Tusk has a very enjoyable first half, but after that, nothing new excited me the way the film had earlier. The performances here are surprisingly good, starting with Justin Long, whose character is entertaining and well-rounded. Long's every move is almost flawless because he delivers self-aware comedy while feeling real, even in complex situations for his character. Michael Parks also delivers comedically and dramatically, being creepy when he needs to be, which is often. The first half has many funny moments of clever back and forth dialogue, often involving these two actors. There is a delicate balance between comedy and creepy, as well as drama in the flashback sequences. The flashbacks themselves are well timed and are perfectly placed within the story, adding on more layers to the story and its characters. After about halfway through, the buildup comes to a halt, and the film rarely feels tense again. It's never as funny, relying often on dark and physical comedy that doesn't always make me want to laugh. The other comedy in this half comes from a cameo that is sort of funny at times, but loses its effect after a while. The creepiness didn't escalade as much as I wanted it to, feeling a bit static due to the film relying on the same thing to be creepy again and again. The second half of the film still manages to be entertaining, though. Where the film fell short for me was on not offering anything new. The film wanted to be twisted and it was, but then it didn't go further. Walking out, I felt neutral, not really knowing how Kevin Smith wanted me to feel about the film. I think he thinks the movie is funnier than it really was. A great first half was worth going to but I can't recommend it due to a disappointing end.
The story feels like one of natural talent from the dialogue to the unraveling of events. Brendan Gleeson is perfect in his role and there's also a solid supporting cast of colorful characters. There's emotional resonance in the film's darkness and statement about faith. Catch it if you like movies.