I’m going to do two reviews this week. A movie at the theatre remains my weekly religious experience, but I also think that watching movies on my laptop via Netflix is a true modern delight. So, one newish movie, and one that you can watch on your iPad while waiting for your plane or something like that.
The LEGO® Movie
First, I admit that I am not an adult who typically adores children’s movies. I rarely watch family films but my friend suggested this one, with the trademarked title and everything.
And it was cute. It made me giggle, a lot.
By the end, it was even cathartic to see the little toy people overcome their little toy dramas. I thought “oh yeah, I loved the Lion King! Cartoons are great! I want to be nine years old again! Why do I have to pay taxes and eat yogurt for the probiotics?!”
The story revolves around one special little Lego dude named Emmett (I had no idea that the always great Chris Pratt of Parks and Recreation fame was his voice). Emmett just wants to follow his daily instructions and dance around to a terrible song called “Everything is Awesome!!” – which *spoiler alert* may be the world’s worst ear worm, god help your inner sanity. He meets Wyldstyle, (Elizabeth Banks) who is not a DJ as her name would suggest, and discovers that he is The Special, meant to save their whole toy universe from an evil tyrant named Lord Business (Will Ferrell).
Disclaimer: I have enjoyed every single Will Ferrell movie I’ve ever seen, even the ones no one else seemed to enjoy (I’m talking about you Men Seeking Women).
Emmett and the rest of his hero crew, which is made up of the entire Lego aisle at Toys R Us, including an uncharacteristically hilarious Batman (Will Arnett), journey through the movie as any respectable Legos would via double decker couches and the Millennium Falcon, experiencing many ups and downs along the way.
Poor little Emmett even has to watch all of his friends get interviewed and admit that they think he’s pretty non-special. In adult land, that’s like finding out you were not CC’d on the email where the rest of your floor decided they were going to go out for drinks after work and “forgot” to add your name to the list, and you only found out about it when Karen from Accounting asked if you left your purse at the bar, but it was not your purse because you didn’t even know about the bar because no one invited you, did they Karen?
But Emmett does not cry in front of the police interrogating him or even his crush, Wyldstyle the not-DJ, who may or may not be two-timing him with Batman. Instead, Emmett learns that he can just pretend he is special! Because job interviewers mostly just want you to wear a clean shirt and act like you’re confident!
Anyway, in Lego world, the problem is a monstrous super glue apocalypse, and Emmett learns the great cat poster lesson that “We Are All Probably Good At Something.” Emmett is a good hero because upon learning that all of his friends think he sucks, he doesn’t immediately decapitate himself – an easy and tempting feat if your head is a screw-top plastic block.
So hooray for Emmett, and hooray for this movie that is maybe a feature-length toy commercial, but also has a fairly lovely live action ending that melted my cold, sarcastic, child of the 80s heart.
If you have kids, I would imagine this is definitely one to see. Even if you don’t, this movie is worth it just to see the pure joy of a happy little toy spaceman when he finally gets to build a spaceship. ★★★
Olivia Wilde is one of those pretty girls who is also very charming and sincere, so you kind of want to hate her but you can’t. You try to, but then one day she tells you how much she likes Heathers and sloth videos on Youtube, while asking about the book you’re holding, and so you’re forced to admit she’s actually kind of fun.
In Drinking Buddies, Olivia Wilde plays Kate, a very charming “one-of-the-dudes” kind of girl, who rides her bike everywhere and is always up for drinks after work. Conveniently for Kate, she works at a brewery with equally fun-loving colleagues like Luke (Jake Johnson with an off-putting beard, but otherwise his usual witty self). Luke is dating Jill (Anna Kendrick) and Kate is dating Chris (Ron Livingston).
The couples go to a cottage together (of course they do). And it is there that you get the sense that Kate and Luke are probably a little in love with each other, what with their shared love of alcohol and care-free night fires on the beach. Jill and Luke are maybe a little into each other too. The whole thing gets complicated, as it must, because while drinks with friends are fun, everyone who drinks must occasionally drink sad.
For a night on the couch with Netflix, I think this is a sweet, sad movie to enjoy by yourself or with a friend you do not want to kiss (unless you want to send An Awkward Message). You will like it if you liked Closer, and acknowledge that flirting and almost-infidelity can also happen on a Sunday afternoon with twenty-somethings who mostly just like to play pool and eat pizza. ★★