Playing with Fire (2019)

Playing with Fire poster

Playing with Fire is a 2019 American family comedy film directed by Andy Fickman from a screenplay by Dan Ewen and Matt Lieberman. The film stars John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo, Brianna Hildebrand, Dennis Haysbert, and Judy Greer, and follows a group of smoke jumpers who must watch over three children who have been separated from their parents following an accident.

The film was theatrically released in the United States on November 8, 2019, by Paramount Pictures. It received negative reviews from critics and has grossed $31 million worldwide.

SHORT VERSION

A crew of rugged firefighters meet their match when attempting to rescue three rambunctious kids.

LONG VERSION

The movie opens up with a fire raging around a highway with several cars stopped, hoping to escape.

Captain Jake Carson (Cena) and his fire team parachute in and take control. After saving the bystanders, they zip out while the crowd looks on in awe. One woman begs to be taken with them because “her husband is an accountant” who happens to be standing right next to her, and Jake Carson is the hottest man she’s ever seen.

As they arrive back, a news story plays showing the current division commander (Dennis Haysbert). He is talking about the fire they just put out in Santa Barbara, while Carson and Mark (Keegan Michael Key) watch. Mark notes that Commander Richards is retiring soon, and he and Jake talk about how that’s Jake’s dream job.

At this point, literally half the smoke-jumping team walk in and quit. They state that they want to be “in the big leagues” in Santa Barbara. This leaves only four guys in the station, Jake, Mark, Rodrigo, and Axe.

Rodrigo (Leguizamo) immediately laments that he’s going to be expected to fly the chopper now instead of being backup. As they’re discussing it, a call comes in for a forest fire. They discuss if it will go out in the impending storm. This leads to them calling Dr. Amy Hicks (Judy Greer), who studies toads in the ponds near it. She looks at her cameras and sees a cabin on fire.

They head out In the chopper with Rodrigo piloting. He knocks over hicks on accident while refilling the water container and misses the fire. Carson instead zips in and attempts to search for survivors. He finds the kids and after a failed attempt to extract them separately extracts then all together.

As he is being pulled up, a news camera chopper shoots him pulling the kids to safety. Because the storm has started, they have to take the kids back to the fire HQ.

When he arrives back at the station with the kids, he attempts to call their parents, who the kids explain are on a date. The kids’ parents text back saying they’ll pick them up tomorrow because of the storm. We meet the kids fully at this point, there is Brynn, Will, and the baby Zoey.

Carson gets a call from Commander Richard congratulating him on the rescue and asking him if he would apply for his open position. He also brings up Jake’s father, who we find out died in a fire when he was young.

The kids begin to wreak havoc on the firehouse, basically just running around like crazy. Carson has Dr. Hicks show up who demands he signs a paper agreeing not to take any more water from her ponds because they’re for endangered toads.

Carson attempts to offload the kids onto her because he doesn’t know how to deal with them, and they clash with his no-nonsense style. She is very clear that she thinks Carson is only doing this because she’s a woman and refuses. By the time they check on the kids, they’ve calmed down and are watching my little pony with the guys.

The next morning the kids wake up before Jake as the team has decided he should sleep in at Brinn’s suggestion. While Carson sleeps, the kids slowly destroy the station, including Will damaging the truck and covering the garage in soap. Will decides to clean up; he will use a fire hose. This goes as you would expect with the whole room filling with suds as Will rides around the room on the fire hose. Carson wakes up and comes with Mark, Rodrigo, and the baby to save him.

After saving him, they work to clean up and find that Brinn and the kids are now trying to steal their ATV. Carson follows behind them on a bike. They accidentally run Carson over, and when checking on him, the ATV falls into the lake.

Carson decides they should camp out because they won’t make it back in time for dark.

The kids admit that their parents are dead and not coming. They’re worried because Zoey’s birthday is in 2 days and they’ve already run from foster care. They believe that if they go back, they’ll be split up, and they don’t want to be split up on her birthday. Carson promises to give then until Monday before child services come.

They make it back the next day and everyone in the firehouse bonds with the kids. The kids help Carson ask DrHicks on a date to make up for the previous date they had been on. He had previously left mid-date because he was married to the job.

She comes over and they all bond. The Jumpers run out and buy ALL the kids birthday presents.

They set up a large birthday party for the kids for Sunday, and while they have it, the division commander shows up in surprise.

The division commander begins to chew them out for the state of the unit, and Carson realizes he can’t be a family man and firefighter.
Child services show up.

The kids steal division commanders hummer and attempt to flee so they won’t be broken up.

Carson and the firefighters go in search of them. The kids get into an accident and dangle off the side of the mountain.

Carson repels down and works with the kids to save them. When he gets back, the Division commander offers him the job.

Carson and company say goodbye to the kids….until Carson realizes he doesn’t want to do that and adopts them instead.

The last part of the movie is Carson, Doctor Hicks, and the kids prepping to go to the courthouse for a 2:00 pm wedding as Carson and Hicks are getting married. They go outside to the waiting fire team to go with them to the wedding.

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