Life Stinks Reviews
There are attempts at humor in the film, make no mistakes about that, with with Brooks you can count on either biting satire or goofy, go-for-broke sight gags. You'll find none of that here. Because of the subject matter. most of the humor is uncomfortable and it doesn't mix well with the paths and social commentary.
I can understand Brooks wanting to shine a light on a serious subject matter through the use of humor, but here the line between the two is blurred and neither is effective. The homeless in the film are fairly impossible to take seriously because they are written as kooky but lovable scamps. The upside of that is that it makes the preposterous relationship that develops between Brooks and bag lady Lesley Anne Warren palatable but still incredibly difficult to stomach.
There are also several basic contrivances with the story that are never fully resolved, but they do make for a happy ending in which everyone learns a lesson and is wiser for the experience. Everyone, that is, except for the audience of "Life Stinks." It's a definite departure for Brooks that still tries to retain the spirit of his earlier films, but the gamble misfires badly. It's a somber experience, and the lack of successful jokes make it even more unbearable.
Mel Gibson gave a great turnaround in a dramatic performance, and quickly turned from a upper class snob into a character we really feel sorry for and care for. He also had good comedic moments and gave excellent direction to the story and so it ended up like a more dramatic version of Trading Places but with a single character, and I found that Life Stinks came off as a clever satire and was if nothing else, inspiring and uplifting. Life Stinks is another film that is way too unappreciated, and is a nice change of pace for Mel Brooks.
Also, Lesley Ann Warren gave an excellent and very sweet yet strong performance opposite Mel Brooks, and she reminded me all too perfectly of Susan Sarandon. I really enjoyed the level of emotion she brought to the screen.
Life Stinks was a nice simple look at the underclass life and really plays the issues the characters are forced to face to tug at the heartstrings of the viewers, and I found it to b a strong drama with some good comedic moments along the way so it doesn't aim to be too melodramatic. I enjoyed Life Stinks, more so than a lot of other people did.