Couch Theater

DVD Review: Bicultural
Rom-Com

Karla Souza (left) and Jose Maria Yazpik in “Everybody Loves Somebody.”
Sam Struckhoff, July 2017
Posted

NOW ON DVD and BLU-RAY

“Everybody Loves Somebody” (PG-13) — Clara Barron (Karla Souza) almost has it all with a fulfilling career as a doctor living the fab life in L.A. What she doesn’t have is a significant other, a fact her large loving family will not let her forget. So when Clara is guilted into attending a wedding at the family home in Mexico, she brings reinforcements in the form of handsome co-worker Asher (Ben O’Toole) to pose as her boyfriend. No harm no foul until ex-boyfriend Daniel (Jose Maria Yazpik) shows up, bringing with him all the magic of the past. Formulaic? Yes. Sweet and charming rom-com that brings to life Spanish, English, sentimentality and that big-family love dynamic? Also yes.

“Life” (R) — A team of quick-witted space cowboys headed by Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds attempt the ultimate astronaut hat trick: retrieve a pod filled with research materials from a planet (in this case, Mars) and return to Earth. The pod contains a few cells of the stuff of which dreams (and fame) are made — a basic life form they christen “Calvin.” At first it’s exciting, and then it becomes terrifying as Calvin evolves and begins to stalk the crewmembers one by one.

"T2 Trainspotting" (R) -- After 20 years, Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) has come home to Edinburgh. He reconnects with his old pals: Spud (Ewan Bremner) is still an addict, and Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) is a petty dealer, hustler and part-time barman. Begbie (Robert Carlyle) breaks loose from prison to take revenge on Renton for absconding with the drug money from the first film. Their interactions are filled with self-destruction and attempted redemption; once again, the ride is wild and unforgettable. Director Danny Boyle delves deep into a world of choices that is full of grit and color, bringing home a film just as fascinating and addicting as its predecessor.

"CHIPS" (R) -- "CHiPs" is shorthand for "California Highway Patrol." I have fond TV memories of the friendly, vanilla Jon Baker and the always obliging beefcake Frank "Ponch" Poncherella patrolling on their motorcycles, solving problems and cracking crimes. Not so with the 2017 reboot, starring Michael Pena as Ponch, with Dax Shepard as Baker, as well as writer/director. Ponch is a seasoned federal officer rooting out what might be an inside crime in the department; he's teamed with Baker, a rookie ex-motocross daredevil. The plot points never accelerate into anything more than a vehicle for toilet humor and puerile gags.

"The Belko Experiment" (R) -- The scene is an office building in Bogota. Eighty white-collar workers show up ready for a day of hard-core paper pushing, but before the coffee is even cooled, the building is sealed and a voice over the PA announces the day's real objective: kill or be killed. Each employee has been implanted with what they thought was a tracking device, but turns out to be a bomb. If they do not do as they are told, they will be fired, literally. While the film does have some elements of the psychological thriller, it's mainly a gore fest. Spoiler: A lot of people blow up, and those who don't die from an exploding head aren't spared a gruesome death. Personalities run the gamut, from the good-guy office manager (John Gallagher, Jr.) to the cutthroat executive (Tony Goldwyn).

"Absolutely Anything" (R) -- A group of intergalactic meddlers issue a destruction order for Earth. Our one chance at a reprieve comes in the form of teacher Neil Clarke (Simon Pegg), who is given extraordinary powers to make Absolutely Anything happen. Use the powers for good, Earth is spared. If not, well, you get the idea. This film is positively stuffed with talent: Robin Williams as Neil's dog, newly graced with speaking powers; aliens voiced by the cast of "Monty Python"; Kate Beckinsale as Neil's downstairs neighbor and love interest; and cameos from Rob Riggle, Eddie Izzard, Joanna Lumley and more. Despite direction by Terry Jones, and the powerhouse cast, this movie is a dud that devolves into a series of silly skits and not enough cohesive story.

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