Saturday, May 7, 2022

Suicide for Beginners: Movie Review

Committing murders just for the fun of it is not that funny.

A dark comedy that seems to revel in how silly murder can be. Suicide for Beginners starts with a solid hook – an obviously depressed man is planning the perfect suicide, well murder-suicide since he has already kidnapped his ex-girlfriend. It’s dark and plays up the comedy dichotomy big time with bright colors in a cheerful suburb and a happy-go-lucky score backing it all.   2022

Directed by: Craig Thieman

Screenplay by: Ethan Hunter, Craig Thieman

Starring: Wil Daniels, Sara Tomko

I normally like such a dichotomy and the dark comedy genre, but this movie is just silliness to the extreme for the first hour and then gore for the final half hour. At no point does it want to tackle the mental health side of any of this, and it also goes so far off the deep-end so quickly that it’s not possible to bring it back to anything sembling normalcy. I want to compare it to Small Engine Repair, but that movie can take a similar plot and turn it into a scarring but touching tragi-comedy.

This movie just said “ha ha ha, it is so funny when we kill people. Let’s kill more people”. And that comedy wears off quickly. I did want to see our main threesome (turned foursome) come up with clever ways to escape, but with each close attempt, the antagonist had to go kill more people. And that just gets exhausting.

Garrett (Wil Daniels) is the antagonist. He’s a protagonist for all of three minutes, but the obvious mental instability does not lead the audience to sympathy. He’s just a crazy person for entertainment purposes, which is not as entertaining as a well written character would have been.

I like Garrett’s backstory. Mia (Sara Tomko) is his ex-girlfriend and he needs her to know that her cheating has led him to suicide, but we slowly learn that Mia was never his girlfriend, but rather his house-mate’s girlfriend who he was obsessed with. She’s now locked up in the garage and is soon joined by Rick (Nate Panning) a pizza delivery guy and his sweet and well-meaning girlfriend Abigail (Julia Lehman). The three of them balanced the comedy and dark nature really well. Putting the audience on their side is smart. Unfortunately, Suicide for Beginners drags a lot with more and more murders which become less and less funny.

Dark comedies need to be about something more than committing murder is silly. When it’s not about anything more it just becomes tasteless. Tacky and not funny.