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Tek Tek Bom: Another Mohamed Saad Slapstick Flick
Mohamed Saad plays Tika, an underdog Egyptian who sells toys for a living. A poor but good man, Tika's story begins on his wedding night which turns from the happiest night of his life to the most devastating memory, as the January 25th revolution breaks out on the exact same night. The riots end up destroying his wedding, and he and his wife (Dorra) both hide with no intentions of getting involved in what's happening.
They accidentally come across a neighbourhood gang that's planning to take advantage of the police's absence and lack of public security. After witnessing their plans, Tika is forced to join their next heist and become a member of the gang.
At one point, Tika gets involved in a nearby burglary and prevents the elderly George (Labeeb) and his family from harm by standing up to the thugs. With such a heroic act, the neighbourhood celebrates his bravery after things settle down a. As a result he is assigned as the neighbourhood patrol leader. Matters take a turn for the worse though, when Tika and his patrol members get thrown into jail after a misunderstanding, and get framed for a murder he didn't commit.
In relation to Saad's previous projects, Tek Tek Boom isn't as bad as we feared, but it lacks that one hook or gimmick that has usually carried his other films. As for the main plot, it jumps from one situation to another with no specific destination or realistic chain of connection. It's pretty exhausting.
In an attempt to tackle more dramatic roles as an actor, you'll be exposed to the cringing sight of Saad crying, hugging children and generally being a human being throughout. This is of course Saad's show, and all the other actors are quite peripheral. A real shame since Dorra in particular is able to combine charisma and comic timing in her role. Lotfy Labeeb and Gamal Ismail both play their parts well, but also get little screen time.
In short, Tek Tek Boom is far from Saad's worst films, but it is simply lacks on every level. You'll find yourself chuckling at most, and you may even enjoy his song about how he'd treat the Egyptian people if he was president.
Courtesy of the infamous Blumhouse Productions, The Lazarus Effect is the latest thriller to dabble in the world of the undead, doesn’t have all that much new to show or say. Directed by David Gelb, the film’s rehashed premise – see Joel Schumacher’s Flatliners – lacks energy, leaving audiences with,' well, not very much.
The Lazarus Effect tells the story of engaged medical researchers,Frank (Duplass) and Zoe (Wilde), who, along with their team – Clay (Peters), Niko (Glover) and Eva (Bolger) – have just broken new ground by creating a serum that can bring back the dead. Commence eye-rolling. After successfully bringing a dead dog back to life, the team notice that some of the side-effects of the procedure are a little worrisome; the experiment has led to an increased brain-activity in the canine and particularly aggressive behaviour. Uh-oh!
However, their project is soon shut down by a large pharmaceutical company that has recently bought the company that has been funding them all this time.
Feeling like they’re on the verge of a groundbreaking discovery, Frank and Zoe sneak back into the lab, only for Zoe to be fatally electrocuted, leaving Frank no option but to inject her with the serum – cue mayhem.
Taking place almost entirely in the confines of a small science lab, The Lazarus Effect is strangely short – it clocks in at a brief eighty-three minutes – and it doesn’t take too long before its relatively engaging start descends into a big ball of horror jolts and clichés. Hiding behind dialogue weighed down by gobbledegook, behind the pseudoscience is very little real substance or originality.
Surprisingly, unlike its premise, the acting is solid and the group of young actors manage to create a believable and somewhat likable onscreen group-chemistry. As for Olivia Wilde, she’s definitely the glue that keeps the entire thing from falling apart; creepy and villainous, she makes for one beautiful and genuinely frightening antihero. But not even that can save what is tired and half-baked film – that’s not to mention the outrageously, unsatisfying abrupt ending.
Although it’s nowhere near creative as other similarly-plotted teen-dramas out there– see Easy A, Mean Girls, 10 Things I Hate About You – as far as high-school comedies go, The DUFF is expectedly formulaic, but is far from the worst film you’ll see this year.
Loosely based on the novel of the same name – written by the seventeen-year-old Kody Keplinger – the story is centred on Bianca Piper (Whitman); a quirky, socially-awkward and zombie-movie-loving high-school senior who spends most of her time hanging out with her two ‘more attractive’ best-friends, Casey (Santos) and Jess (Samuels).
Known for her laid-back look – which involves a lot of overalls and plaid – and casual approach to life, Bianca is considered somewhat of a loner by her other schoolmates; someone who has learned to turn a deaf ear to all the high-school drama and a girl that pretty much abides to her own set of rules. However, she soon receives the shock of her life when her childhood friend and neighbour, super-hot jock Wesley (Amell), informs her – very nonchalantly – that she is in fact a DUFF; a Designated Ugly Fat Friend who is only used to make her other friends look good in comparison.
Astounded and saddened by his statement, Bianca soon makes a deal with Wesley and asks him to – in exchange for Chemistry tutoring – help her shake of her DUFF image and turn herself into someone who Toby (Eversman) – Bianca’s long-haired and guitar-playing crush – might even consider dating.
Adapted to the screen by Josh A. Cagan, the story embodies a long list of teen-drama tropes and its only the occasional witty and sharp writing that elevates the film above being just another teen movie. Heavy on social media references and pop-culture nods, The DUFF is kept afloat by a well-assembled cast of performers who, apart from a couple of half-baked characters – including Thorne as the evil Queen Bee – manage to keep the film above the standard teen framework. Mae Whitman – remember that adorable little girl who played the President’s daughter in Independence Day? – is all grown-up and delivers the highlight performance; her spot-on comedic timing and sharp wit is a fantastic match for Amell’s surprisingly layered and sincere performance as Wesley.
Yes, The DUFF is a film we’ve all seen a million times before and anyone who has ever sat-through at least one high-school comedy in the past already knows what to expect. However, that doesn’t mean it’s any less enjoyable. On the contrary; it’s sweet, easy-going and fun.