Tag Archives: Jake Johnson

Tag Box Office Prediction

Improbably based on a true story, the comedy Tag hits theaters next weekend. Based on a 2013 Wall Street Journal article, the film focuses on a group of pals who engage in a long-term version of the kids game. Stars include Ed Helms, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Isla Fisher, Annabelle Wallis, Hannibal Buress, Rashida Jones, Leslie Bibb, Brian Dennehy, and Lil Rel Howery. It marks the directorial debut of Jeff Tomsic.

The ads hype the “actually based on real stuff” angle, but I felt the trailer could’ve been a bit stronger. I’m not confident this holds any significant breakout potential. The Warner Bros release would likely love the achieve the $17 million debut of this spring’s Game Night and that might be the generous ceiling here. I’d say even with the cast of familiar faces, it doesn’t have the relative star power or laugh out loud promo materials. And I wouldn’t count Renner as this isn’t the genre he’s known for… see The House from a year ago.

Outside of the Hangover franchise, Helms has had a rough road recently as Father Figures was a dud and even his Vacation reboot fell a bit shy of $60 million three summers back. I’ll project this reaches low double digits to mid teens for a so-so showing. As we await the blockbuster comedic pic of this season, I have a hunch Tag is not it.

Tag opening weekend prediction: $13.4 million

For my Incredibles 2 prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/06/05/incredibles-2-box-office-prediction/

For my Superfly prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/06/07/superfly-box-office-prediction/

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy is many things to Universal Pictures and it has many conflicting tones to go along with it. The film shares the name of franchise of the Brendan Fraser flicks started in 1999 and little else. Most importantly, it’s the premiere title of the studio’s planned Dark Universe series which will bring back invisible and wolf men and Frankensteins and their brides.

Perhaps that’s why The Mummy can often seem like a preview of what’s to come. Based on this initial offering, the Dark Universe and its grand designs to bring back the classic monsters of Universal’s past is iffy but not without some occasional charms.

A prologue tells the tale of Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), Egyptian royalty primed to rule her land. Family complications alter that course so she goes on a murderous rampage which results in her mummification. Her story is buried for centuries until present day.

That’s when Nick Morton, a former soldier still in Iraq to pillage treasure with his comedic sidekick (Jake Johnson) inadvertently unearth the Princess’s tomb. Our title character has serious cursing skills and uses them on Nick and others. Thus begins an attempt to destroy her and get Mr. Cruise back to his normal self.

The screenplay makes the decision to make Nick a bit of an anti hero. He’s a slight jerk who’s in it for himself for a good portion of the running time. There are shades of Cruise’s character in Edge of Tomorrow, a better film to be sure. It allows this movie star a chance to be funny at times, a little cowardly, and it’s kind of fun to watch Cruise play it.

What the script doesn’t do is provide any development to his archeologist love interest and investigative partner Jennifer (Annabelle Wallis). We’re told the two shacked up a couple of nights before we meet them, but their connection is pretty much non existent. As mentioned, it’s sometimes a hoot to see Nick as a louse. When the screenplay tries to get us to care about his feelings for Jennifer, it falls flat.

For that matter, the lovely Boutella isn’t much of a scary villain. Sidekick Johnson has a few humorous bits, but gets lost in the shuffle mostly. There’s not much time for character development sans Cruise’s take on his part. Russell Crowe is here as Dr. Jekyll so we know he gets to have some duality in his role. His performance is just fine, though one suspects his real opportunities will come later in this universe.

This Mummy works best when it goes campy – something I wouldn’t have guessed. A number of moments going for intentional chuckles work. However, the studio has much to set up and allowing director Alex Kurtzman and his slew of writers go full out camp doesn’t happen. This creates an uncomfortable mix of horror, adventure, and the aforementioned and often successful self parody. Much of The Mummy is filled with action sequences that are indistinguishable from other summer blockbusters (though a zero gravity plane crash is nifty). We don’t really care about what’s happening because Universal seems in a hurry to get to the next monster mash. Yet I’ll be figuratively damned if I didn’t enjoy some of it.

**1/2 (out of four)

Let’s Be Cops Movie Review

Let’s Be Cops has roughly the effect of probably watching a student film trying to mimic a decent buddy cop comedy/action flick. And that may be an unfair insult to the work of students and their films. It’s amateurish, poorly written, and gives its actors (some of them quite talented, but you don’t see it here) little to work with. Director/co-writer Luke Greenfield and Nicholas Thomas’s screenplay is mostly devoid of anything resembling originality and quite absent of many genuine laughs.

The concept is simple: two lifelong buddies have made a pact to leave Los Angeles by the time they’re 30 if they haven’t “made it”. Justin (Damon Wayans Jr.) is a struggling video game developer and Ryan (Jake Johnson) is a once promising college quarterback sidelined by a past injury. Clearly they haven’t made it and they’re prepared to return to Columbus, Ohio (I don’t know why my city had to be brought into this mess). A costume party interferes with their California split when they dress up as cops and – wouldn’t you know it! – they get mistaken for actual law enforcement. Suddenly women find them attractive! They can get into clubs easily! And they get caught up with some bad guy Albanians!

Let us count just some of the citations of mediocrity (to be kind) in this screenplay:

1) Jake’s past football glory days cause him to spend his days voluntarily teaching a bunch of young boys the game while cussing them out the majority of the time. It’s more creepy than funny.

2) Justin is supposed to be some genius video game developer whose bosses just don’t understand him, but his “genius” pitch for a game called Patrolman seems really familiar and dull.

3) The main baddie played by James D’Arcy is quite possibly the most cliched villain in a genre ripe with them.

4) Talented comic performers like Rob Riggle and Natasha Leggero are saddled with little to do.

I could go on and the same rule applies to Johnson and Wayans Jr., who can’t rise above the material despite their efforts. And there’s Andy Garcia as the time honored crooked cop (the true nature of his character is supposed to a big reveal, but you won’t care).

The screenwriters bank on this flimsy premise of watching these two play boy in blue providing consistent humor for 100 minutes. It would have been great if “Let’s Be Just A Little Original” would have made it into their game plan.

*1/2 (out of four)

Let’s Be Cops Box Office Prediction

Last summer, the raunchy comedy We’re the Millers was a breakout August hit which opened on a Wednesday. The Jennifer Aniston/Jason Sudeikis pic took in $37 million over its five-day frame and $26 million from Friday to Sunday, on its way to grossing over $150M domestically. This Friday, Let’s Be Cops with Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans, Jr. will attempt the same feat.

While I believe Cops could be poised for a solid debut, it seems to me that Millers territory is unlikely. Costarring Andy Garcia and Rob Riggle, Cops has received a robust marketing campaign from Fox and the trailers and TV spots are pretty funny. It’s almost been two months since the last successful comedy, 22 Jump Street, so audiences could be primed for laughs. There’s no reviews yet and that could be somewhat of a factor – seeing that negative critical reaction helped sink last month’s Sex Tape. In addition, unlike Millers, none of the stars of Cops have any sort of box office track record.

That said, the dearth of comedies out now should lead this to a three day opening in the high teens and a possible mid 20s five day haul.

Let’s Be Cops opening weekend prediction: $17.7 million (Friday-to-Sunday), $23.4 million (Wednesday-to-Sunday)

For my prediction on The Expendables 3, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/08/10/the-expendables-3-box-office-prediction/

For my prediction on The Giver, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/08/10/the-giver-box-office-prediction/