MOVIE REVIEW: “Don’t Look Up” stars Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood…, The Revenant), Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook, X-Men: First Class), Meryl Streep (The Post, The Giver), Jonah Hill (Superbad, Moneyball), Rob Morgan (Just Mercy, Mudbound), Cate Blanchett (Nightmare Alley, Blue Jasmine), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies, Dunkirk), Tyler Perry (Gone Girl, Diary of a Mad Black Woman), Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name, Dune ), Ron Perlman (Hand of God [TV series], Hellboy ), Ariana Grande (Victorious [TV series], Zoolander 2), Himesh Patel (Yesterday, Tenet), Kid Cudi (Need for Speed, Jexi), and Melanie Lynskey (Togetherness [TV series], Up in the Air). It is written and directed by Adam McKay (The Big Short, Vice).
When two astronomers (DiCaprio, Lawrence) discover a comet that is headed directly toward earth, they seek the warn top government officials; only to find out that everyone on Capitol Hill wants to use the impending doom as a means of self-gain.
The Oscars have passed, but I will have you know that I managed to see almost all the Best Picture nominees beforehand. Well… all except “Coda,” which coincidentally won the award (life is hilarious). What do I have to say about “Don’t Look Up”? I’m fine it didn’t take home anything from the Academy.
Highly-regarded comedies are often lackluster in my book. Or at least, when it comes to Adam McKay features. The guy is hit-or-miss to me, and even his “hits” are more so okay than anything. “Vice” was alright. “The Big Short” was good. But his solo outings in cinema aren’t my cup of tea. Primarily because they are political satire, which I’ve never been a fan of. And “Don’t Look Up” has to be one of the most annoying of his gamut.
The cast in this is massive. A sheet tour de force of talent, to which I have no idea why they signed on aside from the ability to bash government (let’s face it, this has climate change written all over it for Leo). Am I pro-government? Not really. But as a film, “Don’t Look Up” hinges itself on caricatures and loud jokes that don’t land. Everyone is a villain and highly moronic, outside of the regular citizens who fill the background (only because they aren’t given lines). Our straight men are found in the leads of Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio, but even they can’t pull me out of the insanity that oozes from this picture.
If you love absurdist comedy, this will be in your wheelhouse. The threat is incredible, and the scrambling to solve such conflict lends to many silly moments. I will admit to laughing at a few of them, but only enough to count on one hand. Really, it’s the curiosity of seeing if humanity will survive that kept me watching (and the fact that I was trying to get caught up on all the Best Picture noms). McKay certainly has an agenda with each of his movies, and this one… pretty much pins government as idiots and humanity as selfish. Some of the story devices are interesting. This theme on selfishness that’s explored lends to a few humorous set-ups and situations that could very well happen in real life (primarily the storyline surrounding the smartphone). Though the pros are heavily outweighed by the cons in my book.
It’s troubling enough that comedy isn’t respected in the world of cinema. Very few releases are up for awards, and for this one to place paints the picture clearly: you have to have a liberalistic agenda. I don’t want to get political here, but they already did, and it’s a shame that this is what will get you in the door of recognition. Of course, I’m speaking from a standpoint that doesn’t care for McKay’s work (his solo stuff, that is), so you can only take what I say with a grain of salt.
At the end of the day, this is a big-budgeted comedy with star appeal to spark interest. But the moment I watched it, I realized that it does what most of those features do: not make me laugh. Or at least, not as much as I’d want. There’s a few nice elements of this movie (namely the performances, theme of selfishness, and score by Nicholas Britell), but “Don’t Look Up” is a forgetful agitator. Unless you’re a fan of McKay, I don’t suggest you see it. FINAL SCORE: 60%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer:
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