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November 15, 2013 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-11-15

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, November 15, 2013 - 5

"What year is it?"
.'Mans' mixes
comedy, suspense


it isn't
from H
the B]
odd pa
is und
a succes
takes f
utes fo
to pro
a darkl
the boo
close to
much p
den ("O
* series,

lu finally takes neurotic, alongside Corden as Phil,
his sturdier, intrepidly naive coun-
'harge in the terpart.
The premiere begins with a
reaming game literal crash, following Sam as he
witnesses acar veer crazily off the
By KELLY ETZ road. After he rightfully calls 999
DailyArts Writer (the British version of 911) and the
police clear the scene, he's almost
ger does call ahead - and on his way when he hears the dole-
even the I.R.A. - in "The ful ringing of an abandoned Nokia
Mans," the new co-pro- cellphone. He answers - because
series that's the sensible thing to do here,
ulu and right? - only to hear a scratchy
BC. The voice relay a pretty serious threat:
rtnership The Wrong deliver the money, or he'll kill the
loubtedly Mans Nokia owner's wife. After relaying
ss; it only the message to Phil, the two form
ive min- Mondays a wary alliance and set out to save
or "The the unlucky woman. "This is our
Mans" Hulu moment," Phil announces. "We've
ve itself been chosen."
y humorous delight. Quite The plot quickly spins out into
n for Hulu, whose original interweaving layers of subter-
mmingthus far hasn't come fuge, from the Russian mob to the
competing with Netflix's British secret service: These two
louses "Orange Is the New are in deep. The comedy is inter-
and "House of Cards" (Oh, spersed throughout - Baynton's
ground," you wasted so erratic behavior causes quite the
otential). stir in his drone-like workplace
ously the work of the co- while practically every word out
s and writers, James Cor- of Corden's mouth elicits laughter.
ne Chance") and Matthew The series, initially concep-
n ("Spy"), "The Wrong tualized by Corden and Baynton
is full-to-brimming with over four years ago, ingeniously
nt, inescapably British blends workplace comedy and
As the two leads in the thrilling suspense in a neatly
the duo plays perfect foils: compact half-hour time slot. All
n as Sam, slight and slightly six episodes in the series - which

will be released each Monday on
Hulu, and are already available to
stream on Hulu+ - maintain this
blend exactly, creating a darkly
endearing world.
Corden and Baynton have
worked together before on the
undeniably adorable BBC series
"Gavin & Stacey," and it shows.
Their camaraderie hits the per-
fect pitch here, a U.K. spin on
the "Odd Couple" standard. The
interaction between the two is
the driving force of the series,
along with Corden's almost play-
ful attitude toward the whole
thing - he plays "got your nose"
with an impromptu hostage and
unabashedly snorts a mobster's
drugs without a care.
The strength of both Corden
and Baynton, as actors in their
own right and as a comedic duo,
bolsters the series though minor
bumps and plot holes. As "The
Wrong Mans" hinges so distinctly
on the two, it would prove a dif-
ficult series to re-create - though
there's little doubt FOX will
throw its hat into the ring for an
American-ized spin-off at some
point. Why FOX, why?
Simply put: Watch this series.
All that's left to answer is Cor-
den's impassioned question, doled
out while deftly rollinghandmade
sushi: "Are you prepared to roll
Yes, yes we are.

Would the real Slim
Shady stand up for this?

No real reason to 'Ride Along'
DailyArts Writer
Light on the action and heavy
on the comedy, "Ride Along"
leans on the chemistry between
its starring duo,
Ice Cube ("21 _
Jump Street")
and Kevin Ride Along
Hart ("Scary
Movie 4"). At State
Their humorous , Universal
exchanges pro-
vide the main
source of entertainment in this
otherwise standard experience.
Ice Cube plays a badass cop
who's searching for Atlanta's most
notorious and elusive felon while
Kevin Hart is a high school secu-
rity guard who wants to marry
Ice Cube's gorgeous younger sis-
ter Angela (Tika Sumpter "Tink UNIVERSAL
'i'mtoUNd lVERisAhit

DailyArts Writer
The concept of "selling out"
as an artist is nothing new to the
music industry. I don't want to
explore working definitions of
selling out, so much as why it's
significant. For that, I'll be using
Eminem's most recent release.
The Marshall Mathers LP 2, as
a framework for my discussion,
which I'm sure won't sit well with
loyal fans.
Some see selling out as corre-
lated with becoming mainstream,
working to alter an artist's vision
and limit creativity. Eminem was
put into the mainstream spotlight
after his career took off when he
got "produced by Dre." But, Emi-
nem didn't suddenly sell out: It
wasn't until he got a record deal
that he further explored his alter-
ego Slim Shady, and along with it
many highly controversial top-
ics, such as calling out a whole
host of celebrities and rampant
cussing. His most recent album
shows his ability to take risks,
too, with Marshall experimenting
with variations of his own voice,
occasionally exchanging his pri-
mary trademark edgy voice and
hard-nose tone for a relatively
more at-ease demeanor. This is
a risky move that likely wouldn't
have been contemplated if he had
"sold out" in a mainstream sense,
because it goes against the grain.
While people make a big deal
over it, selling out also doesn't
necessarily mean the music
sounds bad. Sometimes, an art-
ist who sells out produces music
that is bland, so while it appeals
to larger audiences, it's less
unique and meaningful.
Take the music video for Emi-
nem's "Survival," for instance:
It seems to be almost purely
an advertisement for the latest
"Call of Duty" game, featuring
video-game footage throughout
the music video - badass, right?
While this may be a questionable
movethe songitselfis still enjoy-
able, with smooth flowing verses
and soothing female vocals for
the chorus.
Often a red flag for fans is who
an artist collaborates with. In
The Marshall Mathers LP 2, the
song "Headlights" features Nate
Ruess, the lead singer of fun.
This can be viewed two ways: On
the one hand, Eminem is selling
out, adopting the whiney synth
sound of fun. for increased prof-
its, overall popularity, blah blah
blah. Back to the argument that
selling out can sound bad, let's
just say this is certainly not my
favorite song on the album.
On the other hand, you can
view Eminem as trying some-
thing new and expanding his
musical repertoire. Many bands

try new sounds and flavors, and Eminem is trying to project his
some even make complete switch- younger, underground self
es because they find they like a Do I think Eminem has sold
different sound or even an entire out? No. But he is trying excep-
genre more prior to reaching pop- tionally hard to make sure he
ularity. doesn't sound or look like he has.
So, if selling out doesn't have The Marshall Mathers LP 2
a definition that applies to every is reminiscent of and rooted in
case and doesn't necessarily mean Eminem's earlier work, but at the
that the music sounds bad or is same time hosts some qualities
restricted by mainstream presy-that could be seen as selling out,
sures, why does it seem to matter which creates a certain tension in
for every artist musically? Back to the album. This tension between
Mr. Mathers. reverting back to his under-
ground sound and being main-
stream or selling out reflects a
conflict that likely looms large
l g for many artists as they gain pop-
out doesn't ularity and become aware that
they may be in potential dan-
necessaily lea ~of selling out. Yet, even with
this awareness, it seems many of
to dow nfall. them still do things that people
perceive as signs of "selling out."
If Eminem - who clearly puts
forth conscious efforts to stay
It's no coincidence that "Ber- true to his roots while achieving
zerk" was an early release for the success, who gained the spotlight
album. An earlier single can be by being highly controversial -
used to dictate listeners' precon- still, very infrequently, succumbs
ceived thinking about an album as to musical decisions that could be
a whole, and in this case, the song seen as "selling out," what does
screams, "Look! Em is going back this say? Maybe endeavors that
to '90s hip hop!" In the same way, can be perceived as signs of "sell-
the name of the album reminds ing out" for an artist who has yet
listeners of the first The Mar- to sell out are just natural steps in
shall Mathers LP released more a musician's progress as an art-
than a decade ago, breaking the ist, a constant testing of musical
more recent trend of chronologi- boundaries within which a given
cal album names - Relapse, Refill, artist must work. When an artist
Recovery. And the dyed blonde fails to recognize these boundar-
hair? Definitely another clue that ies in his music, he has sold out.

Lc, ui
Like a
of the
law, H
to scar
him fo
ly resp
case br
close t
of the c
and H
ally le

Man"). Unfortunately for "Im too old for this shit.
character, Ice Cube doubts together. The criminal master-
manliness and disapproves mind's vague scheme functions
relationship. In order to mainly as a catalyst for the main
s his potential brother-in- characters' relationship and an
art joins the police academy. excuse for some sub-par action
ressed, Ice Cube attempts sequences. With just one or two
'e the rookie off by taking notable exceptions, the majority
r a ride along and purpose- of the plot contains a frustrating
onding to all of the most absence of suspense or surprise.
ng disturbance reports. "Ride Along" barely qualifies
sally, a break in Ice Cube's as an action comedy. The sim-
rings the pair dangerously ple action sequences hold little
o the criminal mastermind appeal. Too Hollywood to claim
ity's underworld. realism but too nondescript to
trigger much excitement, all the
fights and car chases fall flat.
th w for This result is a severely anti-cli-
tingi new fr matic final fight.
ie buddy-cop Most of the entertainment
value in "Ride Along" comes
genre. from laughing at Cube and
Hart's antagonistic exchanges.
Both stars basically play them-
selves - Hart's character talks
tall, the film fails to add a mile a minute and his short
to the worn buddy-cop height makes it impossible for
The silly premise for Cube him to command any respect. Ice
art's partnership eventu- Cube's street-toughened char-
'ads to them developing acter drives around Atlanta like
1 respect when solving the he owns it. At one point he even
case forces them to work declares with a grin, "Today was

a good day." Together, the pair's
contrasting attitudes produce a
few good laughs.
However, the humor in "Ride
Along" rarely seems clever.
Hart's self-deprecating antics
and Ice Cube's cool sarcasm
display little originality. Hart's
constant jabbering lacks the wit
of his standup comedy, and the
one-liners Ice Cube dispenses
come off so canned that they
verge on parody, but just end up
sounding like lazy writing. More
successful buddy-cop movies
such as "21 Jump Street" or "The
Other Guys" achieve their humor
by ridiculing the same genre
conventions that "Ride Along"
adheres to.
The star power of Ice Cube
and Hart will satisfy some audi-
ences, but no one's going to rush
out of the theater to tell their
friends about "Ride Along." The
film manages some humorous
moments, but completely fails to
say anything new. Utterly forget-
table, this buddy cop action com-
edy could stand as the epitome of
disposable entertainment.


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