Friday, March 17, 2017

Burn After Reading - 2 stars out of 10

Burn After Reading - 2 stars out of 10

"Burn After Reading" is one of my least favorite Coen Brothers films.  The Coens have created some inspired work from "Fargo" to "No Country For Old Men," but this script relies on a constant stream of f-words to fill in the gaps left by its weak plot.  I loathe modern comedies that subscribe to the belief that if you use the f-word enough, it will become a running gag (Melissa McCarthy, I'm talking to you).  In fact, the main theme that connects the film together is its crude content.  Why is every relationship in the film predicated on infidelity?  And that machine that George Clooney builds - there is absolutely no purpose behind it, and yet it's there for the sake of being there.  I didn't like this film when it came out and tried to approach it with fresh eyes, believing that I would fall in love with it knowing what I know now about movies.  I was wrong and should have trusted my first experience with it.  I actually hated it significantly more than I did the first time!  You would think that a cast including John Malkovich, Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton (detestable in this role), Richard Jenkins, J.K. Simmons, and Clooney would have to be amazing but the entire story is absurd.  It's almost as if they pigeonholed a bunch of great actors into a 90's Adam Sandler movie and called it sophisticated.  Black comedies often miss the mark because they don't find that balance between feeling sorry for characters and enjoying their misfortune.  This one is a prime example.  Pitt is the only reason to even consider watching this film a his character is so over the top that we love to see him be absurd.  Unfortunately, the rest of the characters are so static that he feels out of place.  There are a few decent moments in this film (serving the papers, Pitt's nosebleed) but nothing that will make it worth enduring.  If you love the Coen brothers, you might see something in "Burn After Reading" that I didn't.  After you're done, you can find me pouting in the corner, still annoyed with myself for wasting an hour and a half on this film AGAIN!

[Pictured: Pitt starts out as an annoying jock, becomes an unbearable jock, and turns out to be the most entertaining part of the film in the end]

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