Playing With Fire review – so unfunny it will extinguish your will to live

A late contender for the worst movie of the year, Playing With Fire takes the Kindergarten Cop model of juxtaposing ultra-macho tough guys with adorable yet impish kiddies, and letting chaos and fluffy unicorns ensue. John Cena is Jake Carson, a “smoke jumper”, essentially a firefighter who parachutes into infernos and battles them with his fists and the crushing awfulness of his comic line readings. Responding to a cabin fire at the local lake, Jake rescues three children who, due to a legal loophole, then become his responsibility until their parents can collect them.

This is beyond inept. Aiming for cheery banter, the film-makers optimistically allow Cena and his fellow firefighters (Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo) to improvise. The result is acres of dead air and agonising silences so empty you can hear the sinews in Cena’s enormous neck twanging sadly. This is a film so devoid of ideas that it dedicates an entire extended montage to the firefighters going to a supermarket to do a spot of shopping. It turns out that sluggishly edited shots of big men pushing trolleys and buying plush toys is not, in fact, an adequate replacement for writing some funny lines. The will to live is extinguished along with the raging brush fires.

Watch the trailer for Playing with Fire.


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