What kind of the deal with the devil has Ben Falcone struck to continue making movies? The filmmaker, married to the multi-Oscar-nominated Melissa McCarthy, exclusively writes and directs bad comedies for his wife. Their collaborations include Tammy, The Boss, Life of the Party, Superintelligence and Thunder Force. Outside of their respective filmographies, the only other lists that feature all these titles together are preceded with the word “worst”.
It’s wonderful that the couple can go to work together every day, but there doesn’t seem to be any thought for the audience. Thunder Force is so terribly unfunny, with tedious attempts at humour ranging from an irritating impression of Steve Urkel to lame endeavours at reaching younger viewers with Fortnite references. This cheap pandering should have been part of the parental warning of the flick – kids have so many better choices for superhero stuff.
The Falcone-McCarthy works typically revolve around an abrasive, unsavoury protagonist. Here, they extend their interest in such unappealing characters by situating the actress as Lydia, a social loafer who seeks her out estranged childhood best friend Emily (Octavia Spencer) after the latter doesn’t show up to their high-school reunion.
Emily’s now a scientist who’s too busy saving the world from sociopaths who have inherited superpowers from a natural phenomenon. She’s developed a secret serum to give ordinary people powers too – including herself, now able to turn invisible. Her old pal Lydia walks into the lab one day and accidentally injects herself with the formula, granting her super strength. Subsequently, the women team up to defeat a gallery of villains played by Bobby Cannavale, Pom Klementieff and Jason Bateman.
It’s going to take some serious script surgery for Falcone to deliver something worthwhile but there are a couple of positive takeaways for him here. For one, the casting is good. The ever-likeable Spencer is complemented by emerging star Taylor Mosby, who plays her smart and heroic daughter – and Bateman, who’s actually funny as a half-man, half-crab. A bit about one of Jodie Foster’s deep cuts will be appreciated by cinephiles and younger viewers can at least learn of some nice 80s-pop music if they won’t be sold on the shabby contemporary references.
Overall, though, this isn’t even in the C-tier of the Bridesmaids star’s career. The only way it could be appreciated is if the next Falcone-McCarthy movie, Margie Clause, somehow turns out to be even worse.
Thunder Force is released on Netflix on 9th April 2021.
Watch the trailer for Thunder Force here: