Not Cool (2014)
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Critic Reviews for Not Cool
A stab - no, a frantic machete swipe - at comedy that only date-rapists, racists and sociopaths could love ...
No one involved with it should ever be allowed to work in the movies again.
It's shock value (drugs, sex, bodily fluids, and a lot of yelling) over any semblance of cleverness.
Crass coming-of-age tale is full of profanity, sex jokes.
Sometimes the movie is funny, other times eye-roll inducing.
Audience Reviews for Not Cool
plays like a david wain film but can't stick the landing. I laughed a little but there is more misses than successes. looking forward to hollidaysburg to see the dramatic version of the same script.
Last year, Starz aired a reality TV series called The Chair. Produced by actor Zachary Quinto and Project Greenlight breakout Chris Moore, the aim was to give two different directors the same script, the same budget, the same shooting city, and the same access to resources to see what kind of movies they would create. The public would vote on a winner and the winning filmmaker would earn a $250,000 prize. Film is a director's medium, and both of the chosen participants, Shane Dawson and Anna Martemucci, were allowed to rewrite the script, likely to the dismay of screenwriter Dan Schoffer. Dawson has built a following of millions making comedy shorts on his YouTube channel. Martemucci has written and directed one other film and has professional ties to Quinto. Over the course on one winter in Pittsburgh, both Dawson and Martmeucci shot their films under the extra scrutiny of the reality show cameras. Whatever their TV portraits may have been, the work stands on its own. Dawson made the sex comedy Not Cool and Martemucci made the coming-of-age drama, Hollidaysburg. They are two quite different films, but are they any good and is The Chair a success? Scott (Dawson) is home for Thanksgiving break from his first year at college. In high school he was prom king and a big deal. Life since hasn't been that easy. His girlfriend, Marissa (Lisa Schwartz), dumps him after a spontaneous hookup in a public bathroom. His father is closing the family's record store. His sister, Janie (Michelle Veintimilla), might not graduate on time from high school. And then Tori (Cherami Leigh) accidentally hits him with her car. The two have history: Scott was responsible for Tori's cruel nickname, "Tori the Whore-y." Not having any of it, she lays in to him and unleashes years of anger, and then the two of them have sex. They try and pass it off as a one-time deal but they both can't stop thinking of the other person. Tori's pal Joel (Drew Monson) is determined to have sex with his high school crush, Janie. He agrees to help her with her schoolwork for a prime opportunity to make her fall in love with him. As Joel and Scott chase after their resistant love interests, they have to decide how far to go. I was completely unfamiliar with Dawson and his YouTube fame before seeing his film, and after watching Not Cool I wish I had remained in blissful ignorance. To call Not Cool unfunny is to too kind. It is aggressively unfunny, going above and beyond to shock and appall. By no means am I a prude when it comes to crass comedy, but you have to put effort into it just like any of style of telling and developing jokes. You don't just blurt out something vulgar repeatedly and confuse that for comedy construction. I knew I was in trouble when the movie resorted to projectile vomit within two minutes. Dawson's direction consists of telling his actors to go as broad as possible; they feel like over-the-top cartoons engaging in shouting matches. A Thanksgiving dinner with Scott's family feels like an insane asylum was evacuated. It's fine that Not Cool doesn't approach a relatable reality, but it needs to have some internal grounding that makes sense. It also needs to be funny. Much, much funnier. After ten minutes I had to stop the movie and gather pen and paper to start noting the unfunny and off-putting misogynist jokes on display. Let me make this clear: characters can be unlikeable and have non-P.C. POVs, but when the film itself seems to be adopting a tone and perspective that allies with ignorance and intolerance, that's when a movie can become increasingly uncomfortable. Dawson's interpretation of the script is rife with jokes that are homophobic, xenophobic, slut shaming and in general anti-women, and, I repeat, they just aren't funny: In response to dad's new girlfriend (who is never mentioned again) being named Anastasia: "With that name she's either a Disney princess or a stripper." Fresh. Janie relates how her sexist teacher is flunking her, which Joel responds with, "I'm surprised he didn't give you an 'A' for those tit-ays." Ugh. Just ugh. "Tori the Whore-y? You look kinda good now. You know that nick-name might not be ironic anymore." Because Scott is the arbitrator of what is acceptable attraction, therefore Tori should now have a sense of self-worth because he has deigned to find her of interest. This is later reiterated when Scott tells her, "You're beautiful. You always were." Thanks, now that you said it Scott it must actually be true. Joel: "The only thing hotter than Leonardo DiCaprio is a retarded Leonardo DiCaprio in a sexy diaper." What? I don't think he ever wore a diaper in What's Eating Gilbert Grape? And Janie's response is equally baffling: "That shit makes me so wet." Huh? Watching an actor play a mentally handicapped child makes you sexually aroused? To quickly wrap up this detour, let me highlight the most egregious stab at humor in the entire movie. During the film's climax, his horny ex-girlfriend sexually assaults Scott. Tori sees this and, oh no, miscommunication. Scott explains he was raped and it was not consensual. The party's host quietly walks over to a dry erase marker board that says, "Rapes at this Party." He erases the zero and writes a "one" on the board, then goes back to partying. Let that sink in. The board was prepared for some sense of inevitable rape, and yet once it happens, the host carries on. That's offensive on a number of issues. These scenes and lines are merely par for the course in what is ultimately a course and misguided comedy that is stocked with vile characters. Scott is served up as a figure that needs to get past his hubris, but the movie treats him more of a hero who the other characters just can't help but love. It's hard not to feel like the film is made to flatter Dawson as an actor. Within minutes of meeting Scott again, Tori says, "Would I have sex with you? Probably." No one can resist his appeal, certainly not Tori's family. Tori's mother is practically begging to jump on top of him. When the character's defining moment of humility and growth is cutting his Justin Beiber-like hair, it's a failure. Tori is written in such an inconsistent fashion. She's supposed to be all about negativity and hates everything in the world, but then she transforms into a Manic Pixie Dream Girl for Scott's cutesy scavenger hunt. Leigh does a credible job with the character but she's a half-formed assortment of quirks and messages meant to push Scott along. Dawson errs considerably by casting himself as the romantic lead. It further exacerbates Scott's flattering portrayal, but really Dawson is just not a good enough actor to carry a film. But a lead role wasn't enough, and Dawson appears as several female supporting characters in drag. The appearances stop the movie dead in its tracks. The characters are also just lame mouthpieces to blurt lazy inappropriate comments, especially a popular girl who just keeps calling people names at the top of her lungs. It is deeply unpleasant. The worst character in the entire film is Joel. This guy is obsessed with having sex with his high school crush, who is still in high school while he's in college, by the way. She has clearly and consistently stated that she does not have feelings for him, but what's a woman stating her decisions going to matter to this guy? Joel's pursuit of Jamie is just insanely creepy. He mimes preforming cunnilingus on her. He stalks her online profiles to mine useful personal information. He enlargers and decreases a picture of her face on his phone and narrates the experience like she is giving him oral sex. At every point his single-minded is focus on treating her as a sex object. Even after a night out, where she wears a dress he picked out for her after trying it on himself and fondling himself in expectation (!), she tells him she doesn't feel the same way, and he still forces the situation. It's gross and at no point is Joel and his behavior held up to criticism. He's rewarded for his "virtue" by having Janie pimp out all her promiscuous friends onto him. What makes the character even more repulsive is just how annoying Monson's performance comes across; he's going for faux bluster but it's more like misplaced entitlement. If this storyline had ended with Joel murdering her while weeping and slow dancing with her corpse, you wouldn't be that surprised. As the previous two paragraphs should indicate, there is certainly a point of view that emerges from the movie, one that trumps the heterosexual white male at the top and looks with derision on anybody that falls outside that definition. It feels like every joke is at someone's expense. In the opening minute, an overweight woman tweets a picture of herself as a skinny model. I suppose it's funny because she's misrepresenting herself but it feels like the joke amounts to, "Ha, she's ugly and fat." But those who are conventionally attractive still don't get off easy. Tori is slut shamed as a whore in high school, lead by Scott, and this is merely excused as the behavior of a loveable scamp. Janie's friends are treated like idiotic sluts. Tori's gay friend is defined by his flamboyance and obsession with sex. Disabled people are apparently hilarious just because they're disabled and different. Tori's older sister is blind and it's funny because she accomplishes things... but she's blind. I suppose the joke is that she shouldn't have a successful life. There's a woman at a party in a wheelchair (confession: I know this actress) and the joke is she's doing normal activity. There's one black character in the movie that is a homeless man who devours his own feces. At one point, his genitals are also used as for a laugh. There's also the characters flagrant and casual use of the word "retarded" to describe anything repulsive. The hoary stereotypes and unfunny portraits blend together, creating a mosaic of intolerance masked as comedy. Dawson's sense of comedy is fairly puerile but it's also offputtingly mean-spirited and denigrating. Dawson makes too many fatal mistakes as a director for Not Cool to survive. Casting himself in the lead was a mistake. Appearing as female supporting characters was also a mistake. Excusing the bad behavior of his male characters, and rewarding them, was a mistake. Catering the humor to make fun of anyone that doesn't classify as a heterosexual white male was a mistake. Relying solely on gross-out gags without better comic development was a mistake. Trying to earn a heart late into the film was also a mistake. After watching jerks behave like creeps with their inflated sense of entitlement, I don't care if they maybe have feelings. Directing his actors to be heightened caricatures was a mistake. In short, Not Cool is a comedy graveyard of mistakes and bad decisions. I'm sure there will be people that find something to enjoy here, who laugh at the easy juvenile humor. I even laughed a couple times. There was a visual gag with a smuggled watermelon that was simply inspired. I think Dawson didn't want to stray too far from his YouTube persona and the tone of his videos, lest he upset his fan base of millions, but what works as a three-minute YouTube short doesn't translate to a feature film. Not Cool is proof enough that an overabundance of energy and cheap vulgarity does not compensate for a deficit in storytelling and execution. Not Cool is just not good. Nate's Grade: D
I always like to support YouTubers when they get a shot at doing something they love. Unfortunately this was a big opportunity wasted with cheap jokes and an unnecessary story. The hour and a half that it lasts never seemed to end. One of the biggest problems I had with the film is Shane Dawson himself starring in it. The direction was decent but his cartoony overacting made me forget that I was actually watching a full production backed by hundreds of people. Actually, one of the very few funny bits for me was when he actually referenced one of the characters from his YouTube videos. He cant' seem to fully grow up and detach that "online persona" from this production that has nothing to with his YouTube career. The stupid jokes have to stop. The other big problem that I have with this movie is the generational problem. I doesn't seem to know who its target is. While this clearly would be rated R, the problems and whining presented in the film seemed a little too teeny for me. Kids these days wouldn't even get the Degrassi reference, even if you tell them - and you did. Prom king? Name calling? This is like a Disney Channel movie with the wrong director. Maybe not going the over the top funny would've considerably helped more. I also don't appreciate the blatant product placement halfway through the movie, that for a moment seemed like a complete 2 minute commercial for the Dance Central game. On a final note, I don't know how much control Dawson had over the story, so on that, part it's not his fault - I'll just have to see how Hollidaysburg turns out.
Not Cool Quotes
|Scott:||Its like the wall is eating my penis!|
|Tori:||Life happens in the present, one second to the next. And if you're living with one foot in the past, well, you're missing a fucking foot.|
|Tori:||There's about 10 different restaurants up in that girls vomit! so you can take your pick!|
|Tori:||No, look, the whole point of going to college is to get away from all of the people that you hated in high school. Why would i want to go back to that? I mean, It would be like taking a massive shit & then shoving it right back up my butt.|
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