The Host: a genuinely dreadful movie

the-host

It’s rare that I see a film as patently awful as The Host. I mean, sure, I’ve recently stomached the likes of Identity Thief and Red Dawn, but this latest film from Twilight author Stephenie Meyer may well go down as one of the worst I’ve ever seen. A travesty really, because I genuinely liked the book of the same name.

The story involves Alien squiggly bits that, after an interstellar journey, get implanted into the necks of the human race, resulting in glowing eyes and a fascination with shiny metal vehicles. A ragtag band of humans who exhibit a fondness of making out in the rain, yet who are chaste enough to avoid hitting the proverbial first base, are shown in a kind of existential battle. Hiding out in a dormant volcano, we see them going on daring missions, stealing supplies, that kind of thing.

But before that happens, there’s a bit where Saoirse Ronan wanders through the desert in the most tedious runaway that may ever have been filmed. Oh, and there’s also this part where we realize that our heroine has held on to the former memories of her, um, host, and the two of them have conversations that lack the dramatic sophistication we see in the book version.

As you can probably tell, my heart really just isn’t in this review. Quite frankly, The Host is just boring to write about as it is to watch.

The dreary cast makes it difficult to tell the 20-something chiseled boys from one another, and the likes of William Hurt makes one feel kind of sad that this is what he’s ended up doing.

In all honesty, The Host is the eye gouging, can’t-get-the-hours-back-of-your-life kind of bad that, if there’s any justice, will quickly disappear from your local screen, soon to be forgotten by all but those masochistic few who actually stomach the entire running time.

Definitely one to avoid.

Identity Thief: steals more groans than giggles

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Jason Bateman was great in Arrested Development. Melissa McCarthy was brilliant in Bridesmaids. Throw them together and you should have comedy pyrotechnics, but what you get is more comedy bronze than gold.

Bateman is mild-mannered accountant Sandy (WAY too many jokes about his ‘unisex’ name by the way) who has a wife and two daughters.

He’s the type who plays by the rules and is always overlooked. When McCarthy’s party girl Diana steals his identity, clocking up debts and a criminal record as Sandy, he’s forced (via some hard-to-believe complications) to motor cross-country to bring her in and clear his name.

There are moments of brilliance, for sure – the two leads share great chemistry as McCarthy’s energetic mugging bounces off Bateman’s smart-casual eye-rolling, but it’s not enough to make a good film great.

Director Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses, Four Christmases) has a firm grasp of characters, making this road trip comedy more than a Road Trip knock off, but many developments, not least Sandy and Diana’s burgeoning friendship, never ring true and the film begins to outstay its welcome not far into its near two-hour runtime.

Identity Thief just about gets by on McCarthy and Bateman’s star power, but it’s just not quite the knockout comedy you might expect from this pairing, nor is it the film either of them really deserve.

More average than awesome.

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