Collateral Beauty (2016): A Hilariously Bad Attempt at Schmaltz
If you’re tired of watching Rogue One for a fifth time this weekend, a great departure from the galaxy far, far away is the best comedy of the year, Collateral Beauty! This is a movie that tried so hard to be an Oscar contender but failed hilariously. As always, I will do my best to keep spoilers out of the picture for this Collateral Beauty review.
Collateral Beauty is directed by David Frankel and stars A-list actors such as Will Smith, Edward Norton, Helen Mirren, Kate Winslet, and Michael Pena just to name a few. Now, to explain the plot of this movie, I do need to start off by saying that the trailers blatantly lied to us. To explain the plot I will have to give information that was not in the trailers. So if you believe that to be a spoiler and do not wish to know anything about this movie (but let’s be honest, you don’t care about this movie), then by all means stop reading this review. None of the information I will give is a reveal as everything I explain happens within the first twenty minutes of the film.
For those of you still intrigued, let’s begin! So the story follows Howard (Will Smith) as he is grieving from the loss of his daughter. In order to somewhat cope with this loss, Howard begins to write letters to death, time, and love. However, his grieving is putting his company into financial ruin which causes his three “friends” (Winslet, Norton, and Pena) to hire three actors to play the roles of death, time, and love so that they can come and talk to Howard and get a response out of him.
The idea is that they can digitally remove the actors from video of their interactions with Howard so that the three friends can prove to the company board that Howard is unfit to run the company so they can take the controlling shares of the company by showing them a video of Howard yelling at no one (you can see why they hid this from us in the trailers can’t you?).
Every December it seems like Will Smith is starring in an obvious Oscar-bait movie in an attempt to get nominated. He’s a great actor, but he takes on curious projects that only damage his career. From the false trailers we were given, he looked to be bringing his A-game once again.
What I Didn’t Like
Unfortunately for Will Smith, this Collateral Beauty review declares this film as one of the worst movies of the year. I’ve never seen a movie try so hard to be sentimental and yet be so inherently mean. Winslet, Norton, and Pena take advantage of a grieving man in order to be better off in their lives, but the movie props these three up with overly sentimental back stories that attempts to make you try to feel for them as they make a depressed person descend close to madness.
What I Liked
The only thing that saves this Collateral Beauty review from an F -grade is Will Smith’s performance. He really commits to the role of Howard and would’ve rendered more tears from the audience had the plot not been so fundamentally flawed. You really care about Howard as he goes through his troubles. It’s too bad that everyone else is just so damn mean.
What I Didn’t Like…Continued
Everyone else is sleep walking through Collateral Beauty. Helen Mirren and Kate Winslet look like they couldn’t care less and are just waiting to get to cash the paycheck they are going to receive. The writing for this movie is so atrocious that fails to evoke any emotion from audience members. They should have at least tried to develop true emotion from great storytelling like Manchester By The Sea (shameless plug, but you can read my review of Manchester By The Sea here). The way the characters are written wreaks of a Nicholas Sparks novel adaptation.
The pacing of this movie is very laborious as you might expect. The story moves along with people just doing a lot of talking back and forth while discussing excessively sad topics that had me just looking at my phone over and over again. The man sitting next to me left halfway through the movie and I found myself feeling jealous. There’s a twist at the end of this movie that tries to be profound but just comes off as ridiculous and improbable. I legitimately laughed when the twist occurred.
In conclusion, Collateral Beauty tries so very hard to get the Oscar for best picture, but, in the end, may end up receiving the Razzie for worst movie. Sorry Will Smith, but Collateral Beauty gets a D-. You’re definitely better off going to see Rogue One for a sixth time instead.
Thanks for reading my Collateral Beauty review! Have you seen Collateral Beauty (doubt it)? What are your thoughts? Be sure to comment and let me know.
What should I review next? Whether it’s old or new, the choice is up to you!