A sloppy and corny movie is a lot like a sloppy and corny person: much is redeemed if it has personality. DON'T WORRY has personalities. Plural. Weak script, but it is chock-a-block w/ odd, unkempt, fascinating performances. But what's the deal w/ Joaquin Phoenix? My theory is that his contracts stipulate he has to do no more than one or two takes. I repeatedly wonder: couldn't they have gotten another take of that?
Phoenix is incredible as always (even with a fake-ass wig); Jonah Hill plays it cool as a FABULOUS life-coach/AA sponsor; Rooney Mara melted my heart with that pixie haircut and sweet smile; Beth Ditto was an unexpected surprise... And I loved the animated cartoons that popped-up occasionally. But the film fails at being more than just the sum of its parts. Heartwarming and a nice homage to Callahan's life and work.
This movie's tone is flatter than the roads John Callahan speed-raced in his wheelchair, only intercepted by his cartoon sketches. Phoenix was born to play this role, Annu is boring compared to Lisbeth Salander and Beth Ditto was an enjoyable surprise.
Aside from having the year's funniest title, Gus Van Sant's latest has some of the year's finest performances, including a splendid Joaquin Phoenix and a knockout gut-punch from Jack Black. What sets the film back is an antsy structure, effectively reflecting the sloppiness of John Callahan, but therein discombobulating the narrative. It's very saccharine, but nonetheless enjoyable and at times uplifting and funny.
A solid recovery-themed biopic, but with such a smorgasbord of counter-cultural talent (cast and crew), I was expecting something a bit more subversive and experimental. Nonetheless, a competent offering as always from Van Sant.