Monday, January 26, 2009

Burn after reading - not funny at all

Over the years the movies written and directed by Coen brothers have become in a class of their own and credits to the brothers themselves are considered (and rightfully so) a good enough reason to go and see a particular movie. That's especially true after 'No Country for Old Men' so it's only natural the expectations of its successor were high. Here comes the bad part though - 'Burn after reading' is a comedy. Sort of. And while I really like Coen brothers' dark, twisted and scary movies, I still can't get myself to laugh at their supposed-to-be-comedies - blasphemous as it may be, 'The Big Lebowski' included. No, I'm not completely devoid of sense of humor, yes, I perfectly well identify the 'laugh now, motherfucker' moments even without being cued with the fake sitcom laughter, I just don't find them funny.

Even though the history is original, unpredictable and kept my attention, I didn't find any of the characters interesting or compelling enough to immerse completely in the plot. This is by no means the actors fault, they were all flawless in their respective roles. Frances McDormand and John Malkovich in particular were great, I will even omit George Clooney from my Boo-list, seems like the Coens can put him to good use. I still wonder though, why did Brad Pitt take his simpleton role - it's not like he has to prove something, after '12 monkeys' there are no doubts he can act. The problem is that the characters themselves were conceived as caricatures only, soon that becomes quite obvious, and then they don't develop anymore.

In theory everything is in its place, screenplay, acting, directing, no technical mistakes (at least none that I noticed), it just fails its primary purpose - to be funny. I'm sure there will be plenty of people laughing at the streak of bad luck hitting Cox and culminating with his coma, what can be funnier than a coma. Or at the rocking-fucking chair, that must be hilarious - to prepubescent teens, maybe. Besides, who doesn't like axe murders of innocent bystanders or accidental face shots? You get the picture...

While all these events (leading to the so desired but elusive plastic surgery) certainly add up to the grotesque, the comedy value is quite overestimated. One would expect much better from the Coens and seeing as anything from their back catalog is worth far more, I'd recommend forgetting about this movie.

P.S. The next upcoming Coen's feature, 'A serious man', is labeled 'black comedy'. Oh my.
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