Once upon a time, there was a girl, who met a boy, and they defied the odds and their feuding families to the very brink of death and beyond to be together. It was a breathtaking story; a once-in-a-lifetime love… And it was written, roughly, in 1597. Since then, the tale of that sad bitch and her super dead Bromeo has been told over and over and over and over and over and over AND OVER AGAIN UNTIL AUDIENCES EITHER PUKED GLITTERY VAMPIRES OR COMMITTED RITUAL SEPPUKU TRYING TO ESCAPE YET ANOTHER TEEN MELODRAMA. And yet, like a super sexy Christopher Columbus (except with way better dental hygiene and hair care), I seek out, with optimism in my heart and tequila in my pants (cargo shorts, Nature’s kangaroo pouch) a teen franchise that doesn’t actually One Direction, I mean Taylor Swift, I mean suck. Divergent managed to defy the odds, and my day drinking, to deliver a solid feature flick I didn’t hate myself for buying a ticket to. Yeah. Go fucking figure.
Divergent follows Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) as she navigates a seemingly harmonious, if somewhat douchey, society made up of five factions who each embody a trait or virtue of humanity. The Erudite (wise), Abnegation (selfless), Dauntless (brave), Candor (honest), and Amity (peaceful) each play a different role in this starkly utopian city that Tris just doesn’t quit fit into, and is made to break free from. With Hunky McAbs (Four, played by the stupid hot Theo James) by her side, she races to discover just how to survive in a world hell-bent on killing her and her kind… The Divergent. Will she ever get to second base? Will Tris be able to save a shitty, I mean city, on the brink of civil whore, I mean war? Will we ever know what Meatloaf WON’T do for love?
Theo James has got the lips, the hips and the abs for daaaaaays. I’d pay cash money to take dat ass for a ride… Oh and he’s talented and shit. Or whatever. James’s “Four” carries tall, dark and broody like a second skin and makes Divergent more than just diet Twilight. Hats and pants and underwear off to the charismatic, gruff-yet-charming James as he gives depth to what could’ve been a character flatter that Mary Kate and Ashley’s tits. Saddled with, at times, clunky-as-fuck dialogue, it’s a miracle I only wanted to light myself on fire once or twice for the scriptural asshattery the audience (and yours drunkly) was subjected to.
Honorable mention to Shailene Woodley (and Tris) for keeping up with James (and Four) and making a believable pass at being badass. While not entirely convincing, and at times ugly-crying like a fat kid one cupcake shy of early-onset diabetes, Woodley blew anything Kristen Stewart’s constipation-face has ever done, ever, out of the water. I’m including breathing. The ancillary characters (though somewhat shallow and under-developed) had chemistry in all the right places, making giving a shit about what happened to them actually possible… Except Jai Courtney (Eric). That twat waffle has ruined literally everything I’ve ever seen him in, showing up in Divergent looking like Macklemore threw up on Eminem and passed out in a puddle of Sum 41. The synergy of the cast mixed with stunning visuals and character charisma saved this franchise flick from tanking harder than that time I played Edward Forty Hands with fifths of whiskey.
That said, the pacing of the film labored under a heavy 139 minute running time. Wolf of Wall Street clocked in at 180 minutes and I didn’t even notice, from opening scene to closing credits, it was a whirlwind of insanity that knocked my goddamned teeth out; whereas Divergent’s pacing was awkward and could’ve been streamlined with sharper editing and a tighter timeline (to get to the fucking point before we died of old age). Or boredom. Or a murder/suicide pact I made with the mother/daughter combo to my right.
And when Divergent wasn’t wandering all over the place with pacing, it was falling into genre cliché after genre cliché. The opposites attract, the insurmountable odds, the love that saves the day. It was predictable and trite and about as creative as that one time I tried to give a cop a BJ to get out of a traffic ticket. TRIED. His belt buckle was really complicated and fine motor skills tend to elude you when you’re being tased.
The dialogue in Divergent was ripped off from every inspirational poster and/or Dove chocolate wrapper known to man, genetically spliced with texts found in a high-school Junior’s phone. I was pretty buzzed and my notes look like what happens when you give Michael J. Fox a pen, but here’s a few gems from the film:
“Trust the test.”- Tris
“The test didn’t work on you, you have to trust yourself.” -Tori
“What’s your tattoo?”-Tris
“Wanna see it?”-Four
BRB. Gotta go evolve gills and learn to breathe tequila, ALL THE TEQUILA EVER. Although, to be fair, that tattoo line has gotten me laid once, twice, three times not a lady.
There’s about as much character development in Divergent as there are brain cells left rattling around in Courtney Love’s noggin. With the exception of Tris and Four, there’s almost no depth or texture to any of the characters. I’ve seen sock puppets with more backstory than the outlines of the negative space of the caricatures that were in Divergent. The actors themselves were relatable, likable (or not, as needed) and engaging (with the exception of the aforementioned twat waffle) they just didn’t have much to work with. This may or may not be the fictitious direction given to the actors on set:
“What’s my motivation?”
“Convert oxygen into carbon monoxide.”
Divergent is what happens nine months after Romeo and Juliet gets wasted at a frat party and anger-bangs The Hunger Games. Two star-crossed actiony nipples pointed (mostly) up.
Take a Drink: every time someone drops into a fearscape/for each different fear.
Do a Shot: each time a bitch gets all voiceover up in that piece.
Take a Sip: for each mention of a faction/every time you see a faction symbol. Rent an extra liver. Maybe two.
Take a Drink: whenever someone gets slipped, poked, or tranqued with the roofie from hell (serum).
Shotgun a Beer: for the not-quite-zombie apocalypse.