Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (28)
| Top Critics (9)
| Fresh (7)
| Rotten (21)
Judging by the actors involved in Barry Blaustein's amusing but unpolished comedy, it's fair to assume he has a friends in high places. That's good, since they refine Peter Himmelstein's rough script.
The heavy-handed "Peep World" has a few laughs sprinkled over its abbreviated running time as it limps to a predictable conclusion.
By turns flat and strained, "Peep World" is a collection of personality disorders in search of a story.
A a family circus of dysfunction that's so familiar you may feel tempted to place bets on how everything will shake out, and painless enough that you might not resent doing so.
Peep World subjects us to a series of comic situations that might kindly be called contrived.
Something's simply wrong when a film with so many comedians yet so few laughs turns Lesley Ann Warren, using plain old-school reaction shots, into the comic MVP.
A strong ensemble led by narrator Lewis Black, Peep World is reasonably funny but never overly so, and the climactic dinner doesn't feel long enough to support the preceding hourish before it.
PEEP WORLD plays out like a 90 minute episode of your favorite sitcom
Overwhelmingly unfunny chaos. The filmmakers can't quite decide if they're making a cartoon here, and that fumbling indecision spoils the integrity of the displayed emotions.
Flawed family comedy has plenty of conflict, little point.
There's no arc to what's on screen, because the film essentially begins right before the real story's climax, draws things out for 90 minutes and ends with a thud.
The film draws its laughs from the suffering of its characters, knocking them against each other while jury-rigging a spindly plot from their in-fighting.
When an author writes an expose about his dysfunctional family, the annual birthday get-together erupts.
I liked the premise for this film; it's an opportunity to say something about art, authorship, and familial relationships. But instead of being a round character, at one point, the author has to fuck away a surgically induced hard-on. Each of the characters is given his/her cliched identity, a mold that amounts to a mere type. They're all boring people, and none of the situations is a particularly compelling, identifiable conflict. One brother is pursued by loan sharks, one goes to a peep house, and a sister doesn't like the eponymous novel -- boring, boringer, and boringest.
The worst part of the film is that all the lead-up amounts to a climactic scene that is anything but a climax. A bunch of people scream at each other. Ho hum.
Overall, this film could have been interesting if the scrapped almost everything in the script.
Quirk is my bread and butter. Almost always I side with these critically flawed comedies, because I like the misfit, the outcast, the central character having the mouth of a sailor when they're a ten year old blonde WASP or have an obsession with bees. What could have been a phenomenal, if not clinically brutal portrayal of a waylaid family of misfits comes off as a tepid interpretation of other films' Wikipedia pages. The cast, who all have embodied the kind of weird, disjointed characters that this film is made of, are given very little to use in order to further their storylines along. The entire film is based on the fact that one of four children writes a work of fiction based on his family's dysfunction. The fact that everyone hates each other right off the bat and tells each other on a regular basis could have made for some vicious attacks, a far more eccentric patriarch, and an interconnected obscurity with the rest of the world. There's no wit or sharp dialogue, nothing that comes off as edgy or the definition of fun. Besides that this has been done a thousand times before, and without true oddballs this is just another family drama. They're supposed to have another layer based on the tell-all book written by a brother, showing each sibling's problems and pitfalls and shining a light on the faults that are shocking and obscene; yet we go through the entire film and don't learn anything about them as people. The only thing I could relate to was Rainn Wilson's character. He still holds the reigns as a black sheep, and gives a truly heartbreaking speech near the end expressing the hurt of his brother's exploitation. Sadly his character, the best of the bunch, is severely underwritten. Hall has the most human of all the roles, and the actions he goes through to be in control are wrenching, but the dinner scene felt off track from what was previously shown of him. Instead of fleshing out the main character they used him to create that sucky ending. Oh, and the entire film has voice over narration by Lewis Black, who I'm guessing is only associated with this because it's comedy, and they briefly reveal the family is Jewish. Why? I suspect that's the quirkiest thing they could wrangle, which just makes me depressed. Watch it as a drama, and at least you'll understand some key aspect of family dysfunction, but you won't actually care at the end.
A well written film in terms of structure however there wasn't much going on. It was quite bland and predictable. A good cast seems wasted.
Cast: Michael C. Hall, Sarah Silverman, Rainn Wilson, Ben Schwartz, Judy Greer, Kate Mara, Taraji P. Henson, Ron Rifkin, Lesley Ann Warren
Director: Barry W. Blaustein
Summary: When four siblings gather to celebrate their father's 70th birthday, the proverbial you-know-what hits the fan because one of them has penned a novel populated by characters who strongly resemble his nearest and dearest. How will this dysfunctional family keep it together after everyone has seemingly been hung out to dry?
My Thoughts: "I am kinda known for loving these off-beat dysfunctional family flicks, but this one just didn't do it for me. Although I did laugh at a couple things, the film was just not funny. The script and story left something to be desired. Like more of it. It doesn't give you enough of what is so scandalously written in the book. It gives you bits and that isn't enough to keep you intrigued. The acting was good by most, but just not good enough to save the film."
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