Posts Tagged ‘Keir O’Donnell’


It’s no surprise the arrival of February also means the release of various romantic comedies. Happily, When in Rome is heavier in the comedy department than the romance thanks to some great casting choices.

Beth (Kristen Bell) is an ambitious New Yorker who has yet to find a guy she likes more than her job as a Guggenheim curator. Still disillusioned with romance, Beth takes a whirlwind trip to Rome where she defiantly plucks five coins from the Fountain of Love. As a result, she unintentionally causes those who threw the coins to fall in love with her – a sausage magnate (Danny Devito), a street magician (Jon Heder), a passionate painter (Will Arnett) and a conceited model (Dax Shepard). But when a charming sports reporter (Josh Duhamel) pursues Beth with equal enthusiasm, she worries his love may just be a consequence of the fountain’s spell.

As noted earlier, casting such great comedic actors in the roles of Beth’s clueless but persistent suitors was near brilliant. Rather than appear as creepy, obsessed stalkers, the guys are hilarious, misguided fools trying to show their love in what they consider the best possible manner; these include public nudity, inappropriate gifts and tracking Beth all over New York. Meanwhile, Duhamel is the attractive true love interest that is a requirement of all rom coms; but he too showcases his comedy chops, combining lovable and funny as he stumbles past Beth’s obstacles and into various inanimate objects.

Of course, When in Rome is still a rom com, which means it sometimes spouts cheesy dialogue and has a few moments that make you go “awe.” However, rest assured these are largely outnumbered by the moments of laughter. Nonetheless, the playful banter and awkward flirtation equals good chemistry between Bell and Duhamel; their shared scenes are amusing and believable.

This film is sure to be a pleaser to any crowd this season, single or attached. And there’s a fun surprise for fans of the sleeper hit Napoleon Dynamite.

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Most of us have seen the Die Hard-like movies in which an ordinary cop finds himself in a dangerous situation requiring extraordinary heroism. But what if the expected hero is an overweight mall security guard?

Paul Blart (Kevin James) has failed all attempts to join the city’s police force because he has hypoglycemia, which causes him to pass out at any given time. So instead he’s settled for a job as a mall cop, which he takes very seriously. He’s also a very committed single father but his daughter is ready to share him with another woman. Coincidentally, Amy (Jayma Mays) has just started working at the mall. After sabotaging several attempts to get to know her better, Paul gets his chance – she’s taken hostage during a robbery and he’s going to rescue her. The thieves, who have taken their names from Santa’s reindeer, are skilfully travelling through the mall to steal debit card numbers.

Mall Cop is somewhat of a situational comedy in which all the things you’d expect to happen do; this combined with the trailer did not leave a lot to discover. Most of the non-physical comedy is related to Paul’s weight but avoids being cruel. Additionally, Paul forms a strange relationship over a bedazzled pink cell phone with Pahud (Adhir Kalyan), a young woman’s heartbroken boyfriend. In the end, everything works out for the “average Joe.”

Filmmakers make an interesting attempt to distinguish its film from others by using action sport athletes as the robbers. Skateboarders, BMX riders and free runners perform various tricks while implementing their plan and trying to dispose of Paul. This addition makes for an entertaining aspect of the story.

The special features include audio commentary by James, who also co-wrote the narrative, and producer Todd Garner, which plays like a conversation between the two. There are 10 deleted scenes, including a little boy Paul makes uncomfortable when he won’t hug him, a couple more fun exchanges with Pahud, and an explanation of roles in the robbery by Veck (Keir O’Donnell). In addition, there are 10 featurettes that run approximately five minutes each; most of these are about the X-gamers and free runners, including a few videos shot by BMX-er Mike Escamilla. The BD Live feature is CineChat, in which people can talk on-screen with each other during the movie via a messenger-like chat program.

People who deal with death everyday are a special breed, as they confront horrible inflictions and maintain compassion to face the grieved. But how often does special translate to disturbed?

Ted Grey (Milo Ventimiglia) is an extremely talented med student. He is engaged to Gwen (Alyssa Milano), a lawyer-in-training, and looking at a bright future in medicine. But first he must complete his residency in the morgue of a Los Angeles hospital. Initially, Jake Gallow (Michael Weston) and his classmates appear threatened by Ted’s astute deductions but instead they view his skill as a qualification to invite him to play their game. The goal of the game is to see which of them can commit the perfect murder; i.e. one in which none of the players can determine the cause of death.

At first glance, this is somewhat reminiscent of 1990’s Flatliners but these would-be doctors go one step further to test their skills. Rather than impossibly reviving the deceased, this group expertly produce the dead. Their respect for the departed is limited, as the opening sequence suggests, and the fact that they murder evildoers alleviates any guilt they may feel. The story is intriguing though simultaneously heinous and the great care taken to ensure realistic anatomies and sets only accentuates the narrative.

The actors are unnervingly blasé about their actions. To prepare for their roles, the filmmakers and cast spent several days observing in a real morgue. Ventimiglia and Weston’s rivalry is tangible as they compete to one-up each other. Johnny Whitworth provides the expected sarcasm, while Keir O’Donnell’s outcast is constantly hovering around the periphery. However, the female characters Juliette (Lauren Lee Smith) and Catherine (Mei Melançon) are little more than sex objects in the deadly game.

The special features are interesting. “Creating the Perfect Murder” contains interviews with the cast and filmmakers, in which they discuss their experiences in the morgue and on set. “The Cause of Death” explores the authenticity of the film in regards to design and practice. Finally, the feature commentary is the director, screenwriters and producer poking fun at the flick, the cast and intermittently providing a factoid.

Vince Vaughn\'s Wild West Comedy ShowVince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show is a documentary. But don’t worry – it’s in no way educational.

The film follows four comedians who toured 30 cities in 30 nights with Vaughn and an ensemble of other comedic actors. Audiences gain backstage access to the guys’ preparation, tour bus pranks, emotional ups and downs of a vigorous schedule, and how they dealt when confronted with the effects of Hurricane Katrina.

Although Vaughn is not the centre of the movie, he is the draw just as he was the crowd-puller that sold out most of the venues in which they performed. However, it is the four lesser-known entertainers that provide the big payoff for your cash spent. They are genuinely funny and it is the inclusion of their stand-up routines that keeps the film and audiences rolling.

Each comic has his own style and each is entirely different from the other. John Caparulo caters with his acerbic humour; Sebastian Maniscalco is a metrosexual with observations and advice for the men in attendance; Bret Emst is a self-proclaimed Guido with masculine views on male-female relations; and Ahmed Ahmed is an Arab who uses his nationality and the stereotypes that accompany it for material.

Just as the professional comedians dominate the story and laughs in the film, their commentary with director Ari Sandel is more interesting than Vaughn and Peter Billingsley’s, who focus on the mechanics of the film more than the experience of making it.

The bonus footage containing more of the guys’ material, as well as more of the sketches with special guests Justin Long, Keir O’Donnell and Billingsley, is great. It shows they could just as easily have created a film of a bunch of the routines strung together. But learning about the comedians was good too.

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? Vince Vaughn and Keir O'Donnell in a scene from Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show (Photo courtesy of Alliance Films)If you are looking for insight into the guy behind the Vince Vaughn mask, you are not going to find it here.

This film is a documentary highlighting the awesome opportunity four comedians were given in 2005 — to tour 30 cities in 30 nights with Vaughn and an ensemble of other comedic actors. Audiences gain backstage access to the guys’ preparation, tour bus pranks, emotional ups and downs of a vigorous schedule, and how they dealt when confronted with the effects of Hurricane Katrina.

Even though the word “documentary” would turn many theatregoers away, they should first know this is not your typical doc. The important difference is accomplished through the inclusion of footage of the guys’ routines. They are genuinely funny and the humour keeps the tempo of the film up. Even so, it is a little longer than it needs to be. Do we really have to see every city they visited?

Vaughn handpicked the four men from the world famous Comedy Store in Los Angeles. Each comic has his own style and each is entirely different from the other. John Caparulo reminds me of Bobby Hill (from the television series King of the Hill) with his acerbic humour; Sebastian Maniscalco is a metrosexual with observations and advice for the men in attendance; Bret Emst is a self-proclaimed Guido with masculine views on male-female relations; and Ahmed Ahmed is an Arab who uses his nationality and the stereotypes that accompany it for material.

Inspired by the variety shows of old, Vaughn set out to assemble his troupe and plan a tour covering 6,000 miles in the heartland of America. He wanted to bring his style of comedy to those who normally would not have the opportunity to see it. However, as we are shown, it is not just about the stand-up; Vaughn and his cast of players also do sketch comedy and improv, some of which even requires audience volunteers. In addition to the four comics mentioned, Vaughn also asked along former co-stars Justin Long, Keir O’Donnell and Peter Billingsley.

Like most of the world, I missed the comedy tour but it sure looked like a show worth seeing. Maybe there will be extended footage on the DVD. Then again, there is one advantage to seeing this film in theatres — laughing with a group of strangers as if you had been there.