By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
I saw the family comedy, “Playing with Fire”
with a bunch of kids ranging in age from five to 10 years old. Most all of them were laughing throughout the entire film. Their parents were too.
It was nice to see because aside from animated movies, there aren’t many family friendly, live-action comedies tailored for kids.
And with the holiday season here, families will likely be heading to the theater looking for something fun and different. They’ll get both with “Playing with Fire” from director Andy Fickman (Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2”).
In "Playing with Fire," John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo
and Tyler Mane
star as heroic Redding California firefighters.
They are really smokejumpers and there is a major difference according to fire station captain Jake "Supe" Carson (a funny John Cena, upcoming “Fast & Furious 9”). Smokejumpers are “way cooler.”
Jake is the ultimate smokejumper. He’s strong, tough and good-looking and runs a no-nonsense firehouse. Even when his team has pulled off another amazing rescue and wants to have a bit of fun and dance around inside the station station, he lets them know they need to dial it back.
Afterall, you never know when Commander Richards (The commanding Dennis Haysbert, “Breakthrough”) might pop in and their clowning around could give the wrong impression that the staff are a bunch of goofballs.
Besides, with Commander Richards retiring soon, Jake would like nothing more than to take his place. The guy has payed his dues and his old man was a well-respected fireman too.
But all Jake’s toughness and expertise can’t prepare him or his men for the whirlwind of events that occur when they rescue a teenager named Brynn (Brianna Hildebrand, TV’s “Trinkets”) and her younger brother Will (Christian Convery, TV’s “Pup Academy”) and adorable sister Zoey (newcomer Finley Rose Slater).
The kids get trapped in a burning cabin and it’s Jake and his crew; Mark (Keegan-Michael Key, “Dolemite Is My Name” and “Green Eggs and Ham”), Rodrigo (John Leguizamo, TV’s “When They See Us”) and Axe (Tyler Mane, “Miracle in East Texas”) that come to the rescue.The firemen can’t locate their parents, so the kids wind up staying at the station with them.
They are a rambunctious group and run wild in the place leaving these poor guys virtually helpless. They don’t stand a chance when Zoey manages to turn the guy’s big, mean dog on their side.
The hijinks come fast and furiously with the kids getting the best of the firemen at every turn. Finley Rose Slater—who looks barely five years old--is adorable here. Her cutesy innocence plays off Cena’s macho character so well and Keegan-Michael Key’s bickering with Brianna Hildebrand is comical too.
While Cena doesn’t have all the charm and appeal of his former wrestling colleague Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, he’s slowly getting there. “Playing with Fire” is another big step in the right direction for him.
Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays now at 6:20 p.m. on radio station KFBK 1530 AM and 93.1 FM.
Check Out This Trailer For "PLAYING WITH FIRE"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC), The Alliance Of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.