FILM REVIEWS: Act of Valour and Wanderlust

Flop Gun in Act of Valour and Crazies on the Commune in Wanderlust

Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd star in Wanderlust.

Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd star in Wanderlust.

 

Act of Valour

 

Where Top Gun was a super-slick recruitment vehicle for the Air Force, Act of Valor is a notably less successful ad for the Navy SEAL program. It is also a unique hybrid of a movie, one that combines aspects of reality TV with a slam-bang plot that might get a B+ in a first-year screenwriting course at a community college. Valor features a posse of genuine SEALS, which presumably gives lots of authenticity to the jargon-slinging and testosteronized buddy banter. It also saddles the movie with guys who can’t act but are fearless about standing in front of the camera and making heroic speeches that seem scripted by the military wing of Hallmark Greeting Cards.

The plot starts with the rescue of an undercover CIA agent from some particularly nasty narco-terrorists hiding out in the jungles of Costa Rica. They get the poor gal out while leaving heaps of just-deceased bad guys in their wake, only to discover that there is a Truly Terrifying Threat To The American Way Of Life in the offing. An unconvincing alliance between high-end smugglers and a jihadist suicide cult must be stopped, and there are several globe-spanning action scenes that culminate with a protracted firefight in Mexico, gateway to juicy civilian target-cities all throughout the United States. Sure, a few good men die along the way, but American consumer culture is free to shop another day at the sad but heroic conclusion of this wooden shoot-em-up.

The action scenes in Valor are well staged, in a rudimentary way, and the plot has crude momentum. But one of the unexpected consequences of using real soldiers who never took drama class in school is that the villains – who can act – are much more charismatic than the good guys trying to take them down. M

Act of Valor ★★

Directed by Mike McCoy, Scott Waugh

Starring Alexander Asefa, Timothy Gibbs

R – 111 minutes

Continues at the Capitol & SilverCity

 

 

Wanderlust

 

Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston have shown good comedic timing in the past (The Object of My Affection) and their easy-going chemistry is the saving grace of Wanderlust, a lazy but fitfully entertaining fish-out-of-water comedy about a Manhattan couple that ends up at a rural commune.

George and Linda are high-stress over-achievers who suddenly find themselves out of work and homeless. Thanks to the sorts of odd circumstances that happen in Hollywood movies they end up at Elysium, a ‘60s-style hippie hangout where free love and a groovy vibe reign beneath a thick cloud of marijuana smoke. An overnight layover turns into a two-week trial run as George and Linda find themselves drawn into a happy world of spontaneity and pleasure. But this cosmic paradise has a dark side, ranging from passive-aggressive vegans and a complete lack of privacy to a resident guru with a sinister agenda. By the time their marriage is unraveling it’s time to ladle on the sentimentality and some out-of-left-field plot developments to produce the requisite happy ending.

Heavy is the hand that wrote most of the jokes for Wanderlust. Happily, there are a lot of them: the 25% that do work carry you over the gratuitously vulgar and repetitiously unfunny sections. This is really just a second-rate renter at heart, but Rudd and Aniston (and a few others in the cast) are appealing enough that you won’t hate yourself in the morning. M

Wanderlust ★★

Directed by David Wain

Starring Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston

R – 98 minutes

Continues at the Odeon, Uni 4 & Westshore

 

 

 

Perfectly Potable

After all those manly heroics (and an over-exposure to veganism), it’s time for a thick, juicy New York strip loin. And that means a thick, juicy Cabernet to go with it. It’s impossible to go wrong with the J Lohr “Seven Oaks” Cab Sauv from California, a consistent performer year after year. Plummy and rich with notes of currant and black cherry, this intensely-flavoured palate pleaser represents great value at $22.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future

Royal BC Museum dives into the world of orcas with upcoming feature exhibition

Joan Miller with the Vancouver Island North Regional Film Commission says there’s much room for optimism in the region rebounding from COVID-19 and is excited about what the future holds for the region. Black Press File Photo
North Island film industry optimistic about post-COVID rebound

Interest in filming here is still high, according to film commission, once things open back up

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, has been filming in Langford and Colwood over the past two weeks. On April 7, filming will take place on the east side of the Esquimalt Lagoon. (Black Press Media file)
Netflix series ‘Maid’ filming in Colwood

10-episode Warner Bros. production filmed exclusively in Greater Victoria

Victoria mural artists Joshua Lundrigan (from left) and Paul Archer join Rob Chyzowski, co-owner of Belleville’s Watering Hole and Diner in front of an Archer-designed mural that went up on Thursday at the Inner Harbour restaurant. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Positivity rules with new outdoor mural from Victoria artist

Paul Archer teams with Belleville’s Watering Hole and Diner for patio project

Donna Jones, who was born and raised in the Cowichan Valley, is the executive director of the documentary ‘Bobbi Jo: Under the Influence’. (Submitted)
Islander produces documentary offering hope to those with addictions

Donna Jones and husband Brent just released Bobbi Jo: Under the Influence

‘Frank Ney’ by Patrick Flavin, ‘Millstone River Upper Falls’ by John Collison Baker, ‘Labyrinth of Dreams’ by MA Molcan, ‘On the Other Side’ by Liana Ravensbergen, ‘December Snow’ by Laurel Karjala and ‘Jacks Point’ by Dana Smiley (cropped, clockwise from top-left) are among the works in the Nanaimo Arts Council’s latest exhibition. (Photos courtesy Nanaimo Arts Council)
Nanaimo Arts Council presents its first online gallery show

Submissions now open for upcoming ‘Ekphrastic Celebration’ show

Dorothy Sevcov’s exhibition ‘Having Fun With Acrylics’ is on display at Art 10 Gallery until the end of the month. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Experimental paintings now on exhibit at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Dorothy Sevcov’s ‘Having Fun With Acrylics’ on display through April

Courtenay artist Christine Boyer presents Alongside My Path: Native Wildflowers of Canada at Gallery Merrick from April 9 to 23. (Photo courtesy Christine Boyer)
Island painter shows off the wildflowers of Western Canada in first solo show

Courtenay’s Christine Boyer presents floral exhibit at Nanaimo’s Gallery Merrick

Nanaimo Harbourfront Library librarian April Ripley led the effort to create a Vancouver Island poetry booklet in recognition of National Poetry Month. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Harbourfront Library publishes booklet for National Poetry Month

Collection features winners of ‘Poem in your Pocket’ contest

SENCOTEN language revitalizationist and filmmaker Renee Sampson’s short film, Bringing Our Language Back to LIfe, shows online during the Reel 2 Real International Youth Film Festival, April 14-23. (Photo courtesy Wapikoni)
SENCOTEN language featured in short film created on Saanich Peninsula

Renee Sampson film highlights importance of passing on traditional languages to youth

The area surrounding the Chemainus Rotary Club’s bunker door is one of the new surfaces that will feature a mural. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Up to three new murals coming to Chemainus

Project will be coordinated between the Rotary Club and Festival of Murals Society

Jules Sherred, photographer and owner of Polaris Creative, is putting together an exhibit that combines two of his greatest passions: food and advocacy for those with disabilities. (Polaris Creative photo)
Kickstarter launches for fully accessible exhibit focused on food

Raising awareness has been Sherred’s life’s work.

Sooke artist Jessica Ruth Freedman is one of nine virtual in-residence artists who share the creative process, conduct webinars, write and offer sage advice with artsUNITE, a free online wayfinding platform for artists. (Contributed - Jessica Ruth Freedman)
Sooke artist joins artsUNITE, getting creative through pandemic

National program brings much-needed support to arts community

Most Read