Arrested Development, by Scott Nye

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5 Responses

  1. Jon says:

    Saw this last night. It very much felt like a sophomore album in that one has a lifetime to write a whole record but then get a few months to write the follow-up. By this, the movie felt that she sold the pitch and had a deadline to write the script. This movie didn’t know what it wanted to be. It could have gone lots of places. Ultimately, it didn’t work for me. Additionally, I wished that all of the information was made available at the beginning of the movie as opposed to being revealed at the end. It would have made a more interesting movie.

  2. Scott Nye says:

    I thought about that myself. Without giving too much away, it’s kind of a cheap way to pile on the dramatic weight at a point in the film where it REALLY starts to get piled on. It’s sort of like they want you to have some guilt-free laughs at the beginning while still making you FEEL SOMETHING DAMMIT by the end. It can be an effective strategy, but it ultimately posits Mavis too much as a victim and makes her behavior too explicable.

    Also, speaking of the ending, I’d like a moratorium on films that end with a final shot of a character walking offscreen, but the director holds on the out-of-focus background for juuuuuuust one beat longer before cutting to black. We get it, things are uncertain, the future cannot be known, but our protagonist will plunge forward anyway. Otherwise, I actually liked the final sequence, and in a better film, it’d have been a hell of a capper.

  3. Jeremy says:

    I’d agree with this review. I was on board with the film right up until the climax where, as you both said, information was piled on in a way that felt so… you know how it felt? It felt like Mavis was making it all up. It felt like Cody was writing the script as the film was playing, if that makes any sense at all. After that the film kind of dwindled slowly for me until that scene with the sister, which was so baffling in a fascinating sort of way. I just don’t think the film was as tonally sound as it could have been.

  4. Carlos C. Rubi says:

    I loved it. I thought it was very clever and well acted, and definitely a character film worth watching, unlike the walk-and-talk that I saw thereafter. How many people hate their small towns and feel misunderstood there, and in their superiority or achievements mask their misery? Millions. How many people are stuck in the “what if” of high school or the “I wish” I had married so-and-so, or “I wish” I had done better in school, etc. Millions. All those millions of people are stuck in the prison of childhood, the prison of adolescence. Mavis is that person and that is why we all know so many people like her, or see part of her in us. For me, the climax was when she slept with the fat, ugly guy who was crippled because of his own drama from high school. In lieu of the man she wanted, she slept with the unpopular beast who was ugly on the outside; whereas, she was ugly in the inside.

  5. Steve C. says:

    Very good review. It helped set me straight because when I like certain actors, as I do Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt, I tend to go all in with their characters and their situations. But something gnawed at me when I left the theatre that this review helped me sort out: the flaccid direction by Reitman. Although I’m glad some sort of character redemption of Mavis wasn’t tacked on at the end (“baby’s aren’t the end of life after all”, “geez, I’ve gotta stop running away from myself and grow up”), Reitman should have put distance between Mavis and susceptible audience members like me. And more comedy. Example: The two contrasting bar scenes- the divey old timers bar verses the newer and more sterile sports bar could have been played up for laughs, showing Mavis’ ideal setting for a tryst and the reality that that tryst might come with popcorn jumbo shrimp as a side.

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