Irresistible (2020): Just in Time for a Pandemic, An Election, and More


“Irresistible” is directed by Jon Stewart (The Daily Show, Rosewater) and stars Steve Carell (Battle of the Sexes, The Office), Chris Cooper (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Adaptation), Mackenzie Davis (Blade Runner 2049, Terminator: Dark Fate), Topher Grace (Spider-Man 3, Interstellar), Natasha Lyonne (American Pie, Orange Is the New Black), and Rose Byrne (X-Men: First Class, Neighbors). This film is about a Democratic strategist who is trying to get someone he meets up with to successfully run for town mayor. One of big catches here is that the person of importance is running as a Democrat, and the town, which is located in Wisconsin, has maintained its conservative traditions for years.

Ah… A new movie. It’s an experience I barely get to have today, so I’ll take it whenever possible. I did not pay for this movie. I tuned in during the first few minutes as my mother rented it On Demand and I was kind of intrigued by what was going on. Gotta say, I was pretty entertained by what I saw. However, as I watched, I was reminded of a common complaint some people have about modern movies.

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Hollywood is such a magical place, where dreams come true as long as you spend spare time waiting tables. But as of recent years, it has also become a place hated by certain people because of a supposed agenda. And I am not going to deny that when it comes to today’s Hollywood culture, a lot of it is on the left. If you ask me, I really don’t care. I would still be following it if it is still on the right, I enjoy the art form of film, I don’t usually often give a crap about one’s political views. That’s why when I do the Jackoff awards every year, I usually stray away from politics. Granted, I did subtly bring up global warming one year, but that’s a human issue turned political. So that’s why I let it slide.

If you watch this movie, I don’t really think you, or too many other people would need that keen of an eye to realize that this may be somewhat done with ideas of the left. After all, the story follows a political strategist trying to get a Democrat mayor to succeed during an election. The movie makes references to our political climate today and everything surrounding it. I will also point out that there are some big jabs towards the conservative-friendly outlet Fox News. Also, these jabs had me in stitches.

Also also, CNN gets some jabbing as well, which also stuck the landing for me in terms of comedy. This movie is not afraid to go after the cable news outlets and bang em’ over the head. Those honestly may have been the most entertaining parts of the movie for me.

I will point out that this movie is a mix of comedy and drama. Both genres blend perfectly to balance each other out and they don’t feel like two different movies. This movie knows what it is. It’s funny, charming, but it also wants to get a little serious every now and then. Maybe Steve Carell has something to do with it, because I will admit, even though he may be an actor I tend to overlook, I have seen him be funny in the past, while also being dramatic in the past, and he can do both very well. To see a mix of that here in “Irresistible” is a good mix for Carell.

Honestly, 2020 may just be the pinnacle for crappy movies. I have seen a few good ones, like “Impractical Jokers: The Movie,” “Sonic the Hedgehog” (who knew I’d be saying that), and “Emma.” I have not had much time to watch movies in general, mainly because I’m not always willing to cough up a $19.99 rental for a movie that probably would be a better experience in the theater, but when I did have time, nothing really stood out this year. “Irresistible” is kind of in that camp, but if no Oscar-bait movies come out this year, this could have a shot at some awards. After all, we are in an election year here in the United States, which makes this movie incredibly topical. It has some good performances given by Steve Carell and Chris Cooper. As for Jon Stewart, this could have a shot at a screenplay nomination. Granted, I do not want to get ahead of myself as it is only June and a lot of the good movies come out in October, November, and December. However, if all those movies get delayed, I think “Irresistable” could have some potential during award season. Besides, you know how I mentioned Hollywood seems to be a bit on the left more than the right? That could be another factor in this movie’s favor! All it really needs from here is a montage making fun of Donald Trump and then it’s the perfect “Hollywood left story.” With that being said, this movie may not be for everyone, but even if you are on the right politically, there is a solid chance that you might be entertained by this from a story perspective. I mean, it is funny. Granted, a lot of the humor seems to be geared towards politics, but there is still some general humor sprinkled here and there. But given that this movie has dramatic elements to it, it does not feel overbearing.

One of the biggest compliments I would like to give to “Irresistible” is its pacing. When I get into negatives during my reviews, one of my gotos is pointing out that maybe one or two scenes feel a bit too drawn-out or too slow, maybe every once in a while the pacing is so fast that it destroys your brain. Here, the pacing is very well done. Will I remember this movie by the end of the year? Parts of it, yes. Some, maybe not. But regardless, this movie went by like a plane. Not too fast (if that makes any sense), not too slow, just right. I feel like there are going to be various scenes and characters from this movie that will probably be erased from my memory come 2021, but as of now, I enjoyed the movie enough that I don’t really care much about the future. Although… It’s 2020. I really should care about the future.

In the end, “Irresistible” is not my favorite movie this year, but a damn good time. If you really don’t like politics in your movies, you might want to sit this one out. After all, it is written and directed by Jon Stewart, who hosted “The Daily Show” until Trevor Noah took over. Before we go any further, I would like to give one last compliment towards the film, and I will say that any excuse to use “dial up Internet” within a joke is worth your time. It worked in “Captain Marvel,” which looking back, is almost the worst Marvel movie, but I liked the dial-up joke. Nice to see it here too! I’m going to give “Irresistible” a 7/10.

Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I am going to post my review up for “Minority Report,” the final entry to June 2020’s event, Tom Cruise Month. I hope to get it up by the 30th, but if I don’t, it’s because I’m getting sidetracked with other things. Hopefully in July I get to talk about some newer movies, and I will also point out that Regal Cinemas are scheduled to reopen on July 10th, so I plan on visiting one soon. The same goes for AMC, which is currently scheduled for July 15th. I’m not sure what I’m going to see. If it is not a 2020 film, I’m probably not going to review it, but still. Speaking of 2020 films, be sure to check out my review for “My Spy.” Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! If you want to see more movie talk from Scene Before, go like my Facebook page! Otherwise if you want more politics, go like CNN or Fox News. I want to know, did you see “Irresistible?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite movie that seems to have a hint of bias behind it? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Jexi (2019): Smartphony


“Jexi” is directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, who also co-wrote the movie together. This film stars Adam Devine (Pitch Perfect, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates), Alexandra Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse, Love, Simon), Michael Peña (Ant-Man, Dora and the Lost City of Gold), and Rose Byrne (Damages, Neighbors) in a story about a guy who is too attached to his phone. The main character of Phil uses his phone which has this voice control service named Jexi, pretty similar to Siri, Google, Alexa, or Cortana if that’s still a thing. The film eventually arrives at a point where it is established that the phone is controlling Phil’s life, perhaps in an abusive manner. So, basically imagine if Siri became HAL from “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Going into “Jexi,” I honestly had little to no hopes for this movie whatsoever. I watched the trailer before going in and even though it put a slight smile on my face for one moment, I thought this movie was just going to plain suck. But at the same time, the plot can resonate with society today, so maybe it could be a fine allegory for how much we as people rely on our phones. Once they’re in our sights, or in our hands, we’re hooked. This point is emphasized at the very beginning of the film. The main character enjoys playing on his phone, he uses it as an alarm clock, he uses it as a calendar, and when it falls when accidentally bumping into someone, he tends to attach more value onto the device than other people. So when Phil’s phone breaks, I as an audience member got a sense that this incident sort of ruined his life.

Speaking of ruining lives, I think my life has officially been tossed to the ground, shattered, stepped on, and in need of repair at the Geek Squad. This movie… I don’t even know what to say except… WOW. This was one of my least anticipated films I have seen all year, and I honestly can’t say it’s the worst I’ve seen this year. But… To call this movie Shakespeare would be impractical to unimaginable degrees. F*ck! This! Movie! I mean… Seriously! I still don’t even know how to describe what just happened! My head is spinning as I write this! If I had to be honest, out of all the movies I have seen this year, aside from John Travolta’s “The Fanatic,” this is definitely the one that I will remember as that “so bad it’s good” type of film. Because a lot of elements are inserted to make something interesting, but it’s funny for the wrong reasons. Granted, this is a comedy, and the job of a comedy is to make me laugh. I cannot say I was happy with myself for laughing because I felt like what I was watching could have been written by Patrick Star from “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

Without spoiling anything, here are my main thoughts on this movie’s BEGINNING, MIDDLE, and END… In separate paragraphs.

The first act provides a fine sense of where this movie will eventually go. It establishes our society’s insatiable hankering for smartphones. The humor is a little bit mixed, but when it’s bad, it easily messes with my brain. Most of the standout moments and lines, kind of to my surprise, come from the AI. BUT THE MAIN CHARACTER IS STUPID.

Alright, this part is not too bad. I think the chemistry between the main character and his love interest is a tad off. Although wait a minute… DID THEIR CHEMISTRY JUST CLICK?! WHAT AM I WATCHING?! Also… That phone is starting to annoy me a bit.

Never thought I’d say this, but “Jexi” has somehow built itself up pretty well. I’m somewhat irritated by the movie, but I do think it is funny at times, maybe for reasons I can’t live with, but things seemed to have moved in the right direc–wait wait wait! WHAT?! NO! F*ck this s*it! I’m done! I can’t! Why is this happening? This makes no sense!

As of this point, “Jexi” has tarnished my soul and made me feel somewhat insignificant.

As mentioned, THE MAIN CHARACTER IS STUPID. Granted, that is kind of the point of the movie. I guess Phil is supposed to represent the stereotype of a phone addict. Phil uses his phone to control pretty much every aspect of his life. He’s that kind of person who would work at a job for a good portion of time and still try to ask his phone what the fastest route to work is. Granted, he is in a major city so it’s not completely nonsensical, but it still feels weird! Also, when Phil first gets a phone with Jexi on it, he needs to agree to various terms and conditions. You know how a lot of people join something new without reading the obnoxiously long terms and conditions? There’s this joke where Phil just blindly accepts whatever is in front of him. It takes some time for him to want to switch to a new phone. He’s incredibly petrified given his recent situation and just takes whatever phone is given to him. There’s no process as to how he manages to get a phone, he just takes one and walks away. So he gets a new phone, which also has Jexi on it. He’s given the terms and conditions again. And just like last time, he doesn’t read through them! WHAT ARE YOU STUPID?! I’m pretty sure in a situation like this, that MIGHT have something to do with what’s happening here! It sounds absurd, but I think Captain Obvious whispered in my ear as this movie went on! As I expected, this leads to Jexi eventually activating herself and recognizing Phil. And then I had to suffer through the rest of this crap!

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I will give credit to Jexi though for being a proper definition of what a crazy AI on a phone could be. It follows you around, it’s with you forever, and it has all of your information to use against you. In fact, Jexi is voiced by Rose Byrne and she is PERFECT in her role. There is not a moment where this felt like I wasn’t listening to a phone robot. Well done!

Although one of the more interesting characters in the film, even though she is part of an off and on marathon of interactions is Cate. The reason why I find her so interesting is because she is not attached any electronic devices. She mentions at one point that she used to be about that sort of life, but she gave up and decided to focus more on reality. I for one went in the opposite direction, where I gave up on reality for a greater dive into social media. It does make me wonder though, is it worth talking to a bunch of people I don’t know? Because there’s a high chance that I won’t meet everyone I talk to online, so do we have real relationships? It is a question worth considering.

Although aside from Phil, there are two characters in this movie I hate with a burning passion. One of them is Denice, who happens to be working at a phone store Phil makes multiple trips to during the movie. As I saw her in multiple scenes, I just had to ask. WHY is she here? She should be fired! For all I know she could be one of the higher-ups there, but wouldn’t somebody call, USING A PHONE THEY PROBABLY BOUGHT FROM THE STORE, to complain about their experience to the corporate office or something? I am just dumbfounded! How did she get a job working at a phone store, if she is making fun of a target demographic for the smartphone industry? Is it supposed to be played for laughs? I guess. But in reality, this does not make sense! It’s like if I applied for a job at Amazon and I made fun of everybody who chose the fastest shipping options. I would not be the prime pick for them!

Speaking of terrible work environments and people in them, let’s talk about Phil’s boss in this movie. Phil works at this company that may as well have been created because maybe the writers could not use the name BuzzFeed. Essentially, it is a bunch of people’s jobs, including Phil’s, to come up with random click-bait type lists that will go viral for like a day until they create a new one that also might last for a day in terms of popularity. Phil’s boss is played by Michael Peña, who isn’t really as much of a dick as say Kevin Spacey from “Horrible Bosses,” or… well, Kevin Spacey, but he’s just annoying. There’s this gag where people have to drop beats to let him move away from a certain area and it made me want to beat myself in the face.

But the absolute worst thing about this movie is the ending. I talked about it a little bit, but I need to dive a little deeper because… F*CK! A lot of what happens with Jexi in this film may be rather supernatural or unrealistic to a certain standard, but I was still able to let it slide because at times, it was funny. Then we get to the ending. The big… fat… ending, where all hell and its fiendish minions break loose. I will not go into much detail, but something truly significant happens during the ending, that would probably work if it were a nightmare heavily involving technology, but if it were put into reality, it would come off as insane. I’m still flabbergasted, I’m still a little hurt, and this was ultimately the biggest turnoff that I can point out in “Jexi” because the second act seemed to have sparked a slight sense of improvement in the movie, and all of a sudden, this s*it happens. It just goes to show, a bad ending can ruin a good movie. Granted, “Jexi” was average at best before this, but this was a huge downfall. At least it’s only 84 minutes! …Well, 84 minutes of doom.

“OK Google, set a reminder on my calendar for every day for the rest of civilization to never watch Jexi again.”

In the end, “Jexi” tries to be hilarious, but just manages to be a defect of a movie. I’d rather be stuck in the woods with no bars on my phone, holding a 5% charge, and have a high possibility of being eaten by a bear than watch “Jexi” again. Maybe if I’m 21 and happen to be drunk, I’d slap it on the TV and see what happens. Maybe I’d laugh my ass off, because this is not just a bad movie, it’s occasionally got that so bad it’s good vibe. It has a lot of aspects worth questioning, both for good and bad reasons. And with that notion in mind, it could make the movie watchable. But in all seriousness, I’m going to give “Jexi” a 3/10. One last thing, I know this movie was probably never supposed to be a standout for its technical aspects, but the cinematography was SO OFF-PUTTING at times. There are multiple scenes where the cinematographer or the director just had this fetish to zoom in or out on something. This almost reminded of why I don’t watch shows like “The Office.” The camera is always in motion, it feels kind of uncomfortable. Just… “Jexi” can suck it.

Thanks for reading my totally objective and not at all opinionated review. This movie somehow managed to turn out better than I originally thought it would, but that must not say much at all, because I thought this could have been the worst movie of the year. Turns out it’s just… another bad flick. And speaking of movies where phones happen to be possessed, I will have another review up this week, specifically for the new movie “Countdown.” I just got to see it at an advance screening last Thursday, and I have some things to say about it. Be sure to look out for that review, and if you want to be notified of said review, please follow Scene Before either with an email if you want to get news about my blog in your inbox, or with a WordPress account to like or comment and get informed about the latest at Scene Before through your very own WordPress feed! Stay tuned for more great content, and check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “Jexi?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite voice control AI? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Instant Family (2018): An Emotionally Confusing, Wannabe Feel Good Rollercoaster


“Instant Family” is directed by Sean Anders (Daddy’s Home, That’s My Boy) and stars Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne (Neighbors, Insidious), Isabella Moner (Transformers: The Last Knight, 100 Things To Do Before High School), Margo Martindale (The Americans, Justified), Julie Hagerty (Family Guy, Airplane!), Tig Notaro (In a World…, One Mississippi), and Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures, Gifted). This movie is inspired by true events experienced by director Sean Anders. It’s about a couple who decided to adopt three children who have no idea what exactly they’ve signed up for.

This movie is directed and co-written by Sean Anders, who actually wrote the screenplay basing it upon his own experiences and before I tell you whether or not this is actually a good movie, this notion gave me the urge to dive deeper into Anders as a person. He, much like the main couple in the movie, appeared to be against the idea of adopting at first, but he eventually adapted to the idea, which seems to have lead to him making this movie a reality. Regardless of the overall quality of “Instant Family,” it is an interesting motive to make a movie based on something that significantly changed your life. That being said, I REALLY don’t know how to feel about this movie.

They say that some movies and stories can be “emotional rollercoasters.” Movies that, logically speaking, can provide multiple feelings throughout such as happiness, sadness, gladness, disappointment, etc. This is that movie, and I don’t think I can say it is quite the emotional rollercoaster I would traditionally ask for. Because this movie manages to make my heart warm, make me laugh, but also question whatever is happening on screen.

One movie I saw in 2018 was “Eighth Grade,” part of why I loved that movie so much is because of how that made me cringe. The idea of cringe is such a strange word in that scenario because in reality, cringing can be seen as a synonym for getting embarrassed. Maybe I have a slight bias towards “Eighth Grade” as an idea and a script because for one thing, I don’t have adopted children. I’m not even a parent for crying out loud. I’ve been through “Eighth Grade,” much like a good portion of other people. The cringe I’ve gotten out of that movie was reminiscent of how I would feel getting scared during certain horror movies. “Instant Family” seemingly tries to replicate an uncomfortable feeling of being a parent, not to mention, being a part of a family, but that’s all I get sometimes during scenes, discomfort. I don’t relate to what is happening to the fullest like I’d want to, or maybe I do, but I just felt more like I was watching “How To Be a Latin Lover,” one of the worst attempts at a comedy of the decade, as opposed to a compelling story.

“Instant Family” started out in a pretty solid manner, it could have been funnier, it could have been better, but it was serviceable. Then somewhere in the middle of the movie, I start to feel uncomfortable. Granted, I will say, the discomfort overall could be a lot worse, because I have a strong feeling that was what the writers happened to be going for. The way this movie this movie plays out is kind of like playing a nearly lucky game of bingo. You have your free space taken, the first three numbers called are all in a row which includes the free space, then for the rest of the game, it does not go the way you planned. All the rest of the numbers either don’t connect the way you want to, or are not even on your board.

I will say though, I gotta give credit to the performances, and when it comes to comedies, that is something that I feel may occasionally be overlooked. Granted, I sometimes make the excuse that a comedy has to make an effort at delivering humor before anything else. I stand by my statement, but performances are an important part of any film regardless of whether it is a drama going for an Academy Award, a horror flick trying to scare audiences everywhere, or in this case, a comedy made specifically to get people to laugh. Granted, compared to some other comedies I’ve seen recently, this seems to have more layers and substance attached to it. The two parents in the movie actually feel like a married couple who are trying to adopt children. The children feel like they act their age, and are quite charming. There’s also a grandmother in the movie that personality-wise, is kind of hyperactive, and while I do consider the character to be rather cliche in ways, I thought she was portrayed and written well for a film like this.

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Mark Wahlberg plays Pete in the movie, and as mentioned, he’s portrayed with excellence. Granted, it’s not worthy of awards, but Wahlberg did well with the provided material. With that in mind, it is also worth mentioning that Wahlberg kind of already played this character before. In fact, you can also say that Sean Anders, the director of this film, also directed this character before, played by the exact same person. Anders directed “Daddy’s Home,” which stars Mark Wahlberg as a biological father to multiple kids. The children are living with their stepdad (Will Ferrell), but for some time, Wahlberg is in town so the two raise the kids together. Aside from being a father, one thing that really stood out to me about Mark Wahlberg’s character is that he would teach his kids to be tough and stand up to others. Thinking back on “Instant Family,” I must have achieved a similar vibe during one scene. There is one scene that I thought was completely entertaining where Wahlberg is with his adopted teenage daughter and they break s*it with a hammer.

One minor issue I have with the movie is actually something I’ve been experiencing a lot lately. While this movie has a solid runtime to avoid complete agitation, the pacing could have been better. There are a couple moments where this movie feels climactic, where it feels like it could have a solid ending, but it just chooses to go on. It’s just like the climax to “Deadpool 2” although much less interesting and entertaining.

Let’s be real, “Instant Family” is no masterpiece, and part of me thinks that this movie isn’t for everyone. Sure, it’s heartwarming. Sure, it’s funny. Sure, it’s raw. But it almost at times feels like a surface level movie in certain aspects. The humor at times is barely passable, and the does have that studio feel I bring up from time to time. I feel like a number of people are gonna sit down, watch this movie, and probably enjoy themselves for a couple of hours. However, due to my lack of relatibility to the movie, not to mention my personal critiques, I can’t say it’s a movie for me. I wouldn’t say however to avoid it, but I feel like some people will have more fun than others.

In the end, “Instant Family” is an alright attempt at a feel good comedy. However, it feels more like a reality check on parenting that focuses more on crazy visions of realistic situations than a story that’s supposed to make you smile. I appreciate the vision, but it just didn’t work for me. Plus, if I’m not at that point already, I seem to be getting to the point where I’ve practically seen it all when it comes to comedy. Nothing feels new or fresh. “Instant Family” is by no means 2018’s worst attempt at a comedy, but it adds cliches I have already seen and just doesn’t feel like the best possible product it can truly be. I am going to give “Instant Family” a 5/10. I will say once again, this is an emotional rollercoaster. When I began to leave the theater, the one word I could use to describe my experience was “confusing.” Don’t get me wrong, I understood the movie, it’s not like I watched a deep puzzle-like flick or something, it’s a simple attempt at comedy. But I had a mix of positive and negative emotions throughout the film, and while I had fun watching the movie, I don’t think I have any desire to watch it again anytime soon. There’s a good chance this score could change in the future. What will it change to? I honestly don’t know. Only time will tell. Thanks for reading this review! Next week I’ll be going to see an advance screening of “The Upside.” This movie is a remake of 2011’s “The Intouchables” and I’ll have my review of “The Upside” on the web as early as possible. Also, I’ve talked about them for sometime, I’ve been building them up like Thanos, and now they are going to arrive! My next two posts are going to be my top 10 BEST movies of 2018 and my top 10 WORST movies of 2018! I’m so excited to release these to you all, and I’m looking forward to a great 2019, happy new year everyone! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with a WordPress account or email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Instant Family?” What did you think about it? Or, what is a movie where you cringed due to a relatable moment, scene, or segment? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!