May 14, 2014

The Counselor (2013)

Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem

When faced with difficult decisions in life (whether or not to stay in a relationship, find a new job, what to eat for breakfast, etc.), some of us resort to making a pros and cons list. Similarly, when I tried to think of how to convey to readers just how bad this movie was, I couldn't even come up with a coherent review to relay this information. So, I'm taking a cue from Ross and assembling a pros and cons list (because really, I can make a Friends reference for just about anything).

Pro: The movie actually assembles two mixed-race couples instead of just lazily pairing the two Latinos together.
Con: Cameron Diaz and Javier Bardem were not even remotely believable as a couple.

Pro: Cameron Diaz, who I don't normally regard as a high-caliber actress, is one of the better performers in this movie.
Con: Much of her character is reduced to cheap sexual innuendos and other B-movie tricks to try and keep the audience awake. (Note: it didn't work. I fell asleep twice and had to be violently shaken awake.)

Pro: The movie assumes viewers are smart enough to follow a plot without spelling out every detail upfront.
Con: It's literally thirty minutes into the movie before you have any idea what the hell is going on.

Pro: There aren't a lot of unnecessary explosions and action sequences to distract you from the plot.
Con: There aren't a lot of unnecessary explosions and action sequences to distract you from the plot.

Pro: The plot (once you get past the first thirty minutes) is easy to follow.
Con: It's so predictable I wonder how it was ever classified as a 'thriller.' I'm pretty sure my pulse never rose above 60 beats per minute.

Pro: There are attractive people cast in the movie.
Con: Most of the people are made to look as ugly as possible - Cameron Diaz with her wannabe Rihanna hair, Brad Pitt with his nasty World War Z hair, and Javier Bardem, whose recored-setting large face is accentuated by a Jersey Shore hairstyle.

Pro: You don't actually have to see Michael Fassbender naked (for once).
Con: The movie still starts with a sex scene of his and there are lots of shots of him in tight-fitting clothes and deeply un-buttoned shirts. (I realize some people may think this is a pro. It is not.)

Pro: It poses a few deeper-thinking questions to the audience, possibly causing a few people to think about their lives and the choices they have made instead of just reveling in pure entertainment.
Con: The morality and life questions are about as subtle as Keanu Reeves' accent in A Walk in the Clouds and comes off feeling a bit like fortune cookie wisdom.

Final word: I would applaud the movie for trying to be intellectual in the face of its own stupidity, but that's kind of like applauding a bird for trying to peck through a window to get the food on the other side.

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