Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Director Christopher Guest, who hasn’t made a movie in nearly a decade, returns with what is easily his worst. His usual acting corps (minus Eugene Levy) takes a crack at the world of mascots, and I can’t think of a dumber subject for a comedy. Much of the movie is performers in full mascot suits in a competition doing routines that have nothing to them and eat up the running time. There’s a laugh every now and then, but mostly groans, and the subject matter just doesn’t call for a full movie. Parker Posey has the film’s biggest laugh after eating bad sushi, and it’s not a very big laugh, so that’s not saying much. In what amounts to a truly desperate move, Guest cameos as his Waiting for Guffman character, Corky. His presence in that persona simply reminds us that this once funny guy is now straining for laughs, Mel Brooks style. His improvisatory style has worked before on better subjects (community theater, pet shows, folk music), but this one certainly suggests that he has run out of ideas. In many ways, it actually rips off Best in Show, his pet competition movie. This movie is just a less funny version of that movie with people dressed as pets rather than having real animals running around. This is a tremendous waste of everybody’s time, and needs to be removed from Netflix to make room for more shitty Adam Sandler movies. (Available for streaming as a Netflix original.)
2 The Girl on the TrainDespite good performances from a cast that includes Emily Blunt, Justin Theroux and Allison Janney, director Tate Taylor’s The Girl on the Train winds up being a little too ridiculous for a movie that wishes to be taken seriously. Blunt spends much of the movie blotto drunk as Rachel Watson, a slurring alcoholic who aimlessly rides a train to New York City every day, spying on the people living in her former house, as well as the neighbors. Rachel is divorced from Tom (Theroux), who seemingly couldn’t take Rachel’s drinking and their inability to have a child. Tom is remarried to Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), they have a child, and they would really like Rachel to stay away. Tom and Nancy’s nanny, Megan (Haley Bennett), lives nearby with her husband (Luke Evans). Rachel spies on them in their most intimate moments as she races by on the train, envying what she sees as the perfect young romance. Then, Nancy sees Megan with another man—setting off an odd, drunken tailspin that results in her getting involved in the drama when Megan goes missing. So, for starters, I’m just not down with this premise. A deliriously drunk woman is able to decipher the goings-on inside homes as she races by in a train. Yes, sometimes the train slows down, and she does know the inhabitants somewhat, but this is a highly unlikely plot gimmick that’s stretched out to unrealistic proportions. Then she gets involved with the missing woman’s husband, and eventually finds herself a target in the investigation. The movie is too kooky to be taken seriously.