Playing with Fire Trailer

John Cena has been on the rise as an actor ever since he showed a completely different side to his talents with a supporting role in Amy Schumer’s romantic comedy Trainwreck. Since then, he led the animated film Ferdinand, starred in the surprisingly great Blockers, tracked down Transformers in Bumblebee, and he’s joining the squad in Fast and Furious 9. But not all of his choices are going to be winners, as evidenced by the trailer for his next movie.

Playing with Fire is a new family comedy that finds John Cena playing a firefighter who takes a trio of kids under his wing after rescuing them from a fire. For some reason, he’s legally bound to take care of these kids until their parents get back from…somewhere. It doesn’t matter, because this looks absolutely atrocious.

Playing with Fire Trailer

Look, you can sit there all day and tell me to chill out because this movie is meant for kids and their parents and blah, blah, blah. But movies like this don’t have to be full of dumb slapstick humor that’s so bad that it makes a respected comedian like Keegan-Michael Key look like a total goober.

This trailer hits all the checkmarks you’d expect from a family comedy about a group of kids forced to stay in a firehouse. Is John Cena a by-the-book firefighter who demands obedience? Check. Do the kids openly mock him and create chaos? Check. Does one of the kids get ahold of a fire hose? Check. Is there a fart joke? Surprisingly, no. Just kidding, not only is there a fart joke, but it goes on for way too long, and it’s basically just a shit joke (meaning it’s both about shit and it’s also shitty).

At the same time, I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised. If John Cena is following the same trajectory as Dwayne Johnson, we can’t forget that The Rock also starred in movies like The Game Plan and Tooth Fairy, and look where he is now. Funnily enough, The Game Plan director Andy Fickman is the one directing this childish mess. It’s just a shame that this movie is the kind of thing being offered to Judy Greer, who is so much better than the parts she’s often being given.

When straight-laced fire superintendent Jake Carson (John Cena) and his elite team of expert firefighters (Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo and Tyler Mane) come to the rescue of three siblings (Brianna Hildebrand, Christian Convery and Finley Rose Slater) in the path of an encroaching wildfire, they quickly realize that no amount of training could prepare them for their most challenging job yet – babysitters. Unable to locate the children’s parents, the firefighters have their lives, jobs and even their fire depot turned upside down and quickly learn that kids – much like fires –are wild and unpredictable.

Playing with Fire hits theaters on November 8, 2019.

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