Splitsider’s Summer Comedy Preview: Movies
Iron Man 3 raked in a ton of cash this weekend and officially kicked off the 2013 summer movie season, which is set to contain an unusually high amount of comedies. From blockbuster sequels like The Hangover III and Grown Ups 2 to indie fare like Michael Cera’s psychedelic drug movie Crystal Fairy and Joss Whedon’s Shakespeare adaptation, this year’s summer movie season has a wide variety of comedies to offer. Your best bets this time around look like Bridesmaids director Paul Feig’s Sandra Bullock-Melissa McCarthy buddy cop movie The Heat and two dueling apocalypse comedies, This Is the End from Seth Rogen and Company and The World’s End from Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost. Here’s a guide to all the comedies that are coming out over these next busy four months.
Craig Robinson’s first leading man role is in this Meet the Parents redux, with David Alan Grier as his Robert De Niro and Kerry Washington as his the actress who plays Ben Stiller’s wife. Peeples comes from producer Tyler Perry, but don’t worry, Perry only produced it and didn’t have a hand in the writing/directing and it looks Madea-free. Reviews have been mixed so far, so maybe Craig Robinson fans are better off holding out to watch him in This Is the End.
The Hangover Part III
After four years and three movies, the Hangover saga is finally coming to a close with a third installment that looks like it won’t just be a fill-in-the-blanks copy of the original movie like The Hangover Part II was. The plot involves the gang taking Zach Galifianakis’s Alan to a mental institution but getting sidelined by one of those mix-ups with criminals they tend to have. John Goodman, Melissa McCarthy, and a giraffe all have small parts in the movie.
The Kings of Summer
Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts has been making top-notch short films and segments for Comedy Central’s Mash Up and Funny or Die Presents for years, and he makes his feature debut here with a movie that wowed critics at Sundance. Kings of Summer is a coming-of-age comedy about three teenagers who run away from their parents to build their own house in the woods, and it boasts Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Kumail Nanjiani, and Hannibal Buress in supporting or bit roles.
Much Ado About Nothing
A modern retelling of the Shakespeare comedy that blockbuster director Joss Whedon shot in secret, Much Ado About Nothing is an odd choice for the competitive summer movie season. The film was shot in only 12 days with the original text, so at least it’ll stand out from the loud summer blockbusters playing in the screens next to it. Whedon’s Much Ado has been scoring high marks with critics so far and could end up being the Avengers of Shakespeare adaptations.
Considering that Wedding Crashers was one of the highest grossing comedies of all time, it’s surprising that it took 8 years for a movie studio to put Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn back together for a clunky, half-assed comedy in an attempt to capitalize on Crashers‘ success. Wilson and Vaughn play a pair of middle-aged guys who lose their jobs and start at the bottom as interns at Google, except they don’t know computers good and get into amusing conflicts with young people. The movie also features a cameo that Wedding Crashers fans will enjoy, if Wedding Crashers fans are a real thing.
The first of three apocalyptic comedies coming out this year, Rapture-Palooza looks to be the least essential of the bunch. The micro-budget film stars Anna Kendrick and John Francis Daley as a couple trying to defeat the Antichrist (Craig Robinson). Rob Corddry, Tom Lennon, Ken Jeong, Tyler Labine, Rob Huebel, and Paul Scheer all appear in this one, but apocalyptic comedy fans might want to wait a week for This Is the End or two months for The World’s End.
This Is the End
Two of this summer’s most promising comedies follow a bunch of friends dealing with the apocalypse. While the Simon Pegg-Edgar Wright gang made The World’s End (see below), the Seth Rogen-Jonah Hill brigade made This Is the End. In a bit of an unconventional move, Rogen, Hill, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, and Danny McBride star in the movie as themselves, fighting off the end times after a James Franco house party gone bad. This Is the End also boasts cameos from Michael Cera, Emma Watson, Rihanna, Kevin Hart, Aziz Ansari, Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mindy Kaling, Martin Starr, and David Krumholtz, with a conspicuous lack of a Judd Apatow appearance. This is Rogen and longtime writing partner Evan Goldberg’s first movies as directors, and it looks like pretty exciting and daring for a big studio summer blockbuster.
Fox has a lot of faith in The Heat, director Paul Feig’s follow-up to Bridesmaids that finds Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock playing a pair of mismatched cops taking down a drug kingpin. Following some wildly successful test screenings, the studio already ordered a sequel, moved the movie from its planned April release to the competitive summer blockbuster season, and signed writer Katie Dippold (Parks and Rec) and Paul Feig to multi-picture deals. If the movie ends up being even a fraction as good as Fox thinks it is, it could still end up being the comedy of the summer, especially with its uber-talented cast and crew.
Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain
Documenting stand-up Kevin Hart’s world tour, Let Me Explain follows Hart through 80 cities and features him becoming the sixth comedian to sell out Madison Square Garden.
The Way, Way Back
Writing partners Jim Rash (the dean from Community) and Nat Faxon (Ben from Ben & Kate) scored Oscars for co-writing The Descendants with Alexander Payne last year, and The Way, Way Back, their first movie as directors (which they also wrote), looks like it could follow up on that success. A coming-of-age comedy-drama, The Way, Way Back is centered on a kid (Liam James, The Killing) who forms a friendship with a waterpark manager (Sam Rockwell) after hiding out at the park on a summer vacation to escape his mother (Toni Collette) and her dick boyfriend (Steve Carell). The supporting cast includes Maya Rudolph, Amanda Peet, Allison Janney, Rob Corddry, Faxon, and Rash. Reviewers at festival screenings found the movie to be an enjoyable crowd-pleaser if a little conventional and familiar.
Grown Ups 2
The AdamSandlerPals have reassembled for another vacation/movie. Will the conspicuous absence of Rob Schneider derail enthusiasm about the movie amongst Sandler fans? Will cameos from SNLers Andy Samberg, Will Forte, Bobby Moynihan, Taran Killam, Paul Brittain, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer as a pack of scantily-clad male car wash cheerleaders be enough to generate enthusiasm amongst comedy nerds who typically avoid the Grown Ups franchise? We’ll all have to wait two months to find out.
Directed by Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Silva, Crystal Fairy is a psychedelic South American drug comedy starring Michael Cera. What more could you ask for?
Girl Most Likely
Kristen Wiig’s first starring role since Bridesmaids two summers ago Girl Most Likely (formerly titled Imogene) finds her playing a playwright who moves back in with her mother after her career and relationship collapse. From American Splendor directing team Shari Springer Bergman and Rober Pulcini and also starring Matt Dillon, Annette Benning, June Diane Raphael, and Nate Corddry, the movie has a lot going for it, but the scant number of reviews that have come in since the movie’s film festival premiere have been mostly negative.
Woody Allen’s grand return to the US after spending the last four years making movies in Europe, Blue Jasmine is the only non-comedy on this list – it’s a straight-up drama – that’s included here only because it’s the long-awaited first collaboration between Woody Allen and Louis C.K. Sure, Louis C.K. only has a small supporting role in the film, which stars Cate Blanchett as a fashionable New York housewife going through a crisis, but it’s still pretty neat he’s in there. Oh, also, that guy Andrew Dice Clay is in this for some reason.
We’re the Millers
Newly-minted movie star Jason Sudeikis plays the lead in We’re the Millers, a comedy from director Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story) that follows a small-time pot dealer who hires a fake family to help him smuggle two tons of pot across the Mexican border. He’s joined by a prostitute (Jennifer Aniston) as his wife, a homeless teen (Emma Roberts) as their daughter, and a gay British kid (Will Poulter) as their son. August is typically the dumping ground for movies that are deemed not popular and/or good enough to compete with early summer blockbusters, but with a supporting cast that includes pros like Ed Helms, Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn, and Tom Lennon, this one could end up all right.
Director David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, George Washington) made this comedy-drama that stars Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch as a pair of 1980s highway workers spending a summer isolated from society for work. Festival reviews were mostly positive, indicating that this could end up being the 1980s highway worker dramedy of the summer.
In a World…
Childrens Hospital star Lake Bell makes her feature writing/directing debut in this comedy that pleased audiences at Sundance. Bell plays the lead character, a woman new to the world of voiceover announcing who comes into conflict with her father, the king of the industry. Demetri Martin, Michaela Watkins, Geena Davis, Nick Offerman, Jeff Garlin, and Bell’s Childrens Hospital cronies Rob Corddry and Ken Marino also star.
The sequel to the 2010 sleeper hit superhero comedy Kick-Ass sees the title character joining forces with a bunch of citizens-turned-superheroes to face off with Christopher Mintz Plasse’s Red Mist, who has vowed revenge over the death of his father. Jim Carrey joins the sequel as a new citizen superhero called Citizen Stars and Stripes, so there’s that to look forward to.
The To Do List
Aubrey Plaza’s movie career continues to gain steam with The To Do List, a new comedy that stars her as a high school grad trying to rack up sexual experiences before leaving for college. Written/directed by Maggie Carey, The To Do List features an impressive supporting cast that includes Alia Shawkat, Bill Hader, Donald Glover, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Andy Samberg, and Adam Pally. Also, it’s the movie that screwed up the MTV Movie Awards, so it has that going for it.
The World’s End
The summer’s other apocalyptic buddy movie The World’s End has a release date a safe two months after from Seth Rogen’s This Is the End so that it hopefully doesn’t feel like overkill to audiences. There’s no risk of the movie actually being too similar, as it’s in the hands of director Edgar Wright and his co-writer Simon Pegg, two of the most talented comedy auteurs going. The long-awaited third installment in Wright and Pegg’s “Blood and Ice Cream trilogy” (named that because they all feature violence and a different flavor of ice cream), World’s End stars Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, and Paddy Considine as five middle-aged buddies on a pub crawl that unexpectedly takes place during end times. It’s been a whopping six years since Wright and Pegg’s previous movie, Hot Fuzz, and this is definitely something to look forward to, especially considering the awesome trailer and that the duo hasn’t made a bad movie together yet (or even an okay movie).
For a look at the summer’s new TV comedies, check out our handy guide.