Three Great New Comedies

November 21st, 2018Three Great New Comedies

We think of the fall and winter season as the home for big dramas and a few holiday blockbusters. But comedy has its place in the colder months, too! it’s easy to stay warm when you’re laughing your face off. We’ve got three very different comedies either in theaters now or coming within weeks — here’s the funny stuff coming in the last weeks of 2018.

INSTANT FAMILY

[Credit: Paramount Pictures]

We’ve seen Mark Wahlberg playing over-the-top heroes for years, but INSTANT FAMILY brings him back down to Earth. He and Rose Byrne play a couple who decide to start a family, and because they’re older than most new parents, adopting a slightly older child is appealing. Then they go all the way, and adopt confident teen Lizzy (Isabela Moner), and her two younger siblings, Lita (Julianna Gamiz) and Juan (Gustavo Quiroz).

That concept becomes an earnest and observant comedy about parenting and compromise. As the social workers who put the new parents through their paces while offering helpful advice, Tig Notaro and Octavia Spencer are an excellent comic team. They work well with Wahlberg and Byrne, who also have their own very effective chemistry. Byrne in particular gets to shine in INSTANT FAMILY, stealing one scene after another with her natural ease and her ability to play hilariously off literally everyone in the cast. (Now playing)

SECOND ACT

[Credit: STXfilms]

Jennifer Lopez is back on the big screen in a good-natured comedy about ambition second chances. J-Lo plays Maya, who is frustrated by her inability to advance at the big box store where she’s worked for years. Guys with business school degrees get promoted over her, despite the fact that she knows her work inside and out.

Then a friend makes up a resume and social media identity for Maya that lands her a job interview with a prestigious consulting firm. Problem is, she didn’t go to the school listed on her resume; she certainly doesn’t speak Mandarin Chinese. She gets the job, but wrestles with living up to the firm’s expectations. Can Maya reconcile her own abilities with the lies that got her in the door? Is she now no better than the guys she complained about at her old job? We know things will probably work out OK, but can’t wait to see how Lopez handles all the tricky situations her new life creates. (December 21)

HOLMES & WATSON

[Credit: Sony Pictures]

As soon as you say it — Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly play Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson — the idea sounds so perfect. How has this not happened yet? But here we are with a new comedy take on the greatest detective of all time, featuring the stars of TALLADEGA NIGHTS and STEP BROTHERS as a slightly less capable version of the crime-solving duo.

The evil Moriarty (Ralph Fiennes) plans to kill the Queen, and only Holmes and Watson can save Her Royal Highness. Or… actually, maybe someone else would be better for the job. (Is Maya from SECOND ACT around?) But these two buffoons seem to be all the Court has. Someone will just have to get them to quit inventing selfies and letting loose killer bees so they can concentrate on the case. If all that hasn’t made it clear, scholars and serious fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories should be warned that this tale isn’t exactly canon. For the rest of us, HOLMES AND & WATSON is the best holiday gift we could ask for. (December 25)

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