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Comedy Movies 2019 – Guide

ALL RANKED

The Hustle

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Rebel Wilson, Alex Sharp
Director: Chris Addison
Out: May 10, 2019
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A remake of the 1988 comedy, ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’, in which two down-and-out con artists, one low-rent (Wilson) and one high-class (Hathaway), engage in a “loser leaves town” contest, competing to swindle a naive tech prodigy out of his fortune… The writer hasn’t got much under his belt and the director’s biggest credit is 13 episodes of ‘Veep’. There’s something about a fraudster scamming people that doesn’t quite sit in comedies, as it was in the so-so original. But this has a lively lead pairing and could have some energy about it.

JUNE

Flarsky

Starring: Seth Rogen, Charlize Theron, O’Shea Jackson Jr, Alexander Skarsgård, Andy Serkis
Director: Jonathan Levine
Out: June 7, 2019
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Fred Flarsky (Rogen) is a down on his luck journalist who through a string of comedic circumstances catches the attention of the world’s most powerful woman (Theron). Much to the chagrin of her handlers, he becomes an important part of her inner circle in her globe-trotting journey to become the first female president of the United States… Andy Serkis portrays an international media mogul who employs Flarsky, while Alexander Skarsgård plays a prime minister of Canada described as “very handsome”. From the screenwriter of ‘The Interview’, expect this to make plenty of political jabs along the way. Director Jonathan Levine most recently collaborated with Rogen on ‘The Night Before’, which was genuinely amusing. ‘Flarsky’ was originally due to open in February but audience test screenings gave it scores above 95%, indicating it can perform as a major summer comedy, so it got moved up to June.

Men In Black: International

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Liam Neeson, Kumail Nanjiani
Director: F. Gary Gray
Out: June 14, 2019

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The London branch of Men in Black (MIB) is charged with protecting the UK from troublesome aliens and policing those who have settled, camouflaged, among us. But Agent H (Hemsworth) and recent US recruit Agent M (Thompson, ‘Annihilation’) soon become involved in a murder mystery that sends them travelling the globe… Liam Neeson plays the head of the UK MIB, and Emma Thompson returns as Agent O, head of US branch. Kumail Nanjiani (‘The Big Sick’) and Rebecca Ferguson (‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’) have unspecified roles. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones will not reprise their roles in this spinoff, and the floated (serious) plan to merge the ‘Men In Black’ and ’21 Jump Street’ franchises has been shelved. Veteran director F. Gary Gray helmed ‘Straight Outta Compton’ and ‘Fast & Furious 8’ but hasn’t flexed comic chops since 1995’s ‘Friday’ (2006’s ‘Be Cool’ didn’t turn out too well). Exec-producer Steven Spielberg and the producing team are unchanged, and 2012’s ‘Men In Black III’ was pretty solid. It’ll miss Will Smith but Hemsworth can do comedy well enough, and previously showed nice chemistry with Tessa Thompson in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’. Plus it’s not a precious franchise like ‘Ghostbusters’.

Untitled Beatles Comedy

Starring: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Kate McKinnon, Ed Sheeran
Director: Danny Boyle
Out: June 28, 2019

Britain’s most versatile director, Danny Boyle (‘Slumdog Millionaire’), and the best rom-com writer in the world, Richard Curtis (‘Love Actually’), are teaming up for a musical comedy. Few plot details are known, but it centres on a struggling musician (Patel, TV’s ‘EastEnders’) who wakes up in a world where the Beatles’ songs never existed/only he remembers them. Reports vary whether it’s 60s/70s set or modern day. Ed Sheeran plays himself, suggesting the latter, and has said the protagonist goes on tour with him, soon eclipsing his fame. Lily James (Curtis-scripted ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’) is thought to play the love interest, while Kate McKinnon’s (‘SNL’, ‘Ghostbusters’) role is unknown. With the gold pairing behind camera, and the production skills of Working Title, it’s guaranteed to be charming, clever and amusing.

JULY

Stuber

Starring: Kumail Nanjiani, Dave Bautista, Iko Uwais, Mira Sorvino
Director: Michael Dowse
Out: July 12, 2019

Action-comedy. When a mild-mannered Uber driver Stu (Nanjiani) picks up a grizzled detective (Bautista) on the trail of a terrorist, he is thrust into a unexpected, sometimes harrowing, night of adventure… Kumail Nanjiani was wonderfully amusing and charming in breakout hit ‘The Big Sick’ (in which he also drove an Uber), while Dave Bautista as Drax in ‘Guardians’ is the funniest character in the Marvel universe. In other words these are two of the most likeable leads around. However, it’s hard not to feel that the roles here should have been cast against type, since the relationship feels much like Deadpool’s with his Uber driver. Also this line in the official synopsis: “and work with his passenger while maintaining his high-class rating”, makes me fear it could be an extended commercial. The title comes from combining the driver’s name “Stu” with “Uber”. Indonesian martial artist Iko Uwais, star of ‘The Raid’ films, seemingly plays the villain, meaning the fights with Bautista should be badass.

AUGUST

Good Boys

Starring: Jacob Tremblay, Molly Gordon, Midori Francis, Brady Noon, Keith L. Williams
Directors: Lee Eisenberg, Gene Stupnitsky
Out: August 16, 2019
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Four 12-year-olds caught between childhood innocence and lewd teenage corruption (led by Tremblay, ‘Room’) skip school to embark on a day-long adventure fraught with comedic peril. This epic quest, to fix a broken drone before their parents get home, will take them from from L.A. suburb Tarzana to the Sherman Oaks Galleria… R-rated comedy in the vein of ‘Superbad’ and ‘Sausage Party’. The co-directors are making their feature debut, having previously written 15 episodes of genius sitcom ‘The Office’ (directing 5) and the unfairly bashed ‘Bad Teacher’ and ‘Year One’. Should be fun. So far the project is famous for leaked photos of a child actor’s stand-in substitute wearing blackface. Both actor and stand-in are African-American, but the latter is light-skinned. Producer Seth Rogen issued an apology over the controversy.


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