Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Obvious Child Ain't Worth It

Let me get this off my chest, I hate writing negative reviews. It's one of the most painful things I can do to sit down and relive the missteps of a bad movie over and over again. Because one of my favorite things to do in the whole world is to catch a wonderful movie and be completely surprised and astonished by how perfectly everything comes together. When that doesn't happen, I'd rather just forget the experience. But alas I can't.
Obvious Child is likely not the worst thing I've seen this year, but it's close. And it's a damn shame because I totally agree with its message. I just don't agree with the long, winding path the filmmakers took to get there. I particularly didn't find all of the poop and fart jokes funny. And every time a comic got on stage I wanted to hit my head on something really hard, because I couldn't imagine a single crowd that would actually laugh at those jokes.
I'm not saying that Jenny Slate was bad. But I have seen her do better work in much better roles. Similarly, Jake Lacy showed sparks of personality and presence. It's too bad I had to meet him in such a mess of a movie. Gaby Hoffmann's never really done anything for me and that trend didn't stop here. And Gabe Liedman was almost fun to watch... but the script just kept hitting me over the head with the wooden block that made up the entirety of his character. I laughed once in the entire film and that wasn't until David Cross showed up. The problem with that is, I wasn't actually laughing at the movie. I was just laughing at David Cross because he's made me laugh so many times before.

I bet Gillian Robespierre's a really cool person, but she certainly didn't earn my trust or continued viewership with this first feature of hers. It just felt like the wrong way to broach this material and it unfortunately doesn't humanize the subject of abortion enough to sway any on-the-fencers (assuming there are any left). Now this was a short first. And I wonder, if I watched that, would I manage to see the heart of the film? The expansion into a feature likely killed the good qualities of the original short as has happened so many times in the past. It's worth considering, that a short film usually exists in that format because that is all it calls for. I know there's no money to be gained there... but as a creative person sometimes it's worth proving yourself one way and then saying I have this other thing I'd like to make on a bigger scale. The unfortunate truth of that is, the industry continues to request "known" materials. So young filmmakers get coaxed into making less than great expansions to earlier passion projects. I don't blame the young filmmakers, because they just want to start making movies. I blame the industry for creating this upside-down purgatory that young filmmakers are expected to occupy. I'll see Gillian Robespierre's next work just because I assume there is something going on in her head worth telling. It just didn't show in this first feature.
But enough of that. Obvious Child is gross most of the time and only barely broaches the subject it initially sets out to tackle. It is neither a well designed film nor a funny film and for that I'd say it's unfortunately not worth your time or money.

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