(I) (2019)

Critic Reviews



Based on 16 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
The comedy is broad and slapstick, but ultimately the film is heartwarming and lovely. You’ll find yourself laughing in spite of your initial reaction to the goofiness of the premise. It’s also a fun way to spend an afternoon with the kids.
It’s more tedious than unwatchable, and pint-size Cena fans may be curious to see him in a movie more compatible with his Kids’ Choice Awards hosting gigs than the likes of "Blockers" or "Trainwreck." Sadly, the movie never shows similar curiosity about what its young audience, and subjects, might be thinking or feeling.
It’s an unchallenging movie, but as far as unchallenging kids movies go, the actors ensure this one doesn’t fall into soullessness.
Playing With Fire strikes strictly predictably beats. Key and Leguizamo, comic talents who are wildly overqualified for this sort of thing, work hard, very hard, to infuse the tired material with laughs. But they're mostly hamstrung by their one-note characters
As Playing With Fire progressed, it became increasingly clear that the target audience was not respected. This was made by people who seem to think kids are stupid.
Washington Post
With horrific wildfires scorching California, the timing of this firefighter comedy also seems off. It might inspire empathy, if only it were actually funny.
Fickman’s directing is uninspired at best, barely competent at worst. The framing and composition is dire; there’s no sense of rhythm or flow, and characters constantly appear and disappear at random. But it’s the writing that truly fails the film and characters.
Every wrinkle in the plot is nakedly contrived, an obvious screenplay convenience. Every gag is given away. Every one-liner vanishes into the void. Kids may love projectile poop gags, but even they should be able to smell the odor Playing with Fire puts out there.
The film is bland and predictable, underestimates kids’ abilities to understand story and humor, and relies way too much on sight gags that are clichéd and overdone.
This mirthless comedy about a manly crew of smokejumpers helplessly babysitting a trio of rescued brats has more dead air in it than a radio broadcast hosted by a narcoleptic disc jockey.

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