Neil Fox on film:Jack Reacher, Parental Guidance

Jack Reacher

Werner Herzog is the villain! Werner Herzog is the villain! Werner Herzog is the villain!

Forgive my over-enthusiastic opening but it’s a massive deal and the main reason to see this decent enough adaptation of a successful airport novel character.

The inclusion of the acclaimed and crazy director of Fitzcarraldo and Aguirre, Wrath of God as a Gulag survivor with more than a few dark secrets is far more interesting a talking point than whether Tom Cruise is tall enough to play the title role.

That sort of sniping never befell Jack Nicholson playing against the original characterisation in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, and is misplaced in a film that was never going to be more than an enjoyable espionage actioner – after all, the source material isn’t exactly Chekhov.

Cruise is brilliant as a man on the trail of a deadly sniper. The supporting cast including Richard Jenkins and Brits Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo are solid and writer/director Christopher McQuarrie does a good job of keeping action and plot on track but it never really goes anywhere surprising.

Parental Guidance

Only the heaviest turkey hangover will cause you to end up leaving the warm comfort of Only Fools and Horses reruns and end up enduring this ‘comedy’ that is about as formulaic as you can get in terms of plot and jokes.

Billy Crystal and Bette Midler are looking after their drandkids, and the generation gap is huge. Cue huge hilarity and misunderstanding before ultimate bonding and acceptance. Yawn and so what? Pass me that tin of Roses and put on Eric and Ernie.