TV Binge: House of Lies [Season 3, 2014]

I’m burning through House of Lies at a remarkable speed, if I must say so myself. This time, it was deliberate since I’m still working on the Netflix A-Z and there are a few little things to take care of. House of Lies sounds like a good, fun and easy option. Did I ever tell you how I love these 25-30 minutes episodes? Its twelve episodes a season which in reality is like watching six, and that is absolutely doable and bingeable (if thats even a word).

House of Lies
[Season 3, 2014]

House of Lies

Creator: Matthew Carnahan

Cast: Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell, Ben Schwartz, Josh Lawson, Donis Leonard Jr., Glynn Turman, Dawn Olivieri, Jenny Slate, Ryan Gaul, Genevieve Angelson, Mekhi Phifer, T.I., Bex Taylor-Klaus, Alice Hunter

Season Three picks up hot off the heels of the Season 2. Marty has left and working with a new team to get business wherever he can and build a name and get some good business. His team is unsure about where Kaan and Associates stand but they stay around because of his legendary name and what they can learn from him. Jeannie and Doug stayed at Galweather until circumstances change and they end up leaving eventually but not before Jeannie offers the condition to be a 50/50 partner. Clyde betrayed Marty and ended up working for Monica, Marty’s ex-wife who is evil and ruthless and finally breaks down before finding a way to win his place back at Kaan and Associates.

House of Lies

I can’t say that this was my favorite season.  There was a change of pace here. That isn’t exactly a bad thing but then there seemed to be much more friction because of the Pod separating and now reuniting. Marty and Jeannie are always opposing each other’s ideas now that they are partners.  Deep down, it seems that there’s something more, probably due to the previous season and that Jeannie wants to prove that she is the “boss lady”. Clyde is dealing with his own self-worth and the value of himself at the office and for the most part, he has the hardest part whereas, Doug is still dorky but he also makes certain personal decisions to change the course of his life. Monica, Marty’s ex-wife, plays a much bigger role and its not a bad thing either because her character lacks morals but its exactly for that reason that its fun to watch. Thing is, there are a lot of petty problems and while this seems to dig a little deeper into the four’s life, it also highlights their flaws as an endgame.

House of Lies

The highlight of the series goes to almost the entire series focused on their new client and their conflict, Dollahyde and the two partners, Lukas (played by T.I.) and Dre (played by Mekhi Phifer).  I’ve seen these two guys before in other series or movies. Its hard to pinpoint exactly where but they are convincing. Their conflict and the stuff they pull really carries the show to be more fun to watch. It also puts Marty and Jeannie in even more opposing ends. To be honest, Lukas was the most colorful character in this season. I wish he did have a larger part.

House of Lies

On the other hand, possibly the most disposable plot is the one involving Marty’s son, Roscoe (played by Donis Leonard Jr.).  I know I talk about liking the show being more personal but it seems they are trying to push Roscoe to be a main player of the show which changes the direction of what House of Lies is but rather, it turns into a show about Marty Kaan and not about the business consultant company itself. However, I think that Bex Taylor-Klaus, who plays Lex, as an actress has quite a bit of potential. She’s in Scream TV series and also one of the best parts of it.  Talking about that, Season 2 just landed on Netflix so I’m going to be watching that soon. Back to this side plot. On one hand, I like that Roscoe is growing but the family plot, at a certain point, feels a little forced.

Overall, Season three of House of Lies is a little below par to the first two seasons. It lacks a bit of good pacing. I still felt inclined to binge it and it was still fun to watch. However, I’m not sure how happy I was with it having too many side plots and never taking the time to let us care. At the end of this season, I can’t say I cared more for Doug or Clyde even if they had more personal bits or even that I was rooting for either Jeannie or Marty even if they are still one of the best parts of House of Lies.

Have you seen House of Lies?

Netflix A-Z: Identity Thief (2013)

Moving right along, we hit the I selection.  You know, these are pretty slim pickings.  I, Q, X, you know.  My second round is proving to have some holes where I’m waiting for some interesting selections to pop up. I’m taking chances on some pretty funky stuff for some of these letters. I can only hope I’ll find some treasures.  However, there was no doubt that the first round for I would be this choice, Identity Thief.  I’ve been looking at it for a while.  I just hesitate because Melissa McCarthy’s humor doesn’t always work for me.

Let’s stay positive and give this a go! 🙂

Identity  Thief (2013)

identity thief

Director: Seth Gordon

Cast: Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, John Cho, Jon Favreau, Amanda Peet, T.I., Genesis Rodriguez, Robert Patrick

Mild mannered businessman Sandy Patterson travels from Denver to Florida to confront the deceptively harmless looking woman who has been living it up after stealing Sandy’s identity. – IMDB

I always start reviews on comedy genre movies saying that is fully subjective. The humor I appreciate might work for me and not you and vice versa.  Melissa McCarthy falls into the category of not working so often because she always goes into the absurd stupid humor.  I like absurd. I watched Stephen Chow growing up but I don’t like stupid. So there was a 50/50 chance of this not working.  Even the director himself is a hit and miss on my book.  Seth Gordon did Horrible Bosses which I enjoyed but he also did Four Christmases which I dislike. Now that I’ve kind of cushioned where this movie could be a hit or miss, I would like to say that this was for the most part a miss.

Identity Thief

Identity Thief was mostly really hard to get invested into. I’m not saying I didn’t laugh a little because there were some parts that worked and I kind of chuckled here and there.  Then the humor was kind of weird and absurd (in a bad way) and pretty stupid.  Melissa McCarthy does certain troupes that don’t always work and for me, it worked only a little here and there but for the most part, it felt like its been there done that and I just felt a little repulsed by it. Other times, it just felt so boring that I tried to stay focused but went off to flip through other pages as I surfed the Internet and it played in the background. Like that scene below was really ugh…like I turned my head in disgust and just didn’t enjoy it.  I understand how for some it could be funny but it didn’t make me laugh.  It was just kind of cringe-worthy.

identity thief

Set some uneffective jokes aside, as a road trip movie, which it is because Jason Bateman’s character Sandy has to bring Diana (Melissa McCarthy) home from Florida to Denver within a set time frame, they both do have charisma for the characters they play.  They have certain expected things that happen and their dislike for each other and just fight for survival does lead them to do things that can be classified as adventurous or ridiculous.  While I sympathize for Sandy a little more, its hard to not notice that the story did want us to connect with Diana more because they do try to build a back story for her.  For a moment, it almost did pull me in but at a certain point, not funny just got annoying and it just stopped me from caring about them.  I get the urgency and the hate and whatever relationship they have, but it just didn’t work so well.

Identity Thief

The parts in the movie I did like was really the more action comedy parts with the two up there who work for a crime boss or gang or something and they are after Diana for something she owes them. It still has some comedic value to these characters but they added a bit of entertainment that gave a break from Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman and their jokes.  It added some danger and intensity (just a bit).  They had some funny bits along with another “bounty hunter”-esque sort of fellow played by Robert Patrick who was actually more fun to watch than the other ones.

Honestly, I’m out of stuff to say about Identity Thief.  It was okay.  I’m a little indifferent but mostly just bored because its the same old troupes that I expected.  I still think Jason Bateman can be a very funny guy when given the right script.  Unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing for Melissa McCarthy but her performance always stands out more because its more explicit and/or absurd.  There are a few laughs here but I’m sure in a few days it’ll completely escape my mind and I won’t remember it anymore.  If I wanted to watch a good road trip movie, I’d rather watch something like Little Miss Sunshine and if I wanted a better comedy, I’d go for a thousand other choices like Horrible Bosses even.

Did you see Identity Thief? What are your thoughts? Do you like comedies with Jason Bateman or Melissa McCarthy?

J is up next! What do you think it is? Hint: Irish drama