Playing with Fire
Genre(s): Family Comedy
Paramount | PG – 96 min. – $39.99 | February 4, 2020
Date Published: 02/03/2020 | Author: The Movieman
Paramount provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.
THE MOVIE — 2.75/5
Plot Synopsis: When firefighter Jake Carson (JOHN CENA) and his team (KEEGAN-MICHAEL KEY, JOHN LEGUIZAMO and TYLER MANE) rescue three siblings — Brynn (BRIANNA HLDEBRAND), Will (CHRISTIAN CONVERY) and Zoey (FINLEY ROSE SLATER) — from a burning cabin, they quickly realize that no amount of training could have prepared them for their most challenging job yet: babysitting. While trying to locate the children’s parents, the firefighters have their lives, jobs and even their fire station turned upside down and learns that kids – much like fires – are wild and full of surprises.
Quick Hit Review: Playing with Fire is your standard and family-friendly fare with over-the-top and wild situations coupled with equally overacting, which I usually find grating. And there were some moments of comedy that fell absolutely flat, though other times I did manage to chuckle. Acknowledging this is not a movie aimed at me, I would say this was a perfectly fine movie for families but don’t expect much in the way of story, or reality.
Cast-wise, everyone was fine. Yeah, John Cena chews the scenery more than a few times, though he’s not helped with some close-ups with the camera work, yet I generally like Cena so I didn’t mind him here. Also like Keegan-Michael Key and John Leguizamo, though not sure if PG-rated content puts their talents to use. Judy Greer was fine as the love interest to Cean’s Jake Carson and Dennis Haysbert has a small role as a retiring commanding officer.
The kid actors meanwhile were fine, annoying for the two younger ones (and why I don’t care for children in movies), but Brianna Hildebrand (known for her role as Negasonic Teenage Warhead in the Deadpool movies) had a few nice moments.
Andy Fickman directs Playing with Fire which apparently is in his wheelhouse with such classics as The Game Plan, Parental Guidance and Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 on his resume. The film was scripted by Dan Ewen (debut) and Matt Lieberman (The Christmas Chronicles, upcoming Scoob! and Ryan Reynolds vehicle Free Guy).
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.25/5
This release comes with a slip cover. Inside is the redemption code for the Digital HD copy.
Deleted Scenes (14:43) — There’s a good amount of scenes here, 13 all told, though nothing of substance and likely taken out or trimmed to cut down on the running time.
Bloopers (2:33) contains many line flubs and on-set antics, some were shown during the end credits.
Storytime with John Cena (1:27) — Cena tells a story about the three little pigs.
Lighting Up the Laughs (3:05) — Q&A with the cast talking about one another.
The Director’s Diaries: Read by Star Cast (5:05) — Cena and Key read from director Andy Fickman’s field journals (sent to them via e-mails).
What It Means to be a Family (4:32) — Featurette with the cast talking about the theme of the movie.
The Real Smokejumpers: This is Their Story (2:34) on the real heroes about smokejumpers and firefighters.
VIDEO – 4.5/5
|This being a light-hearted and family-friendly movie, this is a bright looking picture with vibrant colors from end to end, even the fires have a nice orange glow, while detail is sharp and well defined throughout. Nothing outstanding but certainly on point for any new movie getting a home video release.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
|The included DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is perfectly respectable, dialogue comes through with good clarity and there is some modest depth for the few “action” scenes, such as when Carson rescue the kids, where the front and rear channels do come to life, otherwise the chaos the kids cause make up the remainder of the film for the most part.
OVERALL – 2.5/5
Playing with Fire is strictly made for kids, and perfectly fine to be watched with the parents, and even though some of the jokes don’t land, I at least felt it was a tolerable viewing experience, though don’t have much of a desire to revisit, even though I have found John Cena and Keegan-Michael Key to be pretty funny.