Tag: Kristen Bell

  • Kelsey Grammer and Kristen Bell Are Tear-Inducingly Great in Netflix’s “Like Father”

    About two years ago, I found myself scrolling through Netflix offerings, looking for a comedy — any comedy. If you’re familiar with the streaming service, you know how difficult it can be to sort through its barrage of vaguely recognizable movies buried under the wrong category titles. I landed on one called For a Good […]

  • Superhero Spoof “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies” Rides the Coattails of Lazy Meta-Jokes

    The peppy but cynical animated superhero comedy Teen Titans Go! To the Movies is eager to flatter you, as so many of its lazy meta-reflexive jokes suggest. Most of the gags in this pandering spoof are about their own schematic nature — they’re jokes about how you’re smarter than the jokes. The story follows insecure […]

  • “Pandas,” Because Pandas

    The unexpectedly impressive nature documentary Pandas is so visually dynamic that even the most pedantic (think Neil deGrasse Tyson level) skeptics will probably not mind listening to narrator Kristen Bell — speaking for writer–co-director Drew Fellman — rattle off 43 minutes’ worth of cutesy panda trivia. You may, admittedly, wonder what Fellman means when Bell says […]

  • Veronica Mars Gets Kickstarted Into Adulthood

    According to lore, Liberace used to greet the tourists who’d come by bus to gawk at his bejeweled home with the line, “I hope you like it. After all, you paid for it!” Not everyone has to like Rob Thomas’s Veronica Mars, the feature-length incarnation of his much-loved television series, which ran from 2004 to […]

  • The Lifeguard Is a Lifeless Misfire

    From concept to execution to tone, writer-director Liz W. Garcia’s The Lifeguard is a lifeless misfire. Twenty-nine-year-old Leigh (Kristen Bell) flees her life in New York (an unsatisfying job as a news reporter; a dead-end affair with her married editor) for her childhood home in Connecticut and her high school job as a lifeguard. This […]

  • Hit & Run: Smokey & the Hybrids

    Hit & Run, a new action comedy engineered by faintly Muppety co-director/writer/star Dax Shepard, is as much about running mouths as running motors, and injects estrogen into the few remaining enclaves of American testosterone, muscle cars, and FM cock rock. Shepard plays Charlie Bronson, a 35-year-old in Nowheresville whose life, as we see it, consists […]

  • Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver Deserve So Much Better than You Again

    There’s a dance-off in You Again that pits the four lead female characters against one another in what’s meant to be a laugh-riot of chaotic bad moves. Instead, you cringe in embarrassment—not just for the lifelessness of the scene, but for the actresses giving it their all, especially Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver, who […]

  • When in Rome: A Small Victory for Romantic Comedies

    The bar for romantic comedies has been set so low that when one—especially one whose press materials boast “from the studio that brought you The Proposal“—doesn’t leave you with the feeling that you’ve witnessed onscreen gynocide, consider it a small victory. When in Rome is confused about what its lead actually does (Kristen Bell’s Beth […]

  • ‘Pulse’

    The J-horror remake wheel spins again, spitting out this pathetic Americanization of Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s apocalyptic fable about a literal ghost in the machine. In Kurosawa’s version (released briefly in the U.S. last fall and recently issued on DVD), a mysterious website functioned as a portal by which the dead could re-enter the world of the […]

  • The Teen Beat

    The teen drama has always faced snobbery and disdain—seen as sophomoric at best, glaringly fake and sugary at worst. This prejudice has yet to fade even though some of the smartest shows of recent decades (My So-Called Life, Freaks and Geeks, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gilmore Girls, and, most recently, The O.C.) have revolved around […]