Top critical review
Why exactly is this considered a classic, again?
on May 10, 2017
Good lord, was this movie disappointing. Two hours of awful, obnoxious characters being awful and obnoxious to each other (and not in an endearing way). I want those two hours of my life back. (Maybe it's a generational thing? I'm a millennial and was way too young to watch this movie when it came out; most of the folks I know who love it are Gen-X.)
For what it's worth, no, I've never read the book. Randomly enough, the first time I found out HF existed was through the universally panned and short-lived Broadway musical.
I rented HF because I love John Cusack and Jack Black, so I figured that a movie featuring both of them would be gold. Not exactly. Black's character Barry is funny in exactly two moments - one at the beginning and another at the end - and spends the rest of the time being shallow and one-note. You'd think Jack Black playing an arrogant, weird, obnoxious sidekick would be hilarious, but this time it just doesn't work. Cusack's Rob is perfectly acted, but as a character, he's a chore to watch. I understand why certain people in their late 20's and beyond might find him relatable, but I didn't at all.
I guess it was really the ending that left me feeling unsatisfied and a bit unsettled. Sure, Rob has an "epiphany" and decides to shape up, but it happens in the last few minutes of the film. There's not a lot of build-up to it, and it doesn't feel "earned" at all. It feels like Rob just awkwardly stumbles into adulthood rather than taking a meaningful journey there...as if he just shrugs and decides, "Well, this whole man-child thing isn't working out, so I GUESS I'll try being mature for now." Even when he's giving his final "I've changed" speech to Laura, he still manages to be a jerk while doing so. "Yeah, I was essentially cheating on you two days ago, but I realized that wasn't going to make ME happy, so I'm gonna stick with you 'cause right now I don't see any better options for ME." I felt like he didn't have any remorse or learn anything at all, which I thought was the whole point of the film.
This movie was just a big ol' mess. Do not recommend.
At least the soundtrack was decent, though.