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Monday, May 30, 2016

Term Life 2016 * * * Stars

Term Life
Director: Peter Billingsley
Year: 2016
Rated R
Rating: * * * Stars
Cast: Vince Vaughn, Hailee Steinfeld, Jonathan Banks

A father/daughter, Hollywood ending preceded by killings, shootings, chases, and slight torture oh my! Could it be Vince Vaughn starring in another farce? Heck no. He's trying to revive his career with the help of Ralphie from A Christmas Story!

Anyway, despite the fugly manner in which Vaughn runs from the bad guys or the sort of drab narration he spouts out, his Term Life is still a movie that I'm going to recommend. It's a crime drama so my initial thought was why were he and director Peter Billingsley attached to it in the first place. Granted, Mr. Sunshine has been churning out bad comedies so I guess he wanted to get serious this time. He plays thief Nick Barrow and to a degree, he kinda pulls the character off. Billingsley, well he has only helmed one other film being 2009's dreadful, Couples Retreat. With "Term", he thankfully comes off as more experienced. He's aggressive behind the camera, capturing every little criminalistic detail and staging a gunfight or two with ample precision. His Term Life plays like a B movie but it's better than most. It tries really hard to make you think there's something greater beneath the surface.

Now in spite of featuring irrelevant cameos by notable actors (did Taraji P. Henson, Annabeth Gish, Jon Favreau, and Mike Epps owe Peter B. a favor?), "Term" still insures that you'll be focused on its breakneck storyline. In the film, Hailee Steinfeld reprises her role as the resentful daughter from 2014's 3 Days to Kill. Don't worry though. Her performance and Term Life itself, are much better than "Kill's" hindered discombobulation.

With 1973 giving us Paper moon, 2012 giving us Erased, and now 2016 giving us the harmless yet relatively entertaining Term Life, the father/daughter movie brigade is continuing if not prevailing. The title of "Term" (which I thought meant a lengthy prison sentence) has to do with Vince Vaughn's Barrow taking out a life insurance policy for his daughter (Steinfeld as Cate Barrow). You see Nick Barrow is being hunted down by hit men, corrupt cops, and the mob. Why you ask? Because as a thief, he sold his heist to the wrong people and the job went sour. Cate is also in trouble. They can get to her just as fast as they can get to him. Together, father and little one hide out incognito to try and figure out why their well being is in danger. They also try to figure out who later on, set them up (for murder). Watch for the antagonistic Bill Paxton playing a dirty detective named Keenan. He channels the role in virtually the same vein as when he played the despicable Earl in 2 Guns. Also, look out for an extensive use of Georgia locales plus Vince Vaughn's almost unrecognizable hairstyle. Paul McCartney called and says he wants his mop top back (ha ha).

In conclusion, with an adjusted gross of about $21,256, it's safe to say that "Termwon't be the comeback vehicle Vince Vaughn was hoping for. I as a critic, also feel like this isn't a turning point in his career. I do however, give him credit for trying to recreate the dramatic roles he inhabited some twenty odd years ago (examples would be Domestic Disturbance, Return to Paradise, and A Cool, Dry Place). Bottom line: At 90-100 minutes, I've seen much worse from Vaughn and various, clown directors who try to better limited release dreck. Rating: 3 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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