Monday, January 4, 2016

The Worst Movies of 2015

This year, I didn't feel the need to spend too much time with the bad movies, so I'm only listing five (instead of ten) movies for 2015's bottom of the barrel. While the end-of-the-year whipping boy seems to be "Fifty Shades of Grey," I didn't find it to be insufferably bad, just not worth the fuss. Critics also reviewed "The Cobbler" with such gratuitous venom, but to me, the movie, in which Adam Sandler plays a cobbler who literally walks in his customers' shoes, was just an earnest fable that never quite works. Without wasting much more time, let's get the five worst movies of the year out of the way and then forget about them.

5. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 - A sequel not a single soul was demanding or marking his or her calendar for, "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2" turns out to be virtually the same movie as 2009's harmlessly mediocre "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," only actively worse. There's nothing more deflating than a comedy that doesn't make you laugh once, won't keep you entertained, and can't make you feel or think about anything. Is anyone even trying here? For whatever reason, Kevin James can't seem to find himself a good feature comedy, at least not yet. It's in him somewhere, but it just hasn't happened yet. Sitting through 94 chuckle-free minutes of this supposed comedy is like having a staring contest with the screen, and with it offering scant smiles and zero well-earned laughs, you come out the winner. Consistently flat and imbecilic.

4. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 - Maybe a hot tub should just stay as a hot tub. It's not like 2010's "Hot Tub Time Machine" was an '80s-nostalgia documentary, nor was there anything deep and introspective to think about after its runtime. With an on-the-nose title that slapped together heated relaxation and time traveling, it was just a goofy, dopey comedy with enough clever, funny moments and a comedically strong cast to make it fun. Five years ago, it'd be hard to imagine anyone thinking there would be more to add, but here we are with a "Hot Tub Time Machine 2," a sorry sequel with none of the predecessor's appeal and an even sorrier excuse for a raucous R-rated comedy. As crass and juvenile as it gets, it's just not subjectively funny or ever sweet, two things "Hot Tub Time Machine" had no trouble being. It is, however, a desperate, depressing, mean-spirited 93-minute time-stealer that slows down time.

3. Mortdecai - "Mortdecai" ends up only confirming that Johnny Depp has officially hit a brick wall and in desperate need of a career overhaul that doesn't involve quirky wigs and teeth, accents and…mustaches. "Mustaches are hee-larious," seems to be the long running gag in this would-be comedy of wit and sophistication with Depp as the art-dealing, London-residing twit Lord Charlie Mortdecai. That tiresome joke of the lead character's new curly mustachio is repeated over and over, which is more than enough to last one for the year. The film goes wrong on just about every level. The caper loosely guiding the plot by a thread is so apathetic that one just wishes the filmmakers would have focused on building good jokes instead. The supposedly crackling dialogue is as limp as a wet noodle. Bits of buffoonery fall flat the first time. It's quite terrible. Quite. 

2. Accidental Love - Shot in 2008, shelved and finished without director David O. Russell's involvement, and floating into limbo until 2015, "Accidental Love" has so much talent behind and in front of the camera that bewildered viewers will just have to pause and wonder how it all went so disastrously wrong. With bad idea piled upon bad idea in the rubble, this embarrassingly atonal laughing stock practically refuses to work. It never nails a comfortable tone, pitched all over the place from wacky, broadly played screwball farce to a numbskulled romantic comedy to a political message about the little people and the unfair health care system. Anything remotely competent about the production, like being in focus, is just negligible. A cringe-inducing creative fiasco if there ever was one, "Accidental Love" is so lost and mind-boggling beyond comprehension that it makes no sense it would be deemed finished to ever see the light of day.

1. The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) - In this third and mercifully final entry, Dutch writer-director Tom Six has gotten awfully cynical and self-congratulatory, making "The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence)" the death rattle of the most perverse trilogy ever committed to celluloid. It may be "100% politically incorrect," and proud of it, but it's even aggressively, depressingly worse than you'd expect. Who knew it was possible? Calculatedly unpleasant and distasteful, juvenile and hateful to the zenith, "The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence)" is also obnoxious and worthlessly acted. For an exercise in sadistic exhibitionism, it's even quite boring. It's not fun. It's not scary, although the implication that Six could possibly find his next idea with a "human caterpillar" is plenty frightening for different reasons. It doesn't even make for a biting satire on the dehumanization within the prison system. There's no vessel of so-called humanity to latch onto or invest in. There's no craft or artistry this time, either. At the end of the year, it wasn't hard to think of a more morally and socially bankrupt endurance test whose sole reason for existence was to gross you out and repel you. All you have to know is that this is the pits, a piece of crap that plays like a coprophiliac rapist's wet dream and inspires so much vitriol for everyone else. This is the worst movie of 2015 and may it rot in hell.

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