Burn After Reading

burn after readin-coverWhat Jesse said:

Hey Mike, have I mentioned before that Brad Pitt is dreamy? I watch all his movies because he’s dreamy. Oh, speaking of Brad Pitt being dreamy, there’s a movie you should see. It’s called Burn After Reading and Brad Pitt is adorable in it. He says funny things. So dreamy. Frances McDormand is pretty good in it too. And there are some other funny people who you’ll recognize.

Mike’s verdict:

When Jesse told me about Burn After Reading he only mentioned Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand by name. Somehow he managed to leave out that the film co-stars: George Clooneywho’s really goofy; John Malkovichwho’s quite good – obviously; Tilda Swintonwho’s fantastic; Richard Jenkinswho pretty much reprises his awkward character from The Visitor; and J.K. Simmons, who doesn’t get nearly as much screen time as he deserves. 

I actually had reservations about this one because it’s a comedy with so many big names. I like comedy, but I prefer clever funny rather than idiot funny. Too often, writers rely on funny people to make up for silly dialog and slapstick situations. Being a recommendation from Jesse, I knew it could really go either way.

In this case, it’s clear that the goal was to try for clever but I don’t think Burn After Reading quite hit the mark. It’s close. It’s definitely funny, but not always cleverly so. Much of the film was just too silly for the caliber of talent that is involved. Though J.K. Simmons really uses his minimal role to steal the show. His deadpan is great.

About halfway through I thought the best part of this movie would be Brad Pitt being punched in the face, but (without giving too much away) I was wrong.

Overall, I didn’t find this one exceptionally funny other than Simmons’ character,  but it was definitely amusing. It’s a good watch for a light evening when you’re not drunk enough to watch Jim Carrey but still don’t want to have to think too much either. Plus Stuart the comic shop owner has a decent cameo. It’s nice to see him get other work.




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