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Playing with Fire
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by Jack Sommersby

"Pants on 'Fire'"
1 stars

Perfect if you're into non-Novocain root-canal work.

I personally have nothing against the stocky, craggy-faced actor John Cena, but casting him in the lead role in the dreary so-called comedy Playing with Fire was a massive miscalculation to the nth degree. Playing ace smoke-jumper Kyle based out of the forestry service in Redding, California, he's been required to portray a character with vividity and do so with a good deal of comic timing, and he unsuccessfully flails at both - direly lacking charisma and alacrity, he continually looks lost at sea as if waiting for an adept understudy waiting in the wings to take over. His Kyle is no one in particular, and Cena simply hasn't the resources to rise above the role and elevate the material; you're continually watching someone locked in to a screenplay that couldn't be more abysmal. After rescuing a trio of kids from their parents' vacation cabin Kyle is forced into the unfortunate position of having to temporarily care for them, which his lifelong bachelor self has absolutely no desire to do; he's ungodly nitpicky and almost has a stroke if the slightest object of his is innocently misplaced. I wish I could comment further on the entirety of the proceedings but I simply can't because by the forty-eight-minute mark I abandoned my post after the youngest of the siblings, the cute-faced nine-year-old daughter, revoltingly indulged in flatulence and projectile diarrhea that was about as funny as a rubber crutch. (This is far and away the grossest bathroom humor in a purported family film since the Van Diesel star vehicle The Pacifier.) And because the directing is inadequate and the rest of the technical contributions equally lacking, Playing with Fire possesses all the artistic qualities of scribblings on walls of Time's Square men's stalls - a "Kindergarten Cop" minus both the laughs and wit.

Call 9-11 on this utter complete travesty.

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originally posted: 10/24/20 11:48:49
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  08-Nov-2019 (PG)



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