ANSWERS TO NOTHING (2011)

TMG Scale 2.0     P Factor 2.0     MPAA Rating: R
Starring Dane Cook, Barbara Hershey, Elizabeth Mitchell

TMG says titles to movies can often be telling. Answers to Nothing? Yeah? Well, let me tell you. When I see a film,  I want answers to at least one thing—like why I spent my time and money suffering through it. If you are too happy for the holidays and just feel good about life in general, then go see this film.  It will turn you around quick. If I want to be this depressed,  I can take a handful of Valium and watch reruns of Nancy Pelosi speeches.

Why so many movie producers and screen writers are just dying to load us all up with piles of depression, cynicism and angst is beyond me. It is the same affliction that hits many country western singers. If you are among the three, whacked out northern Vermonters who were inspired by Melancholia, by all means, take your friends to the Jack Kevorkian Society to see this film.

For starters, there is no plot or storyline.  You simply have a depressed guy named Ryan (Cook) in a loathsome affair trying to gather sperm for his wife Kate (Mitchell)  to have a baby and deal with her own, tragic inadequacies. All around him are vignettes of people with atrocious insecurities, hangups and severe mental illness. Worse,  you later learn Ryan is a mental health therapist treating one of them. You pretty much have a pyromaniac tending the fire department here. The most pointed line of the film is Ryan’s estranged Dad advising him “In human relations, kindness and lies are worth a thousand truths.” I think he was quoting the Bible according to Tammy Faye & Jim Baker.

There was some hope because their is one subplot of a guy who kidnapped a young girl and an interesting twist that resolves that situation. There is one funny scene of Allegra (not allergy medicine, thought this young black gal is sort of allergic to everyone for awhile) doing an obsessive-compulsive thing trying to sugar her ice tea through a straw. But, that is about it. There is a guy pretending to be a cop woven in here, but it makes no sense.

At the end, nothing is resolved and nothing is really answered. The writers should have stayed with the kidnapped little girl theme. It had some promise. Nothing else did.  I bet you anything an assortment of mentally unstable people and a few manic tree huggers around Boulder, Colorado or tripping down State Street in Madison, Wisconsin will proclaim this to be a great and inspirational film. Hence, my analysis will be proved correct.

The trailer says  this film is about “choices that define us.”  Indeed. One might choose to see a better film this holiday season.

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