‘Monuments Men’ is boring, ‘Run & Jump’ is cluttered and ‘Marry Barry’ is fun

Among the new movies that were released Friday, Feb. 7 are a historical drama starring George Clooney, an Irish import starring Will Forte and a romantic comedy starring Tyler Labine.

A Fantastic Fear of Everything

Simon Pegg plays a children’s author turned crime novelist whose detailed research into the lives of Victorian serial killers has turned him into a paranoid wreck, persecuted by an irrational fear of being murdered. (R – 100 minutes)

What is “A Fantastic Fear of Everything?” That is a question that will plague moviegoers’ minds for at least a few moments after having seen the new supposed comedy starring Simon Pegg. Fortunately, the film is so forgettable that said question will not be a nuisance for very long but it is still something troubling considering there are some incredibly inspired bits in the mix. However, a scene in which Pegg amusingly brings to life his character’s fear of the laundromat and an animated segment about a foul-mouthed hedgehog are mere pit stops on an otherwise wildly unfocused journey through one man’s madness. (Thumbs Down!)

The Monuments Men

An unlikely World War II platoon is tasked with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and return them to their rightful owners. Stars include George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman and Jean Dujardin. (PG-13 – 112 minutes)

At first glance, “The Monuments Men” looks like it would be somewhat of a historical fact-based “Ocean’s Eleven.” Unfortunately, George Clooney’s new flick is proof that appearances can be deceiving as moviegoers who are duped into seeing it will soon find themselves subjected to nothing but a boring history lesson. Granted, the potential is there to make this as entertaining as it is substantial – especially given the impressive cast – but said potential is almost completely squandered, with even a glimmer of a sense of humor only rarely peeking its head up out of the trenches. (Thumbs Down!)

Run & Jump

Will Forte plays an American doctor who travels to Ireland to study a family after its patriarch (Edward MacLiam) suffers a stroke which changes his personality, leaving his wife (Maxine Peake) to run the show. (NR – 105 minutes)

One wants to like “Run & Jump.” After all, it stars “Saturday Night Live” comedian turned dramatic actor Will Forte, who was in last year’s remarkably rewarding “Nebraska.” And if acting were all that mattered, “Run & Jump” would undoubtedly make the grade as Forte and his co-stars give very emotional performances here. However, writer/director Steph Green’s new Irish import is entirely too cluttered, trying to be a million things at once without ever stopping long enough to do any of them particularly well. More than anything, this jumbled technique only poses a challenge to viewers’ attention. (Thumbs Down!)

Someone Marry Barry

Damon Wayans Jr., Hayes MacArthur and Thomas Middleditch play childhood friends who scheme to find a wife for their socially inappropriate pal (Tyler Labine). Their plan completely backfires when his new girlfriend Melanie (Lucy Punch) turns out to be just like him. (NR – 86 minutes)

“Someone Marry Barry” is an extremely entertaining romantic comedy that, in spite of a few fart jokes, even carries a nice message about how there really is somebody for everybody – even the Barrys. Granted, the entire ordeal is unbelievably juvenile and these characters’ quirky… er… annoying traits are a bit too amplified but it definitely delivers on its promise of fun and, much like the exasperatingly immature people in your life with whom you remain friends for no logical reason whatsoever, you cannot help but like these characters and want to see them succeed with one another in the equally illogical thing called love. (Thumbs Up!)

Welcome to the Jungle

Adam Brody plays one of several unsuspecting office workers who must battle nature – and each other – when they find themselves stranded on a desert island after a corporate retreat led by an unhinged former Marine (Jean-Claude Van Damme) goes horribly wrong. (NR – 95 minutes)

“Welcome to the Jungle” desperately wants to be the next great satirical comedy about life in the workplace. And in the beginning, it does a pretty good job of emulating things like “Office Space” and “Severance.” However, it does not take long before the movie – much like the characters in it – loses its footing on the real world and winds up going entirely too far over the top. The pivotal deal-breaking moment occurs when star Jean-Claude Van Damme is mauled by a wild tiger – over and over and over again – and yet survives the ordeal with hardly life-threatening injuries. (Thumbs Down!)

Joseph J. Airdo

Joseph J. Airdo is a film critic, producer and on-air personality for Breakthrough Entertainment, a talk radio show airing 10-11 a.m. Saturdays on KPHX 1480 AM and BreakRadioShow.com that shines a spotlight on the practical perspectives of the topics and themes explored in movies. He has a pet duck named Frozen who is as opinionated about movies as he is. E-mail him at joseph.airdo@gmail.com.

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