Awful Nice Movie Review
While this sibling comedy makes some sharp observations about the push and pull of family relationships, it's also one of those deliberately wacky movies that wears us out with nonstop gags that are utterly unconvincing. Filmmaker Todd Sklar is clearly more amused by letting each scene spiral out of control than by developing the characters into properly comical figures.
The story centres on brothers Dave and Jim (Rennie and Pumphrey). After their dad dies, the married and sensible Jim finds Dave naked and unconscious in a South Dakota teepee. An unapologetic slacker, Dave's relentless irresponsibility drives Jim crazy. But they need to travel to Branson, Missouri, to sort out the details of their father's lake house, which they've inherited. After a brief and chaotic road trip, they arrive to find the cabin in need of basic repairs. Working with their dad's agent Jon (Meloni), they decide to stick around and do the work themselves, hoping it might help them bond as brothers. If they don't kill each other first.
The film's improvisational style allows actors Rennie and Pumphrey to run wild with their characters, which means they have little consistency. We never quite believe them as brothers, mainly because Dave is simply too random and ridiculous for words. His antics mean that each scene feels like a contained sketch, disconnected from anything else, including reality. So even though the performances are strong, the film veers wildly from slapstick to emotion to absurd gross-out wackiness. And each moment these brothers are together feels like it will quickly descend into a fist fight.
Basically, it's difficult to like a movie that centres on two angry, unlikeable jerks. And the supporting characters are silly comedy figures. Even so, there are moments that catch us off guard with their honesty, touching on how we both love and hate our relatives at the same time. Sklar shoots this like a well-made reality TV show about stupid people doing stupid things to wind each other up, so there are also hilarious sequences along the way. But it's one of those movies where you have the feeling that you had to be there to really get the joke.
Cast & Crew
Director : Todd Sklar
Producer : Todd Sklar, Michael Forstein, Elizabeth MacKenzie, Adam Paulsen, Maury Steinman, Brock Williams
Screenwriter : Alex Rennie, Todd Sklar