"Ghostbusters: Afterlife" stars Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, and Annie Potts. Released on November 19, 2021, the film has two kids discovering their connection to the original Ghostbusters.
The film is directed by Jason Reitman, who also directed films such as "Juno", "Young Adult", "Tully", and "The Front Runner". It is the fourth installment in the "Ghostbusters" franchise and a direct sequel to the original "Ghostbusters" film and "Ghostbusters II". If there's something strange in your neighborhood, there's only one team for you to call. One spirit-catching group of people that's ready to believe you. That group, of course, is the Ghostbusters. After five ghost-free years, the iconic supernatural comedy franchise is suiting up once again for their big-screen comeback. Instead of following the reboot blueprint again, the series is taking a direction that should have been done 30 years ago: making an actual "Ghostbusters III". It's not to say that I have issues with the 2016 reboot. If you read my review for that film, you'll know that I had a good time watching it, and I honestly believed that the franchise's so-called "fans" unfairly judged it. Seriously, what the heck was wrong with these people? All I'm saying is that a sequel seemed like the way to go for a franchise like this. I was very eager to watch this film for multiple reasons. I loved the first two Ghostbusters films, mainly the first film, and the involvement of Jason Reitman, the son of the original film's director Ivan Reitman. Like father, like son, as we always say. However, I was also concerned with its approach, primarily the film's tone, because I was used to the light-hearted, comedic vibe that the previous movies offered. Regardless, I was more than willing to give it a shot. I mean, it can't be any worse than the backlash from the 2016 reboot, right?
The story is set thirty years after "Ghostbusters II", where the original team has retired from the business, and their whereabouts are currently unknown. It centers on Callie Spengler (Coon), a single mother who's forced to move to an old farmhouse in Oklahoma after being evicted. The farmhouse was left to Callie and her two children, Phoebe (Grace) and Trevor (Wolfhard), by her late father, Egon Spengler, the former member of the Ghostbusters team. The children later discover a series of strange occurrences throughout the town of Summerville, including earthquakes and the history of the original Ghostbusters. When a phenomenon relating to the 1984 incident rises again to threaten the world, the kids, along with their teacher Chad Grooberson (Rudd) and their new friends, must take the Ghostbusters mantle to save the world and bust some ghosts. In addition to being a "passing the torch" sequel, "Afterlife" is another film that harkens back to the kid-centered adventure movies from the 1980s like "The Goonies". It also shied away from the ghost-busting business scenario for a fish-out-of-water plot about self-discovery and family, just to make itself refreshing and similar. While it works in providing a fresh coat of paint for the classic franchise, it can also run the risk of alienating specific people who enjoyed its predecessors for the light-hearted tone and energetic charm. You can quickly tell that Jason Reitman had a lot of expectations to live up to regarding his direction. Not only did he have to deliver a thoughtful tribute to the late Harold Ramis, but he also had to deliver a fun, spooky, and charismatic ride that'll make his father, long-time fans, and newcomers proud. While Reitman mostly succeeds in honoring Ramis and the Ghostbusters legacy, the latter is another story. After getting off to an impressive start thanks to its cast and horror mystery vibes, "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" slowly descents into the void of averageness that relied more on nostalgia than storytelling. It's not that the film was terrible. I'm saying that it felt like it missed plenty of stuff that made "Ghostbusters" a comedy classic, such as the humor. There were a few attempts at delivering some comedic moments, especially from Paul Rudd's Gary Grooberson. Unfortunately, the comedy wound up being as dry and cringe-worthy as Phoebe's jokes. I only chuckled a few times throughout the film, which meant it didn't quite get the balance just right. For the most part, the cast made a reasonable effort in delivering some solid performances. Mckenna Grace and Finn Wolfhard were both good as Phoebe and Trever, respectively, and Paul Rudd was a good fit as Gary despite a few rough patches in his comedy. As for the characters themselves, mainly the potential new Ghostbusters Phoebe, Trevor, Podcast (Logan Kim), and Lucky Domingo (Celeste O'Connor), I thought they were okay. While charming and intriguing in their own right, the kid actors did seem to have trouble finding the right energetic spark in their chemistry like the original Ghostbusters team. I'm sure that if they move forward with a follow-up, it'll give them a chance to improve. Until then, they all get "good try" badges from me. Jason Reitman is usually known for helming low-budget dramas throughout his career, so it should come as no surprise that a mid-budget franchise sequel would give him a lot more stuff to work with than he intended. As mentioned before, Reitman had plenty of expectations to meet regarding the film, and in my eyes, he was able to meet some of them. He provided a refreshing and grounded tone that reminisced the 1980s kid-centered sci-fi films and the original 1984 film with its production design and Rob Simonsen's musical score. Although, it wasn't enough to freshen things up entirely regarding its script and third act. The screenplay offered a few heartfelt moments that should make fans very happy, including its tribute to Ramis. However, it became clear how much the film wanted to cater to the fans when it reached the third act. Regarding its antagonist and nostalgia, the third act is a blatant retread of the original film's finale, except in a different environment. It also has some surprise appearances from the original cast that I felt could've been expanded more. Without giving too much away, I was happy to see the original Ghostbusters team sharing the screen again after 30 years, but at the same time, I was also a bit disappointed with how it was handled story-wise. It would also be nice if they came up with a new villain to maintain its freshness, but that's just me reviewing it as a critic instead of a fanboy.
Overall, "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" means well in its tone and legacy. However, its mediocre execution and deliverance on fan service make this ghost-busting experience far from good. The film's cast and Reitman's direction were acceptable enough to inject some enjoyability into the long-awaited sequel. Sadly, its lack of memorable humor, weak charisma, and average script prevented it from being truly special. It's one of the films that feature some pleasant moments, but not a lot to make me want to revisit them constantly. If you love the "Ghostbusters" films, then you should have no problem calling the paranormal catchers again.
"Home Sweet Home Alone" stars Archie Yates, Ellie Kemper, Rob Delaney, Aisling Bea, Kenan Thompson, Pete Holmes, Ally Maki, and Chris Parnell. Released on Disney+ on November 12, 2021, the film has a young boy defending his home from a couple of criminals.
The film was directed by Dan Mazer, who also directed "I Give It a Year", "Dirty Grandpa", and "The Exchange". It is the sixth installment in the Home Alone franchise. It looks like Hollywood still hasn't learned a dang thing regarding the franchise scenario. John Hughes' "Home Alone" has been widely considered as one of the best holiday classics of all time. From Macaulay Culkin's charismatic performance to its slapstick comedy, the film has brought joy and mayhem to many generations of people since 1990. Its success birthed a franchise that spawned two theatrical sequels, two made-for-TV movies, and video games. Unfortunately, none of its successors failed to copy the same charm as the original. After buying 20th Century Fox and its franchise, Disney announced a new "Home Alone" film for Disney+ with a new cast of characters, much to the dismay of its fans. While I was less enthusiastic about this one considering my love for the franchise, I was willing to check it out because of Archie Yates, who made his impressive debut in Taika Waititi's "Jojo Rabbit" two years ago. Plus, it was released as part of the second anniversary of Disney+'s launch, so I had to honor that occasion by reviewing one of its recent releases, for better or worse. So, was the film able to provide some early holiday cheer for its viewers, or was it another unnecessary revival that's as painful as its traps? Let's find out.
If you grew up with the "Home Alone" franchise, you'd already know what the story in "Home Sweet Home Alone" is about. If not, then allow me to clarify. The film centers on Max Mercer (Yates), a ten-year-old boy who lives with his family in the suburbs. One day, he is accidentally left behind at home for the holidays when his family leaves for a vacation to Tokyo. Max is happy to see that he can do whatever he wants without any consequences. Sadly, his "alone time" didn't last long as his home was being invaded by a husband-wife duo, Pam (Kemper) and Jeff McKenzie (Delaney). These burglars are seeking to steal a priceless heirloom that lies inside Max's house. Max will have to be the man of the house and protect his home by setting up traps for the unexpected guests. If there's one thing the film is good for, it's that it somehow stays true to the original's premise regarding its elements. You got a kid who's sick of his family and is accidentally left home alone, and a bunch of criminals being tortured by the kid's booby traps. But as we all know at this point, "Home Alone" is more than just those things. It's a charming, funny, and thoughtful story about the importance of family during the holidays. Even though they can be annoying sometimes, it's always better to live with them than without them. The film's sequels attempted to recapture lightning in the bottle but wound up being more torturous than the traps shown, with each one being more unbearable than the last. So it should come as no surprise that "Home Sweet Home Alone" fits snuggly into that category. Despite its effort to recapture the original's formula and a couple of interesting ideas, the latest installment in the "Home Alone" franchise is a dull, painful, and charmless gift that contains a bunch of coal instead of Christmas cheer. The culprits for this crime were the film's director, Dan Mazer, and screenwriters Mikey Day and Streeter Seidell. They thought they knew what made "Home Alone" a classic based on the traps, John Williams' memorable score, and its themes. Unfortunately, they do not. Mazer's direction failed to provide any strong charisma and energy into the characters and scenarios, and the screenplay favored more on the slapstick that barely had a soul or even an unforgettable chuckle. Maybe hiring someone who helmed a movie about a foul-mouthed grandpa to direct a family film wasn't the best idea Disney had made. However, I would honestly give it credit for injecting some sympathy into Jeff and Pam, the film's "antagonists". Jeff and Pam are parents who are in debt and are on the verge of selling their house. They seek to save themselves and their children by retrieving a rare and priceless doll they thought Max stole. In my opinion, it was an acceptable approach to make its viewers care about these characters as much as Max. Sadly, the problem was that the direction and the characters were not that great. There was some potential to be had with this idea, but the fact that Max's family problem felt unrewarding and the couple's situation was roughly formulaic made things even more troubling than being left alone. I thought Archie Yates did okay in his role as Max, even though his character wasn't as lovable or charming as Macaulay Culkin's Kevin. Rob Delaney and Ellie Kemper struggled to hit the same chemistry marks as Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern from the original regarding their roles as Jeff and Pam. Also, Kenan Thompson is in the film as a real estate agent for people who enjoyed him in his other movies. The film also saw the return of Devin Ratray, who reprised his role as Kevin's brother Buzz from the first two "Home Alone" installments, with the character working as a police officer. While it would be cool to see Culkin's Kevin appear in the movie as well, it was a nice treat seeing Kevin's ungrateful brother being his usual self while in uniform. Too bad he wasn't enough to keep the film company while its charm was away to who knows where. I also want to point out that Max's family was pretty darn annoying. There's always a fine line between charm and nuisance when it comes to characters like them, and Max's family just happened to snap that line in two. It's a good thing they don't share the same screen time as the main characters.
Overall, "Home Sweet Home Alone" is an unpleasant and humorless sequel that'll leave many viewers feeling homesick during the holidays. It had a couple of fresh ideas that could've worked well in its favor. Unfortunately, those ideas were tortured by its cast, Mazer's direction, mediocre characters, and flat humor. Not only was it the worst movie to come out on Disney+ since "Artemis Fowl", but it's also a vastly unworthy follow-up that could leave a massive dent on John Hughes' beloved franchise. If you're in a mood for something that spreads laughs and holiday cheer, you're better off watching the original "Home Alone" film, which is also available on Disney+. If you're still interested in seeing it despite my review, you're still free to do so. Who knows? Maybe you might like it more than I did?
“The French Dispatch” stars Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Bill Murray, and Owen Wilson. Released on October 22, 2021, the film centers on a collection of stories from an American newspaper.
The film was written and directed by Wes Anderson, who also directed films such as "The Royal Tenenbaums", "The Darjeeling Limited", "Moonrise Kingdom", and "Isle of Dogs". Newspapers are a great way to get caught up with the latest news and stories written by determined journalists. Nowadays, we rely on our screens to get information on the events happening throughout the world. But back then, newspapers were where it's at when it comes to…well, the news. This film harkens back to those days. This latest film from acclaimed director Wes Anderson has been on my mind for quite some time since it was announced. It's got an enormous list of recognizable actors, an artistic filmmaker, and an approach of putting three mini-stories in one package. These reasons alone were good enough for me to check it out, especially since Anderson impressed me with his previous works. Seriously, that guy's a genius when it comes to his creative style and production design. With that said, let's see if this final issue is worth reading.
The film follows the workers of a fictional Kansas newspaper known as The French Dispatch. When its editor, Arthur Howitzer Jr. (Murray), suddenly dies of a heart attack, the employees set out to publish one final issue before closure as the last request from Howitzer. Three different articles are republished from past editions: The Concrete Masterpiece, Revisions to a Manifesto, and The Private Dining Room of the Police Commissioner. If you can't already tell from the plot, it's an anthology film representing several mini-stories centered on many different bizarre characters. Reviewing each of the three "articles" would probably take me all day, so I'm just going to talk about the overall film as best as possible. This is a quirky and straightforward collection that celebrates the world of newspaper journalism through the artistic eyes of Wes Anderson. While it didn't hit the same targets as his previous films, like "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox", I still admired the distinctive craftsmanship that Anderson brought on screen. His direction provided a unique balance of oddball comedy and drama packed with energy, visuals, Alexandre Desplat's fantastic score, and the enthusiastic cast. The actors onscreen did a tremendous job with their performances, which is expected since most of them worked with Anderson before. Benicio del Toro, Timothée Chalamet, and Jeffrey Wright were the best of the bunch as Moses Rosenthaler, Zeffirelli, and Roebuck Wright, respectively, especially Wright. I'm telling you, Jeffrey Wright has a remarkable talent for providing compelling narration. Please get him more gigs like this in the future. The cinematography by Robert D. Yeoman perfectly captures the essence of a 1940s-like movie in France. The majority of the mini-stories were shown in black-and-white, with a few occasional colored shots to showcase some necessary sequences. There were also a couple of moments where they switched from full screen to widescreen and vice versa. Thankfully, they're used as a tool to represent the film's artistry in the designs. Speaking of which, I'm willing to bet that the film should get some recognition for the production values. Not only did it accurately showcase France in the 1940s, but it also offered an impressive mixture of practical props and visual effects. The way they moved specific backgrounds onscreen was highly similar to how it's performed on a stage. It gave me a feeling of watching a play on Broadway with actual people playing their parts in front of backgrounds resembling a building's interiors. If there's one thing I learned from Anderson, it's that he knows how to combine filmmaking with the art of theatre. As for the film's story, I surprisingly found it to be divisive. The film is just the newspaper team making one final publication and nothing else. The articles themselves were fascinating to witness despite some pacing issues. However, I did feel that people who went into this film blind may be confused about the goal Anderson's attempting to accomplish. In my eyes, I thought Anderson did a pretty decent job resembling his film as a love letter to journalism, even though the story couldn't match his superb artistic style.
Overall, "The French Dispatch" is another visual treat that's worth a read for Wes Anderson enthusiasts. While its flaws were reasonably easy to spot on paper, such as its plot and pacing, the film shines in its artistic serenity and quirky enthusiasm. "Fantastic Mr. Fox", "The Grand Budapest Hotel", and "Isle of Dogs" are still my favorite films from Anderson. However, I will still call this a worthy piece of cinematic art from the imaginative director. If it's playing at a theater near you and you loved some of Anderson's other works, it's worth checking out.
"Clifford the Big Red Dog" stars Darby Camp, Jack Whitehall, Izaac Wang, Tony Hale, Sienna Guillory, Kenan Thompson, David Alan Grier, Russell Wong, and John Cleese. Released on November 10, 2021, the film is about a young girl who befriends a red puppy with an unusual growth spurt.
The film was directed by Walt Becker, who also directed films such as "Van Wilder", "Wild Hogs", and "Old Dogs". It is based on the children's book series of the same name by Norman Bridwell. Every child needs a four-legged companion in their life. However, when their only choice for a dog is as big as a house, it may be time to consider getting them a goldfish instead. This week brings us another family film whose heart matches the size of its red, furry canine. There's no doubt that I adored Clifford during my childhood. I remember reading the books during elementary school and watching the show on PBS Kids, along with its animated film adaptation, "Clifford's Really Big Movie", which served as its finale. There's also a recent Clifford show on Amazon Prime and PBS Kids, but I didn't bother with that one, unfortunately. This latest film from director Walt Becker sees the return of the adorable red dog and his owner with two first names in the form of a live-action/animated hybrid. It was supposed to be released in September as a theaters-only exclusive. However, Hollywood decided to release it in cinemas and on Paramount+ this month instead. Take a good guess as to why that happened. I chose to use Paramount+ to watch the film because I didn't feel like being surrounded by little kids in the theater today. With that said, let's see if this film is as huge and cute as the titular character himself.
The film centers on a 12-year-old girl named Emily Elizabeth Howard (Camp). She's living with her homeless uncle Casey (Whitehall) in New York while her mother (Guillory) is on a business trip in Chicago. She's also constantly bullied by her peers at a fancy private school because you can't have a family film without a few stuck-up brats picking on kids who are different. One day, Emily encounters an animal rescue tent run by Mr. Bridwell (Cleese), a kind man who introduces her to a tiny red puppy. After adopting the adorable puppy and naming it Clifford, Emily later discovers that it suddenly became gigantic. Clifford's antics in New York caught the attention of a genetics company known as Lifegro, owned by Zack Tiernan (Hale), who wants Clifford for the company's experiments. With Clifford's life at stake, Emily, Casey, and their young friend Owen Yu (Wang) attempt to protect the massive dog from Tiernan. Clifford has been known for causing innocent mishaps in his books and shows, and the film is unsurprisingly no exception. Instead of taking place on Birdwell Island like its source material, the film places the scenario in New York City. After all, nothing is more chaotic than the Big Apple. Most live-action/CGI hybrids based on popular franchises tend to entertain the young viewers but struggle to make specific adult viewers not want to bang their heads on the wall in sheer frustration. Mainly the films based on "Garfield" and "Alvin and the Chipmunks". "Clifford the Big Red Dog" has the ingredients to make it another example of that category, including the CGI animals and the kid-friendly humor. However, those ingredients managed to provide more tolerability rather than annoyance. It's far from a perfect family film regarding its story, but it delivers a cute and whimsical distraction for the young viewers. The film had a simple goal in mind: to create a harmless and modern take on the character for a new generation of fans while maintaining the qualities that made him unique in the first place. It's a challenge that could make or break the movie depending on people's expectations, similar to what "Alvin and the Chipmunks" went through with less-than-stellar results. As someone who grew up with the gigantic red canine, I thought Walt Becker and the crew managed to accomplish that goal. Now, as all of you are aware, Becker is a flawed filmmaker whose previous films hadn't been impressing his critics that much, with his worst-reviewed movie being 2009's "Old Dogs" with John Travolta and Robin Williams. That's why I'm surprised to see that "Clifford" may be his most tolerable film yet. Not by a lot, but it's something. The film got a bit too carried away with its sentimentality to the point where it's nothing but pure cheese. Luckily, it was saved by Walt Becker's ability to provide a nifty balance between silliness and heart. The film's cast also did all right in their roles, including the young Darby Camp as Emily Elizabeth. If her acting doesn't sell you, then I'm pretty sure her adorableness will. Jack Whitehall's attempt at delivering comedy as Casey was hit-and-miss in a couple of scenes, but his portrayal of the irresponsible uncle seeking redemption had a few bright spots that prevent him from being just a comedic punching bag for Clifford. John Cleese and Izaac Wang were also decent in their roles as Mr. Bridwell and Owen, respectively. Even though these actors phoned themselves in at times, they did what they could to deliver some enjoyability for their characters. Unfortunately, the one performance that I was disappointed with the most was Tony Hale. His role as Tieran was so generic and tame that it comes across as soul-crushing and even unbearable. I'm not sure if the direction was to blame, but I know that Hale wasn't that good in this film. Fun fact: Tony Hale previously worked with Walt Becker on "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip" in 2015. At least in that film, Hale was more interactive and funny. Yeah, I said it, and I'm not ashamed of it. Okay, maybe a little. As for the story itself, it's jam-packed with elements we've seen in other person/dog relationship movies before and plenty of dialogue that's so corny it made me hungry for some corn. If you're hoping for a fresh and bold take on this storyline, you won't be able to find it in "Clifford the Big Red Dog". But, if you happen to stick around and look past its cheesiness and CGI antics, there is a good chance that it'll put a big smile on your face. Thanks to Becker's execution and the film's beautiful messages, the plot injected some charm and adorableness into its sentimental mediocrity. Not only is it a pleasant and harmless celebration of people's differences, but it's also a proper learning tool to teach kids to love big and stand up for themselves, even if the story wasn't as hugely thoughtful as its themes. I think these kids will walk out of this film feeling more appreciated by their differences, just like Emily and Clifford.
Overall, "Clifford the Big Red Dog" is an inoffensive and silly treat for families, although it may be a bit too huge for its sentimentality to handle. The film safely lands on the green part of the tolerability scale due to its cast, charm, and Becker's direction. However, its formulaic plot, corny dialogue, and Hale's performance may make specific people think twice before adopting this lovable red puppy. It's not the best family film I've seen this year, but it does serve as an acceptable diversion for the kids until "Encanto" comes out later this month. If you also enjoyed Clifford growing up, then you might like the film as well, more so than I did. Just don't expect anything more out of this flawed piece of adorable fluff.
"Red Notice" stars Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot, Ritu Arya, and Chris Diamantopoulos. Released on November 5, 2021, the film has an Interpol agent encountering an art thief and a con artist.
The film was written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, who also directed films such as "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story", "Central Intelligence", and "Skyscraper". If you want to catch the biggest criminals in the world, you're going to need the toughest FBI agent in the world. This weekend brings us another blockbuster with big names and big action, and it's from Netflix. That's right. We are treated with yet another film that Netflix is releasing in theaters a week before its streaming debut. I still find it to be a remarkable strategy from Netflix, especially for people who don't have the money to get the service. This big-budget action comedy marks the latest collaboration between Dwayne Johnson and Rawson Marshall Thurber, who has surprisingly been doing well with the action elements so far as opposed to handling comedy. I thought "Central Intelligence" was humorously entertaining, and Thurber's attempt at making a full-on action thriller in "Skyscraper" was tolerable despite being a "Towering Inferno" rip-off. So I was pretty ecstatic to see if the director could copy that same success with three of the most popular actors sharing the same screen. With that said, let's see if this red notice is worth activating.
The film centers on John Hartley (Johnson), a top profiler for Interpol. He is tasked to track down an art thief named Nolan Booth (Reynolds), who seeks to steal Cleopatra's priceless eggs, which were hidden across the globe. When John is framed by a con artist named Sarah Black (Gadot) for a crime he didn't commit, he's forced to cooperate with Nolan to retrieve the eggs, bring Black to justice, and clear his name. Netflix had a lot of faith in this film, mainly because of its cast and the marketing campaign. You got Johnson riding high in his acting career, Reynolds continuing his successful comeback that started with "Deadpool", and Gadot making a big name for herself thanks to her portrayal as Wonder Woman. Having these three talented people on board would definitely earn this film huge viewing numbers for the streaming service. But, of course, as we all know, having famous actors on the same screen doesn't always make the project good. "Red Notice" is an unfortunate example of that situation. However, I wouldn't call this one a complete train wreck for Netflix as it offered a couple of okay moments in its action and cast. There's even that one twist that managed to surprise me more than the other ones. You'll know what I mean when you watch it for yourself. Aside from that, the film is an unsatisfying treasure hunt that stands in the shadows of better "mismatched action comedies". The actors were watchable in their roles. Dwayne Johnson was his usual badass self regarding his role as John Hartley, and Reynolds was suitably tolerable as Nolan. Unfortunately, when compared to his previous films like "Deadpool" and "Free Guy", this might've been his weakest performance in his recent run so far in terms of comedy. Reynolds did the best he could. I could give him that. With Johnson and Reynolds sharing the screen, you would think that their chemistry would help get the film off the most-wanted list. Sadly, that's not the case. Despite a couple of tiny, chuckle-worthy moments, the chemistry between the two leads just went through the motions of other "mismatched partners" scenarios from the past without a single charismatic spark whatsoever. Again, they tried their best, but in the end, it made me wish that Johnson and Kevin Hart would make another film together. The real highlight of the cast, in my opinion, was the marvelous Gal Gadot as Sarah Black. There's something about her that made me go, "Wow, she's so devious, but also so captivating." Like how Black handles the film's heroes, Gadot easily shines above the rest with a performance that's more fun than watching two main leads make fools out of one another. Ritu Arya struggled to keep up with the leads due to her mediocre portrayal of Inspector Urvashi Das, Hartley's partner. Das didn't do that much else other than doing her job, resulting in her being an uninteresting supporting character. Besides the shocking twist near the end, Thurber's screenplay was pretty formulaic right from the get-go. From its soulless wit to the mediocre dialogue and bland visuals, the story relied heavily on showing the actors' good looks and costumes rather than making its genre cliches more endearing and fun. On the bright side, the action sequences were nicely handled by Thurber, although that's not saying much.
Overall, "Red Notice" is placed on the FBI's most-wanted list, and not in a good way. While the effort was there in some places, its faulty execution makes this a disappointing entry in the Johnson/Thurber saga. Gadot's performance and its enjoyable action scenes are the only reasons the film deserves your attention. Everything else, including its mediocre plot and forgettable humor, is the only crime that should not go unpunished. I wasn't too upset with how the film turned out, but I was surprised to see that it didn't live up to its promising potential regarding its star power and action-packed premise. It just goes to show that there's more to a fun action movie than just having big stars on the same screen.