Like ‘The Addams Family’, ‘The Willoughbys’ is quirky both in style and sense of humor; taken straight from other dysfunctional families that have come before them, blended into a colorful, candy-coated, yarn-filled family-comedy-adventure that may be a bit predictable, but fun once you buy into its characters. Tim (Voice of Will Forte) is neurotic and wants the best for his family. His sister, Jane (Voice of singer Alessia Cara) is always singing the same melody and always asking the what-ifs of their situations, while both the Barnabys (Voice of Seán Cullen) are monotonously similar that it is hard to tell them apart, prompting their nanny (Voice of Maya Rudolph) to label one A and the other B. Though, what makes them all similar are their red-heads which come from a generation of Willoughbys before them.
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The idea of puppets doing shocking things is not new in the entertainment industry; before ‘The Happytime Murders’, there were ‘Avenue Q’, ‘Team America: World Police’, and ‘Meet the Feebles’ have all surprised, offended, and tickled the funny bones of audiences looking for some raunchy puppet entertainment. The thing is, ‘The Happytime Murders’ was brought to you by Brian Henson, who has stepped into his late father, Jim Henson’s shoes with films like ‘Muppet Treasure Island’ and ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’. Now, he has strayed away from the sweetness that is ‘The Muppets’ into a gritty, offensive, and socially relevant world of ‘The Happytime Murders’.
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I can’t really say that Sony Pictures Animation’s ‘The Emoji Movie’ is the worst thing I’ve seen all year; Its characters are as vibrant and colorful as the world they inhabit. This doesn’t excuse the fact that this cheap attempt at comedy is one of the most cringe-worthy, and annoying animated films I have come across. Yes, this is a children’s movie. No, that doesn’t mean I have to go easy on it. When you have a movie where two “Meh” emojis (Voiced by Steven Wright and Jennifer Coolidge) say how they’re feeling in a tiresome manner, or the villain becoming an extremely happy emoji who gushes her words as if she is talking to a baby emoji (Maya Rudolph, you are much better than this!), of course I am going to be annoyed at the least! I expected ‘The Emoji Movie’ to have some potential in its gags, however, the only funniest jokes seem to come from Poop (Voiced by Sir Patrick Stewart, no joke.) and a hand emoji named Hi-5 (Voiced by James Corden).
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I’m pretty sure that Netflix came out with only two holiday specials starring a major name. The last I saw being ‘A Very Murray Christmas’ with Bill Murray, that was dull, depressing, and only succeeded in spreading misery during the holiday season. What ‘Michael Bolton’s Big, Sexy Valentine’s Day Special’ tends to do is not just satirize all the celebrity holiday specials that have come out in the past, but does so in such a way to feel more like ‘Saturday Night Live’ hosted by Michael Bolton in February. Guaranteed there are some laughs and clever jokes to be seen in these skits, but not all of them add up to anything and serve as a way for Bolton to bust out his singing voice, and maybe have some fun along the way.
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