The Brass Teapot - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Brass Teapot Reviews

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Super Reviewer
February 21, 2015
Quite an original and interesting idea for a movie. Enjoyed this. The two leads are well cast and likable, and they would want to be as it is borderline disturbing in places watching them beat the crap out of each other.
Really sounds crappy on paper - magical tea pot dispenses money for pain, but somehow it does work.
Super Reviewer
½ June 25, 2013
Rather enjoyable. Fun to imagine...
Super Reviewer
February 19, 2014
No Pain. No Gain.

Good Film! The Brass Teapot is yet another film that exercises its unalienable right to be an enthusiastically quirky gem of an indie film. My definition of "enthusiastically quirky" will likely be different than yours, as mine concerns a premise that needed to take a considerable amount of time to develop and an even larger amount of work in order to sustain feature-length. The Brass Teapot was a fine gamble. It has heart, wit, intelligence, and humor almost bursting from its seams. Mark it down as yet another quirky film for the year of 2013, but put it in the category of quirky films that work efficiently.

Based on the comic book series "The Brass Teapot" about mid-twenty year old couple who, in these difficult economic times, finds a mysterious, magical brass teapot which makes them money but at a surprising price. After realizing the teapots powers, John and Alice must decide how far they will go to fulfill their dream.
Super Reviewer
½ September 12, 2013
Cute film, nice performances and a little thought provoking. I was left asking what would I be able to do?
Super Reviewer
June 10, 2013
three stars
Super Reviewer
½ November 2, 2014
In "The Brass Teapot," Alice(Juno Temple), unemployed, and John(Michael Angarano), trapped in telemarketing hell, are deeply in love but have trouble keeping up with the rent. To make matters worse, they get into a car accident. Alice at least takes the opportunity of the confusion to steal a teapot from a convenient antiques store. When Alice injures herself at home, the teapot rewards her with some deeply needed cash.

To be fair, there is a deep, dark and unsettling movie waiting underneath the surface of "The Brass Teapot," just waiting to get out. What we get instead is some weak and uninspired slapstick which clashes with the depiction of economic realities. Plus, the corruption angle does not work as well as it should, as it is never established early on that Alice and John are particularly good people, just poor.
Super Reviewer
½ September 7, 2013
Not bad, but not that good. Still watchable.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ January 8, 2014
It's like a legal rip-off of a magic lamp, although that concept is so common that it is by no means copyrighted, so I don't know why they would go through the trouble. Eh, where your usual magic lamps come from Islamic mythologies, this titular "brass teapot" is Jewish, so whoever came up with the idea wasn't going to take any chances with financial issues. Greedy Jew jokes aside, this really is all about the money, Jessie J (Oh man, I hate that song passionately, but you know that someone was thinking it), so, regardless of what many might believe, having Juno Temple as a wife isn't all a man can wish for. Okay, maybe she's not all that, but she certainly looks good on that poster that looks like some kind of an inspirational entrepreneurism promo, what with the fine suit, cool car and beautiful woman holding a wad of cash... backed by a giant, floating rose and teapot. Come to think of it, in plenty of ways, this film does seem like the result of some kind of pot, you know, until you get to the point in the story where the leads have to actually hurt themselves in order to have their wishes granted, at which point, it starts sounding like all sorts of other, more harsh drugs. Either way, this feels kind of like Temple continuing to reinforce that dirty girl image, though that might just because this film makes me think of "Dirty Girl". I'd imagine what handful of people who actually saw "Dirty Girl" wouldn't figure that that's flattering, but hey, I liked it, just as I like this film, even though I have problems with both efforts.

Rather generic, the film gets to be formulaic in its plotting, as well as thinly conventional in its characterization, drawing conceptually worthy characters with tropes that hold a familiarity which is distancing enough without a sense of undercooking. Immediate development is lacking, and progressive exposition needs more flesh-out, considering that this character study is about meditating upon the gradual corruption of characters, whose shifting depths are not sold with enough assurance for you to get over unlikable traits. If nothing else, the questionable characterization establishes a sense of unevenness, which is not helped by tonal inconsistencies, for although the film is never too serious, heavier moments punctuate fluff somewhat jarringly. Conventional, undercooked and uneven, storytelling has its endearingly inspired elements, but also holds a certain under-inspiration that blands things up, or at least further blands things up. Even in concept, this is a thin, fluffy narrative with some intriguing thematic depth, as well as other worthy elements, sure, ultimately outweighed by limitations that cannot be disregarded, in spite of a sense of ambition. Director Ramaa Mosley at least pumps her heart into this project, and she draws a fair deal of pay-off, as well as a great deal of charm, but this was never to go as far as she clearly wanted it to, and at the end of the day, the final product is unable to defy forgettability. There's not a whole lot to remember in the end, but while the film has your investment, it keeps you going, not as all that endearing, but certainly as entertaining as a character study, carried by some worthy character portrayals.

Characterization is undercooked and uneven, but intriguing characters are found within the basic concept, and they are made intriguing in the long run, not so much by endearing storytelling, but endearing lead performances, with the scarily Sam Rockwell-resembling Michael Angarano and the lovely Juno Temple delivering on both excellent chemistry and sharp individual charisma, with layers that slowly, but surely, grow more dramatically charged, while keeping consistent in selling the corruption in the John and Alice characters better than the flawed characterization. These notorious, but still-up-and-coming leads show plenty of potential here by carrying the film with underwritten, but effortless-seeming, occasionally powerful performances that drive the characters further than the script, which doesn't exactly sputter out as much as I'm making it seem like it does. Sure, Tim Macy's writing efforts are flawed, telling a conventional story unevenly, but still rather colorfully, with fun little set pieces and humor bits that are effective enough for you to buy into certain questionable attributes just fine. While certain elements of its thematic core are universally relatable, this film is questionable in a lot of ways with its narrative, but the script, as flawed as it is, sells colorful ideas with enough liveliness for you to overlook the story problems, and focus more on the story strengths. Sure, the script's unevenness and genericisms also make it easier to detect natural shortcomings, which are abundant in this fluffy flick, and yet, if nothing else can be said about this film's ideas, they're fun, having been done time and again, but still not getting so tired that there isn't still potential in the lively exploration of trust and wealth's corruption that is done a fair bit of justice by Macy, and a good deal of justice by the leads and director Ramaa Mosley. Mosley's direction is also flawed, of course, but its plays on Andrew Hewitt's subtly perky score and Ryan Folsey's snappy editing establish a brisk sense of momentum to sustain entertainment value, while still keeping pacing controlled enough to express a sense of progression in a conceptually layered character study more sharply than Macy's script, particularly when it comes down to sometimes pretty strong latter acts. At the very least, a sense of ambition in Mosley's script establishes charm more than emphases on shortcomings, and that adds to the entertainment value, which in turn helps greatly in making the final product decent, if rather forgettable.

When time has run out with the luck, the final product sputters out as underwhelming under the weight of conventions, underdevelopment, unevenness and, of course, natural limitations in meat, but Michael Angarano's and Juno Temple's strong performances, Tim Macy's generally decent script and Ramaa Mosley's well-paced and sometimes biting direction are enough to make "The Brass Teapot" an entertaining and occasionally compelling dark dramedy, in spite of the many missteps.

2.5/5 - Fair
Super Reviewer
January 20, 2013
Not bad for her first feature film, Ramaa Mosley creates a believable world of want and greed in "The Brass Teapot". Starring one of my recent favorite actresses on the rise, Juno Temple sells this film far beyond what any other actress could. She makes this film and her role embodies the reasons that I enjoy her so much, including her tenacious sexuality, unrelenting stares, and a generally positive aura around her. Michael Angarano also makes this film better with his immersing into this role, developing a nice guy humor all his own, that is actually quite hilarious. The plot and delivery are simple and that makes "The Brass Teapot" easily accessible, hitting all the emotional marks needed for a successful, first-time feature. With a tight cast, including supporters like the gorgeous Alexis Bledel, the humorous Alia Shawkat, and nice guy Kenneth Parcell, and a solid, clean quality to the entire film, Mosley does not disappoint. You've seen films like this before, where the main characters come across a item that gives them power (or in this case a teapot that rewards physical and emotional pain with cold hard cash), but never in a way so entertaining and fresh than in "The Brass Teapot".
Super Reviewer
April 3, 2014
Fractured fairy tale about a struggling young couple who chance upon a magical brass teapot that fills itself with money whenever one of them suffers pain. They further discover that the teapot pays out for emotional pain, and later for the pain of others. Meanwhile, a Chinese man appears on their doorstep claiming to be a sworn emissary intending to rid the world of this destructive device, warning how it has ruined the lives of every previous owner. Despite the weighty implications, the movie never gets overly serious, the right balance is struck between drama and comedy while a few shrewd twists keep the premise from going stale. Enjoyable if slight with engaging performances from leads Michael Angarano and Juno Temple, who occupies a very authentic American accent.
March 16, 2014
A nice timewaster with a few unexpected surprises. Namely the small role played by Alia Shawkat.

The movie itself is a bit too predictable and droll. And a few timeline elements are compressed too far to be believable.

But neither of those things take away from the engaging quality that Juno Temple and Michael Angarano have on screen.

A movie with this premise has many ways it could go, but in general it feels pretty restrained. For an R movie it has the same kind of restraint that a PG-13 Disney special would have. The early fairy tale atmosphere helps drive this home.
½ September 23, 2013
Completely carried by the performances of its two charismatic leads, Juno Temple and Michael Angarano make us care about these incredibly good and moral people who are completely corrupted by the promise of wealth. Sure the film is extremely predictable and, at times, too much of a storybook to be a great film, but Temple and Angarano sell the film, and I'm buying what they're selling.
½ August 19, 2013
A watchable-but-not-great modern fable about the foibles of human greed and materialism starring one of my favorite up-and-coming young actresses Juno Temple (Atonement, The Dark Knight Rises, Killer Joe) who has finally been given a meaty, leading role. Temple stars as Alice, a young married woman in Anytown, USA facing an uncertain and unpromising future in a time of uncertain futures (lack of jobs) whose luck changes when a bizarre occurrence introduces her to a beautiful (mystical) brass teapot. After surviving a freak automobile accident alongside her husband John (Michael Angarano - Red State, Haywire), Alice is drawn to a teapot she confiscates from an antique dealership that dispenses money (the teapot) -- actual cold hard cash -- whenever one around it is in and feels pain. The young couple find a solution to all of their financial problems by inflicting pain upon one another until the increments of cash begin to dwindle over time as the teapot assesses their pain threshold and dispenses less cash. How far will the couple go to insure they continue to live in a comfortable manner they have grown accustomed to after coming into contact with the teapot? Alexis Bledel ('Gilmore Girls', Sin City) plays a wealthy fair-weathered friend and Alia Shawkat ('Arrested Development', The Oranges) plays a frumpy true friend. There's a pair of Jewish-mafia-esque men searching for the teapot they say is their birthright inheritance and another man (Steve Park - Fargo's Mike Yanagita) seeking it out to destroy it as he is fully aware of its 2 thousand year old history. The film is a lark and isn't as good as I would have liked it to be as it wants to make a very valid point about human greed, consumption and materialism. I think Temple is a most promising young actress but this film doesn't do her justice. If I had an oil lamp (complete with genie), I'd wish this could have been better.
½ June 18, 2013
Without a human dimension to ground its construct, "The Brass Teapot" ultimately feels like an interminably stretched-out skit rather than a storybook lesson stained with blood and hurt.
March 20, 2013
This was good. A couple are happy as can be, but dirt poor. They find a teapot that gives money when they hurt themselves. So they become rich doing horrible things to eachother and themselves. They find that money can't buy happiness. Really good touching movie.
½ January 8, 2016
Although the plot is pretty basic, the context it is put in is an interesting idea and fun to watch. It strongly reminds of the chinese fable culture, and all the kind of metaphors and morals to it. A nice movie to watch for entertainment purposes. Better than most comedies coming from Hollywood nowadays.
October 10, 2015
Well, I liked it. It was an interesting morality tale focused on greed, told in the form of a twisted fairy tale.
October 5, 2015
Entertaining, pretty funny, light, and charming performances from the two leads.
½ September 19, 2015
Absolutely magical storytelling! A gem of a film with great acting and quirky comedic touches. The song at the end *Lovely, Dark, and Warm* is poignant too!
September 13, 2015
Enjoyed it! Dark, funnier than I expected film ...
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