Film, Comedy

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Ten days of music, film, comedy and spoken word at The Pleasance Sessions 2014

19 Sep 2014

Confirmed performers include The Twilight Trio, Vic Galloway, Roddy Hart, Neu! Reekie! and Paul Foot

It’s one of Edinburgh’s grandest venues, yet the Pleasance is often overlooked outside the month of August when it’s transformed into a bustling Fringe venue. Thankfully, after a successful first year – including a nomination for Best Small Festival at…

Think Like a Man Too

15 Sep 20142 stars

Comedy sequel starring Kevin Hart is watchable but lacking in big laughs

As its awkward-looking title suggests, ensemble rom-com Think Like a Man Too is a sequel to director Tim Story's 2012 hit. Based on a self-help book by Steve Harvey, the original film featured a group of women (Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Taraji P Henson…

Wish I Was Here

15 Sep 20142 stars

Zach Braff's disappointing, Kickstarter-funded second film features Kate Hudson

Like the struggling protagonist of Wish I Was Here, unemployed actor and father Aidan Bloom, writer-director Zach Braff’s follow-up to Garden State has considerable baggage. The easy charm and comedic melancholy of Braff’s 2004 debut created a cult…

TIFF 2014: Men, Women & Children

12 Sep 20143 stars

Jason Reitman's conservative comedy drama features a nicely understated Adam Sandler

Jason Reitman's cautionary, state-of-the-nation mosaic starts off with the promise of something Altman-esque like Nashville or Short Cuts, but winds up closer in tone to something written by Richard Curtis. Perhaps it is the fault of the extensive…

Pride

8 Sep 20143 stars

Bill Nighy and Dominic West star in a fizzy, feel-good take on an inspiring 80s campaign

Imelda Staunton rolling around a bed with a red dildo laughing is one of the gleeful high points of Matthew Warchus’ unashamedly fizzy, cheering take on the 'Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners' campaign which involved a unique coming together of two…

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Sex Tape

1 Sep 20142 stars

Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel head up a slapstick heavy sex comedy that's light on laughs

Few sub-genres are as moribund as the sex comedy; since the 70s, audiences rarely seek laughs and voyeurism at the same time, and certainly not at the cinema, with dedicated internet sites allowing them to indulge both humour and libido in…

They Came Together

1 Sep 20142 stars

Gifted comics Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler are poorly served by a so-so rom-com parody

If ever there was a genre that was ripe for parody, that genre is the Nora Ephron-style romantic comedy. That's the conclusion drawn by writer-director David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer) and co-writer Michael Showalter, whose new comedy sets about…

Life of Crime

1 Sep 20143 stars

Jennifer Aniston impresses against type in this crime comedy based on Elmore Leonard's The Switch

A prequel of sorts to Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown, in that it features three of the same characters (albeit played by different actors), Life of Crime is writer-director Daniel Schechter's low-key adaptation of Elmore Leonard's The Switch. Set…

Let's Be Cops

26 Aug 20143 stars

Fitfully entertaining cop comedy featuring New Girl's Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr

The buddy cop comedy gets an interesting spin in Let’s Be Cops, a hit-and-miss affair that amuses and frustrates in equal measure. Co-written and directed by Luke Greenfield (The Girl Next Door), the film follows two loser flat-mates – Jake Johnson’s…

The Grand Seduction

26 Aug 20143 stars

Likeable, Ealing-esque comedy starring Brendan Gleeson and Taylor Kitsch

Canadian screenwriter Ken Scott is no stranger to the remake treatment: his French-Canadian comedy Starbuck was remade twice (as Vince Vaughn vehicle Delivery Man and French version Fonzy) and now his French-language comedy La Grande Séduction (also…

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FrightFest 2014: Housebound

20 Aug 20144 stars

Gerard Johnstone's riotous debut skilfully mixes horror and hilarity

Hollywood could learn a thing or two from Kiwi first-time writer-director Gerard Johnstone, who casts two exquisitely expressive ladies in his deliriously funny and downright scary haunted house horror. A combination of fantastic performances and a…

FrightFest 2014: Wolfcop

20 Aug 20143 stars

Fun, furry retro horror from writer-director Lowell Dean

Some films take on a life of their own before they are even released, with the internet going into overdrive before anyone's seen the first frame of footage (recent examples being Snakes on a Plane and Sharknado). Wolfcop now joins these illustrious…

Obvious Child

12 Aug 20144 stars

Gillian Robespierre's Sundance 'abortion comedy' is courageous and admirable in its feminism

Billed as the Sundance ‘abortion comedy’, writer-director Gillian Robespierre’s debut has already attracted attention for its controversial subject matter and scatological dialogue. It centres on Donna (the effusive and sardonic Jenny Slate, of SNL…

Hector and the Search for Happiness

11 Aug 20142 stars

Simon Pegg fails to turn on the charm in this story of a self-indulgent globe-trotter

As far as his British films go, whenever Simon Pegg is shorn of his Shaun of the Dead team (director and co-writer Edgar Wright, producer Nira Park and co-star Nick Frost) he flounders. Think Burke and Hare, A Fantastic Fear of Everything or Run…

The Inbetweeners 2

7 Aug 20143 stars

Surprisingly decent sequel to the comedy spin-off starring Simon Bird and Joe Thomas

Putting paid once and for all to the notion that travelling can remotely change you, those four eternal teens known collectively as the Inbetweeners head down under. Given that the first film's phenomenal success was in contrast to its flagging humour…

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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…

The Inbetweeners 2 interview: 'There's a high penis count'

8 Jul 2014

Joe Thomas, Simon Bird, Blake Harrison and James Buckley sit down to discuss the comedy sequel

I'm ushered in to meet the Inbetweeners boys (it's impossible not to think of them as boys, despite the fact that they are all in their late 20s / early 30s) just a few minutes after Andy Murray crashes out of Wimbledon, so I break the news to them and…

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…

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…

Adam Buxton brings Bug to Glasgow and Manchester

17 Jun 2014

Five facts ahead of pop culture commentator's music video ‘analysis’ nights

1: Some people will always see Adam Buxton as one half of the archetypal studenty double act, Adam & Joe. And that’s fine, because they were totally brilliant. 2:But Buxton has had some success all on his lonesome including one series of Channel 4’s The…

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014: The top 5 comedies

4 Jun 2014

Featuring Life After Beth, Displaced Perssons and A Practical Guide to a Spectacular Suicide

Anatomy of a Paperclip This odd title is only the start of the strangeness. Following a factory worker who spends his days bending wire into paperclips, this Japanese film floats between reality and his imagination. There’s a butterfly which takes…