Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Movie Review: Swiss Army Man

The comedic indie film about farts and a powerful dead body comes from the Daniels, the pair of writer/directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinart. The movie follows Hank Johnson (Paul Dano) trapped on an island prepared to end his life by hanging when he spots a dead body rolling up out of the waves. Hank decides to live and investigate the body with plenty of funny physical comedy.

The body turns out to be Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) whose powerful farts propel him through the ocean so that Hank can ride him like a jet ski. The special effects were pretty good and added a lot to the bumbling dead body of Radcliffe's Manny. What really brings the movie alive is when Manny starts to talk and ask questions of Hank who struggles to explain the complexities of life.

Using Manny's remarkable abilities, Hank attempts to return home but as we learn more about Hank, there are reasons he may not want to return home to his dull, sad life. Manny is curious and excited about life becoming very curious about women, especially the woman Sara (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) pictured on Hank's dying phone. Indulging Manny's curiosity that turns into romantic obsession, Hank creates an entire scenario that Manny can live in with the help of motor ability by Hank. The movie is at its best when the two men are bonding over their shared affection.

The movie does have some great jokes mixed in with physical comedy topped off with fart jokes, and the two actors have chemistry, but the movie moves along towards not much happening with only a mild sense of danger out in the woods and a story moving towards a predictable conclusion. I'd only recommend this movie to people with an easygoing sense of humor and fans of cute, feel-good indie films.

The creators hit on some interesting topics but they don't explore them much deeper than glossing over them before back to fart jokes and strange dead body action. This writer/director pair will be something to watch. Since it didn't get a wide release, it won't make a splash at the box office but I'm glad movies like this can still make it to the theaters near me.   

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