Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 hits theaters today, and as you might've guessed, it's not getting the warmest reception from critics. Currently holding strong at an impressive 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, the Kevin James-starring sequel to the 2009 box office hit has received a lukewarm critical response at best, but most online reviewers haven't held back from panning the film for its lack of laughs (save for some silly slapstick and CG jokes), director Andy Fickman, and setting at a Wynn hotel and casino in Las Vegas (New York Daily Newscalls the movie "basically an hour-and-a-half commercial for Wynn"). Here's a roundup of what critics are saying:
Variety: "Nothing aired by WikiLeaks could possibly be more destructive to Sony’s reputation than the release of Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, the sort of movie that goes beyond mere mediocrity to offer possible evidence of a civilization in decline."
Time Out: "Cinema lovers, you should thank God for Kevin James. This oft-ridiculed screen giant is here to answer a question that has plagued mankind for decades now: what would a film be like if every single person involved made as little effort as humanly possible?"
The Dissolve: "With Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, James has made the same joyless, laugh-free comedy twice, albeit this time in a more fun location. Perhaps he’ll finally sort it out by the time he shoots the final entry in the Paul Blart: Mall Cop trilogy, 2021’s Paul Blart: Mall Cop 3."
Vulture: "In the first film, a group of hooligans out for a Black Friday heist at the local mall took Maya and Blart’s then-object-of-affection hostage; this time, it’s a group of tech-savvy art thieves who take Maya and a boy she’s interested in hostage. Before, Blart was looked down upon by the New Jersey State Police, who didn’t think of him as a real security pro; this time, it’s a sneering Vegas security team led by Eduardo Verástegui. Time is a flat circle, and so is this fucking movie." READ MORE
To celebrate the 35th anniversary of Airplane! this year, The A.V. Club has a new oral history out today on the film's origins, casting, production, and impact with writers/directors Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker as well as a bunch of the cast. Here's what Jerry Zucker had to say on the film's unexpected cult popularity:
I think we’d spent so much time—years—convincing other people that it was going to be a hit that we started to believe it. [Laughs.] But we had our ups and downs, and we had moments of “Oh, my God, it’s never going to work.” We were certainly bullish on the movie when it came out, but, you know, this was in the days before VHS, really, or DVD or anything else, let alone hundreds and hundreds of cable channels. After movies came out, they didn’t mean much. They just sort of died. And I don’t think we thought, “Okay, this is our first real film, it did well, we’re on our way, that’s great, we can now have a career.” But it really is amazing that it’s lasted all these years. That was definitely a surprise.
A lot of dumb news stories have happened so far in 2015, so during last night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart welcomed correspondents Jessica Williams and Samantha Bee to hand out the 2015 'Mercun Award, which The Daily Show bestows upon one US news story that best encompasses the "true essence" of America. Spoiler alert: the winner involves Applebee's, which is about as 'Mercun as you can get.
Here's the latest Conan remote segment featuring Conan O'Brien and his no-nonsense producer Jordan Schlansky, who take a trip to Escape Room LA and get trapped together in the 1940s-set "Detective" room. O'Brien might not be the best at solving all the intricate puzzles and clues inside, but he's definitely good at getting into his '40s jewel thief detective character. Jordan, as usual, is having none of Conan's nonsense.
Sarah Jessica Parker is returning to HBO. Deadline reports that the pay network has given a series order to a new comedy by Pulling creator Sharon Horgan called Divorce with Parker attached to star. The single-cam comedy centers on Parker as Frances, "a woman who suddenly begins to reassess her life and her marriage, and finds that making a clean break and a fresh start is harder than she thought." Thomas Haden Church, Molly Shannon, and Talia Balsam are set to costar and Horgan will executive produce, making it her very first US comedy series. Horgan most recently starred opposite Rob Delaney in the Channel 4 comedy Catastrophe. Divorce will film in New York sometime this year.
Here's the latest installment of Reggie Makes Music with special guest Paul F. Tompkins, who is more than game to freestyle with Watts about doing crime, doing time, stealing pennies at 7-Eleven, suicidal thoughts, and a bunch of other stuff. Catch all the rest on Comedy Bang! Bang! on IFC tomorrow night at 11:00pm.
The comedy podcast universe is ever expanding, not unlike the universe universe. We're here to make it a bit smaller, a bit more manageable. There are a lot of great shows and each has a lot of great episodes, so we want to highlight the exceptional, the noteworthy. Each week our crack team of podcast enthusiasts and specialists and especially enthusiastic people will pick their favorites. We hope to have your ears permanently plugged with the best in aural comedy.
Pablo: After an absence of six months, Brody Stevens has finally brought his manic #PositiveEnergy back to podcasting on a regular basis. On this week's Festival of Friendship, Stevens revisits the format of episode #61 by recording his night at The Comedy Store in West Hollywood. Like pretty much any night at the Store, the stars are out in force as Stevens interviews Sarah Silverman and David Spade about their vastly different experiences on Saturday Night Live. But they're not the only Not Ready for Prime Time Players around, as Leslie Jones gets in a quick chat about her and Brody's early years in the New York comedy scene. Stevens also gets his balls busted by Tony Hinchcliffe and booker Adam Eget before talking to Pete Cornacchione about his victory in a Roast Battle that got another comedian banned for six months. To top it all off, the episode concludes with a solid 15 minute set by Stevens, showcasing his gifts for crowd work. READ MORE
David Steinberg and Steve Carell's Showtime documentary series Inside Comedy just got a premiere date. The pay network announced today that Inside Comedy's six-episode fourth season is set to debut on Tuesday, May 5th at 11:00pm. In addition to previously announced guests Stephen Colbert, Michael Keaton, Bryan Cranston, Dan Aykroyd, Wanda Sykes, Ted Danson, and Carol Leifer, Steinberg will also interview comedy stars Conan O'Brien, Jeffrey Tambor, Jon Stewart, Dane Cook, and Cheech & Chong.
The 74th annual Peabody Awards' entertainment category recipients were announced today, and among the winners are a few new and returning comedy series. Ahead of its season 3 debut next week, Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer earned an award while HBO's Last Week Tonight and CW's "immaculately conceived" breakout hit Jane the Virgin also won awards for their work this year. The Peabody Awards will be handed out in New York on Sunday, May 31st; check out the full rundown of the comedy-related winners below: READ MORE
Last night on The Daily Show, Jordan Klepper took a closer look at the future of Christianity by interviewing two pastors — the super cool, Grand Theft Auto-playing Pastor Carl Lentz and the very less cool Reverend Dr. Christopher J. Benek — to find out more. For Lentz, the future of Christianity is all about old-school prayer, reading Bible verses on a cell phone, and selling out stadium venues all over the country, while Benek has something else in mind entirely: robots that "choose" to be Christian.
Amy Sedaris made her 34th and final Letterman appearance last night, and to express her love and appreciation for Dave, she sang him a beautiful goodbye medley. She also thanked Letterman for welcoming her on the show for so many years and all he's done for late night: "You're like a New York staple! You're like the Turkish Baths on 10th Street! You're like scaffolding, you know?"
The first live taping of Netflix's With Bob and Davidtakes place in Los Angeles tonight, but if you aren't lucky enough to have a ticket, here's the next best thing: a bunch of exclusive photos from Odenkirk and Cross's top secret rehearsal show featuring most of the original Mr. Show crew as well as some special guests. We reached out to Bob Odenkirk to ask how rehearsals went and what we can expect from the new series, and here's what he had to say:
The other night at the Steve Allen Theater we (Bob Odenkirk and David Cross) did a "secret" live show to test out some new sketches for "W/Bob&David!" coming to Netflix…sometime, and it went fantastically hilariously stupidly wonderful! Ennis, Johnston, Paul F, Posehn and Dino Stamatopoulos were all there, and in the show you'll see Aukerman, Jill Talley, Tom Kenny, Brett Paesel, and new cast/friends Mort Burke, Jon Barinholtz, Brendan Johnson, Paget Brewster, and some guests who are famouser than us. We're having the best time, can't wait to share it with all of you! Love, Bob and David
Starting today, flawless comedy couple Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally are hitting the road for a live multi-city tour. Called Summer of 69: No Apostrophe, the tour kicks off tonight in Oklahoma City and makes stops in Austin, New Orleans, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Portland, Chicago, and more. Check out the full list of tour dates below, then head over to the Summer of 68 Ticketmaster page for more information. READ MORE
Welcome to The Second City Archives, in which we post an exclusive clip each week of some of comedy's biggest superstars performing early in their careers on the legendary Chicago stage. Second City has generously given us a glimpse into their extensive archive of live performances, and over the coming weeks we'll be sharing some rare and retro comedy never before seen on the web.
This week's unearthed clip comes from Steve Sheridan's final night at Second City Chicago in January 1989. In this scene, Sheridan plays a drill sergeant getting to know a set of Army newbies played by Joel Murray, Joe Liss, Aaron Freeman, Holly Wortell, and a rising talent and Second City touring company member by the name of Jane Lynch. Who knew a drill sergeant could spark such a thought-provoking religious debate?
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