Playing with Fire
September 9, 2020
(After the Channel Awesome logo, a cold open begins in the year 1989, with Beethoven's "Piano Sonata No. 14" playing. A film writer - played by Malcolm - is on speakerphone with a movie producer - voiced by Tamara - and holding the screenplay for Playing with Fire.)
Writer: (laughs) I'm telling you, this script is ahead of its time.
Producer: All right, tell me about it.
Writer: It's called Playing with Fire. It's about a strong, muscle-bound guy who's never looked after kids...
Writer: ...looking after kids!
Producer: Oh, my God! That's amazing!
Writer: Right? So, he dresses up in silly costumes...
Writer: ...acts feminine around the girls...
Writer: ...and I even have references to upcoming movies like Pretty Woman and Backdraft.
Producer: That... sounds... phenomenal.
Writer: I was thinking of getting Mr. T to star as the lead.
Producer: Ohhhh, a celebrity playing against type? I love it!
Writer: Wonderful. So, what's your asking price?
Producer: Well... why don't I get back to you on that in a bit?
Writer: Absolutely. I'm in no hurry.
(Title card reads "One Kindergarten Cop Later..." Cut back to "Playing with Fire"'s writer and the movie producer on the phone again. The writer looks annoyed.)
Producer: So, what do you got for me?
Writer: The same thing I had years ago before you stole it for Kindergarten Cop.
Producer: Oh, well, another writer came along with a similar idea JUST before you.
Writer: And you didn't bring it up?
Producer: I wanted to spare your feelings.
Producer: But, hey, that doesn't mean we can't just do it again. I mean, the script is only a few years old.
Writer: That's true. Some of it might seem a little dated, but it'll still seem fresh enough. How much did you want to offer--?
Producer: Leeeeeet me get back to you on that.
(Title card reads "One Mr. Nanny Later..." Cut back to "Playing with Fire"'s writer and the movie producer on the phone yet again. The writer looks more annoyed.)
Writer: Couldn't help but notice that you made ANOTHER movie... exactly the same as my idea.
Producer: Isn't it crazy? It's like every writer had the same idea when you did.
Writer: Or a greedy producer is stealing my goddamn work.
Producer: Let's talk buying your script.
Writer: It's several years old. The formula's been done TWICE. Even the references won't make any sense.
Producer: Yeah, but I feel bad. I should buy the scripts that inspired these two hits.
Writer: You mean the script that other writers HAPPENED to think up at the same time?
Producer: Yes, yes, yes, whatever I said. Let's talk about Player with Tires.
Writer: Well, I guess I can bring the price down to--
Producer: Leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet me get back to you on that.
(The writer looks fed up. Title card reads "One The Game Plan Later...", then adds posters for The Spy Next Door, The Pacifier, and My Spy. Cut back to "Playing with Fire"'s writer and the movie producer on the phone once more. The writer's head is on his desk.)
Producer: Hey, how's my favorite writer?
Writer: (resigned) I'll let you know when I see him.
Producer: Say, none of the other writers seem to talk to me anymore. Something about me stealing their work. Weird, right? So, I was wondering if you had a script for a Nickelodeon movie with John Cena. It has to be really hip, totally original, and have a lot of modern references.
(Screen slowly zooms in on the writer as an ominous score plays.)
Writer: I have JUST the script...
(The writer looks directly at the camera, holding the Playing with Fire screenplay, and smiles sinisterly. Cut to the NC opening title sequence. After the opening sequence, NC is shown in his bathroom staring at the mirror while sad music plays. A picture of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson hangs from the mirror. NC rolls up his left shirt sleeve and flexes his arm. He barely has any muscles. NC looks at the picture of The Rock, who is very buff, and he looks sad. He leaves the bathroom, goes to his living room couch, and swings his arm feebly to turn on the TV with the remote control.)
TV Announcer (Malcolm): Hey, parents! Are you looking to entertain your kids? (Footage of Playing with Fire plays over the TV commercial) Are you looking to PUNISH your kids?
(NC looks up at the TV with interest.)
TV Announcer: Well, you have a fifty-fifty shot at one of those with the new film Playing with Fire!
(NC's eyes are open wide, and his mouth hangs open slightly.)
TV Announcer: Starring John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo, Judy Greer, and several other actors who couldn't get out of their contracts.
(NC snaps his fingers with an idea and heads to his recording room, where he quickly calls someone on his phone. Cut to Tamara, who is playing a video game. Her phone rings, and she answers.)
NC: Tamara! Make a movie for me!
Tamara: (shakes head incredulously but gives up) ...Okay.
NC: I'm tired of not being physically fit! So, I want to be in a movie where I have to look after some kids, even though I don't want to!
Tamara: Wait, how is that gonna make you physically fit?
NC: Think about it. Every muscle-bound celebrity has a movie where they have to look after some kids, even though they don't want to. So, if I have a movie where I have to look after some kids, even though I don't want to, I'll be a muscle-bound celebrity!
Tamara: Wow, can't fault that logic.
NC: It is rather genius. The requirements are I must be a stick-in-the-mud at the beginning, my heart is melted by the end, one or more of the kids must be a girl so I can wear a tutu, and there must be bubbles.
(distant) (FUCKING BUBBLES!)
NC: (looks around) What was that?
Tamara: Well, it'll take me a few weeks to write something good.
NC: Who said anything about good? It just needs to exist to make money!
Tamara: I thought you were doing it to get fit.
NC: We're in entertainment. Everything is done for money. Even our hobbies.
Tamara: That's true.
NC: Get me the script by the end of the day!
Tamara: Don't you feel weird doing two sketches about Playing with Fire script-writing?
NC: It was so bad, I had to do them both.
Tamara: Fair enough.
NC: Get cracking! (hangs up and puts phone down) I think that's a fair lead-in.
(Playing with Fire logo is shown with music playing over it, followed by clips of the film.)
NC (vo): Playing with Fire is not really a nostalgic movie. Hell, it's not even a year old by the time I release this. But its formula is. The idea of someone comedically unqualified raising a child or children has gone back for ages, (posters are shown for It's a Gift and The Kid) but this specific equation of a tough guy taking care of kids, I suppose, dates back to Kindergarten Cop. (footage of Kindergarten Cop is played) At least that's the biggest hit I can think of with a major action star. And, like many ideas in Hollywood, it started off fine enough but was grinded into the ground with repetition. (footage of The Game Plan, The Spy Next Door, The Pacifier, and Mr. Nanny is played back-to-back) Suddenly, you didn't make it as an action star unless you showed you're so confident in your masculinity that you can do GIRLY stuff. Oh, how brave. Playing with Fire is especially interesting, though. Not only because the script is so outdated in story, characters, and references, not only because it has a lot of comedic talent - I mean, all these people have been funny before - but because out of all the types of movies like this that have existed in the past, this production feels the most rushed, soulless, and even... well, legit uncomfortable. The film is like accidentally pushing fast-forward while watching The Game Plan and an entire studio's saying, "No, no! It's supposed to be like that!" I don't know if you've ever been so bored enough to watch a movie on fast-forward, but it's usually odd, makes little sense, yet in some ways is awkwardly fascinating. And that's what we're in for. A movie so misguided, the only thing it got right was the poster. (poster for Playing with Fire is shown, then zooms in on the tagline "0% Contained") Sometimes, it takes a virus to predict a virus.
NC: So, let's figure out why this run-of-the-mill movie is definitely that but so much less. We are definitely... Playing with Fire.
(The Paramount Players logo plays.)
NC: Well, like a particularly mean pimp, at least they're ACKNOWLEDGING they're playing you.
NC (vo): The credits roll, and California starts off its day with a forest fire. Which is like SpongeBob starting off with "Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?" Perhaps explaining why the people trapped in said fire are abnormally calm.
Male Driver: We're trapped. We can't get out.
Female Passenger: What do we do now?
Male Driver: We need a miracle.
NC: Jesus, I know you're Californians, but maybe an "Ahhh!" or a "Let's get out of here!" or "Paper straws did nothing!"
NC (vo): Did all of you get high before driving to work?
NC: (realizing) That is a stupid question.
(Jake Carson - played by John Cena - catches a falling, burning tree branch.)
Male Driver: Aah!
NC (vo): (as Male Driver) You're not the Cheetos I DoorDashed! (normally) They're saved by a group of smokejumpers led by Jake, played by...
(John Cena wrestling meme starts to appear, but NC pushes it away.)
NC: I-I can't, guys. I can't.
NC (vo): ...who we can tell takes his job too seriously because he never smiles.
NC: You know what fixes that? Kids. They're always good for smiling. (picture is shown of a mother looking miserable between her two kids)
Jake: Paint it pink!
(A plane flies over the burning forest and covers it with Phos-Chek fire retardant gel, extinguishing the flames. Jake covers his face in a Batman-like pose to shield it from the falling gel.)
NC (vo): (as Jake) Did I look like Batman? I was trying to look like Batman.
Little Boy: (runs up to Jake) Thank you for sav--! (runs face-first into minivan and falls over as Jake walks past)
NC (vo): (as Jake) Did I smell five edits in one second? Oh, no, it was just shitty slapstick.
Jake: Just another day at the office. (gets carried off by helicopter)
Woman: My husband sells insurance! Take me with you!
NC (vo): (as Woman) I work for Industrial Light & Magic! Maybe I can help you with your shitty effects--! (text box shows the film's visual effects and animation were indeed done by Industrial Light & Magic) Oh. They're the ones who did it.
(Clip of Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson) in Jackie Brown is played, with Industrial Light & Magic logo on top of Louis Gara's (Robert de Niro) face.)
Ordell Robbie: What the fuck happened to you, man? Your ass used to be beautiful.
(Cut back to Playing with Fire.)
Jake: You know how quickly things can go sideways. Heck, my dad was the greatest smokejumper ever to hang boots in this depot.
Jake: (nods at Masher)
NC: There's a rumor you can tell how bad a kid's film is gonna be by the number of desperate dog reaction shots. Clearly the script's not gonna keep me engaged, so might as well start counting.
DESPERATE DOG REACTION SHOTS: 1
NC (vo): Oh, hey, we found that lady's husband who sells insurance.
(Commander Richards, played by Allstate Insurance spokesman Dennis Haysbert, is shown on TV.)
Richards: We're just men with a lot a training and first-class genetics. Now that I say it out loud, I guess we are superheroes.
Haysbert: (vo from Allstate commercial) That's Allstate's stand.
(Mark Rogers, played by Keegan-Michael Key, cuts in behind Jake with a whoosh sound effect. Jake looks startled.)
Mark: That's the Santa Barbara fire!
NC: Yes, they did use a (whoosh) on his appearance.
NC (vo): (over footage of TV news broadcasts with people camera-bombing in the background) In fact, you know those guys who make faces on the news because they're so hungry for attention? Imagine a whole performance of that.
Mark: Oh, no, she didn't.
Mark: That is in there.
Mark: Por que?!
Mark: I am sorry. I will go over here.
NC (vo): Every time the camera even THINKS of going to someone else, Keegan-Michael Key is there to rescue you from variety.
Mark: (whoosh) That's the Santa Barbara fire!
Mark: (whoosh) If you're worried about it...
Mark: (whoosh) Fire down by the lake.
Mark: (whoosh) He's not here.
NC: I guess it's a little better than John Leguizamo, whose every line sounds like the lead-in to a Smash Mouth song.
Rodrigo Torres (John Leguizamo): Hey, hey, hey, hey, guys! My dawgs, come on, come on! You crushed it out there, men!
NC (vo): (singing All Star) Somebody once told me... (normally) It looks like the majority of the crew are leaving, though, because there's just not enough firefighting for them to do in the forest. ...In CALIFORNIA.
Mark: I just singed my eyebrows! Smell my beard! It smells like a luau!
(Axe, played by Tyler Mane, sniffs Mark's beard.)
Mark: ...That was disturbing.
NC: You may think that wide-angle close-up was awkward and unnecessary. ......That's it.
Rodrigo: We don't need you!
(Masher walks off.)
DESPERATE DOG REACTION SHOTS: 2
Rodrigo: We... don't... need... yoooouuuuu!
NC (vo): (singing All Star) Somebody once told me...
(A station siren goes off.)
NC (vo): They see there's a fire at a cabin, so Leguizamo is upgraded to pilot.
Rodrigo: Dropping the water... now!
(Rodrigo drops the water, and it completely misses the fire.)
Mark: Nice try.
Rodrigo: Can you try being a little more supportive? I haven't flown in a while, okay?
NC: Oh, I imagine everybody was flying when they made this movie.
NC (vo): Cena breaks into the cabin and discovers three kids trapped inside.
Will (Christian Convery): Are you really a fireman?
Jake: I'm a smokejumper, which is like a firefighter, but way cooler.
Will: What does a smokejumper do?
Jake: Oh, we jump into fires to fight them.
Will: Firemen fight fires.
NC: Well, put on the kettle. We can discuss it further. DOES NOBODY KNOW WHAT FIRE DOES?!
NC (vo): It's not violin music at a fancy restaurant! It's goddamn fire! What happens if it actually catches on someone?!
(NC's arm catches on fire.)
NC: Well, that is rather warm, but it shouldn't interrupt our conversation. See, I think Socrates is better than Plato because-- (fire consumes his entire body, reducing it to bones) ...Fire is rude.
NC (vo): They get them out, but a big storm hits, meaning the kids have to stay with them until they can reach their parents. Aw, shit, did we not have the camera on Keegan-Michael Key for a minute?
Brynn (Brianna Hildebrand): I'm not eight.
Mark: Hey! If he says you're eight... you're eight.
NC: Thanks, that added a lot. So, they reveal that--
Mark: (quickly gets up) Whoa! Now, if I didn't know any better, I would say that that was sarcasm.
NC: You know, I'm starting to see why his name was first on Key & Peele.
NC (vo): So, they reveal that-- (Mark gets up again) Jesus!
Mark: Oh, my gosh. But she's not stopping. It's just... That's just sarcasm.
NC: That actor with the axe (referring to Tyler Mane) is showing great restraint. I would've chopped up everybody at this point!
NC (vo): So, they reveal that their parents are out of town. The oldest leaves a voicemail to let them know they're safe.
Brynn: We were rescued by these smokejumpers. Apparently, there's only three hundred thirty-nine of them in the entire country.
Mark: Three hundred thirty-six. And this? (imitates Brynn's insincere salute) When you do that? That's not helpful.
NC: Stop making me forget you're funny!
Jake: Lieutenant, how bad's the storm?
Rodrigo: Well, in the words of Mahatma Gandhi...
NC: "I'm so hungry I could eat my words"?
Rodrigo: ..."It's bad."
NC: Mine was funnier.
NC (vo): So, they decide to look after them using something called the Safe Haven Law, which isn't even given a full minute of explanation before jumping to more slapstick.
(Jake trips over a fire hose and falls on his face.)
NC (vo): Tripping over a hose. Really thinking outside the box there, guys.
Brynn: Why does it have to be "fighting" the fires?
Mark: Oh, my gosh! For crying out loud.
(Brynn and Will stare at Mark. Mark is about to say something, but he's so exasperated he can't speak.)
NC: You know, let me check something.
(NC leaves the room and goes to the kitchen. He opens a cabinet to find a variety of coffee mugs.)
NC: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, yeah, mm-hmm. Yeah, just what I thought.
(He closes the cabinet and goes back to his chair.)
NC: We got enough mugs!
Mark: Oh, Masher!
Masher: (growls and charges at the kids, mouth foaming)
NC (vo): Oh! So, they're siccing dogs on them now? Not that I'm complaining. I just didn't know this was a Cujo sequel!
Zoey (Finley Rose Slater): No!
(Masher stops in front of Zoey and whines. Mark is in utter disbelief.)
NC: Look at that! He's, like, disappointed the dog didn't rip 'em to shreds! Is this, like, the fifth collection of children they've gone through?!
Zoey: Sparkle Pony.
Jake: Her name's Masher.
Zoey: Sparkle Pony!
NC: (shrugs) All right, we'll pretend those are words.
Jake: That is not for children.
Will: A chair isn't for children?
Jake: Nothing here is for children.
NC: The DVD warning this movie came with. (picture of the film's Blu-ray cover is shown with the words "Nothing Here Is For Children" on the bottom)
Mark: Don't you touch that button. Don't you touch the... Don't you do it! Don't press it!
Will: (presses remote button)
NC: Is he trying to be Superman III Richard Pryor?! (poster for Superman III is shown)
NC (vo): Yeah, Christ, I would need a break from him, too.
Jake: (holding phone, tapping his fingers)
Mark: (on phone) You always tap your fingers like that when you're upset.
(Jake turns around to see Mark standing in the rain outside his office window, holding an umbrella. He waves at Jake.)
NC (vo): OH, MY GOD! Yeah, we'll put you on the poster! Just please get a better agent!
Jake: Superintendent Jake Carson speaking.
NC (vo): The division commander calls Cena up, though, and talks about the possibility of him taking over his position after he retires.
Richards: (holding a pull-up) I understand you're Dan Carson's boy.
NC (vo): (as Richards) Just trying my latest exercise. It's a variation of pull-ups called "blow-ups". Your first assumption is correct.
Richards: You've made my short list for Division Commander.
Jake: It'd be my honor, sir.
Haysbert: (vo from Allstate commercial) Let the good hands reward your safe driving. Allstate gives you a hundred dollars off your deductible.
(Jake starts dancing to "BOOM" by X Ambassadors in front of Masher.)
DESPERATE DOG REACTION SHOTS: 3
DESPERATE DOG REACTION SHOTS: 4
(Mark appears in Jake's office dancing behind him.)
Jake: (jumps in surprise) Where did you come from?!
NC: (shuffling through papers) The script specifically said no Keegan-Michael Key in this scene! I requested it!
Mark: Big Dan would be so proud.
(Masher lowers her head.)
DESPERATE DOG REACTION SHOTS: 5
Mark: (visibly about to cry) Oh!
NC (vo): Well, at least we can say we've pinpointed the most annoying character in the movie--
("Here Comes a New Challenger!" graphic appears on-screen.)
Game Announcer: A new opponent is ready to face you!
NC (vo): This kid... is so obnoxious. She has three modes in this movie - gibberish, drunken gibberish, and crying. She has not one, not two, but THREE scenes of her screaming at the top of her lungs.
Mark: Please stop crying!
(Clip of Robert Muldoon (Bob Peck) in Jurassic Park plays.)
Robert Muldoon: Shoot her!
Robert Muldoon: SHOOT HER!
Mark: (to Axe) Why are you just standing there?! I've seen you wrestle a wolverine!
Axe: (low growl)
(NC thinks for a moment, then looks up Tyler Mane's IMDb page. Screen zooms in on X-Men, in which Mane played Sabretooth, meaning he technically has fought a "Wolverine".)
NC: Okay, you get a point for that.
(On-screen graphic shows the movie has one point in its favor.)
Brynn: (mockingly) "Me fireman! Can't turn my neck!"
Mark: (offended) No.
Rodrigo: (laughs) That was a good impression.
NC: Oh, thank God! I can take that point away! (slaps point away) It felt so dirty you having that!
NC (vo): But the oldest comes in, and like that, the scene is over. However, the boy fires flare guns, and... like that, the scene is over. Literally, these two scenes back-to-back are under a minute. I don't even think they remembered to put in punchlines. It's just something happens, and then it's not happening. (picture is shown of Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) in Men in Black holding a neuralyzer) The neuralyzer would leave a longer-lasting effect!
(Dr. Amy Hicks, played by Judy Greer, knocks on the station door.)
NC (vo): (as Hicks) Hello, I'm taking time away from being funny to be in this crap!
Amy: You dive-bombed my lab and scooped up water from Fisher Lake!
NC (vo): Judy Greer plays Dr. Amy Hicks, who's upset that they used water from her toad research to put out fires. But, more importantly, she used to date Cena!
(Studio audience goes "Ooooooh!")
Jake: I'm just saying that caring for living creatures is no small task.
NC: I wouldn't go too far with this. She doesn't exactly have the healthiest relationship with firefighters.
(Clip is played of Cheryl Tunt in Archer, also played by Judy Greer.)
Cheryl: A big, sweaty fireman carries you out of a burning building, and you think, "Yeah, okay, he's gonna give me mouth-to-mouth", but instead--
NC: Definitely gonna get demonetized if I play all of that, so research it yourself. Don't you love that YouTube can give you homework?
(After Jake explains to Amy, he notices his crew with the kids watching an episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic as he then enters the room.)
NC (vo): He explains his predicament as the kids calm down by watching... My Little Pony.
NC: (visibly confused) That... popular... Nickelodeon property.
Rodrigo: She found out that Rainbow Dash was secretly throwing away Pinkie's pies.
NC (vo): This once again makes me wonder if this was written years ago to reference the original My Little Pony cartoon as opposed to this one, as it was a popular thing in the late 80s and early 90s. And again, this isn't a Nickelodeon property, despite it being a Nickelodeon movie, so it's very bizarre. But what does it matter? We have our modern rom-com couple hate each other throughout the majority of the film and then spontaneously end up together. That's recent!
Jake: Maybe you would know how to take care of them.
Amy: Because I am a woman?
Jake: No. You're a scientist.
Amy: So, it's my scientific opinion you're looking for.
NC: (as Jake) Yes. Your scientific opinion as a woman. (pounds table) Goddamn it!
Amy: You're a terrible liar.
NC (vo): She takes off, leaving them alone to put the kids to bed and...
NC: (exasperated with hand on his face) Don't you have a Deadpool signal you can use to call him out to kill her?
NC (vo): Cena tells her a lullaby and - spoiler - he's bad at it.
Jake: There once was a man from Nantucket.
NC: Could finish shooting this film, but fuck it. (leaves his chair)
(Jake makes a silly, unable-to-think-of-anything face.)
NC: That is literally the face he made before they called "action" on every shot.
Jake: I got nothin'.
(Zoey is fast asleep.)
NC (vo): Huh. They forgot to write a bonding moment. Well, get used to that. Next scene. The next day, the boy gets peanut butter on Cena's car and... Hey, let's see if we can get THREE dog reactions in a row!
(Will scrubs the peanut butter with a sander or something, causing it to get scratches on the door of Jake's truck. Masher's face is cut to and away from several times.)
DESPERATE DOG REACTION SHOTS: 6
DESPERATE DOG REACTION SHOTS: 7
(Will knocks over a shelf and spills a bucket of industrial cleaning powder on the floor.)
(Masher's face is cut to again.)
DESPERATE DOG REACTION SHOTS: 8
NC: They should've just retitled this movie "Rrrrr?"
Zoey: I made you tea.
Jake: Tea? How did you make--?
(Zoey pours the cup on Jake's face, and he spits it out.)
Jake: Lighter fluid?!
(Jake tries to sit up in a hurry, hits his head on the bed bunk over him, and collapses the entire bunk bed on top of himself.)
NC: Who the hell made these beds?
NC (vo): We get the traditional "room full of bubbles" scene - which was so funny they showed it TWICE on the back of the box - as it looks like the smallest gremlin needs a diaper change.
(Zoey audibly poops in her diaper. Jake makes a face of visible disgust.)
NC: I do hope Key has a reaction to this.
Mark: Oh! (frantically throws his fists) Ho! That's a spicy meatball!
NC: Remember Max Shreck's power plant from Batman Returns (clip of Batman Returns plays) that wasn't producing energy but rather draining energy? This was the batteries it ran on.
NC (vo): Yeah, place that brat near the saw and nail gun.
NC: I'm not making a joke! Please do that! It'll make her role shorter!
(Jake removes Zoey's dirty diaper.)
Mark: Oh! Ew!
NC: (bored) Haven't seen THAT reaction in a movie yet.
(Zoey picks up the nail gun and points it at Mark.)
(Laughing childishly, Zoey shoots nails at Mark, who dodges them all Matrix-style.)
NC: (shrugs) Because why not experiment with horror at this point?
NC (vo): She has a Chucky doll look that's rather terrifying.
(The sound of Chucky's maniacal laughter from Child's Play is played over Zoey shooting the nail gun.)
NC (vo): You all knew this was coming.
Jake: (wearing firefighter gear) I'm going in.
NC: But tell me if you could predict THIS. Because, honestly, I'm still not sure how it works.
(While changing Zoey's diaper, Jake's face mask gets splattered with liquid poop.)
Mark: Oh! Right up the arm hole!
NC: First of all, CHRIST! Second of all, how did that go up his sleeve into his mask?
NC (vo): You would need an extinguisher filled with ass juice to make that happen.
NC: I never thought I'd say this, but... give Arnold some credit. (picture is shown of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop dressed as a cowboy) He would never stoop this low.
(Clip of Jake's mask getting splattered with poop plays again.)
NC (vo): (as Schwarzenegger) My eyes! The goggles do nothing!
(NC's phone rings. He sighs and answers.)
NC: This better be important.
(Tamara is on the other end.)
Tamara: It's not.
NC: Then why'd you call?
Tamara: I kinda figured you needed a break.
(Emotional music plays as NC bites his lip in visible anguish.)
NC: (whispers) ...Thank you.
Tamara: Hang in there, camper.
(NC hangs up the phone, puts his head down, and cries, leading into the commercial break. After the break, the review continues.)
NC (vo): Get this. They try to have an emotional moment between Key and the oldest sibling. See if you can listen without thinking of that literal shit-eating scene seconds earlier.
Mark:: And they're all heroes. To me. In their own way. But that day, I realized that my calling was not with the family business.
(Clip of Jake's mask splattered with poop plays again.)
Mark:: Do you have anything that you love? That you do just for yourself?
Brynn: Art. I used to paint.
(Poop-in-Jake's-mask clip plays again.)
Mark:: You definitely should get back into that.
(Poop-in-Jake's-mask clip plays again.)
NC: Can't do it, can you? Want to know how I know? I didn't edit ANY footage over that scene.
(Poop-in-Jake's-mask clip plays again.)
Will: (points at giant crate labeled "WARNING: EXTREME HEAT") Whoa! That's awesome!
NC: Whoa! You're easily impressed! ...It's a box!
NC (vo): He's told it's a fire training simulator and, seeing how fire means nothing in this world, he of course lets the child play in it.
Jake: (rubs hands together) All right, let's get to work.
(Masher raises her head.)
DESPERATE DOG REACTION SHOTS: 9
Jake: (sniffs) Smoke?
(Cut to Will and Rodrigo in the fire training simulator, surrounded by flames.)
Will: My dad and I used to watch fire shows together.
Rodrigo: Oh, yeah?
Will: Okay, we've got two victims just half a klick away.
NC: It's... FIRE!
NC (vo): What, does somebody have to yell "CAT!" like in Pleasantville before anybody takes this seriously?!
(Jake runs into the simulator and finds Rodrigo crawling on the floor.)
Rodrigo: Oh, hi, Supe.
NC (vo): The oldest sibling helps them escape, which I think is for their own wellbeing at this point, and they steal the ATV.
(Jake, Mark, Rodrigo, and Axe try to follow the ATV but slip goofily on an oil spill outside the station.)
Rodrigo: Hold on!
NC (vo): Now name another comedy that straps a camera to an actor as they fly around. Aside from all of them.
Rodrigo: It's too slippery!
Mark: If you go, I go!
NC (vo): Well, at least the Backdraft reference was quick. I almost remember it less than... well, Backdraft.
(Jake stands in the way of the ATV, and Brynn runs him over, causing him to go flying.)
NC (vo): Cena catches up with them, of course being knocked over...
NC (vo): ...when they reveal that their actual parents are dead.
Brynn: They... died.
Jake: Why didn't you tell me?
Brynn: I knew you'd call Child Protective Services. A month ago, we found out that... they're gonna separate us.
NC: Uh, have you seen you little demons in action? (clips are shown of the siblings causing mischief throughout the film) That's probably a good idea!
Jake: And trust me. You guys are in good hands.
NC: Hey, you don't have your boss's job yet. (clip of Commander Richards is shown)
NC (vo): Literally ten seconds after finding out their folks are dead, let's do some hilarious skinning-chipmunks jokes!
Jake: Who wants chipmunk?
NC: Oh, I do hope that was Theodore! Sleep well tonight, kids! Nickelodeon!
Jake: Nature calls.
Brynn: She's scared out here. She doesn't want you to leave.
Jake: There's no reason to be scared. Bear sightings are pretty rare.
Zoey: Bears?! (screams)
NC: (rubs his forehead in pain) Couldn't they skin HER instead?
NC (vo): Cena decides to calm her down by holding her while going to the bathroom. How many arrests are there gonna be at the end of this movie?
Brynn: It's Zoey's birthday in two days. I'd hate for that to be the day she remembers them splitting us up.
NC: (as Brynn) Seeing how we almost killed you on several occasions, I think you owe us.
(Poop-in-Jake's-mask clip plays yet again.)
NC (vo): They make it back to the base. Thank God we get to see the dog's take on all of this.
DESPERATE DOG REACTION SHOTS: 10
NC (vo): And Amy flirts a bit with our beefcake, so the others try to help him out.
Brynn: You need to practice letting your guard down.
(Amy gets a text message from Brynn pretending to be Jake that reads "Wassup?")
Brynn: That was quick. Okay, now we're gonna reply with something clever.
NC: (as Brynn) Unzip your pants. You know what we're taking a picture of.
Jake: Smiley-face icon?
(Masher looks at the camera.)
DESPERATE DOG REACTION SHOTS: 11
Jake: What does that mean?
Brynn: Means you got yourself a date, stud.
Zoey: Yay, Jake, you got a date!
NC: Anyone else think she sounds like John Heard's impression of Tom Hanks from Big?
Zoey: Yay, Jake, you got a date!
(Clip of Paul Davenport (John Heard) in Big plays.)
Paul Davenport: (babbling)
NC (vo): Of course "date" translates to "hanging with seven people". Eight if you count the dog reactions.
DESPERATE DOG REACTION SHOTS: 12
NC: Hey, that was plural.
DESPERATE DOG REACTION SHOTS: 13
NC (vo): And it looks like the kids cleaned up the piano for Cena to play. ...Without playing. (screen zooms in on piano to show Cena's fingers are not moving)
Jake: (singing) The heat is on! On the street!
Brynn: Don't tell me you only know how to play songs that are fire-related.
NC: Why? This film seems to only know flicks that just make enough to be profitable. (posters for The Game Plan, The Spy Next Door, Mr. Nanny, and The Pacifier are shown)
(Poop-in-Jake's-mask clip plays yet again.)
NC (vo): Afterward, they decide to go shopping to give the youngest Stooge the greatest product-placement birthday they can muster. She has... virtually no reaction.
(Camera slowly zooms in on Zoey, who has virtually no reaction to her surprise My Little Pony-themed birthday party as emotional music plays.)
NC: Try it! Try acting! Just this once! Just this once! (scene cuts to Axe's face) Oh. Not today.
Jake: I didn't want you to feel left out. (reveals lake preservation agreement in red metal box) Ta-da!
Jake: (jokingly closes box lid on Amy's hand) Whoa!
Amy: Ow! (laughs)
NC (vo): Ah, that Pretty Woman craze. Still strong and relevant twenty-nine years later. The kids are still quoting it!
(Jake puts on a Princess Celestia T-shirt that is obviously too small for him.)
Jake: It... It's... a shirt.
(Masher is shown wearing a unicorn headband.)
DESPERATE DOG REACTION SHOTS: 14
NC: I know what you're thinking though. "Critic, I really don't want to sleep tonight! Please help me!"
NC (vo): Well, it looks like the smokejumper named Axe - who hasn't said a word the entire film - got a Pinkie Pie sticker on his helmet.
(Axe starts laughing softly, but it slowly builds to a loud, bellowing laughter. NC's expression slowly turns more and more terrified. Axe's laughter gets deeper and deeper as ominous horror music plays. Axe picks up Zoey... and starts singing operatically.)
Axe: ♪ My Little Pony, My Little Pony ♪
(NC's expression becomes one of utter confusion. The scene of Axe spinning Zoey around in his arms includes wide-angle close-ups of both their faces.)
Axe: ♪ What is friendship all about? ♪
(NC forces himself to blink to make sure he's not hallucinating.)
Axe: ♪ My Little Pony, My Little Pony! Friendship is maaaaaaagiiiiiiic! ♪
NC: Oh, of course! Every copy comes complete with a sheet of acid! WHAT THE HELL AM I WATCHING RIGHT NOW?!
NC (vo): This movie was dumb, but it never had the taste of bitter night terrors! The film suddenly looks like it's gonna bite my nose off while singing a song gargling my blood! No kid, no matter how cute, should be shot this close, as they start to look like the Happy Death Day killer! And this guy! Why'd you try to make it look like he was scary with the ax?! THIS was his most terrifying form! It's one of the most uncomfortable things I've ever seen a movie like this do!
Mark: Y-You can make sound.
Brynn: He can sing!
NC: He can make your eyes bleed by piercing his into your brain!
NC (vo): The title shouldn't be "My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic"! It should be "My Little Pony..."
(Clip of Shang Tsung (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) in Mortal Kombat plays.)
Shang Tsung: Your soul is mine!
NC (vo): But wouldn't you know it? The commander shows up early and can't believe what he sees.
Jake: You said you weren't gonna show up until tomorrow.
Richards: Kinda takes the surprise out of "surprise inspection".
Haysbert: (vo from Allstate commercial) Are you in good hands?
NC (vo): On top of that, Child Protection Services shows up the exact same time to take the kids away. Jesus, is the pound gonna come to take the dog away next? (picture of a cartoon dog catcher is shown)
Jake: This is what happens when you let your guard down.
NC (vo): So, you know the drill. Cena turns back into an asshole, the kids are taken away, we get our third act breakup, and everyone mopes for a good ten to twenty minutes before we get the climax where everyone realizes their faults.
NC: There's just one thing. There's only ten minutes of the movie left!
("TEN MINUTES LEFT" is shown on the screen in big yellow text.)
NC (vo): While I'm thankful God is putting out this dumpster fire with his urine, it does make you realize that's not enough time to let any of the choices these characters make sink in. Amy is pissed to see Cena's true colors. He tries hard to suck up to the commander. The kids run away, he quickly saves them, and suddenly these major character flaws are completely forgotten. Yeah. He gets the kids, marries the doctor, keeps the job... Nobody questions these incredibly questionable choices he made just moments ago! It's like they want to end this shit breakfast faster than we do! And they're the ones making it! But it's okay. The dog gets one more reaction.
Jake: Sparkle Pony!
(Masher/Sparkle Pony walks up on command.)
DESPERATE DOG REACTION SHOTS: 15
Zoey: Sparkle Pony, hooray!
NC: You better be the next Julianne Moore, you little shit.
NC (vo): And that was Playing with Fire. ...Wow. Just... friggin' wow. I guess on the surface, it seems like an average "muscle-bound tough guy raising kids" flick. But on a deeper dive - and by "deeper dive", I mean WATCHING it - it truly is something that's fascinatingly soulless. All these actors have been funny in other projects - hell, they've been very funny - but it has you asking in every single moment... "Why?" Just... Just why? You know those dramas that are so bad you have to laugh? Or those comedies that are so bad you CAN'T laugh? This is one of those comedies that's so bad you don't laugh but then become so empty and uncomfortable you HAVE to laugh at how disturbed you are. I'll give it credit. I've never had such a bizarre reaction like that. I can't say it was enjoyable, but I did laugh. For the pity of humanity, I did laugh. I guess it only figures that nothing about this movie would be ordinary. It'd be annoying, cringey, even TERRIFYING, but definitely not ordinary.
(NC's phone rings, and he answers.)
(Tamara is on the other end.)
Tamara: All right, Critic, I wrote you a script with everything you wanted.
NC: Perfect! So, who's playing the kids?
Tamara: Well, I couldn't exactly find any kids, but I think I found the next best thing.
(NC looks confused by what Tamara means. Cut to NC in a fake movie trailer. He walks into his living room with a furrowed brow and crossed arms.)
Voiceover (Malcolm): Nostalgia Critic was a serious, muscle-bound, manly man. With a big penis.
(NC smiles and winks at the camera, then frowns again.)
Voiceover: But then, adorable rapscallions warmed his heart.
(NC turns around and sees Playing with Fire, Kindergarten Cop, The Game Plan, The Pacifier, and Mr. Nanny posters jumping around the carpet. He smiles and shakes his head like a playfully reproachful father figure.)
Voiceover: That's right! He's a tough guy raising tough-guy-raising-kids movies! We know you've seen this formula done to death, and your kids are little idiots who just want to see adults do silly things. So we've decided to cut the crap and just give you one of those movies about raising one of those movies.
(NC teaches The Game Plan how to hold a teacup, does ballet with Mr. Nanny, and does creepy wide-angle close-ups with Playing with Fire.)
Voiceover: Coming soon, it's... Cutesy Pun!
(NC returns to his recording room; the camera is focused on his head. He looks down. His body is now muscular.)
NC: (surprised) Wow, it worked.
(Clip of Jake's mask getting splattered with poop plays one last time.)
Channel Awesome tagline – Axe: ♪ My Little Pony, My Little Pony ♪
(The credits roll)