Reel Reviews: Time to laugh

By on February 13, 2019

By Michael Upton

In Ephrata, the New Main added extra showtimes Saturday for “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” but nationwide not everything is so awesome. By industry standards, the animated sequel flopped by bringing in $35 million, about a third of its reported budget and half of what the first Lego movie captured in 2014 during its opening weekend.

What is everyone waiting for? I blame a less than stellar marketing campaign, which failed to remind us of what was so awesome in the first movie. Instead, Lego 2m, from its trailers, appears to be a run-of-the-mill, straight to DVD cartoon sequel, which also had a couple closely related spin-offs hit the big screen in the meantime.

But this movie is awesome. And my opinion might be the problem. I loved this movie, but my son was underwhelmed. I think he expected more. I expected the same. I got tons of references to pop culture (especially movies) only adults are going to fully grasp. He got a more ferocious Unikitty. I got a cameo from Bruce Willis a la “Die Hard.” He got Gary Payton and Sheryl Swoopes … who cares?

As for the story, all our friends are back and Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt), Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), and Batman (Will Arnett) venture to the land of Duplo blocks where they meet Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (Tiffany Haddish) and rogue adventurer Rex Dangervest (also Pratt). Which one of these new characters is a hero and which one is a bad guy is the question! Somehow Batman is set to marry the everchanging queen unless Emmet can stop him, but should he?

Like I said, I really enjoyed this second incarnation of “The Lego Movie.” Especially for siblings (and parents of bickering siblings), part 2 is a must see with a warm ending. Stick around for the credits, too, and enjoy a funny song from Andy Samberg, I mean The Lonely Island. The SNL connections are strong with new movies this week…

Also in theaters: ‘What Men Want’

If what a man wants is an easy, fun comedy, “What Men Want” is it. Refreshingly formulaic, this standard, fish out of water comedy stars Taraji P. Henson as sports agent Ali Davis who is an outnumbered female in a male dominated industry. She’s good at her job but must go up against chauvinistic peers and the dominating father, Joe “Dolla” (Tracy Morgan), of future basketball star Jamal Barry (Shane Paul McGhie). With the help of her assistant Brandon (Josh Brener, HBO’s “Silicon Valley”) and a few guys at the office Kevin (Max Greenfield) and an uncredited Pete Davidson (SNL) ­ she lands the big client and strikes out on her own. Her friends, Ciarra (Phoebe Robinson, “Ibiza”), Olivia (Wendi McLendon-Covey, “Bridesmaids”), and Mari (Tamala Jones, “Blue Streak”), serve as comedic fodder along the way.

The funniest thing in this movie is Erykah Badu, who I can only suppose moves not too far from her neo soul self* to play a tarot card reading, “Sister” of mystery. She is a hoot! I’ve been a big Tracy Morgan fan for a long time, so it was great to see him back in a leading role with some spirit.

* Have you seen Badu’s Aug. 22, 2018 “Tiny Desk Concert” on NPR?

Agree or disagree? Reel Reviews works like this: 1) Watch a movie; 2) Send suggestions, comments and criticism to Michael at SomeProMCU@gmail.com.

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