Thursday, November 27, 2014

Penguins of Madagascar, Horrible Bosses 2

Penguins of Madagascar (my rating)

Penguins of Madagascar (Scruffies' rating)

Horrible Bosses 2

Quick capsules on Wednesday’s big Thanksgiving weekend releases:

The first half hour of “Penguins of Madagascar” is cute and charming, made with good humor and adult wit – adult as in genuinely sophisticated, not adult as in overloaded with pop-culture references. It would have made a perfectly pleasant short. Stretched out over 90 minutes, though, the charm wears thin, as our four heroes – and a forgettable allied force called the North Wind – waddle through an hour of plot so generic you almost can’t be bothered to watch. Even Little Scruffy, who’d been looking forward, got ants in his pants toward the end. (P.S.: They’re not really from Madagascar.)

Nobody will confuse “Horrible Bosses 2” with great art, but enough of what director Sean Anders throws against the wall sticks to make it a passable, if profane, light holiday entertainment. Here’s another sequel that improves on the original by virtue of the cast’s familiarity with and comfort in their parts. This picture does a better job of drawing the separate characters of the three leads: Jason Bateman’s wearily incredulous Nick, Charlie Day’s lamentably unfiltered Dale, and Jason Sudeikis’s avidly amenable Kurt. (None of the three comics has found a movie role more befitting his talents.) Jamie Foxx and especially Jennifer Aniston shine in reprised roles, while Chris Pine and especially Christoph Waltz (riotously funny in “Carnage”) are wasted in a kidnapping plot that lengthens and slows the movie considerably.

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