"What Are You Doing? I Ask You, What Are You Doing?"
All I’ve written is the bare bones synopsis, but I already feel exhausted. What do you do with a premise like this? How do you write a script that toes the line between madcap and heartfelt? The answer seems to be, you can’t. The script is a mess. Apparently “Angriest Man” is based off an Israeli film called “The 92 Minutes of Mr. Baum”, and although I haven’t seen the film I can tell this is a very clumsy remake. References to Jewish culture are strewn throughout the script, and while they might have held some weight in a movie set in Israel, in this film any religious symbolism feels tacked on and trite. Listening to Williams’ character talk about sitting Shiva seems so out of the blue that it might as well be handed down by a godlike narrator.
So the script sucks. The acting, unfortunately, doesn’t fare much better. This is a shame, because the filmmakers managed to get some great talent on this project, and it is painful to watch them try to make their lines feel comfortable in their mouths. Peter Dinklage in particular is noticeably uncomfortable in some scenes, but goddamn it at least he’s trying to give a good performance when his character’s been given NOTHING. Melissa Leo overcompensates by vaulting into cartoonish levels of melodrama and Hamish Linklater barely even seems present most of the time. Mila Kunis probably gives the best performance, which is unsurprising given that her character has the most to do, but that’s not saying much. I don’t blame these actors in the slightest. Except perhaps Robin Williams, who seems to have forgotten exactly what it means to act “angry”, being content most of the time with screwing up his face and raising his voice. He resists placing himself in the mindset of a cruel man, and you can see it in his performance.
This is really the key: the film might have succeeded if they’d allowed their main character to avoid redemption. The hackneyed plot concerning his dead son as the reason his life went downhill makes excuses for his horrible treatment of others, and relieves the film of any tension. There’s no question that his family will forgive him on his deathbed because we never see that his anger has left any lasting consequences. If the film toyed with the possibility that he might actually die alone and unloved, maybe something interesting would have happened. As it stands, “Angriest Man in Brooklyn” is a messy, lazy take on familial relationships. And that makes me the angry one.
Angry orchard hard cider. Wanna go harder? Plop in some Fireball cinnamon whiskey. Or if you can’t bring yourself to be really angry, a whiskey sour might suit you better.
-Drink whenever references are made to the Jewish faith.
-Drink when someone says the word “angry”.
-Drink when the doctor violates hospital protocol.
-Drink for third person narration.
-Drink when someone mentions death or dying.
This review is written by Hollis Beck (Krissy Pappau). Angriest Man in Brooklyn is distributed by Lionsgate Productions. Angriest Man in Brooklyn is rated R with a runtime of 83 minutes.