By: David Lynch’s Dog (Two Beers) –
[ratings] Sunshine Cleaning brings together two ends of one spectrum: on the one hand, we have all the sugar and spice (and everything nice) of indie darlings Emily Blunt and Amy Adams. On the other hand, we have blood-drenched carpets and rotting corpse juice. Welcome to the comedy-drama no one was expecting about two sisters, strapped for cash, getting a job in a field no one has ever heard of: crime-scene clean up.
On a very basic level, it’s just refreshing to see for once a film not about architects or elementary school teachers or any of those other unbearable movie jobs. You wouldn’t think pitching a movie solely around some people who aren’t architects/ teachers would fly, but here we are. What’s also refreshing is to see a movie which didn’t take the obvious routes with crime scene clean-up; it doesn’t try to be a gross-out comedy or some heavy, gritty drama. Instead, it lightly treads in-between both to concoct an almost perfect mixture of comedy and drama. Yes, it deals with suicide, but it also somehow manages to makes us laugh at the fact a woman just got rotting corpse juice on her (how many times can I say rotting corpse juice in one review?).
However, none of this would have been achievable without the incredible yet unassuming performances of its two leads. These are two actresses who remain thoroughly underrated in Hollywood, and this film goes to prove how far their talents can stretch beyond playing the exasperated girlfriends of Jason Segel. These girls can do comedy and tragedy in a single breath and save this film from being doomed to the never-ending pile of drab indie comedy-dramas (oh, isn’t the human life filled with so many conflicting emotions?).
The film only really suffers from one thing: dealing with too many problems. While the central relationship of the two sisters is utterly fascinating, there seems to be some desire to make every single supporting character have a “problem”. It’s a very “just graduated from a screenplay course” move to make, giving the whole film a little too much of a feeling of heavy-handedness. The Dad seems to be having some kind of breakdown, and the stranger who works in the shop struggles with building airplane models with one arm. The son, of course, has to have some kind of learning difficulty. Because heaven forfend someone in a film has a healthy child who is only a mild inconvenience in their life instead of a crippling burden.Hollywoodhates children.
Who knew you could make a great movie out of scrubbing splattered brains out of bathroom tiles with a toothbrush?
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time anyone recoils at the sight of blood
Take a Drink: every time granddad is being wacky and everyone rolls their eyes
Take a Drink: every time you’re slightly repulsed by the store owner’s unfortunate greased ponytail moustache combo.
Not a good look going on there, my friend the shopkeep