Neil Fox on film, 20.07.11
SOME ideas are so simple you wonder why no-one has thought of them before, and then you worry that even the simplest idea can be delivered really badly.
Thankfully, this comedy is not delivered badly. In fact, it’s pretty much spot-on and succeeds thanks to a simple idea, funny jokes and perfect casting.
Jason Bateman and two friends are terrorised by their bosses. They meet a fixer, played by Jamie Foxx, who suggests they kill each other’s bosses in a simple twist on the Strangers and Throw Momma From The Train formats.
From that simple premise an hilarious film is drawn with the average mundanity of the workers’ lives played pitch perfectly against the technicolour horrors of their superiors.
It’s naughty, nasty and offensive but rooted in a universally true situation so it never fails to delight. One of the funniest films of the year and one of the best films of the summer.
It had to happen, and it’s no surprise that this project is the one to taint the, to date, perfect Pixar record.
The first film was great, but lacked the universal appeal of other releases, rooted in a nostalgic and a masculine one at that.
The sequel feels incredibly forced and it falls down mainly in the area that Pixar is usually so strong – the story. It suffers from sequelitis as Lightning McQueen and Mater head off to take part in the World Grand Prix and Mater gets caught up in a tale of espionage.
It doesn’t feel right for these characters and there’s no way that Mater should be given such a premier role in the story as his persona grates when in the spotlight so much.
The animation is perfect and there are some great moments but it’s all so forced.
The appearance of Michael Caine feels like name-dropping and adds little.
A blip? Let’s hope so and the trailer for Brave, the new Pixar film, shows that they should still have the goods. Let’s hope John Lasseter has got these characters out of his system now.