I’ve been dreading Peter Rabbit 2 almost as much as I’ve been dreaming of real cinemas, says Matthew Bond in The Mail on Sunday. The first instalment was so noisy and brash that the sooner Peter (a “horribly overexcited” James Corden) ended up in “one of Mr McGregor’s pies the better”. I barely gave it two stars. But 10 minutes into this sequel I was smiling, and after 20 I was guffawing. It wasn’t just the thrill of being back in a real cinema after months – this is a “much better” film.
“It’s no Paddington 2,” says Ian Freer in Empire, but it’s sharp as a tack. The hybrid animation, with real humans and CGI bunnies, raked in more than half of all UK box-office receipts in the first full week after cinemas reopened, and with slapstick gags and in-jokes for grown-ups, you can see why. American director Will Gluck is canny enough to take a swipe at his first, widely panned mangling of a beloved British classic. His Lake District writer, Bea Potter (Rose Byrne), is now married to Mr McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson), and must stop her franchise-obsessed publisher (David Oyelowo) from rebooting her much-loved muses. As a mea culpa, it’s a zinger.
The film made me laugh out loud from start to finish, says Dulcie Pearce in The Sun. It’s “unrepentantly silly”, packed with “Looney Tunes-style” chase scenes and a skewering of posho farmers’ markets. Kids will love it, as will parents, but “I wished I’d stuck veg in my ears” to drown out Corden’s “annoying” voice. Drop him and Peter Rabbit 2 would be “24-carrot gold”.
Peter Rabbit 2 is in cinemas now. Watch the trailer here.
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Every unravelling mother “will wish she didn’t recognise herself” in Motherland, says Chitra Ramaswamy in The Guardian – and that’s the point. It’s a “glorious” skewering of the hellscape of the school gate. Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin) remains “a rictus-grinned nightmare in a puffer jacket” in the show’s third series. “Vortex of self-regard” Amanda (Lucy Punch) dresses her son up as Connell from Normal People for World Book Day to gain kudos, and suffers the frostiest Mother’s Day lunch with her own mum (Joanna Lumley). It is amazing how a lifetime of dysfunctionality can be summed up by a mother and daughter ordering “another glass of dry white wine” in unison.
The only mystery is why everyone isn’t talking about Sharon Horgan’s angry masterpiece, says Camilla Long in The Sunday Times. Amanda is a female Alan Partridge, while Liz (Diane Morgan) finds ever more inventive ways to describe her ex-husband: “oily bollock” and “penile wart” being a choice sample. The gift of this “unhappy, sharply funny” world is that its characters are “so well drawn that they hardly need to be given storylines”. If this was cinema, people would be “queuing up”.
Motherland is on BBC2 and iPlayer. Watch the trailer here.
Friends reunited: the verdict
The opening shots of Friends: The Reunion are “the most powerful by far”, says Ben Travers in IndieWire. We watch each friend re-enter their New York apartment one by one – they have all changed, but the set is exactly the same. Given the popularity of the show (it’s been watched more than 100 billion times across all platforms), this is a genuinely exciting TV moment. But then it all descends into schmaltzy nonsense.
Quite, says Carol Midgley in The Times. Friends: The Reunion is a “104-minute luvvie-in”. Don’t forget, this is not a scripted episode, simply a conversation with the cast led by James Corden. And there were no exciting revelations. Instead, the host asked “safe, dull, teen magazine questions such as: were Ross and Rachel on a break?”. The six cast members were apparently paid £2m each for their time. “It must be the easiest £12m ever earned in a day.” Frankly, the best bit was ogling at how much they’d all aged – or, in the case of the surgery-savvy female stars, not aged. At one point Jennifer Aniston noted that the set looked smaller somehow, even though they hadn’t grown. Well, said a noticeably larger Matt LeBlanc, “Speak for yourself”.
Friends: The Reunion is on Sky One and Now TV. Watch the trailer here.