DADDY’S HOME TWO review

Ugh… WHYYYYY?????? No, seriously, I need to know. Who the @#$% asked for this?! Was the first movie such a modern classic that people were rioting in the streets for a sequel?! Were the producers held at gunpoint by ISIS, threatening their families if they didn’t get another team up of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as dads?! No! No, I refuse to believe that this… thing… it’s not a movie, it’s an unidentifiable piece of filth disguised as a motion picture, hence giving it a generalized name, “thing.” I refuse to believe this thing made such a profit that it warranted a sequel. No! I’m not going online to see if it grossed a profit, I refuse to acknowledge the truth!

*sigh* Okay, here’s the thing. For those of you that don’t know, I am not a Will Ferrell fan. In fact, as an actor, I detest him. All he does is play the same role over and over again. He always plays the socially awkward, fowl-mouthed man-child who somehow scored a woman that is leagues beyond his… league. I am, however, a slight fan of Mark Wahlberg. He’s been a reliable bad-ass and funnyman throughout his acting career.

But, again, for those of you that don’t know, I HATED the first film. It failed to understand that concept of a “joke.” You have to have a set-up, and then a punchline. As any real comedian will tell you, those are the basic building blocks of comedy. DADDY’S HOME (2015) failed to understand a single element of that fact. All that movie was, was punchlines with predictable outcomes that even a toddler could see coming. Hell, only a toddler would find it funny.

Well, fast-forward a couple years later and now we have… this…

The story looks like it’s about Brad and Dusty having found the perfect balance of raising the kids together. Christmas is fast-approaching, which can only mean one thing: visiting parents, specifically Brad and Dusty’s respective dads. Dusty’s dad is a man’s man, tough as nails and cynical, whereas Brad’s dad is just as bubbly and childishly happy, causing lots of heads to butt.

Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Will Ferrell (THE HOUSE [2017], BLADES OF GLORY [2007], AUSTIN POWERS: INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY [1997], and upcoming films ZEROVILLE [2018] and HOLMES AND WATSON [2018]), Mark Wahlberg (TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT [2017], WE OWN THE NIGHT [2007], and BOOGIE NIGHTS [1997]), Mel Gibson (BLOOD FATHER [2016], SIGNS [2002], and LETHAL WEAPON [1987]), and John Lithgow (BEATRIZ AT DINNER [2017], DREAMGIRLS [2006], HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS [1987], and the upcoming PITCH PERFECT 3 [2017]). In support, we have Linda Cardellini (THE FOUNDER [2017], BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN [2005], and GOOD BURGER [1997]), John Cena (THE WALL [2017], FRED 3: CAMP FRED [2012], THE MARINE [2006], and upcoming films FERDINAND [2017] and BUMBLEBEE [2018]), and kids Owen Vaccaro (MOTHER’S DAY [2016] and DADDY’S HOME [2015]), Scarlett Estevez (DADDY’S HOME and TV show LUCIFER [2015 – ongoing]), and Didi Costine (THE HOLLARS [2016]).

Now for the crew. Directing and co-writing, we have Sean Anders, known for DADDY’S HOME, HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 (2014), and SEX DRIVE (2008). Anders’ partner-in-pen is John Morris, known for DADDY’S HOME, MR. POPPER’S PENGUINS (2011), and SEX DRIVE. Composing the score is Michael Andrews, known for THE BIG SICK (2017), WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY (2007), and DONNIE DARKO (2001). Finally, the cinematographer is Julio Macat, known for MIDDLE SCHOOL (2016), BECAUSE I SAID SO (2007), and HOME ALONE 3 (1997).

Overall… no. Just… no.

This is my honest opinion of: DADDY’S HOME TWO

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image from: SPIDER-MAN 2 (2004)

(SUMMARY)

Brad (Will Ferrell) and Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) do a decent job of being parents to their shared kids. But there is plenty of room for improvement, and the perfect time to do it is during the holidays and keeping the entire family together. But the family is getting a lot bigger when Brad’s dad Don (John Lithgow) and Dusty’s dad Kurt (Mel Gibson) come to visit for the holidays. Needing to get out of town, they head for a ski resort for some quality family bonding. The bliss doesn’t last long before family secrets unravel and tension between all of them comes to a boiling point.

(REVIEW)

*bashing my head against the wall* It’s even worse than I thought! ARRRRGGGHHHH!!!!

I don’t even know where to start with this schlock. Best to just swing away at anything and I’m sure I’ll start rambling like nuts.

As per usual, Ferrell is annoying as ever. What more can I say? How many times can I possibly complain and say that he plays a man-child and he’s not funny? How many times can I say how unrealistic it is that he scored such an attractive woman to marry when there’s nothing appealing or charming about his character?

*sigh* Perhaps in hindsight, it’s not entirely his fault. In retrospect, he doesn’t write most of his movies. Some he has, such as the Anchorman movies, TALLADEGA NIGHTS (2006), and STEP BROTHERS (2008). Granted, I’m not a fan of any of those movies, but it’s still not fair to hate the man’s work because of someone else’s writing. IE, they’re not his jokes. After all, when an actor does a great job in a movie, we credit the actor, not the writer, and that’s not always fair either. But see, here’s the thing for me. The films that Ferrell is a part of have a reputation of being open with improv, so unless his scripts are open to the public for reading, there’s no way to know which jokes were from the writers and which were from the actors. In any case, it’d be more appropriate to keep my hatred for the characters that he plays directed at the characters themselves, not him.

With that said, Brad is not a funny character and he is countless kinds of annoying. Why does it matter if Dusty wants to go to the bakery and pick up treats, as opposed to having them homemade? It’s one things if you would rather serve healthier and more nutritious treats, but when the intention is that they’re not on the healthy and nutritious side, kids won’t care or notice any difference! And when you’re bowling, who the hell throws the ball in the air?! Maybe a kid would do that, but that bowling ball is going to cause serious damage to the bowling lanes. But because this movie is desperate to be more like a live-action cartoon and logic and realism be damned, there’s no consequences, which I will be bitching and moaning about in great detail later.

And to make matters worse, there’s two of Brad in this and I can’t decide who’s more annoying, him or Don. At least Ferrell has never really portrayed himself as a dignified actor with a broad range of emotion, so I expect him to play annoying characters. But Lithgow? Dude! Lithgow is essentially doing his best Will Ferrell impression and it’s painful and Don isn’t a more likable character. There’s a running gag throughout the film with the two kissing on the lips. Oh yeah, if you’ve seen the trailers, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Maybe for some, that could be a funny one-off joke, but as per usual with movies of this caliber, they thing the image is so hilarious that have to do it again. Not just one more time, not even two more times, but as far as I was paying attention to, there is a grand total of five @#$%ing dad-son mouth kissing in this movie! Once was enough! Holy shit!

And if there was any other set of characters outside of the adults that I seriously had no idea what the writers were going for, it was the kid characters, who range from being ass-annoying, inconsistently written, and so disrespectful that it’s a wonder how this kid hasn’t been violently spanked with a belt.

The least annoying of the kids is Dylan (Owen Vaccaro). But make no mistake, “least annoying” doesn’t mean the kid is likable or the least bit interesting. The first gag with him is when the family arrives at the resort and almost as soon as he jumps out of the car, he spots a cute girl his age, Casey (Yamilah Saravong), and it’s immediately implied that it’s love at first sight. And as if he’s only ever been surrounded by ugly witches his entire life and having never seen a cute girl before, he has this near-zombified look, mouth agape and everything, with the most awkward wave that he could muster to her. Also, he is such a crybaby. There’s a bowling scene where Kurt urges Dylan to bowl without the bumpers. Thing is, he sucks big time and gets the ball in the gutter every throw. First off, it’s obvious that the actor is aiming for the gutter. It’s not like he’s twisting his wrist, causing the ball to roll to the side, no, he’s straight up aiming for it. To make matters worse, literally none of the parents step in to help. Neither taking pity on the kid’s self-esteem and just putting up the bumpers for him, or trying to coach him on correcting his technique. They just merrily let him bowl nine sets of zero, resulting in him literally flopping to the ground like a toddler, kicking and slapping the floor, crying. When the hell was I supposed to care about anyone in this scene?

***SPOILERS***

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And where the hell did this ending come from?! Throughout the entire movie, Dylan’s been crushing on Casey, but in a bizarre and kind of gross twist at the end, Dylan completely walks by Casey to kiss Adriana on the mouth and spanks in triumph, a move that Kurt encouraged early on in the movie. Yes, you’re reading this correctly. This kissing of Adriana, someone who has only ever been cruel and mean to him, suddenly gets the center of his affection from literally out of nowhere. AND SHE’S HIS SISTER!!! Fine! Step-sister, half-sister, who gives a shit?! There’s an icky factor to it and it’s not funny in the slightest.

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***END SPOILERS***

The worst offenders are Megan (Scarlett Estevez) and Adriana (Didi Costine) and it’s hard to decide who’s more of an obnoxious brat because Megan gets more screen time, but any time Adriana’s on screen, you just want to punch her right in her bratty face. When Megan meets Adriana for the first time in the flick, she notices her midriff showing and immediately tries to tie her shirt to show off her own midriff. This girl can’t be any older than nine years old, so why the hell is she trying to be like Adriana? There’s no reason to like what she likes. And that she nonchalantly doesn’t listen to her mom when she tells her to wear her clothes properly, and shows off her midriff on a stage in front of dozens upon dozens of people. Where were the teachers in that scene?! She leaps at the opportunity to drink spiked egg nog, again, not condoned by her mother, joins Adriana in teasing Dylan rather relentlessly, and hell, you have to watch Casey get forced under mistletoe so Dyan can have his opportunity to kiss her. Sure, it’s implied that Casey is having fun, but I don’t think any real girl of that age would be having fun being forced to kiss a boy, whether she liked him or not. Not to mention, I’m pretty sure Megan is a sociopath. Somehow, she goes hunting for a wild turkey. I say “somehow” because I literally have no idea when she was given a rifle. She’s being coached on killing the turkey, but the turkey charges as her, scaring her, and accidentally shoots Kurt in the arm. With nearly zero remorse for her actions, she then kills the turkey. The very next scene, we’re in the hospital and I shit you not, this is what Megan says with the biggest psycho smile on her face:

MEGAN
I shot a turkey and a man. Guess which one’s dead.

I’m pretty sure any kid who just family with a loaded firearm would be traumatized. And this is one of the biggest problems that I have with Megan. In theory, this could work, but here’s the changes that would have to be made to make it work. THIS MOVIE NEEDS TO BE DARKER!!! This is not the proper tone to be introducing psychotic possible-murdering children into a movie that’s supposed to be celebrating family-togetherness during the holidays.

Come to think of it now, I’d say Megan is worse than Adriana because of this “personality trait.” But Adriana is just as unbearable to deal with. She’s always on her phone, ignoring everyone. When she’s not, she’s either being a huge bitch to both Dylan and Dusty. Another running gag in this movie is that, at night, she raises the thermostat to something like eighty-seven degrees, or some such shit. Despite three sets of adults telling her not to do that, she refuses to listen. She waits for all of them to leave and she’ll raise it back up, just because “she likes to sleep with her window open.”

And this is my biggest problem with this movie. There are no consequences for any of the kids’ actions. The parents, despite being in every scene that they’re in, are completely nonexistent in their punishments. When Megan shows off her midriff, Sara (Linda Cardinelli) does nothing. When she’s brutally teasing Dylan about his crush, Sara does nothing. When she drinks the spiked egg nog, despite being told no the first time, SARA DOES NOTHING!!! So when she’s in that hospital after Kurt gets shot by Megan, and she’s sitting in the waiting room with Karen (Alessandra Ambrosio) and blurts out that she’s the worst mom in the world, I am having a legit hard time arguing this point. Yes, Sara, you are the worst mother in the world. You have no concept on how to discipline your kids, which is why they’re running around being both crybabies or mentally unstable psychotics.

And seriously, I don’t think Seth MacFarlane could write a movie this misogynistic. No joke, the mothers are completely absent from any decision-making that the men do in the movie. They have no say in what is said to the children, or how to deal with their problems. And before you “defenders of Will Ferrell” come out to say that it’s all in good fun and it’s not supposed to be taken seriously, um… first off, misogyny is always something to take seriously, and second, IT’S ADDRESSED IN THE MOVIE!!! Oh yeah, once or twice, Sara remarks that she had no say in the decision-making. And that’s as far as the addressing goes. Once it’s mentioned, the men ignore her. This is never resolved, this is never rectified, it’s completely pushed to the wayside because “the sensitive men just want to be loved by their daddies.” Fuck you, movie! Fuck you!

There are maybe things that made me giggle. The first, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the famed pilot who saved the passengers of his place that crashed in the Hudson river in 2009, has a cameo at the end of the film, which was pretty funny. Also, there’s a gag in the beginning of the film where Kurt comes into Brad’s house and meets the kids. He opens his arms for a hug, but the kids are super uncomfortable with it. What had me rolling in the isles was less about the context of the joke, which wasn’t funny to begin with, but rather in the real-world context of seeing a couple of young kids being horribly uncomfortable with hugging Mel Gibson.

Twice, this movie shows me something I’d rather watch: SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS (1999 – ongoing) and a fictional movie about Liam Neeson saving Christmas in an over-the-top action movie. And the fact that I wasn’t watching these made watching this all the more painful. Between sexualizing children who haven’t reached their teens, telling little girls that they’re responsible for their parents divorcing, possible blowjob jokes with their kids, this movie is quite possibly one of the worst comedies I’ve ever had the misfortune of sitting through. Just like the last movie, I really wanted to walk out, but I just can’t. I’m a glutton for punishment and if I’m going to properly hate something, I need to see it in its entirety to know the many different levels of hate I will have for it. You fans of Ferrell have likely already decided you’re going to see it, and honestly… I don’t know what the appeal is. I really don’t. As for everyone else, DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE!!! AVOID IT LIKE THE PLAGUE!!! Don’t rent it, don’t borrow it, don’t watch it online, don’t waste your gas, don’t waste your money, don’t waste your time. The tagline should tell you everything you need to know. “More daddies. More problems.” No shit, you stupid-ass movie!

My honest rating for DADDY’S HOME TWO: 1/5

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Quick Reviews: 3 IDIOTAS / DEAN / THE HERO / BEATRIZ AT DINNER

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3 IDIOTAS

Starring: Martha Higareda (NO MANCHES FRIDA [2016] and STREET KINGS [2008]). In support: Vadhir Derbez (HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER [2017])

Co-writing: Martha Higareda

(SUMMARY)

In the present day, two friends are told by a college rival that he knows where to find a friend of theirs who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. In flashback, we’re shown how these friends met and challenged one another to be inspired to do the things that they want to do, falling in love, and challenging what is perceived to be the conventional.

(REVIEW)

On paper, this doesn’t sound too bad, and can even have a pretty strong message if done right. Sadly, it was not done right. The movie is painfully unfunny, what with its overuse of fart jokes. While some ideas are interesting, the rest of the film barely justifies it. Even the romance between characters Poncho and Mariana feels forced. It somewhat breaks my heart to say this because even though I don’t remember liking NO MANCHES FRIDA all that much, I did really like Higareda. I remember liking her performance, and she’s no worse here. But it’s a chore to sit through this. To my understanding, this movie is a Mexican adaptation of an Indian film similarly called 3 IDIOTS (2009). Whereas IMDb gives this movie 3.9/10 (as of 6/15/2017), IMDb has the Indian original at an 8.4/10 (as of 6/15/2017). Wow. That’s an insane contrast. I’m rather interested in seeing that myself just to see if such a rating is warranted. But alas, this quick review is about this one. It’s not funny, makes zero sense most of the time, and even resorts to a crap load of clichés. I don’t recommend this. Not even as a rental. Check out the Indian original. It’s gotta be better than it’s Mexican remake.

My honest rating for 3 IDIOTAS: 1/5

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DEAN

Starring: Demetri Martin (IN A WORLD… [2013], TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT [2011], and TV show HOUSE OF LIES), Kevin Kline (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST [2017], THE ROAD TO EL DORADO [2000], and WILD WILD WEST [1999]), and Gillian Jacobs (DON’T THINK TWICE, HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2 [2015], and TV show COMMUNITY).

Directing and written by: Demetri Martin (Debut. Congrats.) Co-composing the score: Mark Noseworthy (unknown work) and Orr Rebhun (TV shows ENLISTED and THE CRAZY ONES). Cinematography by: Mark Schwartzbard (TV show MASTER OF NONE).

(SUMMARY)

The story follows Dean (Demetri Martin). His mom just passed away and he’s having trouble grieving, unlike his estranged father (Kevin Kline), who just wants to help him. Instead of grieving, Dean takes a vacation to Los Angeles and falls for a young woman named Nicky (Gillian Jacobs).

(REVIEW)

For a respectable list of firsts for Martin, as writer, director, and star, this is an impressive feat. He has a good sense of character writing and relationships, and every one of his actors are believable in their respective roles. Whether it’s because he was genuinely a great director or it was a great collaboration with his actors, it’s hard to say, but it pays off well. It’s got some good comedy and drama. Jacobs steals the show any time she’s on. There’s even a few surprises that I didn’t see coming. Having said all that, the movie is pretty basic in its design. If you read my summary, the movie is about what you’d expect to get. It’s not saying anything particularly profound, or trying anything all that new, and has been done in better movies that came before. Overall, it’s a safe movie, but it’s an impressive movie for someone who’s never written, directed, or starred in a movie before, and throwing a couple of surprises does elevate the movie to above average. If you’re a die-hard Martin fan, I recommend a matinee screening. Otherwise, I recommend it as a solid rental. It’s nothing amazing as a whole, but it’s not too shabby either.

My honest rating for DEAN: a strong 3/5

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THE HERO

Starring: Sam Elliott (ROCK DOG [2017], GHOST RIDER [2007], and TV show THE RANCH) and Laura Prepon (THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN [2016], and TV show ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK and one episode of CASTLE). In support: Krysten Ritter (BIG EYES [2014], TV shows JESSICA JONES and DON’T TRUST THE B— IN APARTMENT 23, and upcoming TV show THE DEFENDERS), Nick Offerman (MY LIFE AS A ZUCCHINI [2017], HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 [2015], and TV show PARKS AND REC), and Katharine Ross (DONNIE DARKO [2001], BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID [1969], and THE GRADUATE [1967]).

Directing and co-writing: Brett Haley (short films). Co-writing: Marc Basch (unknown films). Composer: Keegan DeWitt (MORRIS FROM AMERICA [2016]). Cinematography: Rob Givens (short films)

(SUMMARY)

Lee Hayden (Sam Elliott) is a seventy-one year old struggling actor, seemingly only known for one role for the last forty years, a western called THE HERO, of which he is being offered a lifetime achievement award for the role that made him famous. Despite all this, Lee hasn’t worked that much since, and often finds himself voicing over for commercials. When he’s not doing that, he’s getting high with his friend and drug dealer Jeremy (Nick Offerman) and being reminded that he wasn’t the best father to his thirty year old daughter Lucy (Krysten Ritter). And despite striking up a relationship with a much younger woman named Charlotte (Laura Prepon), as well as finding internet fame for a speech he gave at his award ceremony, he finds himself diagnosed with cancer and finds himself in a situation where he needs to sort his life out.

(REVIEW)

You’d think it’d be incredibly morbid for elderly actors playing roles that tease their deaths, but give credit where credit is due, Elliott owns this movie. You feel every inch of his frustration as a struggling actor and, despite being so popular in one film, hasn’t given him the clout to get better roles. But it is delightfully entertaining to watch him get high off his ass. And usually I get a little queasy watching an old man make out and have sex with a much younger woman, but the characters are written so well that their chemistry does make it very sweet to watch… of course, I have a cousin who might be pretty annoyed with this. Either way, from the small amounts of comedy to the heavy drama, Elliott carries this film flawlessly. And for the life of me, I will never forget, “Lonestar Barbecue Sauce. The perfect partner… for your chicken.” There is sadly some predictability to the film, as in you know how they’ll get resolved and even when. Other scenes drag on much longer than necessary, and one or two questionable character decisions, but overall, this is a good movie. I recommend it and can see this getting Elliott an Oscar nomination next year. It’s not great, but it’s good and worth seeing.

My honest rating for THE HERO: 4/5

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BEATRIZ AT DINNER

Starring: Salma Hayek (HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER [2017], SAUSAGE PARTY [2016], DESPERADO [1995], and the upcoming THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD [2017]) and John Lithgow (MISS SLOANE [2016], INTERSTELLAR [2014], SHREK [2001], and upcoming films DADDY’S HOME 2 [2017] and PITCH PERFECT 3 [2017]). In support: Connie Britton (AMERICAN ULTRA [2015], and TV shows NASHVILLE and AMERICAN HORROR STORY), Chloë Sevigny (THE DINNER [2017], LOVE & FRIENDSHIP [2016], and TV show BLOODLINE), Amy Landecker (DOCTOR STRANGE [2016], DAN IN REAL LIFE [2007], and TV show TRANSPARENT), Jay Duplass (PAPER TOWNS [2015], and TV shows THE MINDY PROJECT and TRANSPARENT), and David Warshofsky (WILSON [2017], NOW YOU SEE ME 2 [2016], and TAKEN [2008]).

Directing: Miguel Arteta (ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY [2014], YOUTH IN REVOLT [2009], and THE GOOD GIRL [2002]). Screenwriter: Mike White (NACHO LIBRE [2006], SCHOOL OF ROCK [2003], THE GOOD GIRL [2002], and the upcoming THE EMOJI MOVIE [2017]). Composer: Mark Mothersbaugh (PEE-WEE’S BIG HOLIDAY [2016], ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE ROAD CHIP [2015], THE LEGO MOVIE [2014], and upcoming films THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE [2017] and THOR: RAGNAROK [2017]). Cinematographer: Wyatt Garfield (short films and unknown movies)

(SUMMARY)

Beatriz (Salma Hayek) is a massage therapist. She’s had a rough week what with her pet goat killed outside her home and the general stresses of her job at the hospital. But one fateful day, going to a rich neighborhood to take care of frequent client Cathy (Connie Britton), her car breaks down as she tries to leave. Being a gracious host, Cathy invites Beatriz to their dinner party that night to celebrate business deal with their equally rich and infamous Doug Strutt (John Lithgow). Soon, heads clash as Beatriz’s naive and pro-life attitude insights arguments with Doug, who is in love with his job and cares little about hurting others’ feelings.

(REVIEW)

Damn. In some ways, it’s a letdown, but in others, it delivers exactly what it promises: a minority arguing with a Donald Trump-like figure. Why is it a letdown? Because many of the arguments in the movie are pretty contrived and predictable. The movie has solid character-setup. We get a great sense of who Beatriz is when she’s introduced. She’s an animal lover and a passionate healer. When we meet Doug, he’s an asshole and a pig because he’s a rich white guy and he’s shameless about it. But as soon as they’re sitting down enjoying the dinner, you know that the arguments are coming. I know, that’s the whole point of the movie, but every fight ends with Beatriz apologizing and promising to keep a cool head, only to go ballistic again. Granted, for different reasons, but you’d think the first blowup would be indication enough of what kind of company she’s a part of and it makes little sense that she’d stick around. Even when she agrees to stay out of the way for the duration of the party, it’s still never enough for her to keep her mouth shut and continue to be a semi-ungracious guest. Don’t get me wrong, Lithgow is a fiendishly charming guy and Hayek probably delivers the best performance she’s had in recent memory. There is a passionate drive behind this movie and you can feel it in the insensitive-in-a-good-way comedy. I think in different character circumstances, this would have been a truly effective film. As is, it’s not bad, but it’s something a disappointment. It’s worth seeing, if only for the performances, but I think each important scene wasn’t transitioned into very well and that’s the supposed to be the whole crux of the film. I recommend it as a rental.

My honest rating for BEATRIZ AT DINNER: 3/5