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Matt Walsh

Melissa McCarthy is the Charming ‘Life of the Party’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Melissa McCarthy is a comedic force to be reckoned with, able to wring laughs improbably out of the stingiest of material. She always manages to find the funny, which helps elevate everyone around her, and so she slips easily in the durable friendly constructs of the campus comedy in “Life Of The Party.”

‘Office Christmas Party’ is Just Ho-Hum Humbug

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – “Office Christmas Party” summons up a few jolly ho-ho-ho’s, but can’t quite deliver even one decent belly laugh you’d expect, considering the talented cast chock full of funny folks. It’s halfway decent premise is drowned in a sea of unfulfilled potential and weak material that the ensemble can only do so much to save.

No Need to Bother ‘Keeping Up with the Joneses’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – “Keeping Up With The Joneses” illustrates how hard it really is to make a funny action comedy. After watching this, I have begun to think that the ones that work are something of anomaly – more often than not they’re like this. An amiable but aimless project that can’t quite grasp what it wants to be and doesn’t have the vision or the laughs to sustain itself.

‘Get Hard’ is Less Than the Sum of Its Parts

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Will Ferrell is a funny guy. Kevin Hart can be a funny guy. But the prison buddy comedy “Get Hard” is woefully less than the sum of its comedic parts. It fires buckshot of lame jokes at its audience, but precious few come anywhere near their targets as it squanders nearly every comic opportunity that comes its way.

Failed ‘Twister’ Knockoff ‘Into the Storm’ is All Eyes, No Heart

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Early incarnations of “Godzilla,” for example, were so memorable because of the characters and its story. The “special effects” were laughable, but the films caught on despite it because they had heart.

‘Into the Storm’ Maybe Needs Some Sharks

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – What is there to say about a movie whose chief attraction lies in action set pieces involving CGI tornadoes? You either like this sort of thing or you don’t. I took my ten year old, who seemed to have a good time, and I know I felt pretty captivated by some of those visuals – but I’m a sucker for a thrill ride. Sound indecisive?

Fearless Comedy of Seth MacFarlane’s Original ‘Ted’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – “Ted” is one of the most inventive and surprising films of the year. It has a sense of humor that will be very familiar to fans of writer/director Seth MacFarlane’s “Family Guy” but is refreshingly unique in a film genre that is too often stale. In fact, most of the Summer 2012 movies have been incredibly predictable and there’s NOTHING predictable about “Ted.”

Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis Are an Odd Pair in Funny ‘Due Date’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – There is a strong temptation to lead this review with “Hey, ‘Due Date,’ ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ just called, they want their plot back,” but this Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis star vehicle drives on its own strange vibe, part road trip and part comedy that depends on suspension of all reality. Yet it mostly works.

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