Geoff Cox’s guide to new DVD releases
Comedies that tickle my funny-bone are few and far between these days, but this one seemed to fit the bill.
A power-crazed bully (Kevin Spacey), a sleazy cocaine addict (Colin Farrell) and a sexual predator (Jennifer Aniston) each make an employee’s life a misery.
But the three workers (Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis) can’t afford to quit their jobs. So they resort to desperate measures by conspiring to murder each other’s bosses, with a little help from an eccentric ex-convict.
The funnier scenes happen early on when the trio are subjected to various indignities in the workplace.
While Farrell gets cheap laughs with his greasy comb-over and Spacey phones it in as a power-hungry bigwig, Aniston tries too hard as a nymphomaniac dentist.
At least the would-be killers enjoy an easy rapport, which provides some distraction as the pace slackens and the plot continues to go nowhere.
> Raucous comedy BRIDESMAIDS (15: Universal) has been billed as ‘The Hangover with ovaries’, but it’s a much more savage beast, with fractious sisterhood replacing boozy male bonding.
In this wicked look at how friendships alter ahead of the altar, loser singleton Annie (co-writer Kristen Wiig proving a real comic force) is asked by her lifelong pal Lillian (Maya Rudolph) to be maid of honour at her wedding.
Their closeness is torn apart by Lillian’s perfectionist new friend Helen (Rose Byrne), so Wiig musters a motley crew of bridesmaids and attempts to get Lillian back.
Although focusing on the girls’ rivalry, Bridesmaids throws in Chris O’Dowd’s Irish traffic cop as love interest and Melissa McCarthy’s awkward weirdo in the bridal party.
Most importantly, Bridesmaids confirms what has long been suspected by wedding guests – that behind the smiles and matching dresses lies a warzone of tiffs, tears and terrible rivalry.
> The stop-start nature of animated feature sequel CARS 2 (U: Walt Disney) results in a rare instance of Pixar failing to fire on all cylinders.
Racing car Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) and his trusty tow-truck sidekick Mater return, leaving Radiator Springs behind to take part in the first-ever World Grand Prix.
As souped-up motors battle it out on the circuits of Japan and Europe, Mater becomes unwittingly embroiled in the shady world of international espionage after a chance meeting with slick super-spy Finn McMissile (Michael Caine).
Director John Lassiter delivers some exciting race sequences, but the convoluted story has too much plot getting in the way of the fun, with lengthy stretches of dialogue interrupting the pace.
> Patchy comedy ZOOKEEPER (PG: Sony) has Kevin James playing lovelorn Griffin Keyes, who decides to quit his job at Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo in the hope that more sophisticated employment will help him win the woman of his dreams.
When the zoo’s inhabitants learn of his plans, they let him in on their big secret – they can talk! – and set out to give him dating advice, animal kingdom-style.
James, previously seen in Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Grown Ups, stays true to type as the downtrodden everyman in a movie that often falls back on crudely telegraphed slapstick.
> The latest made-for-DVD instalment of a well-worn family franchise, BEETHOVEN’S CHRISTMAS ADVENTURE (U: Universal) sees the canine speak for the first time. I’m starting to see a trend here...
When Henry the wayward elf (Kyle Massey) flees the North Pole and borrows Santa’s sleigh, he crash-lands in a small American town. Then thieves sneak onboard and steal Santa’s magic toy-bag.
With Christmas fast approaching, the consequences are dire, but Henry gets a helping paw from heroic Beethoven.