It’s been downhill since “News of the World.” And I’m not talking about skiing.
I hastened to see “WW84,” also known as “Wonder Woman 1984” (no doubt a cute marketer’s phrase — for added sound bite and to lessen space in publicity ads). I enjoyed the first, with Gal Gadot in the title role, and was thinking the follow-up would be the same straightforward comic book entertainment.
Wrong. Fast-forward from WWI to the Cold War. Diana Prince (a.k.a., WW) is working at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., when she’s not out doing good deeds. A new archaeologist, Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig), loans an artifact known as the “dreamstone” to an unscrupulous businessman claiming to be a museum patron.
This ancient bit of flotsam causes all kinds of problems. It brings back, if only for a bit, Diana’s love, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), who died in the first film. It gives Barbara, who is a bit of a milksop, super powers and she becomes a very strong Cheetah woman. And it gives endless powers to the malevolent infomercial king, Max Lord — whose name, unfortunately, mimics his over-acting.
Patty Jenkins, who co-authored the screenplay, directed this one as well as the first. Gadot needs to cast a wider net for a sequel.
And speaking of casting a wide net…
I was looking this past week for a comedy. It is, after all, the dark days of winter. The holidays are over, it’s cold and wet, and no matter the promise of a vaccine, we’re stuck in the middle of a pandemic that shows no signs of abating (unless you live in New Zealand).
So, I did one of those dangerously quick spot checks through Netflix. Yeah, a speed search, the kind that gets loud complaints from the other person in the room, the shouts of “Slow down! I can’t read titles that quickly.” Well, yes, that’s the idea, since if we’re going slow, we have to see a trailer, have a discussion on the merits, and then dither.
So in my haste, I hit “play” on a 2018 comedy (and I use the word loosely) called “Like Father,” with Kristen Bell and Kelsey Grammer, neither of whom I enjoy. But it did list Seth Rogen in the cast. And I love Seth Rogen.
It turns out, the production was only borrowing Rogen’s comedic promise for whatever it might loan to what can only be described as a real “beat down” of a film.
In it, Bell plays a workaholic who has promised her intended that she will leave her phone home on their wedding day. When it falls out of her bridal bouquet, he leaves her standing at the altar. Also in attendance is the father (Grammar) she hasn’t seen for all of her adult life, a guy who googled her and decided to show up for her wedding. So they get plastered and end up sharing the bridal suite on her honeymoon cruise. Rogen has a brief role as the guy she has a one-night stand with while on the cruise. Yeah. Not funny.
But if you want to see a good comedy with Rogen and Charlize Theron, watch 2019’s “Long Shot.”