Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
It's SWITCH's 8th anniversary! Click here now to join the celebrations and win huge prizes!x
review, Playing with Fire, Playing, with, Fire, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, John Cena, Brianna Hildebrand, Keegan-Michael Key, Judy Greer, John Leguizamo, Tyler Mane, Christian Convery, Jasmine Vega, Kurt Long, Finley Rose Slater, Andy Fickman film rating

PLAYING WITH FIRE

★★

PUT OUT THIS FLAMING MESS

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Chris dos Santos
26th November 2019

Live action family comedies are something of a thing of the past. If we flashback to early 2000s they were everywhere, and I grew up on them. From ‘Cheaper by the Dozen’ to ‘Yours, Mine and Ours’ and ‘Daddy Day Care’, these terrible movies are highly nostalgic for me, but the genre really peaked when Hollywood started to do "Muscle Man has to take care of kids" with ‘The Game Plan’, ‘The Pacifier’ and ‘Tooth Fairy’ - these films where both the high points of this time, but also what made it crash and burn. We still get a few every now again; 2014’s ‘Alexander & The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’ was a modest hit, and last year’s heartwarming ‘Instant Family’ really brought back the genre and modernised it. As a sucker for WWE star-turned-actor John Cena, I was filled with so much joy when ‘Playing with Fire’ was announced and couldn’t wait for all the cheesy fun I hoped I would receive in the return of the muscle versus kids trope.

Jake "Supe" Carson (John Cena, ‘Blockers’, 'Trainwreck') is a tough firefighter, devoting his whole life his job especially after the death of his father, who was also one. He is the leader of a team that includes Mark Rogers (Keegan-Michael Key, ‘Keanu’, ‘Toy Story 4’, TV's 'Key & Peele'), the emotional support, Rodrigo Torres (John Leguizamo, ‘Sisters’, ‘John Wick’), the flyer, and Axe (Tyler Mane, ‘X-Men’)... the axe. Days away from a promotion, Jake and his crew are flipped on their heads - after rescuing three kids from a fire and with their parents out of town, it’s up to this firehouse to take care of them. Will they ruin Jake's chance at a promotion? Will they soften this tough bunch? Will that help Jake open up to his love interest Amy (Judy Greer, ‘Halloween’, ‘Jurassic World’)? All will be revealed through hijinks, of course.

'PLAYING WITH FIRE' TRAILER

Reading all of that, the film sounds really cheesy and of course, it’s one those films that is almost made from the poster - rough guys with crazy kids, that just looks so gosh darn silly! But while it does have the potential to be fun, what was unexpected was just how bland it is. The film has almost no score - it’s so quiet, except for when they blast pop music, and of course all the songs have something to do with heat or fire. 90% of the film takes place at the firehouse, and it’s such a cheap empty soundstage. We get a few scenes in the outdoors, but it’s a lot of closeups or again wide empty spaces.

There are some positives, Cena is charismatic as hell; even when he is all tough and no smiles, you can’t help but love him. We get to see him sing, which was just fantastic since the last time he sang was in the terrible terrible film ‘Daddy’s Home 2’ and I was too angry to enjoy it at that point. We also get to be blessed with him wearing a ‘My Little Pony’ t-shirt that's little more than a crop top on him that he rips off (clearly to appease all the mums in the audience.. who are we kidding, me too). He's funny at times, but the biggest problem is that the film is so empty and boring.

While the film does have the potential to be fun, what was unexpected was just how bland it is. The film has almost no score - it’s so quiet, except for when they blast pop music, and of course all the songs have something to do with heat or fire.

On the ‘My Little Pony’ note, this movie has a lot of Pony content, and this movie is produced by Nickelodeon, a network that doesn’t air the show. It really confused me that they went so hard with all this product placement over a property they don’t own, especially since they have shows like ‘SpongeBob’ and ‘Dora’.

The film also feels like it wants to be a Nickelodeon sitcom so badly... stop doing that, Paramount and Nickelodeon *cough* ‘Wonder Park’ *cough*! Let a thing be successful before you franchise it. From the empty sets to music, you just need to cut in a laugh track and it's ready to go. I can’t wait to see what John Cena-knockoff actor they will get like they did for their ‘School of Rock’ show with Jack Black.

This film is also directed by Andy Fickman, who not only directed one of the golden muscle versus kids films, ‘The Game Plan’, but other critically acclaimed films like ‘She’s the Man’, ‘You Again’, ‘Parental Guidance’ and his magnum opus ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2’, so you know you're in good hands. Undeniably, this is Fickman’s most forgettable film - it's not so awful it's good, it's not fun, it's just boring.

Paramount has proved themselves with ‘Instant Family’ and this year's ‘Dora and the Lost City of Gold’, showing they can really work some magic and create really funny, wholesome, heartwarming live action family films, and ‘Playing with Fire’ could have been in that bunch if it wasn’t so cheap and derivative. While Cena charms, the rest of the film isn’t that hot.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 12/12/2019
RUN TIME: 1h 36m
CAST: John Cena
Brianna Hildebrand
Keegan-Michael Key
Judy Greer
John Leguizamo
Tyler Mane
Christian Convery
Jasmine Vega
Kurt Long
Finley Rose Slater
DIRECTOR: Andy Fickman
WRITERS: Matt Lieberman
Dan Ewen
PRODUCERS: Todd Garner
Sean Robins
SCORE: Nathan Wang
www.PlayingWithFire.movie
PlayingWithFireMovie
PlayingWFire
PlayingWithFire
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Jumanji: The Next Level - An epic adventure for the whole family
TRENDINGWIN JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVELAn epic adventure for the whole family
Abominable - Furry friends of the frozen kind
TRENDINGWIN ABOMINABLEFurry friends of the frozen kind
The Truth - Catherine Deneuve & Juliette Binoche team up for the first time
TRENDINGWIN THE TRUTHCatherine Deneuve & Juliette Binoche team up for the first time
Sorry We Missed You - Ken Loach's touching family drama
TRENDINGWIN SORRY WE MISSED YOUKen Loach's touching family drama
Children of the Sea - Sunk by a soggy script
TRENDINGCHILDREN OF THE SEASunk by a soggy script
What Will Become Us - The man behind an iconic Australian brand
TRENDINGWHAT WILL BECOME USThe man behind an iconic Australian brand
Avatar's 10th Anniversary - Does anyone still give a shit?
TRENDINGAVATAR'S 10TH ANNIVERSARYDoes anyone still give a shit?
Little Women - A 21st century remake - but does it cause more harm than good?
TRENDINGLITTLE WOMENA 21st century remake - but does it cause more harm than good?
Daniel Isn't Real - Smart and sinister psychological horror
TRENDINGDANIEL ISN'T REALSmart and sinister psychological horror
Happy Ending - An extra-wrinkly sex comedy
TRENDINGHAPPY ENDINGAn extra-wrinkly sex comedy
The Art of Incarceration - A portrait of culture and identity
TRENDINGTHE ART OF INCARCERATIONA portrait of culture and identity
Inseparable Bros - A heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
TRENDINGINSEPARABLE BROSA heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
Pain and Glory - Almodóvar delivers a rhapsodic masterwork
TRENDINGPAIN AND GLORYAlmodóvar delivers a rhapsodic masterwork
River's Edge - The kids aren't alright
TRENDINGRIVER'S EDGEThe kids aren't alright
Jojo Rabbit - Taika Waititi strikes comedy gold again... with Adolf Hitler
TRENDINGJOJO RABBITTaika Waititi strikes comedy gold again... with Adolf Hitler
Knives Out - A whodunnit worthy of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot
TRENDINGKNIVES OUTA whodunnit worthy of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot
1917 - Sam Mendes' personal war story
TRENDING1917Sam Mendes' personal war story
The Queen's Corgi - Barking up the wrong tree
TRENDINGTHE QUEEN'S CORGIBarking up the wrong tree
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
© 2011 - 2019 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us