Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

23 June 2016

Your Friends & Neighbors

It can't be that bad, I thought.

Your Friends & Neighbors, written and directed by Neil LaBute, got awful reviews, and everyone who borrowed it from Netflix also gave it a really poor rating.

Eckhart, Stiller, and Patric.
I needed to watch it for a project I'm working on, and so I tried to talk myself into it. I like the cast: Jason Patric, Ben Stiller, Catherine Keener, Aaron Eckhart, Amy Brenneman.

But. And I mean this sincerely. Your Friends & Neighbors is absolutely unwatchable. It's one of the worst films I've ever seen. And I've seen a good number of films.

This is not actually a film, to be honest. It's actually just pretending to be a film version of a play I would hate. (It was never actually a play, as far as I can tell, but that is the only medium that could actually explain what it is that I watched tonight.)

I think this movie is supposed to be a really dark comedy? It's not funny at all. Not one time.

I also think it is supposed to be saying something about how awful people are? Sure.

Brenneman, Kinski, and Keener.
The film definitely hates all of its characters. So much so that it names them (this is real) Jerry, Cary, Terri, Sherry, Mary, Cheri, and Barry. Like... really? Neil LaBute is the worst. What an awful writer.

I don't mind characters who are terrible people, obviously, but one does want at least someone in the movie that one can root for at least a little bit.

But the thing is that this isn't even a movie. There's literally no one else in this movie except these six characters. All the scenes take place in these no-man's lands that are actually public spaces (where apparently no other people come). So the characters speak to each other but interact with no one else. There is only this closed world of the characters' own making. It is so weird. And, well, just like a (boring) play.

There is no reason that anyone would rent this film, but if you are feeling like you might want to rent this movie, do yourself the favor and don't.