Gun Shy (2000) <With Spoilers>

Rating 15
Length 1h 41
Release 6.10.2000
Director Eric Blakeney
About A seemingly calm and collected DEA agent is a nervous wreck on the inside. As he struggles to demolish a cartel, an incident lands him in the psychiatrist’s chair and, consequently, in group therapy.


The Good

  • The thing that really makes this film work, is the relationships Liam Neeson’s Charlie makes during his undercover work. I say that loosely given that I’m not sure Charlie is ever playing anything other than himself.
    He has obvious chemistry with Sandra Bullock, but the best relationship by far is the one between Neeson and Oliver Platt. Oh my god, the final act, you will feel for both of them. You’ll understand the decisions they each make.
  • Speaking of Oliver Platt, he’s incredible in this. I’m not so sure I’ve seen him in a “bad guy” role before and it really worked. To then have the film unpick the character and discover the root of his unhappiness. If you gave me a film just about Fulvio and Charlie, I’d have been very happy.
  • I was happily surprised to discover Mitch Pileggi had a much larger role in this than I anticipated. While the start of the film may have you thinking he’s in a type-cast role, but no one in this film is who they really seem.
    I must admit though, I had my suspicions, Pileggi himself speaks of his Italian heritage in interviews, so he feels like a bit of a red herring given the involvement of the Mafia. I reveal this, not to be a spoilsport, but because I can’t let this review sit without taking about the reveal. Not the one to the audience, but the reveal to Charlie. There’s a way that Pileggi can set his face whenever he’s in the position of a bad guy (Son’s of Anarchy, Shocker and Supernatural spring to mind) and it works well here.

The Bad

  • It’s a bit wacky. Like, you really do have to roll with it and remember that it was a product of the 2000s; the same era that brought us Mulholland Drive, Get Shorty and Analyze This. If you can stick with it until it really gets going, there’s a payoff.
  • For an Irishman, Liam Neeson’s accent in this is appalling. It’s so unbelievably inconsistent that I’m certain the line about him being Irish was put in during reshoots.

The Ugly

  • The plot threads are just not quite all there. It’s almost two or three very different movies in one. There’s attempts to connect the elements but they don’t all quite marry up the way that would lift this film up a little more.
    The biggest problem for me, is how little Sandra Bullock’s character is integrated into the rest of the narrative. There’s even a clear set up that goes nowhere.

Final Thoughts

You know, it wasn’t the best film in the world. I wanted three different movies out of it. I wanted a Neeson/Platt movie, a Neeson/ Bullock movie and I wanted a movie just with the group therapy guys. Instead, I got this bag of Revels when I really just wanted the Maltesers out of it.

Stop or my Mom Will Shoot (1992)

Rating PG
Length 1h 22
Release 17.4.1992
Director Roger Spottiswoode
About When cop Joe calls-off his relationship with his girlfriend, his mom pays him a visit. She starts to interfere in everything that he does and soon gets involved in one of his important projects.


The Good

  • Estelle Getty is what makes this film as enjoyable as it is. Firstly, she’s the best Golden Girl (which I would imagine says a lot about me) and she has that dry Yankee humour. There’s no one else you could put in that role.
    Secondly, some of the characteristics of Tutti remind me so much of my own mum. For example, Tutti finding the gun and ‘cleaning’ it to actually break it. Yeah, that was my mum. Clothes, PCs, food… you name it, she’d mean well but it would always go wrong. It’s a little bittersweet, but so god damn funny.
  • The plot is rather poor, but its not the plot you’re watching this for. It’s the dynamic between Getty and Stallone. It bloody works. On some level a lot of us recognise the relationship these two people have (see above) so we not only relate, but we can laugh as it happens to someone else.

The Bad

  • I love JoBeth Williams, but the character of Lt Gwen Harper is so shit. It’s like the film gave with one hand by making her the boss, but took it away with the other by making her relationship with Joe so public and unprofessional. What’s so bad about it, is that it makes me question how she got her position in the first place.
  • Stallone does not want to be in this movie. You can feel that from his performance. Some of it can be explained away as the character’s relationship with the mother, but it’s more than that. It’s a shame, because it looks like it could have been a real laugh being on that set.

The Ugly

  • Some of the dialogue is very dated and cringe. In fact it plays like a mid 80s film, rather than one from 1992. From the stewardess purring “You looked real sexy in those diapers” to “I like wearing my underwear more than once before changing them.” Just makes me very, very grateful the 80s and 90s are far behind me.
  • The film’s score is painfully repetitive. Maybe its that I’ve been spoiled by incredible soundtracks of recent years, but this was cheap and distracting.

Final Thoughts

It’s dated, the plot is a little hit and miss, but I laughed at good few times and at 1h 23 I certainly don’t think I’ve wasted my night.

The Hangover (2009)

Rating: 18
Length: 1hr 4o
Release: 12.6.2009
Director: Todd Phillips
About: For a bachelor party, three best men and the groom take a road trip to Las Vegas. They wake up the next morning to realise that not only have they lost the groom but also have no recollection.


First Thoughts

I was working in a cinema when this was released. I’d finished my shift and was in the bowling alley with a few friends when we decided to go check the film out. There’s nothing better than seeing a comedy film on its opening night with a full house. Even a modest comedy can give an audience a false sense of how funny it is. After all, laughter is infectious.
I had, over the years, over played this beauty of a film as I must not have watched it in its entirety since I went to London in 2014. So, when I saw it gracing Netflix’s suggested bar this afternoon, I offered it up as the weekly lockdown watch.
The big question is: has it aged well?


The Good

  • I don’t think you could have a better cast. From your three leads, to all the support. While at the time, Cooper was considered playing to a type. Phil isn’t much different to his role in Wedding Crashers. However, for me, I’d only really seen him play the boy-next-door in Alias. He held his own in this and was that wonderful caring jerk.
  • Ed Helms not only has the physical comedy, but he’s able to make Stu likeable whereas someone else could have made him very weak and annoying. Zach Galifianakis plays the character of Alan in a way that I don’t think I appreciated at the time. There’s a real child-like innocence to him and he’s not actually as creepy as I thought ten years ago. He’s also incredibly stupid, which leads to a lot of the film’s humour.
  • The opening is just brilliant. In a tv show, this sort of opening is commonplace, but on the big screen its a refreshing way to open the story and gives us an idea of whats at stake. Its the perfect point to have as an anchor.
  • It is one funny movie. Even those that I know haven’t aged well work because of who is saying them. I haven’t laughed so much at a film in a long time and really has lifted my spirits in this lockdown era. Its a quotable monster of one liners and witty dialogue.
  • The homage to Rain Man is brilliant. Haven’t seen the film, but I know the reference because of how iconic it is. I love that its also tied in with Alan’s mimicry of Phil. Just perfect.

The Bad

  • There is an overuse of homosexual slurs in this movie. The very fact that one was dubbed over for the trailer is very telling. Its not isolated to one character either, which could be reflective of the character. Yes, its a film made a decade ago and things have changed. Doesn’t mean I have to be comfortable with it.
  • In terms of the character Stu, I do wish he’d not asked out Jade. Him leaving the really vile girlfriend is a big win for me and I just want it to be because he wants out and not because he’s too scared to be alone, but now has a fix. I guess on the other hand, it shows how invested I am in the character.

The Ugly

  • I don’t like the police brutality scene. Now, I am also aware i’m watching within a contextual bubble and that right now there are many riots occurring due to police brutality upon black people. As it stands, I didn’t like the performance of the male officer and I most definitely didn’t feel comfortable about how this man was teaching children how to use stun guns and then get them to use them on the leads. I laughed back then and even now, I did have a little chuckle when it comes to bringing down ‘Fat Jesus’. However, the laughter doesn’t last long.

Final Thoughts

Even with its flaws, The Hangover remains one of the best comedy movies I’ve ever seen. Today, it was the antidote I needed for the last 10 weeks of isolation. Not only for the comedy of the film itself, but for the nostalgia of a time I really miss.