Melissa McCarthy (Spy, The Heat) has made an entire career out of playing a clown, and it seems Thunder Force certainly wasn’t going to break that mould. Written and directed by her husband Ben Falcone (Superintelligence, The Boss), the latest effort from the couple is perhaps their least humorous and most cringe inducing to date.
Two childhood best friends reunite after years of following their own paths. Emily Stanton (Octavia Spencer) has become a successful scientist and is about to make a huge scientific breakthrough. Lydia Berman (Melissa McCarthy) is well, the exact opposite. She works as a forklift driver and chugs beer like many would their morning coffee. She peaked at high school and has struggled to move past it.
When Emily doesn’t show up at their high school reunion, Lydia goes to visit her estranged friend in her ivory tower. When curiosity kicks in, Lydia clumsily injects herself with a super serum Emily had spent years working on. Lydia has now been granted with super strength abilities. Fortunately Emily was working on a separate serum which would also grant its user unhuman attributes. Now Emily has given herself superhuman powers of her own. The pair aim to use their new found abilities for good and rid of the world of ‘miscreants’. Genetically evolved humans that have been roaming the planet since a cosmic ray struck Earth in the 80’s.
Thunder Force refers to the group alias they give to themselves. They are certainly not the Avengers or the Justice League, but instead a couple of goof balls that have a new shared experience. Two middle aged motherly types that will have to learn how to use their new abilities.
Ben Falcone’s attempt at comedy is more cringe inducing than it is comical. Beyond the one or two chuckles this film got out of me, the film throws out one corny joke after the next and offers plenty of feeble attempts of laughter through its childish and immature humour.
With the rise of superhero based movies over the past decade, many of which have found huge successes, this feels highly unnecessary. A lot hangs on the balance of its comedic value and that’s something this film has very little of. Even with Jason Bateman (Game Night, Identity Thief) landing a support role, it is tarnished due to his bizarre characterisation as he has crab like features (I’m not joking) and most of the scenes he features happen to be the worst.
Far too silly to be considered worthwhile comically and far too dull and cliché narratively to provide anything new to discover. McCarthy has always been rather hit and miss throughout her career, and it seems Thunder Force is a strikeout all across the board. With its humour border lining the young adult bracket, I’d recommend a long list of films before I’d even consider putting them through this mess.