*Not much to spoil here
When straight-laced fire superintendent Jake Carson and his elite team of firefighters come to the rescue of three siblings, they quickly realize that no amount of training could prepare them for their most challenging job yet — babysitting. As their lives, jobs and depot get turned upside down, the three men soon learn that children — much like fires — are wild and unpredictable.
Playing with Fire is the new movie from Andy Fickman and immediately after seeing it I flashed to numerous movies I had seen like this. Uncle Buck, Instant Family, The Pacifier and on and on, we have seen so many stories of hard headed adults being softened by sudden adventures with children.
This movie tells the story of 4 smoke jumpers (not fire fighters) who find three children, and through a number of circumstances are forced to spend the weekend together. Superintendent Jake Carson (John Cena) is the hard nosed captain that learns he may have a softer side to him as well. He is flanked by the great Keegan Michael Key, John Leguizamo, and Tyler Mane making up the Motley Crue, Three Men and a Baby style. They are tested along the way by many hijinx by the children but of course this is a family movie so we get a nice happy ending.
There were some genuinely funny scenes in this, most involving Key, there was just so much repetition of what we have seen before it was hard to get past that. There is also a shoe horned in B Plot involving a promotion for Cena’s character that just passed the time. And even a C Plot love story, man they shoved a lot in with these 90 minutes huh?
Stock Neutral – John Cena gradually got better throughout this movie and had some great scenes, but I still do not think this pushes him over the edge yet. I thought he was very funny and balanced the emotion of some of the scenes as well. He has been doing great work in movies recently and this is another step forward.
Stock Up – Keegan Michael Key was the MVP of the movie and made me laugh with almost everything he said and did. He not only had great lines, but he had to do a lot of physical comedy and one scene of some humorous dancing. I love everything he is about these days.
*A couple other tidbits
- MY MAN DENNIS HAYSBERT!!
- The three kids were all funny but one of the flaws of the movie is that they just are not memorable.
- The rescue scene was quite thrilling.
- Judy Greer was fantastic as always in this.
This is meant to be a fun family movie and it is! I laughed and was moved at the end as well and I guess that is all they are going for. There is absolutely a place in the cinema for movies like this.
*You can find all of my Movie Ratings here.