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MOVIE REVIEWS: Short Reviews of Films Playing at 1600 N Broad Street (December 14, 2016)

Collateral Beauty

When Howard (Will Smith)’s life falls apart, his coworkers concoct a plan to try and put it back together. Their plan is to hire three actors (Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley, Jacob Latimore) to go up to Howard and talk to him as if they were symbols of “Life,” “Time,” and “Love.” If you just read that and went, “huh?,” well, you’re in the same boat as me. The absolute biggest issue with “Collateral Beauty” is that its plot just never works or comes together.

There’s a certain fantasy element to it that both writer Allan Loeb and director David Frankel try to make sense of, but it just never does. Instead, we get a sappy, melodramatic and incredibly unbelievable flick that tries hard to tug at the heartstrings, but only annoys us and makes us feel bad for the insanely talented ensemble who clearly could have been up to so much more than starring in this junk.

1 out of 5 stars

Office Christmas Party

It’s almost Christmas, which means that it’s not just time for the holiday-themed comedies, but also the R-rated, raunchy ones. Last year, we got “The Night Before” and this year we have “Office Christmas Party.” The plot is exactly what you’d expect: A corporation throws their annual Christmas party, but this year, things get wild and crazy. Unfortunately, things just don’t play out like that; everything about “Office Christmas Party” seems like it absolutely wanted to be the wild ride that we all needed for the holidays, but instead, just feels like a few good sketches stuck in a near two-hour movie. Everyone in the movie is funny – with Jason Bateman, T.J. Miller, and Kate McKinnon particularly standing out – but there’s also a feeling that a movie with so much hilarious talent and a promising plot should be, well, hilarious and promising.

2.5 stars out of 5 stars

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