Comedy, Reviews

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Adult World

15 Jul 20143 stars

John Cusack, Emma Roberts and Evan Peters star in this appealing porn industry dramedy

Ignore the tacky cover art that suggests John Cusack is Emma Roberts' favourite customer at a pole dancing club, the film contained within is a far more appealing comedy drama set on the fringes of the porn industry. In a bid for independence aspiring…

We’ll Never Have Paris

8 Jul 20142 stars

The Big Bang Theory's Simon Helberg co-writes, co-directs and stars in an undemanding, messy romcom

It’s easy to see why an undemanding romantic comedy with a bit of star wattage makes sense on paper as a festival closer, and this effort from one of the stars of the TV hit The Big Bang Theory will doubtless win some laughs from an Edinburgh Film…

Begin Again

8 Jul 20144 stars

Equally sweet and endearing quasi-sequel to Once starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo

How do you follow an Oscar-winning charmer like Once? It hasn't been easy for director John Carney. Did anyone see the comedy Zonad? He is back on form with Begin Again (originally entitled Can A Song Save Your Life?), a quasi-sequel to Once. Twice…

Adam Buxton presents BUG - XL Recordings special

8 Jul 20143 stars

The music video enthusiast combines nerdy enthusiasm with impish wit and glee

Paying homage to the XL Recordings label, this fond tribute inhibited the nerdily enthusiastic Adam Buxton from showcasing any terrible music videos. But they weren’t missed. Instead, between groundbreaking promos for the likes of the Prodigy, Radiohead…

God's Pocket

3 Jul 20144 stars

Mad Men star John Slattery directs this bleak black comedy starring Philip Seymour Hoffman

Mad Men star John Slattery makes his directorial feature debut with this bleak black comedy based on the novel by Pete Dexter, author of The Paperboy. Set in the fictional, blue-collar South Philadelphia neighbourhood of God's Pocket, the film stars…

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Tammy

1 Jul 20142 stars

Melissa McCarthy is in danger of becoming typecast after her latest bawdy, unfunny comedy

Melissa McCarthy may now be one of the biggest female comedy stars of the moment in terms of box office but she’s in serious danger of becoming typecast. Tammy, her latest, repeats the same formula for ‘success’ that has served her ever since breaking…

Life After Beth

25 Jun 20144 stars

Superlative zombie dramedy starring Dane DeHaan, Aubrey Plaza, Anna Kendrick and John C Reilly

‘Imagine The Graduate, but with zombies.’ That seems to have been Jeff Baena’s brief for Life After Beth, a ‘zomromcom’ that couldn’t be further from the Shaun of the Dead vibe that label suggests. Dane DeHaan is expertly cast as Zach, a gothier version…

In Order of Disappearance

19 Jun 20144 stars

Extremely black revenge comedy starring Stellan Skarsgard as a vigilante Citizen of the Year

Directed by Hans Petter Moland, In Order of Disappearance is set in a remote Norwegian town and stars Stellan Skarsgard as snowplough driver Nils Dickman, who has recenty been voted Citizen of the Year. When his son is killed by a vicious drug gang…

BBC iPlayer Original Comedy Shorts

13 Jun 20143 stars

Frankie Boyle, Bob Mortimer and Meera Syal contribute to this mixed back of short sketches

There has been criticism of this batch of comedy shorts for opting not to showcase new talent and simply acting as a vehicle for bigger names to get themselves more work on the channel. Whatever the merits of those arguments, it’s a real hoot to see…

22 Jump Street

3 Jun 20144 stars

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum return in one of the finest sequels you're ever likely to see

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum reunite to hilarious effect in 22 Jump Street, a rare sequel that actually manages to surpass the crowd-pleasing achievements of the original. Co-directed once again by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, this winning…

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The Dirties

2 Jun 20143 stars

A dark, not-quite-funny indie comedy about two amateur filmmakers planning a school shooting

The line between reality and fiction is ripped apart by Canadian writer-director Matt Johnson in this ramshackle yet inventive first feature, which arrives with the effusive backing of Kevin Smith. The Dirties was shot for just $10,000 with virtually no…

A Million Ways to Die in the West

2 Jun 20142 stars

Family Guy and Ted creator Seth MacFarlane stars in this cowboy comedy-cum-vanity project

Seth MacFarlane comes out from behind the teddy bear to take centre stage in this misjudged effort. The writer-director-producer is also the flesh-and-blood star of a film that has the stench of a vanity project, a work of eye-watering indulgence that…

Blended

27 May 20142 stars

Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore's third pairing is a good film scuttled by crudeness

Directed by Frank Coraci, Blended marks the third romcom collaboration between Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, following The Wedding Singer (also directed by Coraci) and 50 First Dates. Their chemistry is still very much intact, but the film badly…

Cheap Thrills

27 May 20143 stars

Black comedy that brings to mind a drug-fuelled Coen Brothers flick with a hint of early Sam Raimi

Family man Craig (Pat Healy) is resoundingly down on his luck. Facing eviction after losing his job, he hits the bar with old drinking buddy Vince (Ethan Embry). It's there they encounter rich couple Colin and Violet (David Koechner and Sara Paxton)…

Run & Jump

20 May 20143 stars

A slightly-too-rose-tinted heartwarmer starring Maxine Peake and Will Forte

This charming, if slight Irish dramedy marks the debut of American director Steph Green, who was Oscar-nominated for her short film New Boy. Working from a script she co-wrote with Ailbhe Keogan, Green fashions a film whose positivity and romance is…

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Fading Gigolo

13 May 20143 stars

John Turturro's latest is an old fashioned sex comedy from a decidedly male perspective

While his acting career has thrown up a number of memorable turns, notably through collaborations with the Coen Brothers (Barton Fink, The Big Lebowski), John Turturro’s own films as director (Mac, Romance and Cigarettes) have tended to over-egg the…

Venus in Fur

13 May 20144 stars

A whip-smart, outrageously entertaining battle of the sexes from Roman Polanski

There's plenty of sizzle in Roman Polanski's whip-smart, outrageously entertaining adaptation of David Ives’ play (which in turn was inspired by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's novella). Venus in Fur is part feminist morality tale, part satire, part fevered…

Touchy Feely

13 May 20142 stars

Lynn Shelton's latest mumblecore dramedy feels sluggish and insubstantial

Lynn Shelton's blossoming career as the brightest graduate of the mumblecore school takes an odd, unsatisfactory turn with Touchy Feely. The writer / director of Humpday and Your Sister's Sister revisits familiar themes of dysfunctional families…

Rosie Wilby: 90s Woman - Summerhall, Edinburgh, Fri 2 May 2014

13 May 20143 stars

A poignant and enjoyable show, but don't expect any profound political insights

The early 1990s cut and paste workings of York University feminist student paper, Matrix, might not have penetrated the British public’s wider consciousness. But that’s not going to stop Rosie Wilby from trying hard to make it seem more relevant than it…

Bad Neighbours

30 Apr 20143 stars

Good performances and plenty of laughs make up for the occassional misstep

If you were to compile a list of potential neighbours-from-hell, an American fraternity would surely be right up there. Especially one whose all-night parties are ‘turned up to eleven’ as they seek to secure their place in hell-raiser history. That's…

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The Other Woman

24 Apr 20142 stars

Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton are a likeable but poorly served trio in this weak comedy

A romcom with what seems like a refreshing sisterly twist, The Other Woman sees a trio of wronged women team up to get their own back on a real weasel of a guy. So far so fun, right? Unfortunately Nick Cassavetes' eighth film squanders its subversive…

Warren United

22 Apr 20143 stars

Johnny Vegas, Darren Boyd and Morwenna Banks voice ITV4's hit-and-miss cartoon football comedy

The big pitch for this new animated sitcom about football and family from Baby Cow is that it’s here just in time for the Champions League Semi-Finals and Brazil World Cup. My guess is that people looking forward to those particular events won’t need a…

About Last Night

18 Mar 20142 stars

Remake of the 80s comedy lacks emotional impact

If Edward Zwick's original About Last Night was notable for offering a provocative look at sexual politics that only just made it past the censors, Steve Pink's remake is nothing more than a tedious attempt to update it for a new generation. Both films…

Muppets Most Wanted

13 Mar 20143 stars

A fun enough adventure that lacks the magical quality of its nostalgia-driven predecessor

The opening song in Muppets Most Wanted openly acknowledges the fact that most sequels exist in the shadow of their original. They are words that prove prophetic. James Bobin’s follow-up is mostly inferior to the 2011 comeback movie despite existing…

The Double

13 Mar 20143 stars

Richard Ayoade undermines some solid performances with airless retro-stylings

After rising to fame through The IT Crowd, Richard Ayoade made an accomplished directorial debut with coming-of-age saga Submarine. Taking on the work of Fyodor Dostoyevsky for his next project suggests a welcome ambition, but despite a good central…