JAMES PUMPHREY ALEX RENNIE
Adam Sandler and Jim Carey might be proud of this indie screw-ball comedy that goes full force into physical, absurd comedy. Awful Nice is the latest in the comedy genre of grown-ups acting like teenagers with no real adults around to correct their behavior. The film limps from a road trip fight to competing against each other at every intersection of disagreement. Usually films of this nature will feature a high profile comedian to draw otherwise disapproving viewers to it. It’s the type of movie you would expect someone like David Spade to be featured in.
Jim (Pumphrey) at first appears to be the mature older brother, as he is tasked with finding his younger brother Dave (Rennie) who, unlike Jim, isn’t married and doesn’t have a job or any hopes of getting one. Jim must bring the news to Dave that their father has passed away and they must attend the funeral; it's only after he offers Dave $150 that he agree to get in the car. Their road trip to visit the cabin their father willed them turns into a nightmare of stops along the way. Once reaching the cabin they realize that their inheritance is going to cost more money to fix up and clean than it’s worth.
When any comedy repeatedly tries to go as far over the top as possible I lose interest, really quick. My breaking point with Awful Nice happened when the brothers are arrested and the police officers are like something out of Reno 911, which was probably the idea. That leads to the second point: all the gags and physical comedy included here written by actor Rennie and director Todd Sklar feel borrowed and second hand. There is never enough character development to make the audience concerned with the livelihood of Dave or Jim; they simply serve as vehicles for prat falls.
“This isn’t an excuse to run off and live out your childhood with your brother,” Jim’s wife screams at him on the phone. But that’s exactly what the film is about if you want to attempt to bring some heart into it. Two brothers who never experienced a childhood together go off and do ridiculously stupid things together. We saw this same behavior in Sideways (although far better acted and well written), not to mention the Will Farrell/ John C. Reilly Step Brothers; we have seen it dozens of times in Sandler films and I am sure we will see it again when Jim Carey delivers the Dumb & Dumber sequel.
Final Thought – Awfully stagnant.
By: Dustin Chase