Vault Movie Review: “Half Magic”
Honey (Heather Graham), Eva (Angela Kinsey), and Candy (Stephanie Beatriz) share a connection over their respective difficulties with men. Honey has been in a relationship — of sorts — with a movie star (Chris D’Elia), who insults her ability as a writer and uses her for quickies at work. Meanwhile, Eva‘s husband recently left her for a much younger woman, and Candy has been seeing a man who does not believe in monogamy and expects her to do his laundry for him. The three have different experiences, but they all have one common issue: men.
The three meet and decide to form a pact, confiding with and giving advice to one another. That was their plan, however, before Candy discovered magic candles that, when lit, grants their user a wish. They each wish to improve their love life, and change their lifestyle. However, the magic candles are just half of the battle, as they will still need to rely on support from each other if they are to follow through with what they wished for.
The Pros & Cons
The Premise (+2pts)
The Plot (-8pts)
The Friendship (+2pts)
The Relationships (-5pts)
The Cast (+3pts)
The Comedy (-6pts)
Pro: The Premise (+2pts)
I thought the premise was one that could have worked really well. A group of women — struggling with their respective relationship issues — stumble upon some magic that can supposedly solve all of the problems in their love lives. It sounds too good to be true, but I think the idea had the potential of making for plenty of awkward and raunchy comedic moments. Unfortunately, I thought the filmmakers did a poor job of executing that premise, but it was a solid premise nonetheless, and I thought that this movie’s better moments — albeit few and far between — were a result of having a decent premise to support it.
Con: The Plot (-8pts)
The plot of this movie was pretty poorly written. It felt like there was no purpose to what was happening, and felt like none of the characters grew at all. The entire movie just felt like a random series of events, happening to a group of one-dimensional characters. The rising action did not seem to build toward anything, and the story’s climax was seemingly nonexistent.
I wanted to like this movie. It had a decent cast, and a decent premise, but there seemed to be no cohesive plot. It was like the writers were just winging it, phoning it in, or this was the first script that the writers had ever written. I very honestly had a tough time getting through this movie, and that is saying something, as I usually have no problem sitting through even bad movies. Unfortunately, this plot was exceptionally bad, and I am honesty baffled that anyone would think that it was worth bringing to the screen in this form.
Pro: The Friendship (+2pts)
One thing going for this movie was that I bought that the three main characters were friends. Granted, I think that had more to do with the chemistry between the three lead actresses, and less to do with the writing. Nonetheless, I bought the friendship between these three characters, which was a huge part of this movie. The viewer had to buy into their bond as friends, even though the filmmakers did a poor job of setting up how they knew each other.
The story needed each of these three characters to be in on the magic, which is such a crazy thing. The characters needed to trust each other, and they needed to tell each other very personal things about their own love lives. In order to buy into this premise, we needed to buy that these characters were close enough to share such personal details from their lives with one another. Thanks to the chemistry between the three lead actresses, I was able to do just that.
Con: The Relationships (-5pts)
The relationships in this movie were just as poorly written and one dimensional as the plot and the main characters. When I say “the relationships”, I am referring to the three men that each of the respective main characters were dealing with. Honey was dealing with a misogynistic action star named Peter Brock (Chris D’Elia). Imagine a misogynist that has been exaggerated to an unbelievable degree, and the character you are imagining is Peter Brock.
Eva was dealing with her ex-husband Darren (Thomas Lennon), who left her for a younger woman. Then there was Candy, who was dealing with a guy who does not believe in monogamy and expects her to do his laundry. All three of these characters felt like one-dimensional stereotypes of how some women see men. None of these three characters had any sort of depth or complexity to make them interesting, and they were just three more one-dimensional characters in a poorly written story.
Pro: The Cast (+3pts)
I know that I have already mentioned that I liked the chemistry between the three main characters, but I bought each of these characters individually as well. Each actress played their respective role well. They made it easy to buy into the issues their characters were facing, and also made it easy to buy into their characters’ emotion in response to their issues. Each character had their share of drama and attempted comedy, and each actress was able to balance the two styles well.
To be fair, I do not think any of these characters were all that special. They were mostly one-dimensional, and none of their comedy really landed. I think this movie had a lot of problems, and the writing was the biggest one. With that all being said, I do not think any of these three actresses were a problem for this movie. They each did a decent job with what they were given, but what they were given was not a good movie.
Con: The Comedy (-6pts)
Based on the silly premise and light tone, I am assuming that this movie was supposed to be a light-hearted comedy. Unfortunately, it was rarely — if ever — funny. The funniest moments seemed to involve the ridiculous male characters (more specifically: Chris D'Elia) and the main characters’ opinions toward them, but even these moments were not very funny. The jokes very rarely landed and to be honest, I really cannot recall a single funny moment or line from the entire movie. It was certainly a light-hearted movie, but there were surprisingly few laughs for a movie that was aiming to be a comedy.
Grade: D- (63pts)
Half Magic had the potential of being a pretty effective and entertaining light-hearted comedy. It had a silly and ridiculous premise — being about a group of women with problematic love lives who resort to magic candles to solve their problems — and had a decent main cast — with Heather Graham, Angela Kinsey, and Stephanie Beatriz. The three main actresses did a decent job with what they were given, and had pretty strong chemistry together, which made it easy to buy into their friendship. Unfortunately, the film's strengths ended there, and were far outweighed by the film's weaknesses.
All of the movie's problems seemed to come back to one overarching problem: the writing. First there was the plot, which was basically non-existent. The "rising" action was missing any sort of build up, and did not amount to any sort of climax. Then there were the characters, who were all one-dimensional (especially the main character's male counterparts), and the main characters did not grow much, if at all. Finally, there was the comedy which almost exclusively fell flat, as I cannot recall a single time that I actually laughed, or even chuckled. This movie was honestly a struggle to get through, and I think that I was only able to get through it, because I was planning on writing this review. Movies should be a form of escape, and they should be entertaining above all else, but this movie felt like a chore.