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We're headed into the holiday week with a couple of flicks from folks who run in similar circles, but have created two very different movies. One is the reteaming of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, while the latter is a Dick Cheney biopic from writer/director Adam McKay. Get ready for Holmes And Watson and Vice.
Just remember, I'm not reviewing these movies, but rather predicting where they'll end up on the Tomatometer. Let's take a look at This Rotten Week has to offer.
As funny and talented as Will Ferrell is, it's been quite some time since one of his movies has landed in the Fresh zone on Rotten Tomatoes. Instead he's been on a run of flicks like Daddy's Home and Daddy's Home 2 (31%, 20%), The House (19%), and Get Hard (28%) over the last five years. We need to go all the way back to 2012 and the release of Anchorman 2 (74%) for a Ferrell-led flick that earned overwhemingly positive reactions. Sadly, it doesn't look like Holmes And Watson is going to be the film to buck the trend.
Will Ferrell will get another chance here with his longtime running pal John C. Reilly, who co-starred with him on Talladega Nights (71%) and Step Brothers (55%). They adapt the classic Sherlock Holmes story into a comedy farce that appears more like a joke-telling roundtable with a loose story about the two characters. If anything, it seems like the Homes-Watson piece is there merely as a reason to get the two on screen and could have been just about any famous pairing. While I suspect there are some laughs here, it's hard to imagine the critics have many positive things to say.
I had to be told it was Christian Bale playing Dick Cheney in Vice before I believed it. I watched the trailer twice thinking it was Jeff Daniels before noticing that Bale-headliner tag. This guy just pulls off crazy physical transformations for his roles, and here he plays an overweight megalomaniac who orchestrated a relative coup over the White House a decade ago.
Adam McKay directs this story about Dick Cheney's rise to power as the Vice President, and it looks like it brings a lot of the touch he brought with The Big Short (88%) in that he mixes his comedic sensibilities with critical historical storytelling. Critics are generally positive on the film so far, with the Tomatometer at 69% with 124 reviews posted. Most agreed the performances (from Christian Bale in particular) carry the flick with the only disagreement coming around whether the story holds up. I doubt we see the score move much with so many reviews already in the can.
I had a strong week last time around, with three of the four movies falling easily within range of the predictions. There was one big miss, but the other three were nearly right on the nose.
I got bailed out some by having early reviews in for Aquaman (Predicted: 65% Actual: 63%). Without those, I would have taken the prediction much, much lower, mostly because the DC Universe has generally been trash and the trailers for this latest looked like an overly-CGI'd disaster. But critics mostly took to the film, and enjoyed the story.
Meanwhile, Bumblebee (Predicted: 96% Actual: 94%) gives the Transformers franchise a fresh start with a huge critical win. Critics were mostly taken with the filmmakers' ability to take these machines/aliens and humanize them in a way the previous iterations (i.e. Michael Bay) simply couldn't do. It's a refreshing take on a franchise that looked, for all intents and purposes, to be headed nowhere.
Second Act (Predicted: 40% Actual: 42%) was a fairly easy prediction. The story looked cute enough without being overly controversial. There seemed to be a couple of laughs thrown in there, and the whole production just had the paint-by-numbers comedy approach that is tough to totally pan but will never finish all that high on the Tomatometer.
And finally, Welcome To Marwen (Predicted: 66% Actual: 25%) turned out to be a mess, and was my big miss for the week. Writers seem to mostly agree that the film was ambitious and set out to really do something different. But in the same breath they nearly universally panned the Robert Zemeckis product.