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Playing with Fire

Playing with Fire: Worn Out or A Foolproof Winner?‎

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  • Brianna HildebrandChristian Convery...
  • Comedy
  • Andy Fickman
reviewed by
Yasmeen Mamdouh
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Playing with Fire: Worn Out or A Foolproof Winner?‎

Just like classic food recipes, films have their all-time-favourite plotlines that never fail to seize the attention of the audience. But being a classic plotline doesn’t mean that it will always work. If things go wrong, a film will end up being a boring copy of previous successful ones.

Playing with Fire follows Smoke Jumper, Superintendent Jake Carson (John Cena), and his team as they take care of three children, with whom they get trapped at the fire department during a storm. When a couple of hours of mayhem turns into days, Carson has to take care of the children, while preparing for a career transforming visit from his boss.

The plot is obviously nothing new; from The Pacifier to The Tooth Fairy, there have been countless films with big tough guys stuck taking care of mischievous kids. Even when it comes down to details, many scenes are too familiar, like ‘changing the diaper’ scene, having a birthday party, and more. The characters are also cliché down to the smallest detail, including a huge, scary member of Carson’s Team, who everyone calls Axe because he carries one around wherever he goes. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Just think of every big, tough guy, who barely speaks, and how his character evolves when involved with a child.

While Playing with Fire isn’t exactly innovative, it manages somehow to offer something funny every now and then. However, the overall comedic moments are not as many as you’d expect from the trailer or the cast; only a couple of laugh-out-loud moments, and a few memorable scenes, including a gag-reflex scene involving Jake Carson and his loyal subordinate, Mark (Keegan-Michael Key).

As for the acting, John Cena, who mainly relies on his physical appearance, delivered a small slice of his sense of comedy, as he attempted to make his character appear uptight. All three children, Brianna Hildebrand, Christian Convery, and Finley Rose Slater, gave adequate performances. Keegan-Michael Key tried hard with his performance, yet seemed over the top at times. Playing the third member of Carson’s team Rodrigo, John Leguizamo’s performance was also uneven, with few funny instances.

Playing with Fire offers fewer laughs than you would expect in a manner that is very expected, except if you are young enough to think this is all new.

Like This? Try

The Pacifier (2005), and The Tooth Fairy (2010).

360 Tip

Nickelodeon Movies' third and last film of 2019, after Wonder Park (2019) and Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019).

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