Why is it that comedy sequels so often re-tread the same ground as their predecessors? Dumb and Dumber To, The Hangover Part II, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. And sure, 22 Jump Street hangs a lantern on this idea by doing it so blatantly, but that doesn’t automatically excuse just how similar the two movies are. This phenomenon is called “comedy sequel-itis,” and with Horrible Bosses 2 it is safe to say that another one has bitten the dust.
As we’ve recently seen, adaptations can be a tricky proposition. One author whose work tends to hold up well to the transfer from page to screen, however, is the late Elmore Leonard. His list of hits is long (Out of Sight, Get Shorty, Jackie Brown (aka Rum Punch), 3:10 to Yuma (both versions), TV’s Justified), and his misses are few and far between (Be Cool of course comes to mind – one great monologue by The Rock does not make a movie). Perhaps it is because Leonard wrote such, well the word isn’t “sympathetic,” but maybe “interesting criminals. His antagonists – who often serve as his main characters – are very real in their quirks and insecurities. So they translate easily. Daniel Schechter is the latest writer/director to take on Leonard’s material in his new film, Life of Crime.