‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ is Awfully Silly, And That’s Okay

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CREDIT: Paramount Pictures and Sega of America

Starring: Ben Schwartz, James Marsden, Jim Carrey, Tika Sumpter, Adam Pally, Lee Majdoub, Natasha Rothwell, Frank C. Turner, Neal McDonough

Director: Jeff Fowler

Running Time: 99 Minutes

Rating: PG for Hedgehog Mischief and Mad Scientist Arrogance

Release Date: February 14, 2020

Sonic the blue video game character and Sonic the drive-in fast food chain are very different, insofar as running around loop-de-loops really fast is advisable with only one of them. But they are also similar, insofar as they are both fine and enduring examples of lowbrow culture. So the release of the Sonic the Hedgehog movie raises the question: is this a good flick to watch while chowing down on some burgers and tots? I would have to definitively say yes, and thus I am awarding the Jeff Fowler-directed Sonic the Hedgehog the first (and perhaps also last) ever Sonic Feast Stamp of Approval.

Remember that hullabaloo about Sonic’s CGI teeth needing to be reanimated to something less uncanny valley-ish after the first trailer was released? It turns out that job was taken care of thoroughly and that snafu will henceforth only be a footnote in cinematic history! Thus, we are all able to fully focus on our spiny friend’s hairy adventures. Not that we need to focus too much to understand what’s going on, as the plot follows a standard formula for kid-friendly video game creature adaptations. Sonic, voiced mostly amusingly by comedian Ben Schwartz, gets magically transported to the world of humans where he strikes up an unlikely friendship with Tom (James Marsden), a small-town guy with big-town ambitions, and runs afoul of his nemesis, Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey), whose physical presence is more Earthbound than his typical video game iteration though his personality is full-on cartoonish.

Anyway, Sonic loses his bag of gold coins that he uses to transport between worlds, so he wrangles Tom in for a road trip to go find them, even though with his supersonic capabilities, he could probably do it himself in a matter of minutes. It doesn’t matter. It’s all just an excuse for Sonic to get up to shenanigans like causing a ruckus in a biker bar as Schwartz vamps, Carrey mustache-twirls, and the Olive Garden jams its way in there with some stealthy product placement. Also, Natasha Rothwell is on standby as Tom’s sister-in-law for some inexplicable running gag in which she keeps telling his wife to divorce him. It’s bright and colorful and silly, and frankly, I’m glad we live in a world in which doofy video game adaptations can still get made.

Sonic the Hedgehog is Recommended If You Like: The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, Batman Forever, The Smurfs

Grade: 2.75 out of 5 Loop-De-Loops

This Is a Movie Review: The Bad Batch

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What if Mad Max were a ditz? Suki Waterhouse gets some of her limbs amputated by cannibals in a post-apocalyptic Texas desert. But after a frantic escape, she and her winky face-branded short shorts live to see another day. She samples the rave paradise of “The Dream” (shamanistic-weirdo-in-highly-stylized-flicks specialist Keanu Reeves), but obviously what he is promising is too good to be true. Besides, ultimately she just cares about hanging out (she actually says at one point, “Do you want to hang out or something?”), preferably with Miami Man (Jason Momoa) and his young daughter. The dialogue is often laughable. Is that intentional? I don’t care. It’s delectable no matter the intent.

I give The Bad Batch 4 Unrecognizable Jim Carrey’s out of 5 Always Welcome Keanu Reeves’s.

SNL Recap October 25, 2014: Jim Carrey/Iggy Azalea

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SNL: Jim Carrey, Iggy Azalea (CREDIT: YouTube Screenshot)

This review was originally posted on Starpulse in October 2014.

When Jim Carrey first hosted “SNL” in 1996, it was one of the times when the host temporarily revamped the show according to his own performance style.  That can be a good thing or a bad thing; in Jim’s case, it was very good.  For his third hosting stint, he was not quite as unstoppable, but he was still quite the blast of energy.  As he pointed out in his monologue, Halloween is the one day each year that he is able to blend in with everyone else, and with a plethora of mostly successful All Hallow’s Eve-themed sketches, he proved to be the most apt host for the occasion.  There were a few clunkers that were too intense for their own good, but there were also several incredibly thrilling moments.  Even though it was wildly uneven, this was probably the best episode of the season thus far.  Meanwhile, Leslie Jones, after making memorable appearances in the first three weeks of the season, was promoted from writer to featured player. Let’s take a closer look at each segment of the show:

Ebola Press Conference – Kenan Thompson’s Al Sharpton impression is too silly to work for viewer, but there can be no doubt that his entrance instantly livened up this rather staid cold opening.  Even though Ebola has rendered Ron Klain a timely public figure, most “SNL” viewers probably have no idea who he is.  Thus, vote-baiting jokes in which Latinos have immunity to Ebola, though kind of clever, could be nothing more than cookie-cutter.  So Sharpton sauntering on to call Klain the “Ebola Caesar” and talk about “pigeons, rats, and sewer monsters” was undoubtedly a welcome blast of energy. C+

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