Movie reviews: My Spy, Emma
MY SPY (PG13)
This seems to be the perfect spy comedy to take the kids to while the folks sit back and let the big screen do the parenting.
My Spy stars Dave Bautista as hardened CIA operative JJ who is blackmailed by nine-year-old Sophie (Chloe Coleman) when she catches him during a surveillance mission on her family.
She forces him to take her ice-skating against her mother's will, shape up the bullies in school and help her become popular.
But My Spy is not a children's film. The family-friendly premise is robbed by random swear words, references to prostitution and a split-second glimpse of someone's head flying across the screen.
The cringeworthy romantic subplot between JJ and Sophie's mum aside, Coleman's charm and confidence will keep viewers invested - a bubble of energy amid lethargic performances.
However, the film's treatment of women - who are sidelined as male-reliant damsels in distress - remains problematic.
Tough guys going soft for comedy is not new, but this is surely one Bautista should sweep under the rug. - OSMOND CHIA -2/5 Ticks
Hollywood seems to have a penchant for remaking a chick lit classic every 20 years or so.
Hot on the heels of Greta Gerwig's take on Little Women comes the latest version of Jane Austen's Emma, which was last made into a film in 1996 starring Gwyneth Paltrow.
Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch, Split, Glass) takes over as the eponymous heroine, a beautiful, clever, rich and vain young woman who interferes in the love life of her simpleton friend (Mia Goth).
With cartoonish wide-set eyes that can go from scary to soulful, Taylor-Joy is a delicious talent to watch out for. Emma is far from her usual victim roles, but she can play the mean girl-queen bee just as well.
Almost every frame of this period comedy is ridiculously picturesque, and the casting and costumes are spot-on.
Unfortunately, the source material isn't one of Austen's most scintillating works.
So when the film lingers on and drags out every small development over a two-hour run time, one can feel slightly worn out by all the misguided low-stakes matchmaking and romantic missteps. - JEANMARIE TAN - 3/5 Ticks