Let’s put this out there – when Melissa McCarthy brings her A-game, any comedy is worth watching. But like a lot of comedians, when she goes for the heart with sappy sentiment, she puts the comedy at stake. She teams up again with her husband Ben Falcone to write this script about a business powerhouse busted for insider trading and has to rebuild her image into a kinder, gentler tycoon. McCarthy and Falcone’s last joint project was arguably her weakest film, “Tammy” (also about a woman who lost everything and has to confront her identity). The story is cleaner here, and the laughs are more frequent, but McCarthy’s real magic happens when she just takes the material and runs with it, sometimes running headlong into Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage and her children costars. The weakness of the film comes after she tries to strum the heartstrings. McCarthy has some boss moments, and those are worth a watch.
This is just your typical story – an American nanny (only the actress is British) goes off to England to care for a boy, only the boy is a doll, and the doll may or may not be alive and terrorizing her. Blah, blah, blah – it boils down to a creepy doll and a possible ghost story and confusing relationship in all directions concerning the nanny. Lauren Cohan (“The Walking Dead”) stars as the nanny and does an amicable job. Rupert Evans (“The Man in the High Castle”) drops in to toss around some British charm, but come on, anyone can see right through this. Director William Brent Bell (“The Devil Inside”) churns out another predictable thriller. His surprise hooks are excruciatingly by the book. As the doll’s creep factor wears off, Cohan tries her best to keep it afloat, but the clunks and clangs drag it down – pass.
This is not your typical must-see movie. Most of the actors are senior citizens. The plot deals with a dementia patient, but there’s no sweeping love story like “The Notebook.” No, the protagonist here is an Auschwitz survivor with a hand-written letter that sends him on a journey to find the person responsible for the death of his family – bummer. The must-see about this film is Christopher Plummer’s performance in the lead role. His portrayal of a man fighting with his memory loss and traveling in the midst of this confusion has tremendous impact. The addition of Martin Landau to the cast only deepens this film’s talent pool. Director Atom Egoyan has sought out films that work the mind while pulling at the heart since his breakthrough in 1997’s “The Sweet Hereafter.” The results haven’t always been successful. Some have been simply boring. Here, character development balances story arc, and drama threads suspense. Remember this one because it’s worth a watch.