Movie Reviews

Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway (2021)

peter-rabbit-2-movie-poster-reviewDirector: Will Gluck

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Family, Comedy

Runtime: 93 Minutes

Main Cast: Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, James Corden, David Oyelowo, Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, Colin Moody, Hayley Atwell, Sam Neill

Plot:  Bea (Rose Byrne) and Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson) are happily married, and together have published Bea’s Peter Rabbit book. The book’s success has drawn the attention of a big-deal publisher who wants to make drastic changes to the characters we all know and love. Meanwhile, Peter (James Corden) is struggling to prove he isn’t the tyrant that he’s seen to be.

My Thoughts: Well who would have thought yesterday would be the day. I remember so clearly February 2020, watching Peter Rabbit (2018) for the first time on Netflix, after seeing the trailer for the sequel, talking about Easter plans and what the Easter bunny might bring for my 2-year-old daughter. Then, of course, the world turned upside down and so it felt bittersweet being at the cinema at last! So much has changed in that time, but I’m not here to get all sentimental. I’m here to talk about the only movie that makes James Corden tolerable, Peter Rabbit 2!

It was everything I expected it to be. It’s obviously not on the level of Paddington but hand on heart, Peter Rabbit is in that higher level of animated family films that have lots of appeal for adults, too. There are jokes aplenty for the little ones to enjoy like the screaming rooster and Cottontail’s new love of sugar, but I’d argue that most of the jokes are geared for the adults. How our arguments can last for weeks, what parents pack in their kid’s lunchboxes, and how we act around people we feel inferior to. The movie doesn’t take itself seriously at all, it’s very self-aware and proves that in a few jokes that break the fourth wall.

The movie’s biggest downfall is the plot. It’s all over the place! If you thought Rise of Skywalker ran at breakneck speed then just see how much story Peter Rabbit 2 crams into it’s 93 minute runtime. Starting a family, writing a new book, kidnap, stuck in a pet shop, meeting new friends, back on the farm, back to Gloucester, back to the farm again. That’s only half of the movie right there. I guess it’s better than being really slow but there are so many things that could have been cut down to slow the pace. But at the end of the day, it was a movie I’ve been waiting a long time for, and it didn’t disappoint.

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Best Bit: So many funny moments but what made me laugh the most was the repeated joke about how annoying Peter’s voice is. I feel like it was obviously a nod to how a lot of people find James Corden a bit…irritating? I couldn’t even explain why I dislike him so much, I think he just has an air of self-importance and sees himself better than everyone else?

Worst Bit: Why do I never see a twist coming? It wasn’t even a bold, crazy twist. I just got caught up in the story and didn’t judge anyone! And that was after I found myself almost crying over Thomas’ tomatoes…what have I become?!

Fun Trivia: In one scene, Peter steps in wet cement and emerges clunking slowly through the streets with his feet trapped inside the now-dried cement. A similar scene happened in the animated film Zootropolis (2016) with Judy Hopps, who is also a rabbit.

My Rating: 3 and a half uneaten celery sticks which I also put into my daughter’s lunchbox in a bid to not be judged!

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Movie Reviews

Peter Rabbit (2018)

peter-rabbit-movie-poster-review-2018Director: Will Gluck

Genre: Adventure, Animation, Family

Runtime: 95 Minutes

Main Cast: James Corden, Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, Sam Neill, Daisy Ridley, Elizabeth Debicki, Sia, Fayssal Bazzi, Colin Moody

Plot: Based on the beloved character Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. Peter Rabbit and his friends are suddenly granted the freedom of Mr McGregor’s vegetable patch when he passes away, but their fun and games soon come to an end when McGregor’s nephew takes over the ownership of the estate.

My Thoughts: Oh how sweet, Allie is starting to watch movies with her kid! Nope, sorry. I’m deep in Star Wars withdrawal and so last night once the kiddo was in bed, I curled up on the sofa for a double dose of Domhnall Gleeson and Daisy Ridley. What can I say? I’m desperate – and it’s been a while since I went on a Domhnall Gleeson binge. Plus I have to admit, I saw the trailer for the sequel and it actually looked quite funny.

Bias be damned, Domhnall Gleeson was an absolute star in this. He really went and threw his all into this movie. He has such a flair for comedy and his rages are hilarious. If General Hux could have had an alternative ending, let it be this movie. Gleeson was literally channelling his inner Hux the entire time and I was 100% there for it. I love the idea of him trying his best to chill out, trying some bird watching as a hobby that he’s absolutely terrible at.

As for the movie itself, I totally get it if you don’t like it. I watch too much Peter Rabbit on a daily basis because of the animated show that’s on Cbeebies every day, and it’s a strange set-up. Like, I’m sorry, but these rabbits are absolute jerks. They’re thieves, and in the movie, they’re even worse. In some scenes, the movie plays out like some sort of reverse Home Alone where Kevin is actually the bad guy?!

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If you fell for the charms of Paddington (2014) then do me a favour and give this a go. It might not pack as much charm, but it’s essentially the best romcom of 2018.

Best Bit: How about Domhnall Gleeson beating the crap out of a Harrods bear? Or saying “I’m chill, man” whilst strangling Peter? Or basically any time Daisy Ridley’s CGI bunny was on screen? There were so many great moments. Lots of ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ jokes too like the Bananagrams game.

Worst Bit: As much as I strangely loved this movie, I just can’t see (hear?) past James Corden’s voice as Peter Rabbit. He doesn’t even try. It’s just…his voice. James Corden went from being a beloved, little-known star in the UK to making it big worldwide, getting big-headed about it, and now he’s just kinda irritating.
Also – how dare you dye General Hux’s hair black. How very, very dare you.

Fun Trivia: In February 2018 – 24 hours after its release – Sony apologised to advocates from food allergy groups who said the scene with a farmer going into allergic shock isn’t funny and also encourages food bullying.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 ice cream trucks with flashing lights. I don’t know why but that joke really tickled me!

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Movie Reviews

Instant Family (2018)

instant-family-movie-review-poster-2018Director: Sean Anders

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Runtime: 118 Minutes

Main Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne, Isabela Moner, Gustavo Quiroz, Julianna Gamiz, Octavia Spencer, Tig Notaro, Margo Martindale, Julie Hagerty

Plot: Pete and Ellie have a fantastic life and relationship. They’ve spent many of their early years building up their house-renovating business and are very successful at it. However, they’ve reached a point where they want a family, but worry that they’re too old, which leads them to look at becoming foster parents.

My Thoughts: I don’t know what brought me to the cinema the other night to see Instant Family, I got an offer of an early preview at my local cinema but I’d seen the trailer already and wasn’t impressed at all. I guess it was fate in the end because I ended up really enjoying it! The trailer made it look like an unfunny comedy but it’s got a heck of a lot of heart, and it’s funny in that Dramedy way.

The movie brings to light the problems around foster kids, especially the teenagers who just get stuck in the system because parents mainly look for a younger child to foster. Pete and Ellie find a connection with teen Lizzy, not knowing that she was a package deal with her younger siblings Juan and Lita. Chaos ensues from their first night together which is where a lot of the laughs come from, but things take a more serious turn when the kid’s birth Mother returns to the scene.

One of the highlights of Instant Family is the cast. I always enjoy Rose Byrne, Mark Wahlberg is hit and miss but he’s good here. The kids are wonderful and not irritating in the slightest. Then you have some great side characters played by Octavia Spencer and Margo Martindale to name just two. There really is a lot to love here.

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Is the plot predictable in every sense? Yes. Does the movie still skim over the dark side of the fostering system? Absolutely. But it’s funny, it’s sweet, it made me laugh and cry in equal measure and all in all, it was far better than it had any right to be.

Best Bit: I can think of a few, but what made me laugh loudest was Juan being a clutz at the grocery store and then shouting ‘No, please don’t hit me!’ over and over again. The reactions of passers-by were brilliant.

Worst Bit: The night before the court case. Curse my stupid Mum emotions. The stupid movie was making me ugly-cry, the heating was broken in my screen and my tears were falling down my top and making me even colder.

Fun Trivia: The film was inspired by writer/director Sean Anders’ experience adopting through Seneca Family of Agencies’ Kinship Center.

My Rating: 3 and a half out of 5 hairbrushes, which you’ll find in the toilet if you need them…

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