Here we have a primary example of a film that went over with critics pretty damn well, but I just plain was not a fan of. The film is widely seen as this sort of "genius" illustration of the uneasy ride into insanity. I saw it as a pretty cruel and unusual film that crosses the borders a few too many times. But I may have other more personal reasons for not getting as much out of it.
The story centers on a guy named Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) who has some mental health issues. They seem to revolve around childhood trauma, and the result is that he has conversations with his dog, Bosco, and his cat, Mr. Whiskers. Sounds like it could be fun, right? Ryan Reynolds talks to animals? Well, it gets deeper. The animals (also both voiced by Reynolds) sort of serve as his conscience. The dog represents the good, the happy, the positive and the cat represents the bad, the malicious, the negative... and is Scottish for some reason. Still sounds like an interesting enough concept on paper, but there's more.
Jerry falls for a girl he works with named Fiona (Gemma Arterton), while another coworker named Lisa (Anna Kendrick) sort of starts falling for him, but less obviously. One evening, however, Jerry accidentally murders her when he gets into a sort of panic state. From there, the rest of the movie is pretty much the cat trying to convince him to kill again. As a cat, he understands how alive it can make you feel. The dog, meanwhile, keeps trying to convince Jerry he's a good boy and these problems can be solved if he just does the right thing. All in all, the film is considered a "dark comedy", and it DOES have some neat ideas, but there's major setback. It's just not funny. Like, REALLY not funny.
The best laughs I got were subtle giggles at how dark the cat could get. Otherwise, it's just a harsh movie about the rather psychotic mind of a killer and the unfortunate past that led him here. It sucks 'cause I love both Reynolds and Kendrick, and they were actually both good in this with what they had to work with. In fact, as far as Reynolds goes, this is easily one of his best performances. The sarcastic 'Deadpool' player we know him to be kinda just vanishes here, and instead he's a timid, insecure, shy guy who seems to cry at the drop of a hat. But that doesn't change the fact that these two in a movie feels like there should be a heavier comedic aspect to it. But the whole thing plays out more like a disturbing serial killer biopic than... well, a dark comedy.
To look at this from another perspective, consider for a second that my favorite genre is horror/comedy. So many have done it well, using their horrific concepts but combining them well with laugh out loud moments. This was just... killing, disturbed mental thoughts, blood, gore, and cruelty. Anything that was supposed to be funny here pretty much fell flat or got overshadowed by the rest of the film's almost too dark tone. It doesn't really take the horrific side of things and make light of it all so much as show you the dark side of things and how much darker they can get.
But, again, this is one I seem to be far-separated from the critics on. I'll give it Reynold's performance, as he did a fantastic job in convincing me there was something truly wrong with him. It almost seemed too real. The concept the the "conscience pets" is really neat too. But the overall film is perhaps just too damn twisted for my taste. If you care to judge for yourself, however, the film can be found on Netflix (at least in Canada) so have at it and see if you find anything I didn't.