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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Darwin Awards - Dark Humor, Great Writing and an All-Star Cast!!!
The Darwin Awards is about an eccentric investigator obsessed with the Darwin Award deaths - awards for those who die in such stupid ways their death raises humanity's IQ.

This movie is not a traditional comedy and will not appeal to everybody. However, if you enjoy dark humor, sharp wit and reading between the lines, you will find a LOT to enjoy in this...
Published on October 26, 2007 by Mark

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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Can't make up its mind
Althought the premise is good, the cast fabulous (chuck full of cameo performances), and the production values above average, this film doesn't know whether it wants to be a Rom-Com, straight comedy, or mystery. So it's all three. The staging of the various "Darwin Awards" is usually VERY funny, and Fiennes does a great job as the lead (he's genuinely funny doing both...
Published on May 16, 2007 by L. Last


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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Darwin Awards - Dark Humor, Great Writing and an All-Star Cast!!!, October 26, 2007
This review is from: The Darwin Awards (DVD)
The Darwin Awards is about an eccentric investigator obsessed with the Darwin Award deaths - awards for those who die in such stupid ways their death raises humanity's IQ.

This movie is not a traditional comedy and will not appeal to everybody. However, if you enjoy dark humor, sharp wit and reading between the lines, you will find a LOT to enjoy in this movie. The script is expertly written, and the cast will make you wonder why you never heard of this movie.

Joe Feinnes plays the detective, and he switches to being an insurance claims investigator when he loses his job at the San Francisco Police Department. He is paired with Winona Ryder, a cynical claims agent slow to accept his psychological theories. In time they grow closer, and eventually she helps him catch the one crook who escaped him as a cop.

The story is filmed from the perspective of a documentary film maker played by Wilmer Valderama. There are also cameo appearances by John Doe (from the L.A. punk band X), beat poet Lawrence Ferlingetti, writer Josh Kornbluth, and Metallica. Add to that an all-star cast that includes:
David Arquette, Juliette Lewis, Julianna Margulies, Robin Tunney, Nora Dunn, Tom Hollander, Alessandro Nivola and the late Chris Penn in his final role. The list goes on.

The dialogue is subtle so I can understand why some might not find this to be their cup of tea. Some of the death stories could have been executed better. The romantic climax of the film also seems forced. Still, the good far outweighs the bad here. If you give this movie a second chance you might be surprised.

Overall, this is a fun movie that will make you laugh. If you are a fan of "Six Feet Under," you will find yourself wondering why there wasn't a mass market for this film. Enjoy!
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Can't make up its mind, May 16, 2007
By 
L. Last "Movie Buff" (The realy GREAT lake state) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Darwin Awards (DVD)
Althought the premise is good, the cast fabulous (chuck full of cameo performances), and the production values above average, this film doesn't know whether it wants to be a Rom-Com, straight comedy, or mystery. So it's all three. The staging of the various "Darwin Awards" is usually VERY funny, and Fiennes does a great job as the lead (he's genuinely funny doing both slapstick and some more 'high-brow' stuff);but Ryder's 'tough-girl' is just too cliched, and you never really get to feel that she is capable of becoming involved with Fiennes. If you are looking for a little mindless fun(and I do mean mindless, as in people doing some really absurd stunts)then you will like this film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All of my heroes have always been nervous, fragile creatures, June 15, 2010
This review is from: The Darwin Awards (DVD)
Finn Taylor (whose big directorial showcases are CHERISH and DREAM WITH THE FISHES) showed me a good time with this 2006 film, THE DARWIN AWARDS. A moderate, take-it-or-leave-it good time, but at least I laughed (a few scenes made me roar).

Joseph Fiennes plays a smart and elegant-looking Mike Burrows, SFPD forensics/homicide detective extraordinaire. His problem is what we know as vasovagal episodes with syncope: it means he faints dead away at the sight of blood. Kind of like the serial killer Dexter. He faints once too often, causing Harold-Lloyd-type situations and gets fired (I was reminded a bit of Lloyd's 1932 film WELCOME DANGER, a great classic).

Mike decides he'd better move and get another job. Somehow he inveigles his way into an insurance company and takes a shot at getting claim investigator status. The boss (the always delightful Kevin Dunn of TRANSFORMERS fame) gives him 30 days to run through several impossible claims in order to land the job.

Mike gets teamed with veteran investigator Siri Taylor (a lovely turn by my big "crush" Winona Ryder, whose names I always misspell due to being starstruck). Along for the entire ride, though I cannot explain this cumbersome and unnecessary jape, is an annoying young documentary-maker (Wilmer Valderrama)--working on a project about Mike though it seems in the end he is simply gay and looking for someone on whom to obsess.

"Darwin Awards" is Mike's autistic codeword for people who cause their own demise due to extreme stupidity. There is a lesson to be learned from this, I think, but the film blows its chances. These accidents, the cases Mike has to solve and settle claim, are your typical stupid-idiot-urban-legend stuff. What is interesting and made me laugh was that both Mike and Siri begin identifying with the pathetic creatures who kill themselves through sheer stupidity.

Mike begins to wonder why he can't live to the full, seeing as how the character is a rip-off of Tony Shalhoub's MONK. Meanwhile Siri is overwhelmed with sadness because she has been at this for 15 years and cannot become emotionally compromised by what she sees.

Well, the film is funny a great deal of the time; it has some side-splitting instances, and Fiennes has a comic gift I would never have expected of him. He almost reminds me of a sedate Jim Carey. Winona, as I said, is beautiful and fetching in this movie. I wish she were less gonged-in-the-head and hadn't thrown in the whistle so long ago. She is precious, and yet the last decent thing she got to do was play the tormented android in ALIEN RESURRECTION.

This film, I think, does a nice job exploring the motives people have for doing stupid, thoughtless things...but then, watch the film and let the intrepid Mike explain it all to you as he solves cases and saves the world. We need more fragile superheroes, and Mike and Siri are two of the best I have seen.

I'm not sure whether I'd want to own this or not. Since it is surely worth a viewing or two, especially for Fiennes' shower scene which is a classic in film history, well...get it if you like. It's too 1980s for my taste and they could have done better; it's the 21st century for heaven's sake.

Also, be warned of some sexually puerile scenes; though not grotesquely explicit, they are nevertheless embarrassing.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why do I like this movie?, February 27, 2008
By 
mk (parker, CO United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Darwin Awards (DVD)
Goofy. Tragic. But why am I laughing? Joseph Fiennes is a Sherlock/ genius in his own world that can't fit into ours. He can't handle the sight of blood, afraid of women, guilty over a botched police collar of a serial killer, and fastidious about safety. Winona Ryder is his foible picking Watson. Two depressed misfits on a journey trying to solve stupid and often fatal insurance claims.

If you like dark, quirky comedies, e.g., The Big Lebowski, or if you like road trip movies, you'll like this. The leads work wonderfully together. Both Ryder and Fiennes need more comedy and less drama in their lives, and they're good at it. The 'cases' are hilarious, but I really enjoyed the 'Odd Couple' leads duking it out as their personalities grate on each other in a tortured, sex-tensed, romantic sort of way.

The other story involving the search for a serial killer is put in there to promote the big climax, and the Peeping-Tom, worthless, documentary student is silly but provides humorous asides.
It's a night of escapism at other people's, who are not at our level of evolutionary development, expense.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Amusing Stories Connected in the Wrong Way, December 19, 2007
By 
Tsuyoshi (Kyoto, Japan) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Darwin Awards (DVD)
As you know, the film's title "The Darwin Awards" refers to the "awards" that really exist, for the people who died in the most bizarre (and you may say, stupid) way. I believe some, or many of the reported cases on this website should actually belong to urban legend genre, but anyway, though some may find them offensive, to me these episodes are not only silly but also amusing often in a very dark way.

The problem of the film inspired by the actual Darwin Awards is this: How can we tell a story that is as amusing as these source materials? The film, "The Darwin Awards," tries hard to solve it by using two familiar narrative strategies: one is the road movie format where the film's hero and disgraced SFPD profiler Michael Burrows (Joseph Fiennes) travels across the country with a surly insurance investigator Siri (Winona Ryder). The other is the pseudo-documentary narrative, an interviewer who mostly stays behind the camera, following the two leads and occasionally interrupting them. Plus, the film has to tell us a sub-plot about a killer

However, despite the capable leads and funny cameos including late Chris Penn, the weak romance and underdeveloped characters (especially Ryder's) need more improvement. Fake documentary idea is simply unnecessary and even annoying. The latter idea does not make much sense after all as what most people want to see is "The Darwin Awards" and why some people are often driven to behave in a very ridiculous way.

While watching this, I thought there must be a terrific film buried deep under the confusing script. At least the film's "award" part and how these people "win" are amusing even though you have heard about them, but the film is a little disappointing, considering the cast and the source material.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I guess I was expecting more., November 7, 2007
By 
JOHN GODFREY (Milwaukee ,WI USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Darwin Awards (DVD)
More in the way of dark humor. More explict, really funny idiots offing themselves, doing us all a favor by not breeding. Instead we get the story of this wierdly neurotic ex-cop turned insurance-adjustor/profiler. Well I guess they had to have the sembalance of a plot. That's what they got. Michael (Joseph Fiennes) saves the insurance company lots of $$$ traveling cross country investigating strangely stupid deaths. His partner, played by Wynona Ryder is a veteran adjustor & doesn't really get him or his theories. It's very funny is spots. You know what's going to happen but it's funny anyway. When they try to get back to the plot for too long, it gets tedious. This could very well be a sit-com. You know: one stupid fatality every week. Lots of great cameos especially Adam & Jamie from Mythbusters. They actually did bust several of these deaths on their show. Before or after this movie I'm not sure. This movie had the potential to be much better. Mettalica rocks.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Really funny, weird movie!, March 3, 2011
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This review is from: The Darwin Awards (DVD)
I ordered this awhile ago, but I only got around to watching it today. As a fan of the Darwin Awards, I've wanted to see this movie for as long as I've known it existed (somehow, I missed it when it was originally released), and it didn't disappoint. Some classic Darwin Awards are reenacted here, and there are some truly hilarious moments (like Adam and Jamie from Mythbusters appearing to sell a man a JATO rocket). If you're a fan of the Darwin Awards, then this is a movie worth watching.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly funny, January 26, 2008
This review is from: The Darwin Awards (DVD)
Although the pseudodocumentary angle seemed a little superfluous, overall I really enjoyed this movie. It was a lot funnier than I expected, with plenty of slapstick comedy, but most of it was anchored with more intelligent humor behind it. Which is a little ironic when you consider what The Darwin Awards are actually about. There's a cursory love story as well, which manages to feel kind of natural, not outrageously forced. Overall, I liked it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious!, January 15, 2009
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This review is from: The Darwin Awards (DVD)
If you're a fan of the written "Darwin Awards", you'll *love* this movie!! The stories are familiar DA stories brought to life in a very entertaining way with both Joseph Feinnes and Wynona Ryder providing the "glue" that holds all the stories together. If you're in need of some good solid belly laughs, this movie will provide them! (Caution: If you're not into "macabre humor", skip this one.)
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5.0 out of 5 stars True to the spirit of the Darwin awards, May 4, 2014
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This review is from: The Darwin Awards (DVD)
I personally really enjoyed this movie. But you have to be a little bit careful what company you play it in. The language can be a little bit rough and one of the situations is off-color enough to not want to show it to your parents. That being said I thought it was hilarious but I have an eclectic sense of humor..
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The Darwin Awards
The Darwin Awards by Finn Taylor (DVD - 2007)
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