Monday, May 20, 2013

Revenge for Jolly: Movie Review


Nonsense comedy and extreme violence that did not fit together.

“Revenge for Jolly” is a crime drama masquerading as a dark comedy. It starts out very serious. Harry (Brian Petsos) is a good guy who has done bad things and is in over his head. But then bad guys kill his dog and he and his cousin, Cecil (Oscar Isaac), are out for revenge. And then with another bad decision Harry kills a guy. Ha ha ha, isn’t that hilarious?   2012

Directed by: Chadd Harbold

Screenplay by: Brian Petsos

Starring: Brian Petsos, and Oscar Isaac

Seriously. At that moment the film decides to take a dark crime drama and turn it into a comedy. Follow up a murder with witty repartee which should only be attempted by good writers. These are not good writers. The entire beginning of the movie was told by narration, the rest of the movie was one-off scenes with good actors. Some of which were mildly funny, most of which were extremely violent, none of which were cohesive.

This is one of the worst attempts I have ever seen at a dark comedy. The actors played it all so seriously (and frequently it was very serious) but then there would be a number of ridiculously violent acts and then they would have a ridiculous nonsense conversation to be played for laughs. I get the juxtaposition, but none of it worked together.

The lead actor couldn’t play subtle at all. Isaac does a great job of playing a bad guy who isn’t so bad (he can also throw in some subtle comedy) but his character was terrible. Cecil was supposedly a good guy with a bad cousin but he was just bad with no redeeming qualities. I think the writers thought that since he wasn’t as vicious as Harry, the audience would like him. As for Harry, extreme pet fanatics would understand him. But has no one ever heard of moderation?

A number of good actors come in for one scene. Most of their comedy was non-sequitors, and most really weren’t funny. I did laugh at Adam Brody and Bobby Moynihan playing unscrupulous lawyers, but that was just the beginning of one scene. Most of the comedy was to come from the dialogue, but it was terrible dialogue and shouldn’t be uttered by any actor no matter what the skill level.

I do at least understand why all of the big name actors agreed to be in it. What’s the one type of scene that all actors love? Well, they all get to do it. I don’t think that’s a good reason to be in a movie, but that’s for a different discussion. The problem with “Revenge for Jolly” is that it couldn’t get across what kind of movie it was. Is it a crime drama? Or a dark comedy? How about a satire of a crime drama? Or is it a satire of a dark comedy? There was crimes and there was comedy but they didn’t go together.


Similar Titles:


Seven Psychopaths (2012) - Finding the middle ground between comedy, violence and psychopaths.

A Film With Me In It (2008) - Sometimes dark comedies just don't work.