The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
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All Critics (35)
| Top Critics (16)
| Fresh (16)
| Rotten (19)
"The Details" is not just entertaining, but potentially useful.
As the title suggests, it's all in the details, which writer-director Estes provides in large if not always convincing doses.
It's hard to make a fine actress like Laura Linney look off-key and shrill, but "The Details" manages to do just that. It's hardly an accomplishment.
"The Details" cancels itself out by being too campy to take seriously and too tragic to laugh at.
"The Details" wears its quirky heart on its sleeve, signaling (and smirking at) its own silliness, at every opportunity, with an intrusively antic score that makes everything sound like a giant joke.
It all adds up to create a dicey morality tale that's as improbable as it is strangely believable.
Everything here is intentionally grotesque to service the filmmaker's cheap shots. Women and black people are just plain crazy.
Despite some tonal stumbles, the film mostly finds its footing and becomes an enjoyable comic enterprise.
a painfully dull slog through an exceedingly stupid subdivision
The script is somewhat provocative in its examination of relationships during absurd circumstances, but its twists eventually become less compelling.
Estes never seems to find the balance between dark farce and existential drama, and the cast - especially the goofy Maguire - is left trying to sort it all out.
There are a few highlights worth a look and an accomplished supporting cast to ease the oddity along, yet The Details doesn't add up to much despite its rather elaborate design of misery.
Putting my dislike for Tobey Maguire aside, "The Details" remains entertaining despite a constant shift between quirky comedy and thoughtful drama. The question burning on my mind was how Jeff Lang (Macguire) could have gone so long prior to this film's events without messing everything up completely, because "The Details" is that film where the lead character falls down a rabbit hole of mistakes. Sexually frustrated and boyish ignorant, Jeff cheats on his wife twice, gets his neighbor's cat killed, and loses a ridiculous amount of money, all to keep his wife from finding out. The only difference, in this film, is that all the characters are equally bad and the eventual conclusion is original in that most "rabbit hole" films don't take the higher road where those affected understand the predicaments at hand. Elizabeth Banks does a decent job remaining likable as the stuffy stay-at-home mom, Macguire does nothing to change my slanted opinion about him, and in very small roles, Kerry Washington and Dennis Haysbert blow me away with their impeccable ability to embody their characters and instantly garner emotions toward them. Haysbert's character is by far the best thing about the film and produces most of the serious emotions brought on throughout the film, which makes his eventual arc that much more sad and disturbing. Had the entire film focused on a level of emotion like this, it would have completely stood apart from any quirky comedies today. Instead, its absurdity brings it to the same base level that come from most swept-under-the-rug comedies.
Strange movie. Strange concept...
This movie wasn't perfect, it really isn't consistent as a comedy to be honest, and it wastes Elizabeth Banks' talents by casting her as THE WIFE, she really does nothing of note in this movie and that's unfortunate. But I did like the movie, and its cast, because it does allow itself to go to some pretty dark places with its story. I'm always a big fan of movies where characters who make bad decisions and some bad choices that negatively affect others and, by the end of the film, they don't learn anything about their actions and they continue their lives as if nothing was wrong. I've always found that to be a very ballsy approach since most films would rather have their characters learn their lesson and admit to their wrongdoings, and that's not a bad approach to telling a story. But in this film, the characters living their life as if nothing had gone wrong makes the film better. Unfortunately the comedy, as mentioned, isn't exactly consistent but the cast is more than solid and there are some laughs here and there so in the end that sort carries the movie to a place where you can say it's at least good in spite of some of the script's weaknesses. The story is somewhat absurd and it really comes across, sometimes, as a darker sitcom with increasingly absurd situations. Perhaps that's also a problem, but it didn't really bother me as, at least, it pushed the boundaries in some regards. Anyway, solid cast and some dark moments make this film good, not perfect but a solid watch if you have Netflix Instant, but if you don't have it then you don't really need to go out of your way to watch this.
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