Where I Watched It: Amazon
Audio Description Provided By: The Media Access Group
Narrated By: Zambie Page
I’ll tell you right off the bat what you need to know. If you’re here because you use audio description, then get ready for some light, but totally appropriate shade. I’m not sure if Page also wrote the script for the narration, but whoever did, I applaud them.
Late in the film, one of the characters is on an airplane reading a book. Not a big deal, right? Characters do this all the time. but as the narrator notes for those of us who can’t see, he’s reading a book called ‘Music Theatre’, which is a lot like the likelihood of someone reading a book called ‘Math’, ‘history’, ‘Geography’, ‘Music’, or ‘Theatre’. Those aren’t titles, they’re subjects. Even a textbook would try and distinguish itself from other textbooks by titling itself something like “Music Theatre Through The Decades’. This is someone on the prop team who sucks at their job being called out for half assing this scene. It’s like when Bradley Cooper had a fake baby in American Sniper. Or those Starbucks cups in Game of Thrones (or that water bottle). But he is a main character, he is reading a book, and that’s the book he’s reading. It’s fair game, and it’s not the narrator’s fault that someone sucks at their job.
Although, there’s very little reason to watch this. It’s mostly trying to be a comedy, with its starts Kristen Bell, Ben Platt, and Allison Janney being forced into awkward situations leading up to a wedding. but, the screenwriter has no idea what is funny. For example, Bell is forced in one scene to play it straight that she gets caught in a janitor’s closet with her underwear on the ground between her legs. She has to convince the janitor, a female, that they just fell. Instead of having the janitor just stare at her, or leave… usual reactions. This scene doubles down and has the janitor believe her, inspect the situation, and come to the conclusion that she put her feet through one leg, and it happens to everyone, as she helps lift Bell’s underwear back on. If you think that sounds like a fun time, then this humor might work on you.
If not, my counter is that Janney makes everything better. She has a monologue near the end that is a long time coming, and she’s great at it. It’s the second great performance I’ve seen from her this year that will be forgotten.
As far as other problems, I know the French guy is out of his element, and critiquing his performance is unfair, but from a blind perspective, when i mostly need a solid vocal performance, he struggles far too much with English to emote correctly. He’s also a Cesar nominated actor, so i think he’s probably incredible in his own language.
I know releasing films for adults in theatres is precarious at this time, and even a film with this cast goes straight to streaming. But also, it was a smart move, as the film ends up just OK. The dramatic moments are the better ones, but are also less than the comedic attempts.
But that audio description though. Kudos.
Final Grade: C+