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Sundance 2014: Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler give rom coms an 'Airplane!' twist in 'They Came Together'

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If Airplane! and You’ve Got Mail went on a blind date, got liquored up, and had a baby…that baby would look like David Wain’s rom-com spoof They Came Together. Making its world premiere on Friday night at Sundance and adding some star power to the tail end of the festival, the silly send-up of formulaic Meg Ryan-Tom Hanks meet-cute movies and their ilk reunites the gang from Wet Hot American Summer – with some new faces sprinkled in.

Wain’s Wet Hot American Summer had its debut at Sundance 13 years ago. And it’s good to see that Wain hasn’t grown up much since then. They Came Together feels like a movie made by a guy who still thinks like a 13 year old and that rapid-fire Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker sight gags and “Don’t call me Shirley”-style puns are the height of comedy gold. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that some of his old pals have become really famous since his cult summer-camp flick came out in 2001.

The film kicks off in typical genre style with Paul Rudd’s Joel and Amy Poehler’s Molly on a double date with Bill Hader and Ellie Kemper, recounting how they met. Rudd explains how if it were a corny movie he’d be the not overtly Jewish, handsome leading man. Molly adds that she’d be the adorable klutz leading woman. From there, it’s an 82-minute rat-a-tat riff-fest on every cliche you’ve ever seen Nora Ephron and company commit to celluloid.

Molly owns a small-business candy shop with a quirky, punny name (Upper Sweet Side); Joel works for a ruthless candy conglomerate that wants to put her out of business. Molly’s a single mom; Joel’s just been jilted by his icy girlfriend. But when they meet, it’s love-hate at first sight. How could it not be? They’re both dressed like Benjamin Franklin for a Halloween party…and they both like “fiction books”!

Some of Wain and cowriter Michael Showalter’s gags are real groaners. But most mildly land near the target, and a few hit the bullseye. It doesn’t hurt when you have folks like Rudd and Poehler selling them. Plus, when you’re throwing this much spaghetti at the wall, some of it’s gotta stick, right?

With a cast that includes Ed Helms, Cobie Smulders, Chris Meloni, Max Greenfield, and Michael Ian Black, They Came Together is never quite as laugh-out-loud funny as you want it to be. But if you’re a fan of Wain’s knowing brand of sophomoric slapstick silliness, his “When Joel Met Molly” satire will send you into “I’ll have what she’s having” fits of ecstasy.

Casting Net: Tina Fey teaming up with the 'Muppets.' Plus: Josh Brolin, Christopher Meloni entering 'Sin City: A Dame to Kill For'

• Tina Fey once made a muppet-y episode of 30 Rock, and she’s once again returning to the world of felt skin and feather hair. The upcoming Golden Globes cohost is in final talks for a lead role in the sequel to 2011′s The Muppets, as a guard in a Russian gulag. She’ll join Ricky Gervais and Ty Burrell. Director James Bobin is returning for the second installment, writing the screenplay with Nicholas Stoller. [THR]

• Josh Brolin and  Christopher Meloni are joining the growing ensemble cast of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Brolin, whose casting was announced by Dimension Films, will play a younger version of Clive Owen’s character Dwight from the 2005 Sin City. In the new film, Dwight is hounded by an ex-flame, ultimately leading him to change his face into Owen’s visage. Meloni, meanwhile, will play a (likely dangerous) cop. They join returning actors Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, and Jaime King, and new recruits Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dennis Haysbert, and Jamie Chung. Like the last film, Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller will both write and direct. [Deadline]

• Will Forte and Tim Robbins have signed up for The Switch, and in one of Hollywood’s nice little ironies, they’re taking over roles originally occupied by Ty Burrell and Dennis Quaid, respectively. Based on the Elmore Leonard crime novel of the same name, the film will serve as something of a prequel to Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, with John Hawkes and Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) playing younger versions of Robert DeNiro and Samuel L. Jackson’s career crooks from Tarantino’s film. Robbins will play the wealthy husband of the woman (Jennifer Aniston) they kidnap, and Forte will play a man who witnesses the crime. Dan Schechter (Supporting Characters) is directing from his script. [Variety]

Read more:
Casting Net: Joseph Gordon-Levitt signs up for ‘Sin City’ 2. Plus: Hailee Steinfeld, Amber Heard join Kevin Costner thriller
Casting Net: Maggie Gyllenhaal joins Michael Fassbender’s band in ‘Frank.’ Plus: Ashley Tisdale, Stephen Lang, Vinnie Jones
Casting Net: Ricky Gervais in talks to star in ‘The Muppets’ sequel. Plus: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Eddie Redmayne, Berenice Bejo

Michael Showalter dishes on 'Wet Hot American Summer' prequel

Camp Firewood fans, get ready for even more bbq sauce.

Michael Showalter, one of the writers and stars of 2001′s cult favorite Wet Hot American Summer, confirmed in February that a sequel was in the works. Now, in an appearance yesterday on Geeking Out with Kerri Doherty, he teased some details about the new film, Slashfilm reports. Watch the video after the jump. READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Bryan Cranston joining thriller 'Eye of Winter.' Plus: Christopher Meloni, Richard Dreyfuss, Gloria Reuben

• Bryan CranstonAlice Eve (Sex and the City 2, next summer’s Star Trek Into Darkness), and Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus) will star in Eye of Winter, an indie thriller about a lifelong crook (Cranston) who is going blind (too much blue meth?), and therefore decides to kidnap a mother (Eve) and her daughter to help him land a bounty of cash from a corrupt cop (Marshall-Green). Tze Chun (Children of Invention) will direct from a script he wrote with Osgood Perkins and Nick Simon (Removal). [Variety]

• Christopher Meloni (NBC’s Law & Order: SVU, HBO’s True Blood) is in talks to star in White Bird in a Blizzard, an indie drama from writer-director Gregg Araki (Mysterious Skin) about a woman dealing with her suddenly missing mother. Shailene Woodley (The Descendants), Eva Green (Casino Royale), Shiloh Fernandez (Red Riding Hood), and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) costar. [Deadline]

• Richard Dreyfuss, Danny Glover, Danny Masterson, and Jon Heder will star in the dark comedy Killing Winston Jones, about an elementary school teacher (Masterson) who schemes to get the school gym named after his dad (Dreyfuss). The catch: The honoree must be dead, and his pops isn’t. Yet. Actor Joel David Moore (Avatar) will direct from a script by first timer Justin T. Winters. [Variety]

• Gloria Reuben (Lincoln) will join Samuel L. Jackson and Dominic Cooper (The Devil’s Double) in the thriller Reasonable Doubt, about an assistant district attorney who obsesses over a man acquitted from a hit-and-run accident that killed someone. Reuben will play a veteran police detective. Peter Howitt (Sliding Doors) will direct the indie from a script by Peter Dowling (Flightplan). [Deadline]

Read more:
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Casting Net: Kelsey Grammer, Kyra Sedgwick join ensemble of ‘Reach Me.’ Plus: Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl plan ‘The Nut Job’
Casting Net: Tom Hardy plugging into ‘Splinter Cell.’ Plus: Benicio del Toro, Alexander Skarsgard, Evan Rachel Wood

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