29 to Life
In a world where people post pictures of themselves online and ask strangers to roast them, where there are whole subgenres of porn devoted to crushing, humiliation and, I kid you not, cock-and-ball torture, and where people willingly subject themselves to karaoke, is it any wonder that some feckless fuck of a would-be director/writer/producer/grip/fluffer reached out to ol' Cinemavenger begging him to review his latest cinematic queef?
Said aspiring film artiste - and undoubtedly soon-to-be Sandwich Artist - is Alex "Hasta" Magana, and his contribution to moviedom is 29 to Life, an alleged rom-com that's as romantic as chlamydia and as funny as a puppy's funeral. Romantic comedies are some of the most formulaic flicks around. They're more structured than a nun with OCD. How in the name of Meg Ryan's fake deli orgasm do you fuck that up?!
Hey Alex. If you haven't read Save the Cat, the screenwriter's bible for formula scripts, get your ass a copy today. If you have read it, read that shit again. If you've read it twice, maybe you should consider a career in literally any other industry. Or, you know, do what most of Hollywood does to succeed and start smoking copious amounts of producer pole.
29 to Life is, at least, totally up front about what it is from its first shot, a flyover of LA's Griffith Observatory scored to some generic R&B tune about following your dreams and believing in yourself. The first scene has Barnaby (Murphy Patrick "No Fucking Steve" Martin) getting dumped. Barnaby is, natch, a 29-year-old, unemployed, quasi-hipster who plays the ukulele and still lives with his parents.
Because if one cliche is good, a dozen will really make your movie sizzle, right?! At his 10-year high school reunion, Barnaby bumps into the sanest, most boring and down to Earth manic pixie dream girl ever conceived, Madison (Diana "Dime Store Daniella Pineda" Cristina). Madison convinces Barnaby to take a shot at doing the one thing he's ever been good at or even remotely enjoyed, being a chef. One gripping, extended, vegetable chopping montage later, Barnaby's on his way.
The funniest part of 29 to Life is character after character telling Barnaby that he's not funny . . . when he's actually not funny as written by Magana or portrayed by Martin. If Martin were any more wooden you could build a fucking boat out of him. And if Magana wants to have any shot at making a movie anyone will actually see, he should probably run his next script by his friendly, neighborhood Cinemavenger pre-production instead of post-abortion.
November 2, 2018