength and likeability of the lead actress, and it’s Sarandon so… yeah, this one’s a winner. (7/10)
|When Marnie was there.|
Reviews by Kirby Holt, Movie Dearest creator, editor and head writer.