Review: Mudbound
Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Mainstream Chick with Greta Gerwig @Middleburg

The Details

The Details is opening under the radar, and I think for good reason. It tries really hard to be a dark comedy, but doesn’t really get either part of that equation right. It is not funny enough or dark enough, and for me the biggest problem was the casting of the lead – Spiderman, er, Tobey Maguire. The movie is about Jeff whose nice little life suddenly seems to spin out of control. He is an obstetrician with a beautiful wife (Elizabeth Banks) and a cute kid, and they live in Seattle in a lovely house. But when raccoons take over his newly sodded back yard, everything else starts to unravel, and somehow that leads to poisoning, porn, infidelity, organ donation, blackmail and murder!

The upside of The Details is that the lead aside, there are a few wonderfully realized characters and performances, notably from the always interesting Laura Linney, in the role of the wacky neighbor Lila who becomes more and more entangled with Jeff as the plot plays out. Also worth watching is Dennis Haysbert playing a pick-up basketball buddy who, for reasons never explained, is on the receiving end of Jeff’s better angels. Even Ray Liotta as the cuckolded ex-friend is more interesting than Jeff.

The plot definitely has its dark elements and at times it is kind of funny, mostly when Lila is around, but mostly The Details feels forced and ultimately pretty flat. Piling one unbelievable twist atop the next, it seems to be leading to the big finish, but once you get there you can only ask,”So what?” Wait for it to come to Netflix or HBO, then you can watch and not be thinking about the money you wasted at the box office, and you won’t feel guilty when you change the channel to Spiderman, the movie Tobey was born to star in. Dark comedy is really no place for Peter Parker.

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