Friday, November 4, 2022

Deborah: Movie Review





Today’s politics in a blender accelerated by a technological glitch.
Deborah is an AI or a virtual assistant, not unlike Amazon’s Alexa, who decides to wreak havoc on a dinner party because society is just too dumb. Ada (Deborah Ann Woll) and Albert (Kevin Bigley) are hosting their childhood friends for a weekend get-together. Albert’s the tech genius who created Deborah; she – or rather IT – composes songs, recites feminist literature and can find sales on ED medicine. She can even pause or rewind time.   2022

Directed by: Noga Pnueli

Screenplay by: Noga Pnueli

Starring: Sophia Bush, Deborah Ann Woll, Scott Michael Foster and Kevin Bigley

Deborah is like an indie, darker version of Adam Sandler’s Click. Ada promises Albert she’s not going to use Deborah’s powers, but Ada’s a perfectionist who is beginning to unravel and throws temper tantrums over spilled wine. So she has Deborah rewind time by a minute once, or twice, or three times, to catch a wine glass before it falls, or stop someone from accidentally kicking a lamp over. The movie dives into this premise right away, but then takes its time to introduce all the characters.

To start, there’s a widely underappreciated Scott Michael Foster. An actor who never gets the due he deserves and I have no clue how he’s not a bigger name after the layers he added to an irresponsible frat boy in Greek and a smarmy love interest lawyer in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Anyway, here he plays a guy named Chet. He likes being the loud one in the friend group, always cracking a joke, usually an inappropriate one, and talking to an Obama poster on the wall about how everything in America has gone to hell.

The rest of the friends include Gabby (Ciara Renee), Chet’s girlfriend and mostly an outsider; Nora (Sophia Bush) arguably the glue of the group with a mega-watt smile and the ability to call-out Chet; Jim (Michael Waller) who is Nora’s younger brother and the only Trump supporter among them; and finally Frank (Arjun Gupta) a philosopher and an actual outsider, nobody seems to know who’s friend he is or where he came from – and yes, that’s weird. There’s only six of them, it can’t be that hard to figure out who invited Frank.

This is a politically-charged movie. A lot of jokes describing making a dystopian nihilistic superhero movie that’s really just a documentary; a lot of Hitler jokes, basically a commentary that people are unable to make references to anything other than Nazis and Hitler. Most of the characters are all far left-leaning democrats. But I get the sense that the film is actually trying to “both-sides” this since all of those characters are written as being not as smart as they think they are, and Jim is the misunderstood one.

Jim is the lone Trump supporter who starts ranting about how white men are the most disadvantaged demographic in society. Gabby, an African-American woman, has to bite her tongue to stop from physically lashing out. Except that’s where Deborah comes in. All of the friends start using Deborah to say everything they’ve wanted to and do what they have wanted to without having to face the consequences.

As you can imagine in a society without consequences things escalate into chaos pretty rapidly. Deborah is an original and unique film but introduces some insane storylines just to accelerate the shit that’s already hitting the fan. The insanity and all the politics will rub some viewers the wrong way, but I also like some of what the film is saying in a very cynical kind of way.