By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) –
It is a little known fact that the universes of Breaking Bad and Scott Pilgrim are one and the same, and furthermore, that Jesse Pinkman and Ramona Flowers end up finding each other and marrying. Jesse’s need for approval and lack of positive role models and Ramona’s inability to resist the bad boy or the financial security his “rich parents” represent made it a logical match. He was a lot better than that last dick she dated, anyway.
Bullets prove to be surprisingly effective against Evil Exes
And while this match settled them both down to the point that they left their pasts full of Heisenberg and hair dye abuse behind them, they found that they had a hole in their lives… a hole that could only be filled with alcohol.
Okay, Smashed isn’t about that, even if that would be far, far better. Rather, it’s about a young elementary school teacher/raging alcoholic (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who gets a harsh wakeup call and starts on the path to sobriety. Unfortunately, her also alcoholic husband (Aaron Paul) doesn’t feel the same urgency, and their relationship starts to fray.
I have to admit that indie fast-riser James Ponsoldt directs a damn pretty-looking film. He has visual flair and shot selection skills to spare, with a great ear for soundtrack tunes to boot. I also have to applaud the casting of Megan Mullally and hubby Nick Offerman on principle alone. Of the cast, Paul is the standout, and I hope he begins to receive more of the dramatic roles he clearly deserves. The final scene is excellent, particularly on the strength of his acting. Too bad it ends the film just when things are starting to get interesting.
This is a film that is pretty much exactly what it looks like on the surface. It’s not even an hour and a half long, which is enough time for character development, but leaves the plot feeling awful linear and slight.
This isn’t helped by the fact that it hits all of the substance abuse marks that we’ve seen a million times before. It’s all very been there/done that.
The script itself feels very ‘important’ and writerly, and must have looked beautiful on the page. In practice, though, it sounds like the writer was putting fine-sounding words in the characters’ mouths instead of figuring out what a real person would actually say. There’s just a nagging insincerity to the whole thing.
I’ve seen a lot of rap videos. That’s the same as being from the hood, right?
Mary Elizabeth Winstead was on the cusp of the Oscar Best Actress race for this one, and if this one had been a silent movie or a minimal dialogue Terrence Malick flick I’d be screaming snub right now. She does an amazing job acting with her face and body, but for some reason her voice just couldn’t keep up. She looked like she was immersed in the role, but she sounded like she was in some L.A. actor’s workshop a thousand miles away.
Don’t make Ron Swanson say “moist pussy.” Just… just don’t do it.
This was painful enough to watch
There is a compelling, relationship-driven film hidden inside this one that would have been excellent. Too bad it was smothered by the feature-length AA commercial wrapped around it.
Take a Drink: every time someone else drinks, you lush, you
Take a Drink: every time an Alcoholics Anonymous-type group is shown or referred to
Do a Shot: whenever Megan Mullally drags up Winstead’s “pregnancy” again