This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be far more negative.
All right folks, it’s time for one of those films. I reviewed a big 0 recently so it hasn’t been too wide of a gap this time, but these films always remind you of the true depths that a film can sink to. While this film may strive to be ordinary, it couldn’t even reach the halfway point and just dunk into negative people. While it tries to be a realistic look at the typical family, it’s more like an edgy look at the 1%. That’s enough build up though, lets launch into this film.
Conrad tried to destroy himself prior to the film starting, but failed in his attempt and now he has been shunned by society. Or at least, that’s how he acts, but he’s the only one closing himself off. His parents Calvin and Beth are trying to get past this, but Conrad won’t let the tension go away by subtly bringing it up every day with his actions. He ends up going to a local psychiatrist named Tyrone who is one of those guys that tries to help you by not actually doing anything. A pretty cushy way to make a living I’d say. Can this dysfunctional family get together or is the film going to opt for a sad sad ending? 3 guesses on which one they chose.
The film just never lightens up and keeps a fairly gloomy atmosphere throughout the entirety of the film. Things just never look up for the characters and often times it is because none of them are trying to make things better. They’re just all going with the flow and trying to escalate the situation. Calvin is the only good character here so I may as well give him his props first. He tries to act naturally about the situation while the others want to live in the past. He acts as a bridge between Beth and Conrad, but they eventually just start dumping their worries on him. They keep guilt tripping him the whole time when Calvin has really done nothing wrong. All he is trying to do is help out. Poor guy, it’s rough being trapped in such a toxic place.
Everything else about this film is pretty bad so here we go. First off, the writing is absolutely terrible. The script makes the average Michael Bay film look like a masterpiece. The sheer amount of language in this film is crazy. The TV version had to keep using the gust of wind sound to stop the characters in their tracks. Conrad’s generic blowup naturally goes all out as he keeps on swearing for what must have been a few minutes straight. Tyrone managed to keep a straight face through it all though and even egged him on for a while. This guy’s teaching strategy is certainly interesting to put it nicely. Without good writing, it is extremely hard to have a good film because writing plays into everything, the story, the characters, etc.
As for the characters, Conrad is a terrible main character. It’s just impossible to root for the guy as he just doesn’t help them get past this. He starts to act a little more normal by the middle of the film, but even then he is permanently on a short fuse. He’s ready to blow up at any time. Then you have Beth. She can’t even bluff when she is with Conrad and instead ends up blaming him for everything. You’ll notice that the blame game comes up quite a lot in this film as everyone points fingers at each other. Beth essentially tries to shut Conrad out of her life by going on trips without him. Calvin probably shouldn’t have gone with her to be honest. She serves as the main antagonist of the film and while she isn’t downright mean, trying to shut someone out is a pretty similar effect.
Now, the film does avoid having any animal violence which is great. I’ll give the film credit for not making that mistake. Of course, it goes for the next best thing in terms of losing points and getting extra edgy, we get a random suicide midway through the film. One of Conrad’s friends decides to write herself out of the movie and there’s no reason for this except to blow Conrad up once again. This character was written in only for this one scene that doesn’t add to anything. I guess this whole town just wasn’t a very happy place. Of course, you could tell that from the first few minutes of the film. I can’t even remember any scene where it was sunny out except for the brief golf game. At least that part of the film tried to be exciting and fun.
The people who really lost out here were Conrad’s friends from school since he never reconciles with them. They got over it fairly quick though as there are always more friends to be had at school, but it just shows the ripple effect from Conrad being a downer. With the characters splitting up at the end of the film, it paves the way for no sequel to be made as it symbolically showed the viewers walking out of the theater. You may have gotten them once, but you certainly won’t get them again. It’s the end of an era for the supposedly ordinary main characters. Any more screen time and they wouldn’t be ordinary as they would be standing out enough to be a celebrity.
It’s hard to say how this film compares to other 0s as they got the score for good reason. On one hand, this film naturally isn’t mega violent like some of the others and has no animal violence as well. For those reasons, this film is technically easier to watch than some of the other 0s as it’s easy to tune out dialogue, but harder to tune out images. On the other hand, there’s nothing even remotely interesting to watch since the film is trying so hard to be ordinary. With no good visuals or any solid music themes to listen too, the film will drag on even more. It’s a long film that feels long which is always the worst kind of movie. I’m sure that an abridged dub over this film would help it a great deal.
Overall, This film is riddled with problems. The main one is naturally the poor writing that plagues the entire thing. The movie is a hassle to get through because the pacing is slower than molasses and at the end of the day nothing really happens. The film has a depressing vibe from start to finish and never even tries to be happy. It’s just mean spirited all the way through so there’s no real point to watching this film. I’d recommend staying far away from it and reminding yourself that for every bad film, a good one is waiting over the horizon. It’ll give you hope as you look through the movie selection of any random store and cringe at some of the titles. There are always going to be more good films, you just have to find them.