So, out of everything this year, what made it into the top five stinkers of the year? Which were so underwhelming, so anger-inducing, and so lazily put-together that they deserve their place at the stinking bottom of the list? Be warned: some of these are so horrendous that they have been known to cause blindness…
5 – MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN
How did a good director like Jason Reitman make a film so bizarrely bad? In his attempt to say something about the current state of interaction against the growing face of technology, the message is uncomfortably hammered in to a point where it becomes unbearable and overly-preachy.
It has some good performances by its ensemble, including Adam Sandler (yes, it turns out a Sandler movie DID make it onto our “Worst Of” list after all), but they are saddled with characters that at times are more alien than E.T., and unlikable to the extreme – in particular, Jennifer Garner’s prudish mother whose restricting and totalitarian methods are horrifying. It ends up being the slowest two hours you’ll experience in a cinema, not just because it’s frustratingly boring but also due to how incompetent it all feels.
Honestly, we expected better from you, Jason…
4 – LET’S BE COPS/RIDE ALONG
Our first tie on our end-of-year lists, but they’re both so bad in their own right and also very similar, at least in their crime-comedy sub-genre.
Let’s Be Cops, to be fair, had an intriguing set-up – two normal guys get mistaken for cops after a fancy dress party – but had absolutely no idea what to do with it. Whenever it goes for laughs, it falls flat on its face. Whenever it tries to go serious, it can do so to a point where it’s just unpleasant. When it tries to mix both of them together, it creates a depressing, clichéd and unfunny failure of a comedy with promise.
The same certainly cannot be said about Ride Along, which seemed destined to fail right from the off. Though stars Ice Cube and Kevin Hart fared better in other ventures this year (Cube in 22 Jump Street, Hart in About Last Night and the forthcoming Top Five) this demonstrated their weakest values in a tiresome, heavily contrived script with very few laughs and bland characterisation. And yet, it STILL made money at the box office, ensuring a fast-tracked sequel. Thanks, people of America!
Make no mistake, these were two cop comedies that definitely needed to be restrained…
3 – NEED FOR SPEED
Not even Tom Cruise would feel the need for this trainwreck.
A giant bore of a car movie, operating at one mile per hour with its sluggish running time (two hours and ten minutes for something like this? That’s just overkill) and a plot that makes absolutely no sense, Need for Speed is a video game adaptation that proves just watching someone play the game is more entertaining. Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul is left to brood in a thankless stock lead role, Dominic Cooper is wasted in a crappy one-dimensional villain role, and poor Imogen Poots is saddled with a female role written with blatant and uncomfortable misogyny.
Not even Michael Keaton, in a thankless cameo as the reclusive host of an illegal car racing derby (who constantly makes himself known to the world and, thus, the authorities via webcam – friggin’ idiot), can save this train-wreck, which puts into question yet again the nature of adapting a known video game franchise into a movie (at this rate, we don’t like The Last Of Us’s chances…)
2 – BAD NEIGHBOURS
Time for some controversy, mainly because we know this film has a lot of fans. Sadly, we are not among them.
Bad Neighbours is a vile, ugly, hateful movie that often mistakes a lack of common decency for high-grade comedy – after all, this is a film where the word “rape” is used as a cheap punchline – and asserts itself with the nasty scum posing as characters.
Every single person in this movie is an awful person, in particular Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne, who display some of the worst parenting skills we’ve seen in any film regardless of what year it came out. The first time we see them, they are attempting to have sex RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEIR WIDE-AWAKE INFANT DAUGHTER. First of all, who in their right frame of mind would think that would be the best way to nurture their child, by mentally scarring them for life as you literally show them where they came from? And second, committing a sexual act in front of a child – correct us if we’re wrong, but isn’t that technically paedophilia? Needless to say, we were NOT rooting for them at all – in fact, the closest to sympathetic characters we get are Zac Efron and his frat-house comrades, and we think they’re supposed to be the bad guys!
We almost feel bad for saying all of this because, to its credit, from a technical standpoint it’s a competently-made movie. Director Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), who should know better than to hang around with this type of filth, does have a clear sense of a direction even if his style can be commonly unbearable. Even so, he cannot save a script laden with unfunny gross-out humour that’s just, erm, gross and, as mentioned, horrible characters that do ruin the movie more than you think.
In fact, for a time, this was our pick for the #1 spot on this list, we hated it THAT much. But then, out of (almost) nowhere…
1 – ANNIE
As horrendous as Bad Neighbours was for us, it wasn’t as physically painful to watch as Annie.
Simply remembering this film is cringe-worthy, thanks to its obnoxious nature that lacks heart, charisma or even the musical gravitas that many remember the original for. Instead, we get a film that’s pure studio product from beginning to end, a film with no desire to entertain and instead sell a crappy, clichéd and implausible script (which Emma Thompson, of all people, previously worked on – we can’t imagine how she feels after seeing this film) with a marketable name attached to it.
What’s even more heart-breaking is that none of its talented actors seem to be trying at all, as if they know they’re in something ungodly and can’t be arsed to elevate it (except for Quvenzhané Wallis who, to her credit, is at least making an effort). The biggest offender of the lot is Cameron Diaz, who gives one of the worst performances of her career with her over-the-top, woefully-unfunny Miss Hannigan, and proves to the world that she’s no Carol Burnett (who played her role in the flawed-but-better 1982 version).
Not even the musical numbers pack the right amount of weight – aside from popular favourites “It’s A Hard-Knock Life” and “Tomorrow”, both of which are gotten out of the way early on, they’re all extraordinarily forgettable and unworthy for anyone’s iPod. We honestly feel that there was so much sugar in these songs, they should come with a diabetes warning.
Annoying, boring and overall a waste of time, Annie marks the end of an extremely troubled year for Sony Pictures with what we’re officially naming the Worst Movie of the Year – there’s now TWO bombs they need to be worried about…