PLAYING WITH FIRE – A Review by Cynthia Flores
Playing With Fire is a Nickelodeon film. That means you should expect silly situations, ooey-gooey things being poured out, and a wholesome message. This film delivers on all of that.
The movie is about a team of fire jumpers led by uber straight-laced superintendent Jake Carson (John Cena). He is a tall, robust, and stern leader. He’s excellent at his job of putting out forest fires. He’s also up for consideration to be the replacement for Commander Richards (Dennis Haysbert). It is the promotion he and his now-deceased smoke jumper father dreamed of.
At the beginning of the film, Jake loses half his team as they join Commander Richards’s house because they get all the press. This leaves him with Mark (Keegan-Michael Key), his second in command and oddly always at his side buddy. Rodrigo (John Leguizamo), his hesitant helicopter pilot and spam obsessed cook. And the most prominent silent team member Axe (Tyler Mane). They are an elite team of expert smokejumpers that come to the rescue of three siblings trapped in a burning cabin. Brynn (Brianna Hildebrand) is the oldest smart-aleck teen sister. She’s the one that looks after her little brother Will (Christian Convery), who’s always getting into things. And her still-in-diapers baby sister Zoey (Finley Rose Slater). A storm keeps the kids stuck at the depot, so Jake and his team are forced to care for them overnight. They quickly realize that no amount of training could prepare them for their most challenging job yet, to be babysitters. Jake asks Dr. Amy Hicks (Judy Greer) for help with the children. They dated a few times, and she’s the only other person within miles of the depot. As the story moves along we discover that these three kids are hiding a secret. They turn the depot and the lives of the firefighters upside down. Jake and his team quickly learn that kids, much like fires, are wild and unpredictable.
Playing With Fire is a Nickelodeon paint-by-numbers kind of movie. So if you have kids 5-10 years old, they will enjoy it. The parents that take them to the film will enjoy the adult casting of Keegan-Michael Key and John Leguizamo. They’re both top-notch comedians that I am surprised to see in this kind of kid flick. They give us some quick “Blink, and you’ll miss it” one-liners and physical jokes that are just for the adults. The only time the film bogs down is the romantic parts between Jake and Dr. Hicks. The kids in the audience seemed to lose interest in the mushy parts.
I give Playing With Fire a B rating because the 5-year old I took with me liked the zany parts.
Directed by: Andy Fickman
Written by: Dan Ewen, Matt Lieberman
Selig Rating B
Running Time: 1hr 36min
Drama / Comedy
Wide Release: November 8th
Starring: Judy Greer, John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo, Brianna Hildebrand, Christian Convery, Finley Rose Slater, Tyler Mane, Dennis Haysbert
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.