In Theaters This Weekend: Reviews of 'Think Like a Man Too,' 'Jersey Boys' and More
What THR's critics are saying about the Kevin Hart comedy and the Broadway adaptation, plus the Liam Neeson-Mila Kunis drama "Third Person" and Roman Polanski's "Venus in Fur."
Kevin Hart is taking on Frankie Valli. This weekend sees the release of comedy sequel Think Like a Man Too and Broadway adaptation Jersey Boys, along with an indie drama packed with Hollywood A-listers, a French culinary comedy and Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski's latest.
This sequel brings back all the main components of the 2012 comedy Think Like a Man, which was inspired by Steve Harvey's book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. The sequel is again directed by Tim Story and returns castmembers Hart, Michael Ealy and Regina Hall. THR film critic Frank Scheck writes in his review that Too "is a frantic, overstuffed follow-up that … possesses none of the charm of its predecessor.… Hart is clearly the dominant presence with his motormouthed line delivery and manic physicality, but while he scores plenty of laughs, he’s also forced to perform such embarrassing scenes as a Risky Business parody in which he frenziedly dances around his hotel suite in his underwear."
The 2006 Tony Award winner for best musical gets the big-screen treatment in a film directed by Clint Eastwood. John Lloyd Young — who took home best actor at the Tonys for the Broadway version — reprises his role as Four Seasons singer Frankie Valli. He's joined in the film by Christopher Walken and Vincent Piazza (Boardwalk Empire). "A dash of showbiz pizzazz has been lost but some welcome emotional depth has been gained in the big-screen version of the still-thriving theatrical smash Jersey Boys," writes THR film critic Todd McCarthy in his review.
For his connected-storyline romantic drama, writer-director Paul Haggis (Crash) gathers a slew of talented thesps, including Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, Adrien Brody, Olivia Wilde and James Franco. The film features three distinct love stories, each taking place in a different major city. In THR film critic Deborah Young's review, she notes that "the drama and intensity that are [Haggis'] signatures are mostly missing from these vividly dramatized but uninvolving romantic crises, none of which are particularly believable."
Venus in Fur
Polanski directs the French-language film adaptation of David Ives' 2011 Tony-winning Broadway play, which itself was based on the 1870 Leopold von Sacher-Masoch novel Venus in Furs. Polanski's wife, Emmanuelle Seigner, co-stars in the film opposite Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) as an actress trying to convince a director to cast her in his new project. According to THR film critic David Rooney, the film is a "teasing dialectic of subjugation and power, female objectification and emasculating rebuke … there’s a masterfully light touch at work, both from the director and his two wonderful actors." Read his full interview here.
In this comedic French film — not to be confused with Jon Favreau's similarly titled Chef — Jean Reno stars as an old-school chef, Alexandre, who goes toe-to-toe with his restaurant's new CEO. "With its cliched characters and situations, formulaic subplots (Alexandre neglects his grad student daughter to concentrate on his career) and overly cutesy comic tone, Le Chef is a cinematic dish best sent back to the kitchen," Scheck writes in his THR review.
Norte, The End of History
Directed by Lav Diaz, the four-hour Filipino drama stars Sid Lucero in the story of a law student who commits a gruesome double murder. "There's little in the way of genuine depth, complexity or nuance here, Diaz instead seeking to convey the illusion of profundity by having various characters throw around weighty social and philosophical verbiage in thuddingly sophomoric fashion," THR film critic Neil Young writes in his review.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Niharika Singh and Menaka Lalwani star in the Indian drama focusing on a pair of sleazy producers in Bombay's C-grade film industry in the ’80s. Director Ashim Ahluwalia "chooses to tell a potentially lurid story in such a listless and elliptical manner.… The performances are competent, but ill-served by sketchy and cryptic characterization." Read THR film critic Stephen Dalton's full review here.