Second Act (2018)

Second Act
Director: Peter Segal
Writer: Justin Zackham, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas
Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Vanessa Hudgens, Leah Remini, Treat Williams, Milo Ventimiglia, Annaleigh Ashford, Charlyne Yi, Alan Aisenberg
Seen on: 8.1.2022

Plot:
Maya (Jennifer Lopez) has worked in a big supermarket for 15 years, with much success. But when she applies for the manager position and is passed over yet again for a white guy with a college degree, she feels like she is stuck in her job, especially with her 40th birthday just approaching. When the son of her best friend Joan (Leah Remini), Dilly (Dalton Harrod) applies for a job in her name at a big company and she actually gets an interview, Maya goes there without much hope. To her surprise she finds not only that she actually gets the job, but that Dilly created a completely fake CV for her. Despite this, Maya decides to go for the new job and prove herself.

Second Act has a lot of charm, but unfortunately not a lot of coherence and it doesn’t even seem to know what story it wants to tell. Nevertheless, I did enjoy most of it.

The film poster showing Maya (Jennifer Lopez) in a business outfit standing in a skyscraper.
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Thirteen (2003)

Thirteen
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Writer: Catherine Hardwicke, Nikki Reed
Cast: Nikki Reed, Evan Rachel Wood, Holly Hunter, Brady Corbet, Sarah Clarke, Vanessa Hudgens, Jeremy Sisto, Deborah Kara Unger
Seen on: 31.1.2021

Plot:
Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) just started 7th grade and is desperate to fit in. She sets her sight on Evie (Nikki Reed), widely known as the prettiest girl in school. Evie is a wild child who basks in Tracy’s attention and also takes to Tracy’s mother Mel (Holly Hunter). The two girls become inseparable, Tracy quickly discovering drugs and sex through Evie and both egging each other on, as things spiral out of control.

Thirteen is an excellent debut feature for both Hardwicke and Reed that feels like a debut in every frame – but in the best sense, filled with an energy and wildness that mirrors the central characters.

The film poster showing Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) and Evie (Nikki Reed) sticking out their tongues to show off their tongue piercings.
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Spring Breakers (2012)

Spring Breakers
Director: Harmony Korine
Writer: Harmony Korine
Cast: Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens, Rachel Korine, Selena Gomez, James Franco

Plot:
Faith (Selena Gomez), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson) and Cotty (Rachel Korine) have been best friends since kindergarten. Now they’re dreaming of going on Spring Break together, but they lack the funds. Finally Candy, Brit and Cotty rob a restaurant and the four of them get going. But once there, they get arrested for possession. They are bailed out of jail by Alien (James Franco), a rapper/drug dealer who wants to recruit them as his new gang.

Based on the marketing campaign, I expected this movie to be all boobs and cheap thrills, but since Kids (written by Harmony Korine) was one hell of a movie, I thought that I’d give it a chance at least. And I was very glad I did. Whether or not Spring Breakers is your cup of tea, I don’t know. But it certainly isn’t your run of the mill “girls gone wild” movie.

springbreakers

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Beastly (2011)

Beastly is the Daniel Barnz‘ adaptation of Alex Flinn‘s novel, starring Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens, Mary-Kate Olsen, Lisa Gay Hamilton and Neil Patrick Harris.

Plot:
Kyle (Alex Pettyfer) is popular, good-looking and an ass. As a punishment for his shallow ways, the witch Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen) curses him: He gets some piercings and tattoos turned into an ugly person and has a year to find a girl to fall in love with him even though he’s so ugly. Oh, and he’s ugly. So Kyle uses the one and only tried and tested find your true love method: he hides out at first, then starts stalking Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens), finally kidnaps her and then reads her some poetry.* And they say romance is dead.

As you can probably take away from my totally snark-free plot recap: Beastly is not a good film. Not only do they take the already problematic Beauty-and-Beast-premise and somehow manage to make it worse, they do so with bad acting and without any charm whatsoever. Nevertheless, be it the copious amount of vodka I consumed during the showing, the snarking or the actual film: Beastly was entertaining.

*POETRY: it works, bitchez.

[Since I’m about to rip this movie apart, it might be important to point out that I did not read the book, hence I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt and leaving room for the possibility that it didn’t suck. It’s unlikely, but possible.]

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Sucker Punch (2011)

Sucker Punch is the newest film by Zack Snyder, starring Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Carla Gugino, Oscar Isaac, Jon Hamm and Scott Glenn.

Plot:
After the death of her mother, Baby Doll (Emily Browning) is left alone with her abusive stepfather (Gerard Plunkett) and her little sister. In an attempt to save her little sister from him, Baby Doll accidentally shoots her which is the ideal possibility for him to have her admitted to a mental hospital. There, the stepfather bribes an orderly (Oscar Isaacs) into getting Baby Doll lobotomised. The only defense Baby Doll has left is retreating into a fantasy world (and from there in yet another fantasy world) where she hatches a plan to escape.

I have pushed writing this review back and back again because I’m not in a ranting mood but this film deserves little else. Apart from the screwed up empowerment message this movie sends, it’s just not a very good film. Not even the special effects held up the end of their bargain. And that’s just sad. At least the soundtrack was cool.

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