DON’T LOOK UP (2021)
Writer/Director Adam McKay takes a big swing with a film that boasts tremendous performance through and through, yet they are grounded in a story that’s a bit too on the nose, reality stripping what could have been hilarious moments and leaving the audience perturbed in an otherwise average film.
When an astronomy grad student (Jennifer Lawrence) discovers a comet heading straight for Earth, she and her professor (Leondardo DiCaprio) head to Washington to alert President Orlean (Meryl Streep) who can’t be bothered. Along with Dr. Oglethorpe (Rob Morgan), they turn tot he media to get their message out. Part climate change lecture and part Covid-19 response dissection, Don’t Look Up is a star-studded outing that has frequent moments of low-hanging humor sprinkled with slaps in the face that scream “SOUND FAMILIAR?” The fun of the film lies in the quick-witted jabs back and forth, mainly from Lawrence’s intelligent and direct character, as well as Jonah Hill’s role as Streep’s Chief of Staff/son. Streep for her part is clearly having an absolute blast leaning into the antithesis of her political beliefs and bringing to life a hollow politician lacking an ethical path. The performances alone make Don’t Look Up worthwhile, but the film falls short of being the knockout it was teed up to be; while it never wavers in terms of interest, the humor becomes scarce as the second half of the film seems like a completely different outing.
Satire is quickly becoming a tough pill to swallow as what once could be considered satirical is now a part of everyday reality. Though the threat at the core of Don’t Look Up is fictionalized, every other piece of the plot, though exaggerated, isn’t that farfetched anymore. Failures driven by greed and individual ambition are cornerstones of much of the past decade (and let’s be honest, more). As a statement as to where society currently stands, Don’t Look Up hits the nail on the head. As a comedic drama, it often misses the mark, spending too much time on underwhelming jokes with poor execution and over-utilizing strange montages that do little more than distract from the finished product. The film screams Adam McKay, but it certainly is not his best. Ariana Grande’s song slaps, though.
Don’t Look Up is now playing in theaters and streaming on Netflix.
Photo from Netflix