In Theatres: Boy Next Door; Mortdecai; Cake (VIDEO)

Jennifer Aniston sheds The Rachel for a dramatic turn in 'Cake'. Johnny Depp copies and pastes Peter Sellers with Mortdecai

Jennifer Lopez stars as a mother in teacher in trouble with a neighbourly one-night stand in 'Boy Next Door'.

Jennifer Lopez stars as a mother in teacher in trouble with a neighbourly one-night stand in 'Boy Next Door'.



Opening in theatres this week…

  • Jennifer Lopez has a one night stand with an obsessed high school student in Boy Next Door
  • Jennifer Aniston’s near-Oscar-winning performance in Cake
  • Johnny Depp travels the world as an art dealer in Mortdecai, co-starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, and Olivia Munn

Video: The Canadian Press

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Cake

Jennifer Aniston was getting plenty of Oscar and Golen Globe-y buzz for her role in Cake, as a woman suffering through something which looks an awful lot like depression.

She’s going through some stuff, basically.

But while those roles are always Academy bait – “it’s wonderful to see an actress test herself by taking the chances that Aniston does here – and, what’s more, to see her pass that test with such flying colors,” writes NOLA‘s Mike Scott – the film was reeled in only a boot, so far.

It’s got a sloppy 47 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, even Scott gave it a tempered 3/5 stars, and reviews have been mixed – with most positivity centering on Aniston’s performance.

“Her instincts in Friends were dead perfect, but the problem with comic stars who tackle serious, Oscar-bait roles is that they tend to downplay their gifts,” writes Vulture‘s David Edelstein. “So the hot, funny woman drabs herself down and dulls her timing. What’s missing is the attack.

“This Cake isn’t fallen. It’s just a bit deflated.”

Cake premiered to much fanfare at the Toronto International Film Festival, and the movie makes its North American box office debut tonight, Friday, January 23, 2015.

Mortdecai

Johnny Depp joins along with Gwyneth Paltrow for Mortdecai, which appears (from first glance) to be a decently enjoyable vehicle for two actors who are 10 years past their most famous.

Paltrow peaked in 1998 with Shakespeare in Love, and in the decade before and after that. And Depp of course rose to superstardom with Pirates of the Caribbean in 2003.

But like 2010’s The Tourist – which starred Depp and another early 2000’s supernova Angelina Jolie as adults manoeuvring a childish script and the dining cars of European trains – Mortdecai is falling flat at the press, with just a 15 per cent approval on Rotten Tomatoes.

But just maybe, it deserves a break…

“Mortdecai isn’t particularly funny, but it’s also not the Pistachio Disguisey 2015 train wreck the Internet has spent the last few months anticipating. It’s brainless, but it’s painless,” writes Grantland‘s Alex Pappademas.

But the ESPN culture writer doesn’t shy away from blasting the movie, mainly focusing on Depp’s performance. Pappademas likens his role as Charlie Mortdecai, a flamboyant art dealer trapped in a pre-modern personality, as “a tribute-band Peter Sellers”.

“A few weeks ago, The Interview brought us to the brink of all-out cyberwar with North Korea; if England’s hacker community has any national pride, we should brace for a digital 1812, because Johnny Depp’s performance as an upper-crust twit in Mortdecai is Britface at its most slanderous.”

Boy Next Door

People magazine believes you should watch Jennifer Lopez’s latest, the story of an attractive mom who had a one-night stand with a younger man who turns out to be one of her high school students. And he gets obsessed. (It’s like To Die For, but she’s not evil, I guess.)

But People is in the minority here.

“You see where this is going, right? Of course you do, because odds are you’ve seen this all play out in a gazillion other movies and that’s The Boy Next Door’s biggest issue,” writes IGN’s Gregg Katzman. “There are just so many tropes in here and you’ll be able to predict just about everything that happens… You’ll see the twists and drama coming a mile away. If a movie is focusing on tension and thrills, it needs some good surprises thrown in there and this movie doesn’t really have any.

“I don’t think anyone is expecting a mind-blowing narrative, but the problem is it doesn’t really do anything to make up for the lack of originality.”

The movie has an appalling 14 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and most synopsis seem to be stepping around an odd conclusion – that megastar Jennifer Lopez is closer to a Lifetime role than she is to A-list gigs, although I’m sure she’ll be compensated like one, no matter the script.

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