‘Wonder Park’ Film Review: Original Animated Film Thrillingly Celebrates Youthful Imagination

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

If there’s one thing kids like, it’s amusement parks. If there’s two things, it’s amusement parks and animated movies. And if there’s three things, it’s amusement parks, animated movies and a surprisingly mature message about not letting debilitating mental health issues get in the way of your creativity. At least, that’s what can be gleaned from “Wonder Park,” a clumsy but amiable kids movie with a streak of sincerity that stretches further than the Wonder Park itself.

“Wonder Park” stars Brianna Denski as June, a young girl who spends her off hours — which seems to be most hours — concocting an elaborate, fictional amusement park with her mom, voiced by Jennifer Garner. (Because, in movies, Jennifer Garner is practically everyone’s mom.) Their creation, Wonder Park, is a gigantic feast for the senses, with amusingly stomach-churning rides that literally toss you across the park, or come to life underneath you and fly around magically.

June and her mother fill the house with clockwork miniatures and complicated blueprints, but then her mom gets deathly ill and has to go away to a special hospital. (Never mind what she’s got, how curable it is, or how far away she’s going.) So June decides to put away all her amusing things and instead devote every waking minute to taking care of her dad (Matthew Broderick), because in her head he’s more accident-prone than Wile E. Coyote.

Watch Video: ‘Wonder Park’: A Magical World Comes Back to Life in First Teaser

Eventually, June is so far down this compulsive rabbit hole that she runs away from her summer camp to head back home and stop dad from (presumably) burning the whole house down, but along the way she wanders into the real-life Wonder Park, populated by all the mascots she invented with her mom, like responsible warthog Greta (Mila Kunis), safety inspector porcupine Steve (John Oliver), technician beavers Gus (Kenan Thompson) and Cooper (Ken Jeong), and sleepy greeter bear Boomer (Ken Hudson Campbell).

That’s a heck of a lot of legwork to get to the film’s core premise — a little girl wandering into her own fantasy land — only to find that it’s been overrun by her adult anxieties run amok. The whole park has been infested with Chimpanzombies who want to destroy every monument to June’s relationship with her mother, just like June wanted to throw Wonder Park away in a fit of maladaptive grief. Now it’s up to June and her animal friends to overcome their fears and to find a way to save the park and, by extension, June’s creative spirit.

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“Wonder Park” is hardly the first movie to explore the unfortunate side-effects that growing up can sometimes have on someone’s psyche, but it’s nowhere near as disturbing as “Return to Oz” nor nearly as trite as “Christopher Robin.” Because the story in “Wonder Park” is original, the filmmakers don’t need to subvert any beloved childhood icons in order to tell it. It takes longer to set up the characters and their world, but once we’re there, we can enjoy them without any cognitive disconnect. This is simply “Wonder Park,” and “Wonder Park” is an enjoyable kids flick with decent intentions and some delightful imagery.

Indeed, the park itself is a genuine treat. The various rides and lands, many of which would be physically impossible to re-create on even the most unlimited budget, are sure to fire up the imagination of young audiences. The filmmakers seem to have a genuine respect for the artists who spend their whole lives developing complex, richly themed attractions that excite the mind, and they certainly had fun coming up with wild new examples to surreptitiously enjoy on-screen.

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The characters are simplistic creations, mostly boiling down to simple character traits, but for the most part they’re all personified individual aspects of June’s own personality, so it’s hard to complain. In particular, Wonder Park’s lead designer Peanut (Norbert Leo Butz) hits close to home for June. He’s spent his whole career assuming that June’s mother’s voice was his voice of inspiration, and without it, he thinks he can never create again. To convince him to start creating again, June will have to convince herself to start creating again.

The world of “Wonder Park” is thrilling, and the message is unusual for a kids movie, but admirable. It’s the clutter that gets in the way of the movie’s excellence. The complicated first act stops more than it starts, and gets tiresome after a while, and the bizarrely complicated rules of Wonder Park itself — which involve a magic pen, magic whispers and a magic delegation of authority — distract from the film’s simple fantasy of visiting the best amusement park ever, and from the simple message about the importance of staying motivated in the wake of tragedy, depression, grief and loneliness.

Instead of an instant classic, we get a noble effort. We need more of those. This is a bright and earnest attempt to craft an on-screen fantasy for modern kids, with a practical moral that anyone could appreciate.



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Hollywood is the land of hopes and dreams, but it definitely lives within a set of rules. Never is that more clear than with the advent of Twitter, where opinions flow and instant judgments are final.
Saturday Night Live took that one step further with…

‘SNL’: R Kelly Is Upset That Gayle King Asked Him Real Questions in Interview Parody (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

This week’s “SNL” cold open skipped delving in to the political landscape, instead opting to parody R Kelly’s interview with Gayle King on CBS this week in which Kelly tried to salvage his image and really, uh, did not. Kelly was played by “SNL” regular Kenan Thompson, and Leslie Jones played King.

“I guess my first question for you, Robert is, why exactly are you doing this interview?,” Jones’ King said to open the interview after refusing R Kelly’s request to be called “victim.”

“Because people think I’m some kind of a monster. I’m here to remove all of that,” Kenan’s R Kelly said before referencing his own own song lyrics. “My lawyer was telling me no. But my ego, my ego was telling me yes.”

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Several times during the sketch he actually slipped into song, as he did during one point when he was discussing the Lifetime documentary series about him.

“Look, I made a lot of mistakes in my life. Maybe I can’t read or write or math. I’m still a person. I put on my pants one sleeve at a time just like everybody else,” Kelly declared.

“What about the Lifetime docuseries that interviewed numerous women, family members and your former tour manager, all saying the same things?” King asked. To which R Kelly replied in song.

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“It’s 10 o’clock in the morning. And I’m talking to Oprah’s friend. If I can just get through this, everybody’s gonna love me again.”

King tried to get him back on topic by reminding him that they were talking about the documentary series.

“Oh, right. These people made a six-part documentary about me. Six. That’s almost ten!” Kenan’s Kelly said. “And not one of them said a nice thing about me. They made it seem like I was the devil. I’m not the devil. And even if I was, you can’t think of one nice thing to say about the devil? I can. Nice horns. Gives good advice.”

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“So why do you think people are making these lies up about you?” King interjected.

“For money, obviously. I’m a very rich man. And people are always trying to take advantage of me.”

“Well, if you’re so rich, why did it take so long to pay $160,000 you owe back in child support?”

“Damn, that’s a good question,” Kelly said, in song again. “I wasn’t expecting that. Now I have to switch directions and get some sympathy back.

And then Kelly gave his answer: “Because I’m a very poor man.”

The sketch ended with a rare fourth-wall break on the “Live from New York” exclamation, with Kenan as R Kelly turning the wrong way and yelling it at the back wall of the set before Jones as King set him straight.

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‘SNL’: Ben Stiller’s Michael Cohen Faces Off Against Bill Hader’s Jim Jordan (Video)

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Though Alec Baldwin didn’t pop up as Donald Trump on this week’s “SNL,” that doesn’t mean the cold open was without star power. Indeed, we got Ben Stiller popping in to reprise his impression of Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen, and then “SNL” cast member Bill Hader showed up as Republican representative Jim Jordan.

“Thank you for inviting me here today to correct the record under oath. Of course, the first time I testified was also under oath. But this time, I like really mean it,” Stiller’s Cohen said to open his testimony. “I’m here today to tell you that Mr. Trump is a racist.”

Stiller paused for a moment, then continued after realizing he wasn’t going to get the response he wanted. “Wow. I thought that would get a really much bigger reaction.”

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“I know that I was wrong. And I know it, ’cause I got caught,” Stiller’s Cohen continued. “For too many years, I was loyal to a man when I should not have been. Now I know how Khloe Kardashian feels. But now, I’m all out of faith. This is how I feel. I’m cold. And I’m ashamed. Lying naked on the floor. Illusion never changed into something real. I’m wide awake and I can see the perfect sky is torn. Thank you.”

That last bit was a lyric from the song “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia.

“Now I’d like to open the floor so the Republicans can get angry at everyone except the president,” said longtime “SNL” cast member Kenan Thompson as the House Oversight Committee chair Elijah Cummings. “The chair recognizes the congressman from Ohio, Mr. Jordan.”

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Then came former “SNL” cast member Bill Hader as Jordan.

“Good afternoon, Mr. chairman,” Hader said before turning to Stiller. “Good afternoon to you, you lying piece of human trash!

“Mr. chairman, you’re right. I’m angry. I’m angry that I have to sit here through this two-bit dirt bag flee circus. I’m so angry I couldn’t even wear a jacket today. You know something, Mr. Cohen. I’ve never even heard of you!”

“Your mother has,” Stiller as Cohen retorted.

“Hey, hey, hey. You don’t scare me with your liar mouth,” Hader continued. “Oh, I’m about to pop off! You have been working in some of the sleaziest circles in America for years. What other criminals and lowlifes have you worked for?”

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“I was the deputy finance chairman for the Republican party, sir.”

“What?” Hader’s Jordan exclaimed. “Is that true? Oh, damn it. I yield of the rest of my time.”

The bulk of the rest of the sketch saw other members of the committee yielding their time back to Jordan so he could continue to embarrass himself.

Watch some clips from the cold open below:

Let’s get this hearing underway. @RedHourBen #SNL pic.twitter.com/IfPy1DPXQ7

— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) March 3, 2019

The chair recognizes the congressman from Ohio, Mr. Jordan. #SNL pic.twitter.com/fLsgqGraC6

— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) March 3, 2019

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‘All That’ Revival Ready at Nickelodeon, Kenan Thompson to Executive Produce

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Oh, oh, oh, this is some good news: Nickelodeon is reviving “All That” and original cast member Kenan Thompson will serve as executive producer on the updated kids’ sketch series, TheWrap has learned.

Though the show will feature an all-new tween cast — because you know, the original “All That” kids have since grown up — the children’s cable network expects former stars from the first version to make appearances on the revival.

A long-running “Saturday Night Live” staple, Thompson launched his TV career when “All That” debuted in 1994. Along with Thompson, cast members from the OG iteration — which aired on Nick in the ’90s and ’00s — include Kel Mitchell, Amanda Bynes, Nick Cannon and Jamie Spears, among others.

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The revival comes under the watchful eye of Brian Robbins, who was named president of Nickelodeon last October and was a co-creator and an executive producer on the original run of “All That.”

Nick is dropping a ton of news this morning. The kids’ network is also planning several “SpongeBob SquarePants” spinoffs and reviving “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” with new host John Cena.

Additionally, Nickelodeon has acquired the rights to develop TV series based on Paddington Bear and the recent “LEGO” movies.

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Nickelodeon Is Reviving ‘All That’ With Kenan Thompson as Executive Producer (EXCLUSIVE)

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“All That” was the show that kept on giving to Nickelodeon over the course of a decade in the 1990s and 2000s. Now the company’s president thinks a revival of the sketch-comedy series could be all that — and more. Nickelodeon wi…

‘SNL’: Wilbur Ross Visits ‘Meet the Press’ to Explain What a D— Pic Is (Video)

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This week’s “SNL” cold open had exactly one topic it wanted to cover this week: Jeff Bezos’ penis.
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‘Saturday Night Live’ Takes on the State of Journalism, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Selfie Scandal (Watch)

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Kenan Thompson, Chrissy Teigen, Jeff Foxworthy to Judge Comedy Competition Show ‘Bring the Funny’ at NBC

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

NBC has picked up the reality competition series “Bring the Funny,” with Kenan Thompson, Chrissy Teigen and Jeff Foxworthy attached to serve as judges.

In the style of “America’s Got Talent” and CBS’s “The World’s Greatest,” the 10-episode series will showcase multiple styles of comedy on the same stage — traditional stand-ups and sketch troupes, as well as comedic variety acts including “musicians, magicians, podcasters, puppeteers, YouTubers and more.”

The winner will receive a $250,000 prize. Amanda Seales will serve as host for the show.

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David Friedman and Matilda Zoltowski will serve as executive producers. Bruce Hills, president of the comedy festival Just for Laughs, is consulting producer. The series will be produced by Universal Television Alternative Studio.

“Great comedians know how to make us laugh while serving as a reflection of the times, and we are excited to embrace and support the myriad of ways funny people bring us levity and humor today,” said NBC Alternative and Reality Group president Meredith Ahr. “Kenan, Chrissy, Jeff and Amanda are not only hilarious, but are pioneers in their respective arenas and understand what it takes to have longevity and breadth in this industry. They, along with our partners at Just for Laughs, will be an insightful resource for the talent that takes our stage.”

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Kenan Thompson and ‘Mighty Ducks’ Cast Reunite at Hockey Game (Photos)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Castmembers of “The Mighty Ducks” films reunited at a hockey game between the New York Islanders and Anaheim Ducks over the weekend.

“Saturday Night Live” star Kenan Thompson, who starred as Russ Tyler in both sequel films “D2: The Mighty Ducks” and “D3,” checked out the game on Sunday with fellow castmembers Garette Ratliff Henson, Vincent LaRusso and Danny Tamberelli, all of whom starred in the 1992 original film, and Colombe Jacobsen-Derstine, who joined the cast in the sequels.

“The quack attack is back, Jack! Glad to have a few Mighty Ducks join us for the game – and a few other fun projects – today on Long Island,” the Ducks shared along with several photos on Instagram.

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The fivesome sported personalized Ducks jerseys of their characters for the occasion, including Tamberelli as Tommy Duncan, Ratliff Henson as Guy Germaine, Jacobsen-Derstine as Julie “The Cat” Gaffney” and LaRusso as Adam Banks.

Before the game, the “Mighty Ducks” castmembers went on the ice, wearing jerseys from the original movie and skated around the Islanders’ practice facility.

“What a sweet day!! Thanks to the @anaheimducks for a great day reliving my #mightyducks season with some old friends,” Tamberelli said on Instagram.

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Sadly though, the added support wasn’t enough for the Ducks on the rink, as they lost to the Islanders 3-0.

See all of the reunion photos below:

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‘SNL’: Alec Baldwin’s Trump Plays ‘Deal or No Deal: Government Shutdown Edition’ With Congress (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“Saturday Night Live” opened its first episode of 2019 with a sketch featuring the return of Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump, and Congress’ desperate attempt to get him to agree end the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

As Steve Harvey (Kenan Thompson) explained, the only negotiation Trump would understand was with a game show: “Deal or No Deal: Government Shutdown Edition.” (Usual host Howie Mandel was apparently not available due to a germ thing, according to Harvey.)

Members of Congress (played by the “SNL” cast) stood around with numbered cases, ready to offer Trump alternatives to the over $5 billion he wants to build his border wall.

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But he was not a fan of a proposal from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (Kate McKinnon): “$1 Billion + you say ‘Nancy’s my mommy.’”

He also passed on a case from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (Beck Bennett). Schumer offered “Whatever You Want” until Pelosi reminded him they weren’t doing that, then offered “$15 + a pastrami on rye.”

He continued to say “no deal” to Mitch McConnell, Maxine Waters, Alexandra Ocasio Cortez, Cory Booker, and even Cardi B, who offered him “shmoney.”

Eventually he agreed to reopen the government in exchange for “hamberders” from a Clemson football player (Pete Davidson).

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Baldwin has popped up less often in Season 44 than he did in the last two seasons. He’s appeared four times this season.

Watch the video above.

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Kenan Thompson Family Comedy Gets Pilot Order at NBC

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

NBC has picked up two new comedy pilots, the Kenan Thompson-led single-cam “Saving Kenan” and “Like Magic” from “Superstore” duo Bridget Kyle and Vicky Luu.

“Saving Kenan” stars Thompson as a newly-widowed dad determined to be everything for his kids while begrudgingly letting his persistent father-in-law become more involved in their lives. The longtime “Saturday Night Live” star also serves as an executive producer on the project.

The pilot is written and executive produced by Jackie Clarke (“Superstore,” “Dice”). “SNL’s” Lorne Michaels serves as executive producer alongside Andrew Singer, head of television for Michaels’ Broadway Video. Universal Television is the studio.

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Luu and Kyle’s “Like Magic” is a single camera workplace comedy that follows an optimistic young woman pursuing her dream to be a headlining magician in the eccentric and ego-driven world of the Magic Palace.

“Superstore” vet Matt Hubbard will serve as a supervising executive producer on the project. Julie Anne Robinson, who has an overall deal at Universal Television, will direct the pilot and executive produce alongside Kelly Pancho of her CannyLads banner.

See a full rundown of this season’s broadcast pilots here.

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Kenan Thompson Comedy ‘Saving Kenan’ & ‘Like Magic’ Get NBC Pilot Orders

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Saturday Night Live star Kenan Thompson is a step closer to moving from late-night to primetime. His starring vehicle, the single-camera Saving Kenan (form. Saving Larry), has been picked up to pilot by NBC. The project, from SNL creator/executive prod…