Saturday, November 10, 2012

Smashed: Movie Review

Deteriorating relationship drama with realism and questionable humour.

“Smashed” stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Kate a twenty-something alcoholic who has finally had enough of her drug and alcohol-fuelled lifestyle. The good thing is that it’s not presented as a superficial inspirational drama. The bad part is that that means that Kate is pretty unlikable from beginning to end. She goes to work as a school teacher while hung-over and concocts a lie about being pregnant when she can’t keep the contents of her stomach down. 2012

Directed by: James Ponsoldt

Screenplay by: James Ponsoldt

Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul, and Nick Offerman

Eventually she comes home to her husband, Charlie (Aaron Paul), and realizes that it’s time for her to get sober. Good for her. Unfortunately, Charlie doesn’t realize that it would be a good idea for him too. And thus starts the deteriorating relationship drama that parallels the progressive character study.

Most people will be watching this for Winstead’s tour-de-force career-defining performance. I watched it because of Aaron Paul. The quiet but powerful actor of the hit show “Breaking Bad” has his fair share of fans through his portrayal of the drug-dealing junkie, Jesse. Nobody can treat Jesse poorly. On the show they’ll likely die, outside of the show, they’ll get a scathing review. In “Smashed” we’ve already established that Kate isn’t very likable and because she thinks she’s more mature than Charlie she doesn’t treat him with much respect.

As Kate and Charlie’s marriage deteriorates, I’m not sure which emotions the filmmakers wanted from the audience, but I was just mad. Charlie deserved better. Actually most of the actors deserved better. A lot of people are praising the humour and supporting performances in this film. Nick Offerman played a fellow addict who had a very creepy side which was supposed to account for a wicked sense of humour but it was just a bit too awkward for me to find entertaining. Octavia Spencer plays Kate’s sponsor and her wicked sense of humour seems to come out of nowhere since her character isn’t well defined.

“Smashed” does offer a realistic view of the struggle of addiction and sobriety with a refreshing mix of humour and drama, but it was hard to be on Kate’s side and the film doesn’t seem to give the supporting characters their full due.

Who Might Like This: College-aged and slightly older who can relate to Kate and Charlie's struggles with alcohol abuse and partying lifestyle; anybody who likes dramas about alcohol addiction, rehab and the battle for sobriety; fans of Mary Elizabeth Winstead or people who want to see powerful, dramatic performance by an actress.