Friday, August 1, 2014

Where Did The Angriest Man In Brooklyn Go So Wrong?

As a kid growing up, I used to love watching Robin Williams movies. He really is a great actor. And he's always had my support. But for the last decade or so, it's been really difficult to stay on his side. Because the majority of films he puts out are just plain awful. Then came World's Greatest Dad. It was a surprise light in a dark tunnel of never ending bad films. It was just creative and different. Then came the announcement of The Angriest Man in Brooklyn. On the surface, it felt like an attempt by Williams' team to recapture that strange magic. Unfortunately, it did not succeed. So what went wrong?
From the very start, things seemed to be going down hill fast. Poorly placed narration against what honestly looked like pathetic home video footage left my tongue completely dry. Then things somehow got worse. Mila Kunis may have given the crappiest performance of her career... and as the instigator of the story and the female lead, this was really difficult to swallow (especially since, I usually like Mila Kunis). Robin was trying to do his stuff, but it wasn't enough. Even Peter Dinklage seemed to be struggling to figure out what to do, because his character really didn't have a character and only popped in here and there in an attempt to "advance the plot"... something that never happened. And Richard Kind's hopeful cameo scene was ruined by an outrageously bad fat suit.
So let me break it down as simply as I can. This movie felt rushed. It felt underbudgeted. And I don't think Phil Alden Robinson cared much about the property... to me it feels like he just took a pay check and went along his merry way. That may sound harsh. I mean, he directed Field of Dreams... twenty five years ago! And his last movie was the colossal failure The Sum of All Fears back in 2002. At this point I think its safe to say, Field of Dreams was a surprise positive for a director without much to offer. Sorry, that really was mean. But I can't ignore history.
Ignore the poster, Melissa Leo wasn't in this movie.
Still, the writing could have been better, as could the editing, as could the acting, as could the cinematography, so at the end of the day, it isn't JUST Phil Alden Robinson's fault... though as director, one can still argue that he should have been able to fix at least one of those problems. Basically, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn is just a complete and utter mess. I can keep hoping for more good Robin Williams movies, but as the years pass, that's looking more and more like a forgotten dream. C'est la vie.

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