Wednesday, May 3, 2017

What’s On Netflix?: WIN IT ALL

Welcome to another installment of WHAT’S ON NETFLIX?, where we pick out a film or series currently playing on Netflix and review it for the fans. Today’s selection is a positively reviews Netflix Original that debuted at South by Southwest this year….WIN IT ALL.

Win It All is a somewhat dark comedy film co-written, directed, and edited by Joe Swanberg with New Girl star Jake Johnson starring, co-writing, and producing the feature. This film tells the story of a character named Eddie who has a severe gambling addiction and loses a lot of money. When he loses a large sum of money that doesn’t belong to him he has to shape up and try and find ways to make it back before the individual notices something is amiss. Aislinn Derbez, Jo Lo Truglio, and Keegan-Michael Key star alongside Johnson in the film.

Overall, I found this film to be neither tremendously engaging nor terrible. It is one of those eminently fine films that I’m not quite sure what to think of. On the positive side of the ledger, I think the film is well paced and strikes at a concept in an interesting way that held my attention throughout. Further, I thought it maintained an interesting voice that set it apart from most movies of this general type. The film is incredibly anticlimactic, weirdly written and performed, and generally forgettable, however.

Digging into the positives, I thought that this film had a voice that was incredibly unique. It had a wry sense of humor that worked, but also had a real darkness and drama that made the film engaging to watch. Characterizing this as a comedy (as some do) feels wrong to me. There is an authenticity to it which, in a story about a serious addiction, has a dramatic and dark feel to it. I think the film takes risks and pays them off in a lot of ways. I also thought Keegan-Michael Key added a pleasant feel the film really needed and greatly enhanced its overall quality.

The ending of this film really let me down, however. Generally, the film has a predictable plot. Despite its uniqueness in tone and style, it doesn’t break a ton of story conventions. That said, it didn’t execute some of those more “conventional” moments very well. Notably, the conclusion of the film was a real letdown for a final act that felt like it was building toward something exciting. I grant it had a sense of realism that fit with the rest of the story but it didn’t feel terribly cinematic. Additionally, I thought the performance work was kind of all over the place and uninteresting. No one phones it in like you might think someone would on a small feature like this one but no one really stood out either.

Overall, this is a film that is neither very bad nor very good. It is a fine diversion that has some interesting things going on that will keep you involved for an hour and a half but that you may never think about again after.

Ryan’s Score: 6/10

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