Playing With Fire
in ,

REVIEW: Family comedy Playing With Fire fails to ignite with flat schtick

Uptight fire superintendent Jake Carson (John Cena) and his team of expert firefighters rescue three siblings from a house fire.

The parents are unable to pick up the kids, so they’re forced to care for the children under the ‘Safe Haven’ law.

The eldest Brynn (Brianna Hildebrand) is a pretty together teenager in charge of her younger siblings. The boy child Will (Christian Convery) is a mischief-maker and the cute as a button Zoey (Rose Slater), is, well she’s just as cute as a button.

Throw in a potential love interest in the form of local scientist Amy (Judy Greer) and we have ourselves a movie.

Should I watch it?

In a word, no. Unless you have some kids to wrangle in the school holidays but other than that, just no.


John Cena cannot act and is just awful as a comedy actor. He’s chock full of bulging muscles and even bulgier veins, but none of this makes up for his woeful acting.

Oh, and the script uses any opportunity to have him take his shirt off, which is more than a little disturbing for a movie aimed squarely at kids. It’s not done in a creepy way but really, do we need to see him sans shirt? No, we do not.

The entire movie is a series of, what we assume are supposed to be, zany antics. They follow a loose script but are there simply to get laughs. And don’t get me wrong, there are a few laughs. Just not enough.

These expert firefighters are a bunch of morons. One is overtly supportive of the boss, one insists on cooking everything with Spam and the third is a giant, hulk of a man who carries an axe and doesn’t utter a word throughout.

To be perfectly frank, I’m glad they’re not actual firefighters. Like, really glad because they’re a pack of imbeciles who have no business being firefighters. Even for laughs. It’s an insult to firefighters who are real, honest to goodness heroes.

Keegan-Michael Key tries to save the movie by bringing his trademark humour to his role as the superintendent’s offsider. Appearing on screen in odd and mildly humorous ways, however, it’s a schtick that can’t sustain even a 96 minute movie.

I’ve given 1 star for Key’s attempts to salvage and 1 star for the cute 3 year old.

2 stars

Running Time:  96 minutes
Release Date:  In cinemas now
Cast: John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo, Brianna Hildebrand, Christian Convery, Finley Rose Slater, Judy Greer

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Written by Newcastle Live

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