Two Comedies from eOne Films
Flypaper (November 15/11)
Directed by Rob Minkoff, Flypaper details the chaos that ensues as two crews attempt to rob the same bank at the same time - with the film primarily following one hostage's (Patrick Dempsey's Tripp) ongoing efforts at thwarting the criminals' plans. Minkoff, working from a script by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, has infused the early part of Flypaper with a lighthearted and briskly-paced sensibility that's generally impossible to resist, with the film's easygoing atmosphere heightened and perpetuated by the preponderance of laugh-out-loud funny jokes and gags and by the efforts of an entertainingly eclectic supporting cast (which includes, among others, Ashley Judd, Tim Blake Nelson, Mekhi Phifer, and Jeffrey Tambor). There reaches a point, however, at which the rather limited nature of the movie's premise starts to become a problem, as the progressively stagnant midsection is exacerbated by an increased emphasis on the various characters' expected squabbles and in-fights. From there, Flypaper is, on a distressingly pronounced basis, dominated by Tripp's tedious attempts at determining which of the movie's characters is, in fact, a notorious crime boss named Vicellus Drum. It's an intriguing idea that just doesn't work, as the viewer is, by and large, simply unable to work up any real interest in Tripp's investigation - with the big revelation of Drum's true identity, as a result, unable to pack the punch that Minkoff has clearly intended. By the time the incongruously action-packed finale rolls around, Flypaper has confirmed its place as a disappointingly misguided comedy that just isn't able to live up to the promise of its opening half hour.
You Might As Well Live
It's clear right from the get-go that You Might As Well Live has been designed to appeal to a very specific sense of humor, as filmmaker Simon Ennis, working from a script cowritten with Josh Peace, places a consistent emphasis on comedic elements of a far-from-subtle and decidedly over-the-top nature - which ultimately cements the movie's status as a seriously divisive piece of work. The frustratingly thin storyline follows Peace's Robert Mutt, an affable idiot, as he's kicked out of a mental hospital and sent back to his hometown, with the film subsequently detailing the character's continuing efforts at becoming a "somebody" (which involves procuring money, a girl, and a championship ring). There's little doubt that You Might As Well Live has been designed to operate as a showcase for Peace's polarizing, go-for-broke performance, with the actor's love-it-or-hate-it turn setting a tone of pervasive irreverence that's reflected in the movie's myriad of attributes (eg the off-kilter score, the uniformly quirky supporting characters, etc, etc). And while it's impossible not to appreciate Peace and company's ongoing commitment to broad silliness, You Might As Well Live suffers from a dearth of laughs that inevitably proves disastrous - as the hopelessly unfunny atmosphere serves only to highlight and exacerbate the movie's various other problems. The end result is a short yet interminable effort that will, by its very nature, leave a good proportion of viewers absolutely cold, although, by that same token, it's not difficult to envision the film holding a certain kind of appeal for those attuned to its specific wavelength.