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Emerges with not one single laugh.
A script like this should be destroyed upon receipt.
Hell and Back is a far cry from something you would sell your soul for.
It's a wonder how this stinker of a script -- packed with foul language, sex references, and scatological jokes -- attracted such a strong cast in the first place, and the finished film is no better.
Hell And Back may be for adults, but it is not very mature. Everything from drug use to rape is lampooned in this outrageous, R-rated comedy.
If you ask me, variety is the spice of life. I feel like this applies to pretty much everything in life but, at least, in this case, I'm talking about mediums of entertainment. When I was around eleven years old, I discovered Metallica for the first time. Some fans might recall the first time they heard Metallica to be when they heard Master of Puppets, One or For Whom The Bell Tolls. These are all classic Metallica songs. Well, in my case at least, my first exposure to Metallica was a song off their live album S&M (with the San Francisco Symphony, hence the title). This song was Hero Of The Day. Eleven year old me fell in love with the song even if now I know that it's not even close to Metallica's best song. But it was the song that got me into Metallica and it'll still have a soft spot in my heart for it. Regardless, the point is that Metallica, at least throughout my early teens, was my favorite band (I listened to ...And Justice For All religiously) and they ended up shaping the type of music that I listened to. I was a big metalhead when I was a teen and I was only wanting to listen to that all the time. The heavier (or the faster) the better it was for me. But, now, while I still very much enjoy metal, I've expanded a bit into other sonic horizons. Metal just doesn't do it for me as much as it did in the past. I've evolved to enjoy, in my opinion, the progressive stylings of bands like Opeth, Devin Townsend or Porcupine Tree. Mogwai is a big favorite of mine either. The reason I mention this is because, again, variety is important. That's why I feel that adult-oriented animated films, be they CG or stop-motion, need to exist. I'm certain that some really conservative parents might feel like we should let kids have animated movies I say fuck that. Kids have enough, not every animated movie needs to be family-friendly. And that applies to every film genre, just not animated movies. The adults need to be entertained too. This is why films like this and Sausage Party exist. Having said that, I can think of another reason why this movie needs to exist and it has nothing to do with variety or anything of the sort. This movie needs to exist to serve as everything you DON'T do when making a a raunchy animated movie, be it stop-motion or otherwise. Look, I'll start off with a positive right off the bat. The stop-motion animation is solid enough. It lacks the attention to detail or finesse of a Laika Studios picture for sure, but that's not to say that it wasn't difficult to animate. The animation, if you end up hating it, are gonna be the least of your problems. The voice acting, minus Nick Swardson (whom I hate though, to be fair, it's probably Adam Sandler's stink rubbing up on him), is perfectly fine. The one thing that is really surprising about this movie is how many talented comedic actors they got to voice a character here. Bob Odenkirk, Susan Sarandon, TJ Miller, Kumail Nanjiani, Mila Kunis, Danny McBride, Michael Pena, Jennifer Coolidge just to name a lot. They got ALL of these people to voice character in a movie that, quite frankly, is really fucking bad. Like REALLY fucking bad. I know Sausage Party had a relatively mixed reaction, but, in my opinion, the script was savagely funny and, yes, gleefully profane and offensive. At the same time, however, one of the things that surprised me most about was how it uses its profane humor as a front to critique blind faith. And not just blind faith, but people who make fun of other's religious beliefs. I'm an atheist, yes, but I don't like to mock people for what they believe in. I just greatly dislike people who use their beliefs in order to discriminate against others. Regardless, the point is that the movie had a lot more on its mind than just being as raunchy as it possibly could. And, don't get me wrong, it delivered on the raunchiness, particularly the massive orgy at the end of the movie between all the food, condiments, what have you. This movie, released a year before Sausage Party, has absolutely none of the thought and care put into it. In fact, it reminds me very much of a movie that, ironically, Danny McBride starred in. That movie is Your Highness, which was kind of a stoner fantasy movie that didn't reallym ake any attempts to inject actual humor into it. They just said fuck and shit a lot and called it a day. This movie is exactly the same way. I assume that they think that the novelty of seeing an R-rated stop motion movie, a genre that's normally reserved for kid-friendly films, would be enough to entertain you throughout. No, they would be wrong. Here's the thing, however, there IS a novelty surrounding an R-rated animated movie because you just don't see many of these all that often. But that novelty will carry for you, oh, about 10 minutes or so. After those 10 minutes of goodwill are up, you have to deliver a strong script to keep up that goodwill through your movie's entire runtime. As if it wasn't obvious, this movie fails miserably at that. They think that filling the movie up with as many dick, fart, sex and, generally, just off-color jokes will be enough. Firstly, there's no real context to any of the jokes, like it's just a bunch of theoretically "funny" lines spewed out by these characters in the hopes that, maybe, just maybe, a few of them would make you laugh. And, if I'm being fair, a lot of comedies are this way. What I mean by that there's no context to the jokes is that it just doesn't seem to serve any particular purpose. They're just there because they NEED to be there. Yes, comedies, at least most of them, NEED to be funny, but at least a good percentage of comedies have better screenwriters than this movie had. Like I can only imagine how much worse I would have ripped this movie apart if it had been live-action, if they COULD find a way to make this live-action. I mean, Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell exists already and they make it work and, in every which way, is funnier than this movie. But, really, I take it that you already knew that. A lot of the humor is wildly inappropriate and offensive, but that's not why I'm criticizing the movie. Sausage Party was inappropriate and offensive, but it was actually funny and well-written. In this film's case, however, the offensiveness of the humor just shrieks of desperation. This movie is like a virgin who overcompensates for his insecurities by lying and proclaiming himself to have fucked many women. This movie overcompensates with offensive humor, which some people are into just because it's offensive (regardless of whether or not it's actually any good), to cover up for the fact that its script is just absolutely fucking terrible. They also disguise the terrible script by casting legitimately funny people in roles so they would dress the shitty script up with their talent. Well, I'm sad to report, that it didn't fucking work. There's a few funny lines, of course there are, most terrible comedies have at least a few funny lines and/or moments. But, since about 98% of the movie is so terrible, I'm having a hard time remembering these moments. I wonder if the people who liked this movie took a step back and wondered what this movie would have been like without all the smoke and mirrors? And I mean people who enjoyed this unironically. People who actually and legitimately thought this was a good movie. Are there any of you out there? I don't know if I'm looking to start a dialogue, but I'm just wondering why someone might like this movie. That's neither here nor there, I suppose. I was gonna give 1.5 stars, but I realized that that's too high so I downgraded it to just ONE FULL STAR. The only reason it does get one star is because the animation itself is solid. Everything else about the movie, however, is just fucking terrible. This might actually be worse than The Emoji Movie, which also starred TJ Miller. STOP LENDING YOUR VOICE TO ANIMATED MOVIES TJ, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE!!! Seriously though, this is fucking terrible.
Incredibly vulgar and crass, Hell & Back is a wicked animated comedy. While fooling around with a book of black magic three friends open up a portal to Hell, and when one of them gets sucked in the other two follow in order to rescue him. Featuring the voice talents of T.J. Miller, Danny McBride, and Mila Kunis, the cast is fairly decent. And the animation is pretty good, and includes some interesting set and character designs for Hell. However, the humor is extremely raunchy and never lets up. Hell & Back delivers some laughs, but the level of crudeness can be hard to handle.
Stoners go to hell to face the dread demon overlord and in the meantime discover the meaning of true friendship. At least that's what I think they were going for. Some of it works. But not all of it. Danny McBride gets the best lines.
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