One Liner Review:
Vice is a political comedy of sorts that really isn’t very funny or interesting. It’s made by the great comedic director Adam McKay (Anchorman, Step Brothers,) who recently has been on a political and societal commentary kick. McKay’s last movie was The Big Short. It was about the housing bubble and financial crisis of 2008. It was also his first semi-serious film. Vice is his follow up, and next up, he will most likely be capping his political commentary trilogy with a film about global warming. The subject matters of these movies are definitely ripe for commentary, but it’s all about how the movie is told, and McKay doesn’t seem to know the right approach to telling them. Sure, his movie get nominated for oscars, which is generally a very good thing, but the truth is, with two for two of them, they are little too slow and definitely too complicated.
For McKay, the reason to make these kinds of movies is simple. He recognizes that what we have going on in our country now, (over the last ten years or so,) is ridiculous. It’s so bonkers, that it is actually kind of funny. Especially to think how we could have possibly let these things happen. And so his movies are about that. They are based on truth, but definitely include artistic license as well, in the form of such things as some fictional characters thrown in. The problem is, his movies are a little too informative and complicated for their own good. They seem to be more about teaching than about entertaining, and they end up coming off kind of preachy.
Both Vice and The Big Short act as if they are documentaries. They clearly are not in this genre, yet they take on a form as if they were, using voice over, freeze frame, out of order storytelling, and lots of stopping to explain things to the audience. Both movies strive to explain to the audience exactly how things work. And you would think that would be a good thing. But the problem is, if you need to freeze the screen to explain exactly what something means or how it works, then maybe it’s a little too complicated to begin with. Maybe there are easier ways to present it. You know the line “show don’t tell?” We’ll, these movies tell when they should be showing.