Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 2014. BenderSpink, New Line Cinema, RatPac Entertainment. Story by Jonathan M. Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Sean Anders, John Morris, Screenplay by Sean Anders, John Morris, based on characters created by Michael Markowitz. Cinematography by Julio Macat. Produced by Chris Bender, John Morris, Brett Ratner, John Rickard, Jay Stern. Music by Christopher Lennertz. Production Design by Clayton Hartley. Costume Design by Carol Ramsey. Film Editing by Eric Kissack.
They caused so much hilarious mayhem the first time around, and the box office receipts came in so nice and high that there was absolutely no way they would avoid doing it again. The misfit trio of Charlie Day, Jason Bateman and Jason Sudeikis have left their terrible leaders in the dust at the beginning of this uninspired sequel, attempting to go their own way by inventing a handy shower product that they hope will make them rich entrepreneurs. A few idiotic choices later and they own a warehouse full of unsold goods, they have a bank loan they need to pay off in a week to avoid foreclosure, and an evil tycoon (Christoph Waltz) can’t wait to buy them out for a song and make millions off their idea. Something must be done in record time, so of course these geniuses come up with the best plan that their pulpy brains can, kidnapping Waltz’s son (Chris Pine) and holding him for ransom; twists abound, however, when Pine willingly wants in on the deal because he has a score to settle with the old man himself. What felt freshly funny and spontaneous the first time around is now contrived and condescending, the guys seeming to know they’re goofing around for laughs and the plot too self-consciously complicated to be easily amusing. The return of the delightful supporting characters from the first film, namely Kevin Spacey as the psychotic face of the 1% and Jennifer Aniston as the nymphomaniac dentist (whose characterization suits her so much better this time around), does help it go down smoothly, and there are a handful of sight gags that induce an audible chuckle. As inferior sequels to great first tries go, you could do a lot worse, but don’t expect too much.