Comedy Snippets: The Suicide Squad, Vivo +

Scomed snippets the suicide squad 2021hort reviews of comedy old and new, and other bits of info which don’t fit anywhere else on the site, updated weekly.

The Suicide Squad
James Gunn directs this sequel which largely ignores the majority of the first film, and at two hours twelve minutes it’s overlong and occasionally frustrates as it cuts away for some character building nonsense in the middle of the action, while it’s definitely not as funny as it thinks it is and it also wastes Peter Capaldi who is a great villain but not in it enough. Yet despite these issues I enjoyed parts of it a fair amount, and perhaps am overly critical as it comes close to be really great but doesn’t quite get there. The new bunch of characters are certainly fun to spend time with, Polka-Dot Man and Ratcatcher 2 especially, Harley Quinn is appealing and likeable (unlike in her own movie where they dialled up the whimsy to such an extreme that it became exhausting), Idris Elba’s a strong lead and the big battles are beautifully orchestrated. As DC adaptations go it’s up there with the best of them, which admittedly isn’t saying much, but if you’re not fed up to the back teeth with superhuman silliness than this will satisfy your needs, at least for a short while until something better hopefully comes along. ★★★1/2

Vivo
An animated musical with songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda, who also stars as the titular singing monkey, though only the audience can understand him, everyone in the movie just hears him making monkey noises. At the start of the movie Vivo performs songs with old man Andres (Juan de Marcos González) on the streets of Havana, and their life is one sexy romp until Andres’ ex-girlfriend gets in touch and asks him to travel to see her perform in Miami and he plans to go and take her a song he wrote for her but never sang. But on no, Andres dies, and this highlights how different it is to Pixar (when they’re at their best, at least) as it’s hard to really care about the man’s demise, and I’m normally easily manipulated by this kind of fare. Vivo of course then takes on Andres mission and teams up with his niece Gabi (Ynairaly Simo) to head to Florida and then Miami in this odd couple road trip affair which weirdly spends a fair chunk of the movie in the Florida Everglades where what appears to be the biggest snake to ever have existed (Michael Rooker) tries to eat them, and it’s never a good thing when you kind of hope he succeeds. I’m a big fan of Hamilton and really liked In The Heights (see below) as well but the songs are fairly average, there’s a couple of memorable numbers (all involving Gabi) but too many of them are the kind of thing you’ve heard before from Miranda and the big final supposedly amazing number is extremely disappointing and bland. Throughout the film the emotional beats feel forced and manipulative and due to that they rarely made me feel anything other than bored, I’m normally a sucker for musicals but despite the odd impressive visual and funny joke it left me cold for at least half the running time, and worst of all is the fact that also applied to the ending. ★★1/2

In The Heights
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s New York set musical is a mixture of romcom and slice of life stories as the various characters try to find a way to fulfil their hopes and dreams, that or they try to put their penises in to women. It’s also partially a love letter to the city and the communities found within it, and it’s impressively directed, you’d never guess it was based on a stage play given how the way it’s edited in an energetic manner and leaps from location to location. The songs are largely pretty damn fun too, and while it’s perhaps a little overlong and sags slightly in the middle it’s mostly an enchanting and alluring work and I’d be surprised if pretty much all of the cast don’t go on to bigger and better things as they’re so impressive here. ★★★★

200 Pounds Beauty
Kang Han-na (Kim Ah-jung) is an overweight singer who secretly provides the voice for pop star Ammy (Seo-yun Ji), and who has a crush on her producer Sang-jun (Ju Jin-Mo). But when she overhears Sang-Jun calling her ugly and fat she tries to kill herself, though at the last moment puts a new plan in to motion and manages to persuade a plastic surgeon to carry out extreme surgery. A year later and now thin and beautiful everyone treats her differently, Sang-jun is looking to hire a new voice for Ammy and so Han-na secretly applies for her old job, only for Sang-jun to decide she should be a star herself, though inevitably Ammy isn’t happy about this and tries to scupper his plans. It’s a strange mix, part rom-com, part drama about appearance, vanity and how society responds to plastic surgery, sometimes its observations are smart and thoughtful, but sometimes it’s heavy handed and messy, and a subplot about one of Han-na’s friend’s who attempts suicide is mishandled. It’s ultimately a lightweight affair, and though its heart is undoubtedly in the right place it would have benefitted from a slightly smarter and considerate script. ★★★

Video Of The Week
Flaps is Comedy Central’s online sketch show, a whole bunch of new episodes are now online, beginning with this great first episode involving a “Fringe Helpline” which is lovely stuff. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyhXtLwmMa4

Link Of The Week
David Dastmalchian’s quietly one of the best things about The Suicide Squad, and in this interview he talks about that movie and a number of other films he’s appeared in.
https://www.avclub.com/david-dastmalchian-could-build-his-own-suicide-squad-wi-1847244605

Alex Finch.

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