The only thing charismatic about Kevin James is his smile, I’m thinking that’s why he is the star of an action-comedy. Either that, or Netflix must have thought that it was unfair for him to be left out of ‘The Ridiculous Six’ and ‘The Do-Over’ starring Adam Sandler and most of his buddies. Yep! That’s the reason. All bets are off the table now! It’s time for Mr. James to be the center
of attention when it comes to the first thing you see on your Netflix. While this could be a home-run for Sandler and his band of merry men, it may not be the case for the film critic. I do admit that like ‘The Ridiculous Six’ and ‘The Do-Over’, ‘True Memoirs of an International Assassin’ is a decent film; but it is also a bit of a low point in comedy.
First of all, the bickering in this movie sounds as if it was written by a middle school student that finds the two words “Shut up” to be funny. I would honestly say that I enjoyed the argument between one of the poachers and the narrator of Disney’s live-action film version of the Jay Ward cartoon ‘George of the Jungle’ more than I did while watching James and a few of his cast members do what Leslie Nielsen’s Dracula from Mel Brooks’ ‘Dracula Dead and Loving it’ calls “a childish exercise”. The one thing that irked me the most about ‘True Memoirs of an International Assassin’ is its predictability. It feels as if you will know what is going to happen, and you end up knowing.
I do admit that ‘True Memoirs of an International Assassin’ has its funny moments, and when the jokes are good, the film gets funny. Some simple slapstick as a bullet to the head due to a ricochet; or a pratfall that feels last-minute, yet somehow helps the film give you the laugh you need. Despite that point, the film barely has any genuine moments that actually made me laugh. (I secretly laughed more during a showing of ‘Pixels’ than I did while sitting through this film.) One point that saves this unfunny mess from getting an “F” are its decent action choreography. I was thrilled when seeing James literally kick it up, or Zulay Henao as a no-nonsense DEA Agent beat down a kingpin that literally shoots anyone in the head who he has a problem with.
Two things that also impressed me about ‘True Memoirs of an International Assassin’ are its political satire and commentary about the struggles of being a writer along with the corruption of our media. James plays an unsuccessful writer named Sam Larson who has had many ideas that have been rejected; it was what made me think that the movie could at least have something going for it. It isn’t until he finishes his book called ‘Memoirs of an International Assassin’ that he goes in the spotlight, (including a landed interview with news anchor Katie Couric, as herself of all people.) but unexpectedly, his title has been added with one more word “True” as the starter. Now everybody believes this, especially our two comic relief FBI Agents (Rob Riggle in his 100th comedy of this decade, and Leonard Earl Howze) who think he is the real deal.
‘True Memoirs of an International Assassin’ is the Netflix movie you end up watching to get a comedy high, but maybe for a guilty pleasure, or the reason that you enjoy Kevin James. I do like James and find him to be enjoyable when he acts with Sandler, but for some reason, I was wondering where the comedy was. It was sadly not there that night.