Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck Check Out These Minimalist, Old School Paperback-Style Posters For The Films Of Wes Anderson Check Out These Minimalist, Old School Paperback-Style Posters For The Films Of Wes Anderson First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' The 30 Most Anticipated Movies Of The 2015 Sundance Film Festival The 30 Most Anticipated Movies Of The 2015 Sundance Film Festival The 10 Best Films Of 2001 The 10 Best Films Of 2001 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment Watch: Full 90-Minute Documentary 'Great Directors' With David Lynch, Richard Linklater, Todd Haynes And More Watch: Full 90-Minute Documentary 'Great Directors' With David Lynch, Richard Linklater, Todd Haynes And More Exclusive: Matthew Gray Gubler Has Flashbacks In Clip From 'Suburban Gothic' Exclusive: Matthew Gray Gubler Has Flashbacks In Clip From 'Suburban Gothic' The 10 Best Films Of 2000 The 10 Best Films Of 2000 "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice The 20 Most Anticipated Foreign Films Of 2015 The 20 Most Anticipated Foreign Films Of 2015 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Tribeca Review: 'Freaky Deaky' Is A 1970s-Set Farce Where The Afros Outnumber The Laughs

The Playlist By Gabe Toro | The Playlist April 23, 2012 at 3:21PM

Just when you thought filmmakers had milked every gag possible from setting a movie in the 1970s, along comes writer/director Charles Matthau to prove that theory correct in the moribund Elmore Leonard adaptation “Freaky Deaky.” Though the source material takes place in 1988, Matthau heard the call of polyester and fur and answered be relocating the film to the seventies, resulting in a film drowning in cornball aesthetics, extravagant living room furniture, funk music out of a bad porno and loud fashion under the guise of mise en scene.
3
Freaky Deaky

Just when you thought filmmakers had milked every gag possible from setting a movie in the 1970s, along comes writer/director Charles Matthau to prove that theory correct in the moribund Elmore Leonard adaptation “Freaky Deaky.” Though the source material takes place in 1988, Matthau heard the call of polyester and fur and answered be relocating the film to the seventies, resulting in a film drowning in cornball aesthetics, extravagant living room furniture, funk music out of a bad porno and loud fashion under the guise of mise en scene.

Billy Burke, an actor so unconvincing he can’t even manage to be a highlight of the “Twilight” movies, stars as Chris Mankowski, a detective coping with a string of bad luck, one that’s left him suspended from the force and living at his father’s house with borrowed wheels. He’s approached by a beautiful young ingénue named Greta (Sabina Gadecki) who cries rape in regards to famed movie producer Woody Ricks, though it soon becomes clear (well, not really) that she seeks to bring him down.

Christian Slater, Freaky Deaky

As played by Crispin Glover, Woody is a drug-addled bottle of neuroses. Locked away in a mansion on the hills, he’s overmedicated beyond comprehension, shoveling pills into his mouth as he listlessly floats in his pool fully clothed. His day-to-day is in the hands of capable but clearly under-educated bodyguard Donnell, played by martial arts star Michael Jai White. White doesn’t get to utilize his more familiar talents, but he has a natural gift for comedy, and he and Glover make an inspired comic pairing, if not an intriguing physical contrast.

The producer has a daffy younger sibling Mark (Andy Dick) also trying to make it in the business. While Mark considers his creativity being stymied, it’s really his libido that he must feed. Soak it up, because this is the first time you’ll see Andy Dick and Crispin Glover play sex-driven brothers. Amusing that Glover’s Woody seems almost asexual, incapable of stringing together a full sentence, though you’re led to believe he’s a notorious hounddog.

Mark plays into the hand of sexy counter-culturalist Robin (Breanne Racano) who seeks to pit the brothers against each other. A demure seductress with an apartment strewn with hippie literature, Robin also holds a secret: she writes immensely successful romance fiction, the movie rights of which she intends to sell to the highest bidder. Her threat against the brothers comes courtesy of Skip (Christian Slater), a drug-addled pyrotechnics expert with a gift for dynamite, narcotics and little else, one who has no problem being lured into a deadly situation as long as there’s the promise of sex.

Freaky Deaky, Crispin Glover

Thirty minutes into “Freak Deaky,” all these double crosses come into clearer vision, and the general audience member will develop a sense of the plot. It’s likely they’ll also wonder, who are these people, and why should I care? As a director, Matthau favors incidence over character, so half of this film is packed with scenes and moments that do nothing to advance the story or the characterizations, particularly a first act time shift that kicks back two weeks at an arbitrary moment to relay information we could have learned in a more linear fashion. Guess this sort of thing is a contractual obligation in Elmore Leonard adaptations, regardless of the relevance.

It’s a farce but when everything is treated like a joke, nothing is funny. Every character is introduced with a gag or two, cementing their inherent disposability. They seem like placeholders in a real movie where the viewer would say, ha ha, the real leads are about to show up, right? As the whipsmart detective, Burke underplays his burnt-out gumshoe as the smartest guy in the room, constantly ten steps ahead of everyone else. But when the film is wall-to-wall buffoon, characters pull a gun on him and the combination of unthreatening antagonists and Burke’s jackass smirk quickly emphasizes that he’ll never face a serious threat during this film‘s runtime.

No favors are presented by this schizophrenic cast. While Burke goes for wry understatement and deadpan double takes, the rest of the cast opts for broad laughs. The film feels drenched in flop sweat, as experienced actors like Slater and Glover flail about, matched with White’s peacock strut and the predictable shtick of non-actor Dick. It’s the picture's two freshest faces, Gadecki and Racano, wherein the most significant faults of this film lie. It’s not that these two actresses aren’t very good, but rather that they might as well be wearing "SEX KITTEN" on their t-shirts. Matthau seems about as tone-deaf about sexuality as he is about comedy, stranding these two in a series of impossible poses in place of giving them anything interesting to say or do, other than act as catalysts for this collection of rich men with guns. And when your film is called “Freaky Deaky,” it would help to be at least a little sexy. [D]

This article is related to: Freaky Deaky, Tribeca Film Festival, Michael Jai White, Christian Slater, Crispin Glover, Andy Dick, Billy Burke, Review


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates