We’re making our way through May, and that means some interesting releases, particularly among streaming films! Here’s a look at the new films I saw this week, including a classic cartoon re-boot. If you’d like to see more of my scores for films and thoughts, feel free to follow me on Letterboxd here.
Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers (Disney +)
Starring: Andy Samberg, John Mulaney, Kiki Layne, Will Arnett, Eric Bana, and J.K. Simmons
Synopsis: When I was a kid, I loved the Disney block of afternoon cartoons. There was Darkwing Duck, Tail Spin, Duck Tales and, of course, Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers. Turns out I wasn’t the only one that loved those shows. Now, for those of us who are old enough to remember, comes the reunion/re-boot film we never knew we always needed. This one finds Chip (Mulaney) and Dale (Samberg) trying to build a life in the aftermath of fame. They’ve had a falling out after the end of their show. Now, fortune has brought them back together as they try to save their friend, Monterey Jack (Bana). This one has plenty of classic nods to Disney programming, but it’s not exactly a kid’s movie. This is squarely aimed at adults who fondly remember the classic series and want to dive into something that feels a bit more Saturday Night Live than classic Disney cartoon. I enjoyed the story, the jokes and the nostalgia of it all. This was a film that was better than expected and a real treat. It’s the perfect light-hearted summer watch, especially for those who enjoyed the original cartoons!
Rating: Rated PG for mild action and rude/suggestive humor.
The Valet (Hulu)
Starring: Eugenio Derbez, Samara Weaving, Betsy Brandt, and Max Greenfield
Synopsis: This is a classic tale. A popular actress (Weaving) on the eve of her biggest movie premier is caught in a photo with her married boyfriend (Greenfield) and an innocent bystander (Derbez). In order to protect the secret, and safeguard both their careers, the innocent bystander is employed to fill in as the boyfriend, and hilarity ensues. We’ve seen variations of this plot many times in many ways. The key is the characters. Here, we get some fun characters from Derbez and Weaving, which makes the journey go along well. We also don’t get the traditional romance. Make no mistake, this is a love story, and a comedy, but it is about different kinds of love—self love and the kinds of friendships that leave you feeling lifted up and better about the world. I enjoyed Derbez as the lead here. He’s great in the role with great timing. Weaving does a nice job too, as do Brandt and Greenfield in supporting roles. The film is a touch long—clocking in at over two hours—but it does offer some unexpected twists that make it a fun, light-hearted watch.
Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, some strong language and brief drug material.
We Need to Talk (Limited, VOD)
Starring: James Maslow, Jonathan Fernandez, Christel Khalil, and Emily Bett Rickards
Synopsis: What’s important in life? Is it our achievements or is it the people that fill our lives? At the heart of this comedy is that question. In the film, written and directed by Todd Wolfe, we get Scott (Maslow), better known as Great Scott. He’s a gamer and online star who has grown his brand over 10 years. But sometimes he gets so sucked into gaming that he sets everything else aside. That means taking advantage of his producer (Fernandez) and forgetting about the most important person in his life, his girlfriend Aly (Khalil). When Aly heads out one day saying, “we need to talk,” when she gets home, Scott blows it off. When he starts thinking about it more, it throws him into a tailspin. Fearing the worst, Scott finally takes stock of his life as he prepares for a difficult talk coming his way, all the while fending off the user comments that feed into his worst fears. This is a simple premise and an easy watch, clocking in at just 83 minutes. It works because Maslow does a nice job in the lead role and there are some fun, comedic beats. I’m a fan of Rickards for her work on Arrow, and it was nice to see her in a fun supporting role here. She only pops up a couple times but it made me laugh. Mostly, I was surprised at how earnest and heart-felt the film was in the end. It worked for me and was a fun watch worth checking out, with a message about work/life balance that’s worth taking to heart.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.
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